COVID-19: People with disabilities root for inclusive measures amid lockdown

The Executive Secretary of the NCPD Emmanuel Ndayisaba says that there is an urgent need for people living with disabilities to access information, updates on COVID-19. Sam Ngendahimana

The National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) is asking for inclusive communication of measures and guidelines in the continued fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Among the major issues raised is the need for all broadcasting channels in the country to use sign language interpreters for the message to spread among the community of people living with disabilities.

 

According to Emmanuel Ndayisaba, NCPD Executive Secretary, there is an urgent need for people living with disabilities to access information, updates and news at the right time.

 

Ndayisaba highlighted that, so far, sign language interpreters only worked on the National Television, leaving a challenge for those who are unable to access it.

 

“We are going to partner with all platforms, especially the media so that people with disabilities can be informed with what is taking place.”

He added that “We want them to especially follow virtual events that are organized to inform people more about the virus, but also understand the safety and prevention measures as issued by relevant authorities.”

On the other hand, Samuel Munana, the Executive Director of Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD), pointed out that people with disability may be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19

However he is of the view that if information is made accessible for all, including people with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment.

“There is need to include captioning and, where possible, professional sign language interpreters for all live and recorded events and communications, convert public materials into “Easy Read” format so that they are understood.”

Additionally, Munana also suggests that, “For easy access, the media or other official announcements should use images that are inclusive and which do not stigmatize disability. Work with disability organisations, including advocacy bodies and disability service providers to disseminate public health information.”

Meanwhile, Ndayisaba called upon everyone with disability and their family members to follow the guidelines provided by World Health Organisation, on basic protection measures during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If you have any difficulty following these basic protective measures (for example, you are not able to access a hand basin or sink to wash your hands regularly), work with your family, friends and caregivers to identify adaptations,” He said.

In Rwanda, 84 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed as of April 2, with no death; while globally, more than one million of COVID-19 and 53,000 deaths resulting from it had been recorded.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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