Bangladesh Disabled Development Trust-BDDT stands by the affected Persons With Disabilities - PWDs during COVID-19 Pandemic:DONATE
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Bangladesh on March 2020. On 22 March, Bangladesh Government declared a 10-day shut down effective from 26 March to 4 April, 2020. This was later increased to 30 May 2020. A series of hotline numbers, e-mail address and the Facebook page of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) are provided for people to contact if they suspect Covid-19 infection or need more information.
It’s a big epidemic that has caused a lot of problems for all people, but people with disabilities are the most vulnerable. It is true that food is an important issue but PWDs are needed other services like regular medicines, therapy, special language support, Assistive devices support, technological support, special care and other special services. Some PWDs need regular therapeutic intervention for increasing their mobility. Due to shut down the pandemic situation they cannot go for therapeutic even service provider also cannot go to their home for providing therapeutic support. Almost all the PWDs are left out from the hygiene maintenance due this shut down. For lack of mobility the girls with disability are also at high risk of abuse including sexual abuse. There is no limit of suffering for people with disabilities for such shut down as they are the most vulnerable.
The situation is like that now no food, no matches to light the fire, no way to burn, no cooking medium, no shops, no transport, PWDs are soliciting for food, regular treatment, Medical support to survive. Power is meaningless and nature mourns in resulting cataclysmic coronavirus affect.
Programmatic interventions to COVID-19 pandemic:
After happing the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic affect and country wide shut down in Bangladesh, BDDT has become responsibility to meet the needs (Food, Medicine and Medical support) of disabled people associated with us across the country. In this context, BDDT has started offering their services. We started to distribute relief among PWDs but it is much less than the demand. BDDT has considerable experience working during disasters with persons with disabilities which is gained from working in cyclone SIDR, Aila and Mahasen through its team which is very helpful for us to do this. Our previous similar experiences and current response has created a well experience relief distribution channel for us. These are the services we provide for persons with disabilities during the COVID-10 pandemic:
* We deliver food to disabled people home
* Has provided cash support through bKash (online banking)
* Direct cash support
* Trained on what rules to follow at this time
* Distributed leaflets to create awareness
* In the meantime (up to 16th May 2020), We have already provided relief to the families of 320 PWDs, Cash supported through bKash (Online banking) across the country to 280 PWDs, 10000 leaflets distributed and training to 400 PWDs which is very insignificant compared to the current demand.
Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 response till date:
* People with disabilities are suffering from extreme problems of food, medicine, medical support, therapy, special language support, assistive devices support, technological support, security and special care.
* Rapid measures on awareness and response for affected people is very important.
* Utilization of existing resources in terms of, fund management, volunteers, UP members involvement, groups etc. and other logistics played important role to reach disabled communities.
* Training for community and family members, local administration, UP members, members of service provider on how to handle PWDs in this situation is very important.
Challenges for PWDs:
* Most of the people in the society are not aware of how to deal with the PWDs in the epidemic.
* People in the society are not trained in terms of disability issue during pandemic.
* Food and other supplies problems due to pandemic effect of Covid-19.
* PWDs are not getting their regular medicine and medical support.
* Taking regular therapy is a big challenge.
* Regular therapeutic intervention problem for increasing their mobility.
* Left out from the hygiene maintenance.
* Residence problem due to not paying house rent.
* Lack of Shelter houses for disabled orphan’s girls.
* It is true that people with disabilities do not want any mercy, they want their rights but in crisis situation like COVID-19 everyone should be humane towards people with disabilities.
* To arrange training for community and family members, local administration, UP members, members of service provider on how to handle PWDs in this situation.
* Food and other supplies need to be provided.
* Medicine needs to be provided and medical support like Ambulance services needed to go hospital for regular treatment.
* Make sure that PWDs can go therapy center for taking regular therapy by medical support.
* Need to arrange therapeutic intervention for increasing their mobility.
* Need to supply hygiene materials( like hand globes, hand ruff, Sanities etc) for keep PWDs in good health hygiene maintenance.
* Arrangements should be made to waive the house rent and make financial arrangement to buy daily necessities.
* Make arrangements with employers so that the employed PWDs do not lose the job.