In the current scenario with the novel corona virus COVID 19 pandemic, the world is exposed to a high risk of COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded 3,00,000 in 188 countries around the world and the death toll has reached more than 13,000. The number of affected in South Asia and Africa is rising. Although, the cases are not reported in Nepal, however, there are high risks of the infection of the virus to Nepalese people. While the government and the stakeholders have taken appropriate measures with adequate preparedness and response plans to enforce different precautionary measures to protect people from the treacherous pandemic, National Federation of Disabled Nepal, put forth following appeal to the Government of Nepal and all the stakeholders for the disability-inclusive response to the COVID 19 havoc:
- Public advice campaigns and information on preventive measures and remedy of Corona Virus must be made widely available in sign language, audio, visuals, pictorial/graphical form and accessible for all along within understandable and simple language.
- While selecting and preparing for quarantine zone, physical viability, toilet sites, and other available services must be accessible and as per the need of the wheelchair/crutches user, persons with visual impairment, Intellectual disability, Psychosocial disability, Autism, etc.
- While building Isolation wards or cells, the physical accessibility with regard to WASH facilities, toilet construction, communication services, and other services should be accessible for all persons with disabilities along with special priority for the wheelchair/crutches users, persons with visual impairment, hearing disability, Intellectual disability, Psychosocial disability, and Autism.
- In the case of persons with disabilities infected with the virus, along with the services and care to be received due to the virus infection, all medicine, medical equipment, support service, and care should be available which they need because of their impairment.
- Special precautions must be taken to safeguard the persons with a disability, who are already residing under any residential set-up and appropriate measures must be in place to take care in case of infection.
- Quarantined persons with disabilities must have access to information in sign language, audio, video, pictorial form, captioning, simple language, easy-to-read format and in all other appropriate possible alternative formats.
- Considering the extra cost to be covered to cope with such an emergency situation for persons with a severe and complete disability, additional protective and specific measures must be taken along with additional social protection measures and additional cash transfer.
- Sign language interpreters and other alternative support provision must be made available in case the deaf and hard of hearing persons are to be supported with necessary services at Quarantine or isolation ward.
- Appropriate measures such as assistive devices, services, and assistant to suit the need of persons with disabilities must be made available for persons with disabilities in the quarantine/isolation.
National Federation of the Disabled Nepal
Federal Office, Bhrikutimandap