Monday, May 29, 2023


In order to reduce the spread and impact of COVID 19 on persons with
disabilities globally, The Albino Foundation-DISABILITY INCLUSION NIGERIA
PROJECT in alignment with the recommendations of International Disability
Alliance (IDA) has come up with simple steps to mitigating the virus within
this vulnerable population. The basic measures includes:

1.0 Persons with disabilities

  • Covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately;
  • Washing hands often with soap and water (at least for 20 seconds);
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects such as assistive devices like wheelchairs, magnifying glasses, crutches etc.;
  • Washing regularly of clothing and other linings;
  • Staying home when sick;
  • Contribute to the national or local emergency response;
  • Proactively reach to all related authorities including the health system, the national media, the crisis
    response headquarters and education authorities to:
  • Sensitize authorities on how the pandemic as well as the response plans may disproportionally impact persons with disabilities;
  • Offer tailored practical tips on how to address accessibility barriers or specific measures required by persons with disabilities Practice social distancing guideline;
  • Organisations of persons with disabilities should be involved in the dissemination of the necessary information that will mitigate the spread of the virus.

2.0 Government

  • Government officials and service providers,including emergency responders must be trained on the rights of persons with disabilities, and on risks associated to respiratory complications for people who have specific impairments (e.g. whose health may be jeopardized by coughing);
  • Awareness raising on support to persons with disabilities should be part of all protection campaigns;
  • Mass media communication should include closed captioning, national sign language, high contrast, large print information;
  • All communication should be in plain language;
  • In case the public communications are yet to become accessible, alternative phone lines for blind persons and email address for deaf and hard of hearing may be a temporary option;
  • Sign language interpreters who work in emergency and health settings should be given the same health and safety protections as other health care workers dealing with COVID19;
  • Sign language interpreters must be engaged in the media to communicate COVID 19 prevention messages to the deaf or hard of hearing. There may be appropriate alternatives for optimum access, such as interpreters wearing a transparent mask, so that facial expressions and lip movement is still visible;
  • Alternatives are particularly important as remote interpretation is not accessible for everyone, including people with deaf-blindness. Solutions should be explored with concerned people and organizations representing them. Any plans to support women should be inclusive of and accessible to women with disabilities;
  • Programs to support persons with disabilities should include a gender perspective;
  • Persons with disabilities should not be institutionalized as a consequence of quarantine procedures beyond the minimum necessary to overcome the sickness stage and on an equal basis with others;
  • Any disruptions in social services should have the least impact possible on persons with disabilities and should not entail abandonment;
  • Support family and social networks, in case of being quarantined, should be replaced by other networks or services;
  • In case of public restriction measures, persons with disabilities must be supported to meet their daily living requirements, including access to food (as needed with specific dietary requirements), housing, healthcare, in-home, school and community support, as well as maintaining employment and access
    to accessible transportation;
  • Government planners must consider that mobility and business restrictions disproportionately impact persons with reduced mobility and other persons with disabilities and allow for adaptations;
  • Providers of support services must have the personal protective equipment and instructions needed to minimize exposure and spread of infection, as well as should be proactively tested for the virus;
  • In case of food or hygienic products shortage, immediate measures must be taken to ensure that people with disabilities are not left out as they will be the first group to experience lack of access to such items;
  • Any program to provide support to the marginalized groups should be disability-inclusive;
  • Public health communication messages must be respectful and non-discriminatory;
  • Instructions to health care personnel should highlight equal dignity for people with disabilities and include safeguards against disability-based discrimination;
  • Rapid awareness-raising of key medical personnel is essential to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind or systematically deprioritized in the response to the crisis;
  • Communications about the stage of the disease and any procedures must be to the person themselves and through accessible means and modes of communication;
  • Prepare COVID19 instructions and guidance in various accessible formats in local languages;

3.0 Members of the public

  • Disinfection of entrance doors reserved for persons with disabilities, handrails of ramps or staircases, accessibility knobs for doors reserved for people with reduced mobility;
  • Introducing proactive testing and more strict preventive measures for groups of persons with disabilities who are more susceptible to infection due to the respiratory or other health complications caused by their impairment;
  • The COVID19 crisis and confinement measures may generate fear and anxiety, demonstrating solidarity and community support is important for all, and may be critical for persons with psychosocial disabilities;
  • Help establish peer-support networks to facilitate support in case of quarantine;
  • Organize trainings on disability inclusion for responders;
  • Compile an updated list of accessible health care and other essential service providers in each area;
  • Digital media should include accessible formats to blind persons and other persons facing restrictions in accessing print;
  • Persons with disabilities who are affected with COVID19 should not be discriminated against in any form


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