By Mary Taruvinga
PERSONS With Disability (PWD) have accused the government of side-lining them in the dissemination of critical information regarding the ravaging COVID-19 virus.
In a statement, MDC Alliance secretary for disabilities, Dennis Mudzingwa said PWD were a group that was at risk of contracting the disease as they were less informed of the global pandemic.
He went on to urge the government to ensure that, going forward, sign language and other learning material for PWD was availed for them not to miss out and become victims due to lack of necessary awareness information.
“Avail information on COVID-19 in sign language including information that is aired on national television. Ensure that hospitals and all the other public institutions have sign language in place so that persons who are deaf and hearing impaired can get timely services,” said Mudzingwa.
He said in most cases, PWD ended victims due to lack of relevant awareness information.
“For instance, a Norton deaf man who used to conduct his business in Harare was shot during the August 2018 demonstrations after he was caught up in crossfire as he was not aware of what was happening. The case is now before the courts and it is reported that he is yet to recover from the gunshot wound since the bullet is still stuck in his body,” he said.
According to Mudzingwa, people with hearing impairments were still unaware of how COVID-19 was spread and most PWD were not maintaining social distancing as they have missed out on government-sponsored awareness campaigns.
“Most of them are vendors and the ongoing lockdown has left them without any source of livelihood. In this regard, the government must assist them with food and cash handouts to mitigate against the loss of livelihood.”