Persons with disabilities side-lined in Covid-19 activities

Preliminary findings of an ongoing research being carried by the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) have revealed that government and other stakeholders are sideling persons with disabilities when formulating regulations in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

MHRC is conducting the research aimed at monitoring state-institutional and social protection measures that are being taken to support persons with disabilities in Covid-19 prevention and treatment.

Among other critical areas being probed by MHRC in this study is whether in this time of covid-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities are unfairly being restricted from other freedoms, how children with disabilities have been affected in the field of education and access to justice.

MHRC Public Relations Officer, Kate Kujaliwa, said according to the study, in most cases when government and stake holders are formulating regulations people with disabilities are not included and the consultations are done at a minimal rate.

Kujaliwa said: “Some of the things that are coming out include lack of PPE’s (personal protective equipment) for persons with disabilities and we have also noted that when government and other stakeholders are formulating regulations these people are not included.

“We have also noted that there is little or lack of representation in Covid-19 committees and clusters hence it is likely that their voice is not heard,” she added.

Kujaliwa further said the study has also revealed that the deaf and mentally disabled people are the ones highly affected because mostly they can’t access services as they are unable to request for themselves.

MHRC is conducting the study with funding from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights through the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and UNDP Malawi.

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