Covid-19 Information Not Accessible To People With Disabilities

IN as much as strides have been made, and the government claiming that they have put every last
resource to ensure that information about Covid-19 reaches every last person in the country, more still needs to be done to improve access to information for People With Disabilities (PWDs), founder and executive director for Deaf Women Agness Chindimba has said.
By Munesu Nyakudya
“There is a lot of information on the Covid-19 pandemic out there but the problem is that it is not 
accessible. For example the information in form of posters, graphics, but this information is not in 
Braille. How do blind people know about it?”
“There is very little information in sign language for the deaf. Some of the announcements by the
president didn’t have an interpreter. ZBC and ministry of information had to be taken to the High
Court to provide interpreters,” Chindimba said.
She added that the majority of the people affected with disability were from rural areas and had no
access to any forms of media, and with the network operators increasing the cost of data now and
then; it has become even harder to access information via social media.
The director also said that “There is need for online counselling as stress levels are very.”
She also raised concerns about some materials used by some designers to make face masks which
enable lip reading.
“There are some designers who have sent us samples of their masks, but as far as our American
friends say we should have suitable fabric materials because not all materials are fine. For instance
plastic is tricky, because it is highly toxic,” said Chindimba.
Chindimba also advocated for the need for policies that deal with emergencies and pandemics.
“There is need for inclusive policies to deal with emergencies and pandemics. Right now as it is,
disability is usually an afterthought.”
“People with disabilities need to be involved in planning, for instance including them in disaster
response taskforces. That way there is surety the needs of persons with disabilities will be taken into
account.

The country currently stands at 203 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the outbreak on

20 March this year.

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