Health experts have spoken on the need to increase COVID-19 prevention awareness messages among people with disabilities including those with deaf blindness.
Chairperson of the Presidential task force on COVID-19, Dr John Phuka and Dr Enock Chilemba of Chancellor College Disability Clinic, made the remarks after a virtual meeting organized by the Visual Hearing Impairment Association of Malawi VIHEMA, a local non-governmental organization advocating for the rights of people with deaf blindness.
The meeting was conducted as part of assessing the COVID-19 management among people with disabilities especially the deaf blind with funding from Disability Rights Fund DRF.
Dr Phuka said much as the country is making progress in scaling down the number of people catching COVID-19, Malawians should do more to prevent any second wave of infection including among people with disabilities.
“We are doing well, but we dont need to leave people with disabilities including those with deaf blindness behind,” Dr Phuka said.
Phuka added: “So far, Government is depending on special clusters instituted to help in spreading awareness messages and dealing with COVID-19. People with deaf blindness should not be left behind.
“Deaf blind people require someone to touch them to communicate and this is against social distancing as a means to prevent COVID-19. We need to increase awareness among friends and relatives of these special needs people on how best to prevent the disease,” said Dr Chilemba.
Martha Momba, Programmes officer for VIHEMA Deaf Blind Malawi said, “people with deaf blind are the most disadvantaged community and at risk of contracting COVID-19, and require quick response in reducing the risks.”
A deaf-blind person is someone who is unable to see and at the same time do not hear.