Weekly round up - 24 July 2020
Each week we will be sharing a round-up of the picture from our country teams as they mobilise to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our work during this time has four goals:
1. Life Saving Information. Ensuring disabled people receive accessible and accurate information on how to protect themselves and their families.
2. Social Support. Identifying people with disabilities most at risk during lockdowns and ensuring necessary supplies – like food, water, medicine – are safely delivered. Utilising remote peer-to-peer support mechanics to reach those most isolated.
3. Access To Medical Support. Ensuring disabled people have equal access to COVID-19 testing and treatment services.
4. Long Term Protection. Supporting powerholders to create inclusive alternative livelihood options for disabled people and implement emergency social protection schemes.
The situation in Bangladesh remains critical. COVID-19 is everywhere. Stigma means people are still not disclosing symptoms. Private hospitals are charging considerable fees to people, and hospitals are not accepting people without a COVID-19 test. As results take five days to come through, many people are missing out on vital treatment, others are faking negative results. Pressure from the opposition and the NGO sector is building on the government to improve response. The nutrition problem is increasing with many families no longer affording regular meals. More people are begging in the street. Parts of the country have also been hit with bad flooding. Government is doing a national needs assessment. The situation feels deeply unsteady, and this is creating a situation of panic. People are psychologically not well. We are beginning work on our new community mental health project and will be launching psycho-social support for DPO members. We continue to stay in close touch with all of our DPO partners and disability activists to provide whatever support we can during these difficult times
The situation in Cambodia remains stable, although there have been a few new cases of COVID-19 in the country. This week we are holding a socially distanced workshop for women with disabilities to address the challenges they are faced with from gender based violence, which are heightened during these pandemic times.
COVID-19 has spread in all states and there are also widespread malaria and typhoid outbreaks going on, for which people are struggling to access appropriate medical care, with all resources directed towards COVID-19. The health system is under great pressure in these times. On July 7, the High Committee of Health eased lockdown restrictions. All states have reported decrease in food production – and there is a labour shortage on farms and transport restrictions combined with climbing prices for basic commodities, is creating a growing worry about food insecurity. The ADD staff have returned to the office where they are able to work more comfortably, whilst socially distanced, and access good connectivity. With the support of DFID we have started to distribute sanitary kits and food to 280+ families of people with disabilities.
The situation in Uganda remains relatively stable even though number of cases has jumped to 1,065. With support from the National Lottery Fund we have produced COVID-19 information awareness materials which are ready to be disseminated.
The situation in Tanzania remains stable for now and the schools and borders have reopened. We are continuing to co-ordinate a national group of NGOs and DPOs to work together to provide support to people with disabilities across the country.