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Covid-19 Update-7

A disability activist in Bangladesh

Covid-19: Update.

A weekly round-up from our programmes.

Weekly round up - 8 June 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.

Global Update.

  • IDA facebook live sessions: Rose, our Tanzania Country Director will be presenting today, Monday June 8 – you can watch it either live or on catch up at the IDA Facebook Page here
  • COVID-19 Gathering evidence. We have produced an ADD COVID-19 Questionnaire to collect rapid, comparable and specific evidence to support DPOs during this critical time.
  • Longer term impact and upcoming thematic sessions. We are now starting to look at the longer term and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on disabled people. Last week we held thematic sessions on our Livelihoods, Inclusive Education and Gender-based violence work, to inform our response and help support our partners and activists around the world.
  • Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum (CDPF) – we organised the second online Zoom summit for DPO members from across the 54 nations of the Commonwealth, to share experiences, challenges and best practices for how to support the disability-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is now among the 20 countries most affected by COVID-19. A joint study revealed that the average family income has decreased by 74%. Most of our DPO members in our 8 working districts are safe. Infected DPO members and infected staff are stable at home in isolation. Over the last week, 390 persons with disabilities received food and cash support from various sources. 15,190 people have received support as of June 7 2020. The EU has approved our proposal for contingency funds to be used on COVID-19 response work. We are now preparing to provide cash support to 1,300 members of our DPOs by the end of this week through mobile banking services.

Cambodia.

The COVID-19 situation seems to be under control in Cambodia with only 3 active cases. Attention has now shifted to dealing with the economic impact. The World Bank has issued a gloomy outlook for Cambodia with big hits to the tourism and construction sector. The financial blow to China also directly impacts Cambodia. Last week we started work to survey DPO’s and collect insights into the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and work, and document their response activity. Insights from this work will help shape our long term response priorities.

Sudan.

As of June 5, there was 6,081 official confirmed cases, including 359 deaths. COVID-19 cases are reported in all of Sudan’s 18 states. The Ministry of Health reports a widespread shortage of medicine and PPE. Testing labs have reached capacity. People are trying to find ICU support through social media, and there are stories of no ambulances being available. The government have suspended prayers in mosques and are looking to implement a family support programme through the UN World Food Programme as 65% of the population live under the poverty line. We are in daily contact with partners. Another video has been produced calling for sign language on all COVID-19 response materials. We are conducting meetings with partners about potential funding opportunities and are working on a proposal for a mental health programme given that the psychological fallout from COVID-19 will be extreme. Several of the ADD team have lost relatives in recent days as this crisis moves closer and closer to home - our thoughts and condolences are with them all.

Tanzania

There is still no official update on COVID-19 statistics though we hear stories of infected medical staff, and people reluctant to go to the hospital. We are still working with 10 other international NGO’s on our coordination response and how to address disability inclusion together. We have reached out to the Ministry of Health delegates attending COVID-19 discussions to ensure disability inclusion. We are increasingly concerned about the increased vulnerability of disabled women and girls to abuse and violence. We are working with our DPO partner, Shivyawata, on linking women to legal services and will continue to advocate for the GBV issue in all our policy spaces.

Uganda

The COVID-19 numbers continue to increase in Uganda though life is slowly getting back to normal. Public transport and shopping malls have reopened. All the ADD staff are well. On Friday, we had a 5-hour session with a psycologist for all the team and their families. It was a beneficial time for us to come together and share different perspectives, anxieties and concerns. We will now look at how we can organise similar sessions with DPO partners and in other countries.