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Covid-19 Update-9

A disability activist in Bangladesh

Covid-19: Update.

A weekly round-up from our programmes.

Weekly round up - 29 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.

ADD International is concerned that the UK Government’s decision to merge the Department of International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will have considerable negative impact on the lives of millions of people with disabilities living fragile lives in developing countries of Africa and Asia. We will work with the UK Government to advocate for UK overseas aid upholding its commitment to Leave No One Behind, and to prioritise its support and efforts for global disability inclusion. Read our full statement here.

Bangladesh.

We still have no hopeful news to report. The COVID-19 peak is forecasted for July, and death and infection rates continue to rise. Bangladesh only has 68 testing centres for a country of 160 million people. NGOs with health expertise are looking to support the Bangladesh government response, and we have also participated in these conversations. The government is going to impose a fee for all COVID-19 testing - £2 for each clinic test, and £5 for a home test. This will have an impact on low-income people who can’t afford to be tested. We are hearing that lots of low-income families are now only eating 1 meal every 2 days and malnutrition will soon become a huge problem. Thanks to our EU funding, we have completed 1,300 emergency cash transfers to DPO members. This has paid for food, medicine and in some cases, helped families to invest in their small businesses such a tea shop or grocery selling. DPO members tell us how vital this support has been for their immediate survival. 575 people have been supported with cash support on our programme with CAFOD, and our 3 community handwashing units are being well maintained and having a positive impact.

Cambodia.

There has been a small spike in cases, but the focus remains on containing the discontent from people suffering from the economic and social fallout of COVID-19. The government is preparing cash transfers for the poorest families. Around 560k families will benefit this includes some people with disabilities, senior citizens, or those with HIV/AIDS. There are some gaps in this plan, though with informal market employees - street sellers and small traders missing out. We continue to lobby with INGOs and local partners to have joint projects to provide emergency support to women and girls with disabilities.

Uganda.

There has also been a small spike in Ugandan cases, particularly among men aged 20 to 40. Still, the team are receiving fewer distress calls from the field, and people are beginning to access services via the channels they would normally. This is allowing us space to resume our focus on planned programmatic work. Attention is turning towards next years general election and politicians are calling for public campaigning to resume.