COVID-19 Impacted Nigerians With Disabilities

COVID-19 Impacted Nigerians With Disabilities

COVID-19 Impacted Nigerians With Disabilities

From visually impaired people being unable to get help crossing the road to treatment being stopped as hospitals close.

It is just over a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nigeria. Since then, 1,923 deaths have been recorded by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). For many Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), it has been a year of exclusion and isolation, with severe economic, health and psychological consequences.

While it is thought that there are some 25 million people living with disabilities in Nigeria (15 percent of the population), there are no specialist hospitals or facilities to meet their needs. Many general hospitals which might otherwise provide services have been forced to close units because of the pandemic.Keep reading

It was only in 2019 that Nigeria passed the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act and many people with disabilities say they are still unable to provide for themselves or obtain quality medical care.

During the early stages of the pandemic, when radio stations buzzed with news, advice and guidance about COVID-19, little of the information being provided took the needs of PwDs into consideration: How does a hearing-impaired person listen to radio jingles? How does a visually impaired person manage social distancing?

When “palliatives” – food items such as rice, spaghetti, instant noodles and garri (cassava flour) – have been distributed by government agencies and NGOs, it has been hard for people with disabilities to collect them. Many say they had to compete with non-disabled people at the collection points to get a share and would go home empty-handed.

By Olalekan Awodehinde

Olalekan Awodehinde is a seasoned investigative reporter.

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