By Kasimu Sematimba
The National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) wants the Government to recognize people with disabilities (PWDs) among the priority groups of vulnerable persons to be given Covid-19 vaccination first.
Addressing a press conference in Kampala on Thursday March 18, 2021, NUDIPU Ag. Chief Executive Officer, Chris John Ninsiima, said regardless of their vulnerability, PWDs have not been recognized among the first categories of people to receive the vaccine and that this continues to be a threat to their lives and being left behind further.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO), people with disabilities are categorized as vulnerable populations during public health emergency situations. When infected by the virus, they are more likely to develop more severe symptoms risking death. Persons with disabilities are also at high risk of contracting the virus due to existing health conditions and contact with their support system of the guides, helpers and interpreters,” said Ninsiima.
He added: “NUDIPU appreciates the efforts by Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health for taking part in the roll out of the Global COVAX initiative for Covid-19 vaccine in Uganda. The Ministry of Health is rolling out the first phase of the vaccine targeting the most vulnerable and those at more risk who are the health workers, security personnel, persons with underlying health conditions aged below 50 years, and other emerging high risk and priority essential groups.”
Therefore, Ninsiima called upon the Government to recognize the need to prioritize PWDs and their support networks like the guides and helpers so as to have access to the vaccination during the first phase rollout plan for the vaccine which started on March 10, 2021.
The NUDIPU boss also wants the Government to ensure that information in the vaccination campaign is inclusive and accessible to persons of all categories of disability like the deaf and blind, to enable them take part in the vaccination processes against Covid-19. Follow the Links for video interviews https://fb.watch/4keJ1xBkIZ/https://fb.watch/4keLRteNOF/https://fb.watch/4keMRuOw5C/https://fb.watch/4keNFkjoRN/
Further, Ninsiima wants the Government to ensure that NUDIPU and other Disabled People’s Organisations meaningfully participate in planning on how the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination strategies can be made inclusive to cater for persons with disabilities in Uganda. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).