Introduction

Must and Should- requests to state to ensure survival and wellbeing of persons with disabilities during COVID Lock Down in Maharashtra, India

Must and Should- requests to state to ensure survival and wellbeing of persons with disabilities during COVID Lock Down in Maharashtra, India

 

April 1: This letter was collectively drafted by a few organisations and individuals for urgent response and was circulated to the relevant government and police authorities to support persons with disabilities stuck alone and in urgent need for support. Most of the state level ministry and police authorities were reached out to, and specifically collectors and police authorities of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Thane were reached out to. This is a simple and urgent action list that other states could replicate too. 

Subject: Urgent Request for Action – Relief Measures for Persons with Disabilities Affected by the Lockdown

Dear Sir/ Madam

In these very difficult times with the coronavirus crisis impacting people all across the world, persons with disabilities have been left even more vulnerable as existing barriers have been reinforced, and several new ones have been created. Lack of access to food, medication and other basic necessities, as well as lack of support of caregivers, has put them in a very difficult situation - directly affecting their lives.  With that in mind, we urge you to take certain important steps to ensure that basic needs of persons with disabilities are met.

We strongly recommend that the following steps must be taken:

  • Food to be supplied to their doorstep - as it would be difficult for persons with disabilities to procure food and supplies on their own, especially in the absence of family support. UDID data and Electoral roll can be used to identify and track persons with disabilities in need of this
    • Caregivers to be given physical/ virtual passes, with the photograph and contact details of the person with disability, so that they can be allowed to travel and enter housing societies etc
    • Mandatory medicines according to the needs and conditions of persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses to be supplied to them (in accordance to their needs and prescriptions)
    • Supply of personal hygiene material to their doorstep, accounting for extra sanitisers for their personal assistive devices
    • Adequate supply of money in ATMs so that persons with disabilities can withdraw pension or support amount
  • Set up local helpline numbers for persons with disabilities including text and video facility for deaf persons

Additionally, we also hope that the following suggestions will be taken into consideration and implemented:

  • Resources and information about the coronavirus and guidelines on how to protect oneself should be available in accessible formats in different formats
  • Personal protective equipment should be made available to caregivers including sign language interpreters
  • Housing societies should be directed to accommodate entry of caregivers and make provisions so they can follow sanitization protocol
  • Assistive devices should be replaced in urgent cases
  • All ad campaigns and awareness drives should be inclusive of persons with disabilities
  • First responders should be trained in disability specific aid measures

We hope that these recommendations will be approved and implemented with the utmost urgency.

Jointly submitted by

Nidhi Goyal - Rising Flame
(Email - nidhi@risingflame.org ; Contact number – 9820529792/ 7738410467)

Ketan Kothari – Sightsavers
(Email – kkothari@sightsavers.org ; Contact number- 9987550614)

Nilesh Singit - Disability Rights Activist

Dr Srilatha Juvva - TISS

Arvind Prabhoo - CSMSS

 

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