CHR says PWDs must be given ‘infection mitigating tips’

Published June 30, 2020, 11:52 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The negative impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis have spread far and wide, and this burden has been more acutely felt by persons with disabilities (PWDs).

In its human rights advisory in pursuit of the rights-based model of disability amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said there is a clamor for PWDs to be adequately informed about the government response to the pandemic.

PWDs are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to their reliance on physical contact with support persons or the environment. Some PWDs even have respiratory conditions, and PWDs who contract COVID-19 likewise face additional challenges because of their conditions.

In this light, the CHR said that the government must be proactive in tapping the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in ensuring that appropriate services for PWDs will be provided.

“With due consideration to the appropriate method of communication per type of impairment, it remains urgent to disseminate information on COVID-19 and build capacity,” the advisory said.

The CHR said the government must focus on “infection mitigating tips” and public restriction plans.

“PWDs must receive information about infection mitigating tips, public restriction plans, and the services offered, in a diversity of accessible formats. Additional protective measures must be taken for people with certain types of impairment,” the advisory read.

“Rapid awareness-raising and training of personnel involved in the response are essential,” it added. “All preparedness and response plans must be inclusive of and accessible to women with disabilities. No disability-based institutionalization and abandonment is acceptable.”