Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Bamenda have received prevention kits against the Coronavirus, thanks to CBM Australia and her implementing partner, the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services. The occasion was also an opportunity for Humanity and Inclusion, one of the funding partners of the CBC Health Services to donate protective equipment for COVID 19 to some women with disabilities from Bamenda 1, 2, and 3 municipalities
Presiding at the handing over of the kits to PWDs at the Baptist Centre in Nkwen-Bamenda, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services (DHS) said the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic has put everyone at risk, leaving the already vulnerable groups like PWDs in a disadvantaged position.
“Therefore to enable them to ward off the virus in their midst, it is in this light that the CBC Health Services and her funding partners allocated resources to get COVID-19 prevention kits, as well as facilitate their access to information on prevention,” the DHS said.
Reiterating the CBC Health Services’ commitment towards an inclusive COVID-19 response, thereby leaving no one behind, Prof. Tih enjoined other actors and stakeholders to foster and factor in disability inclusion in their actions in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
One of the points of attraction in the items donated was a faucet-adapted-bucket attached to a mechanized system that limits touching. The mechanized system carefully crafted allows PWDs, with all forms of impairments to wash their hands with soap under running water.
Armelle Nogning, a Person with Mobility Impairment after using the mechanized system was all smiles and thanked the CBC Health Services for such an adapted need. “It will meet our needs as PWDs,” she said. After recalling her ordeal having difficulties accessing handwashing points in most public places in Bamenda, she said the donation of the CBC Health Services is timely.
The donation of COVID-19 Prevention Kits to PWDs was done through Disabled People Organizations (DPOs); the Coordinating Unit of Associations of Persons with Disabilities, Northwest Association of Women with Disabilities, Northwest Association for the Deaf, Special Needs Entrepreneur Group and St. Joseph Child and Adult Home (SAJOCAH) Bafut.
Responding to the donation, Chick Sama, Northwest Regional President of the Coordinating Unit of Associations of Persons with Disabilities said, “In every health situation, PWDs are at risk and COVID-19 is not an exception. PWDs are more at risk in this pandemic because they touch places a lot for support when they move. Hence, the donated items have come to prevent them from contracting the virus.
“I want to salute the CBC Health Services and her partners for what she has and is doing. I am particularly moved by the mechanized hand hygiene system; to me, it’s a great innovation. I have been thinking about how PWDs on wheelchairs and clutches can survive this. This demonstrates to us that there is a better way to establish inclusive handwashing points. This is an eye-opener to the elite, other civil society based organizations, and the government to note that PWDs who are most vulnerable have to be included in their actions,” Sama narrated.
The donated COVID-19 prevention kits were hand sanitizers, liquid soap, face masks, child-friendly COVID-19 brochures, and faucet adapted buckets with a mechanized system.
According to Mr. Awah Jacques Chirac, Programme Manager of the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SEEPD) Program, it is a fact that measures put in place to sensitize Cameroonians on COVID-19 have not specifically taken into consideration the information needs of PWDs such as those with hearing impairments. “Most of the material is in print and not everyone reads print, he noted. So what we are ensuring here today is that PWDs are sufficiently sensitized on what measures they have to take individually to prevent COVID-19.”
The Program Manager regretted that most of the handwashing points in town cannot be used by those on wheelchairs. “By and large, through this distribution we want to draw the attention of key actors in the fight against COVID-19 to make everything inclusive; be it access to information or hand hygiene items,” he stressed.
The Northwest Region has a disability burden of 10.5% (percent) representing 210,000 PWDs out of a population of approximately 2,000,000 million inhabitants.
The COVID-19 prevention kits cost the CBC Health Services and her partners, Australian Aid, Christian Bind Mission (CBM), and Humanity and Inclusion the sum of FCFA 8,000,000.