People with disabilities have expressed a concern that they lag behind when it comes to information regarding COVID-19 prevention, vaccination, and other campaigns related.
In the first place, they say that their immunity is low in several instances, which renders them vulnerable and more exposed to COVID-19.
In other instances, people with disabilities say that they hail from economically vulnerable families which makes it impossible to access other services like COVID-19 testing.
“Consider the case of people with physical impairment; it is impossible for them to reach vaccination sites,” says Hussein Ndahimana, a person with disability.
Other persons with disabilities further raised communication challenges especially for the deaf persons who cannot access information from the mainstream media because media outlets do not employ journalists who can translate messages into sign language.
Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of National Council of Persons with Disabilities(NCPD) said they are working on the concerns of the persons with disabilities.
“We have agreed with the Ministry of Health and Rwanda Biomedical Center(RBC) that in regard to vaccine, there should be a holistic approach which targets people with disability from 15 years onward,” Ndayisaba said.
At the time the Ministry wanted to vaccinate them, a shortage of doses affected the pogram, but Ndayisaba is confident that all will be fine since the country has now acquired more vaccine supplies.
Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of RBC assured the persons with disabilities that his office is finalising plans to put them into special categories who need vaccine as a matter of urgency.
The 2012 national population census established that the persons with disabilities amounted to 446,453. NCPD is planning to conduct a new census to establish the latest number as of today.