The Government has been urged to secure personal protective equipment for people living with a disability to protect them during the global coronavirus pandemic.

This came out during a virtual public finance indaba hosted by Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) on Thursday, to discuss public resources management in the era of COVID-19.

Speaking during the meeting, Nyasha Mahwende from Young Voices Disability Zimbabwe (YVDZ) said some PLWDs use their hands to walk hence the need to have protective gear during this period.

“As people with disability we are in a dilemma because there is no place where we can get protective clothing if you look at some of us, they use their hands to walk, and they use those hands to touch their eyes, so we are appealing for gloves because we cannot afford them.

“We are appealing to Government to also cater for us through the vulnerable relief funds because our hands are our feet, and we have to be protected during this critical time,” said Mahwende.

“Wheelchairs are very expensive we cannot even afford to buy them, so we are just appealing to government to also assist us through COVID-19 funds, to buy us protective clothing so that as people living with a disability we can be protected during this period.”

Member of Parliament for Norton, Temba Mliswa said there is a need to support people with disability during this global pandemic period.

“There are vulnerable groups which I need to bring to the attention of everyone, the disabled, with COVID-19 where are they in terms of them getting what is supposed to also protect them from COVID-19. Where are the provisions in the constitution that is supposed to show that they are also safeguarding this regard,” he said.

“I need to understand why we seem to leave such people out, we have always supported the issue of war-veterans being given what is due for them, better welfare in a pension but the disabled how come they are not factored in and there is no ways in that because they are also a special group in the constitution, they are accommodated, the war veterans are accommodated and I am saying in any case this pandemic surely gets worse and affects also those who are disabled what are we going to do, what have we done to prepare for that.

He said the government should be accountable in the funds received and the groups who are meant to benefit.”

The government has set aside $600 million to assist vulnerable households under the cash transfer program for the next three months to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)