Covid-19: PWDs Struggle to Access Health Services

Villagers in Mangwe, Plumtree have appealed to the government to ensure that information on Covid-19 is packaged in accessible formats for persons with disabilities. They also called for the setting up of mobile vaccination sites which can be easily accessible.

This came out during a covid-19 awareness roadshow campaign by the Community Foundation for the Western Region in Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Thursday, which was held in areas that include Macingwana, Mpandeni East- Emvalweni, Kwite East, Mpandeni West, Entenjaneni – Embakwe, Fumabazhe, Kotshitshi, Ezimnyama and other areas.

During the roadshow, over 1 300 villagers in Mangwe were given sanitisers and facemasks meant to protect them against the spread of Covid-19. Nokuthula Ndlovu a villager from Macingwana said some PWDs in the area did not have access to information on the pandemic to make informed decisions and to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, Kwite East village head, Matilda Tshuma said that their local clinics are far away from people’s homesteads. “Our clinics are located far away from us; we have old people and people with disabilities,” she said. “We are appealing for the vaccination centres to be brought closer to us even at schools so that the old people together with those who have disabilities can receive the Covid-19 vaccines without having to travel long distances.”

In addition, Thili Hadebe from Empandeni West said there are transport challenges to get the elderly to the nearest health centres. “You will find that one homestead has about three persons with disabilities and they rely on one wheelchair, it becomes difficult for the person who is assisting them as she has to take turns to get them to the clinic,” she said. Hadebe appealed to the government to avail more vaccination sites that are closer to the people so that PWDs can also benefit.

Meanwhile, Mangwe Health Promotions Officer, (Plumtree District) Thobekile Ndlovu said villagers should not hide PWDS at home. “Do not hide people with disabilities at home, when going to the clinic try to also find other means to get them to the clinic,” she said.

“You can also get information from the clinics about Covid-19 so that you can also share information with them as some of them can read on their own.” Ndlovu also encouraged villagers to utilise the outreach programs conducted by the nurses in different areas to get PWDs vaccinated.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology

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