By EARYEL BOWLEG
THE Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) is voicing concerns over the consideration of the needs of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release the group said the community’s needs are “considered just as important as the needs of any other member of society” and should be referenced during national addresses.
“Persons with disabilities throughout the country have communicated their concerns to the DPO,” the release stated. “Advisories have been given as to avoiding touching surfaces, touching your face, and making contact with other people. This can be difficult (for) persons with disabilities. We have a unique set of circumstances which require us to make contact more than most, in some cases.”
The group questioned what considerations are put in place for the blind, visually impaired, deaf, wheelchair-bound or mentally challenged amid this pandemic. The group also questioned how disabled people living alone can be assisted by caregivers during the national curfew. They also want to know what provision is in place for people with disabilities to obtain help from social services and other government agencies.
“What considerations are being put in place for persons with disabilities, especially those who are not working? We also have persons who are employed and are being required to come to work. They are in need of clear directives in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
“What measures are being taken to ensure persons with disabilities are safe when being quarantined? Is the building suitable and can it accommodate persons with various disabilities? Would they have medical personnel there to assist persons with disabilities because they would have to be separated from their families and some are multi-challenged?”
The group also questioned how disabled students would continue their education while being away from the physical classroom.
The organisation said it looks forward to a continued partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development in ensuring the safety and empowerment of all persons with disabilities in The Bahamas.
Attempts to reach Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell on the matter were unsuccessful.