Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Home India Pandemic's Impact on People With Disabilities

Pandemic’s Impact on People With Disabilities

The life of a disabled during these tough times

Often reliant on a robust caregiving and support network, people with disabilities (PwDs) are a community hit hard during the lockdown and resulting operational slowdown – impacting jobs, businesses, and livelihood.

Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, a practicing dentist who turned disability rights activist when he gradually lost vision to macular degeneration of retina in 2004, says that for PwDs, challenges are aplenty during the pandemic.

Follow us on Facebook to get the latest news updates from us!!

Dr. Aggarwal, who is the founder of Sarthak Educational Trust, says distancing is not an option for many as they rely on others including personal support workers and caregivers to support their needs including movement, bathing, and feeding. He feels information on COVID-19 infection prevention strategies focused on the needs of people with disabilities are not being disseminated through media or other sources.

“Due to COVID-19 restriction, many people with disabilities who operated small businesses or other informal livelihood ventures (i.e. home cell phone repair or machine repair shops, selling goods etc) are unable to work and there is a significant loss of income, which is not compensated by government programs.

“Country-wide lockdown which places restrictions on movement within the community (including bus travel) and lack of income prevent them from acquiring needed protective material including face masks, hand sanitizers, and hand wash. Acquiring these materials is particularly important for people with disabilities as many are in direct physical contact with caregivers and support workers. In addition, COVID-19 rules surrounding the restriction of movement within the community affects people with mobility issues, even more, creating another barrier to obtaining these materials. Government programs provide basic needs including rice and grains, but not protective material,” Dr. Aggarwal told IANSlife over email.

Distancing not an option for people with disabilities
The activist highlights initiatives that must be taken at the policy and community level to better-enable the community in these hard times. Pixabay

Dr. Aggarwal, whose NGO focuses on making PwDs self-reliant by skilling them and helping them get jobs, says job loss affects not just the individual, but also family income.

Speaking about the viability of telemedicine for people with disabilities, he said that it is a substitute but not the solution as early intervention therapies need manual intervention but social distancing restricts this. “Telemedicine is more dependent on parental/caretaker support, supervision followed by sensitivity among the individual.”

Dr. Aggarwal’s initiative, Sarthak, imparted training via the online medium to around 1200 people with disabilities, and provided job opportunities to 300 PwDs under the work-from-home model, along with online counseling of individuals and families on multiple themes. It also connected people with disabilities with available community resources which are difficult to access during this period of lockdown including pharmacies, medical clinics, and assistive equipment providers.

Also Read: High Blood Sugar Increases Covid-19 Death Risk: Study

“Sarthak always advocates for the business model – hire a PwD on the basis of his talent and not on his disability,” he said.

The activist highlights initiatives that must be taken at the policy and community level to better-enable the community in these hard times. Among those, are providing accessible information to people with disabilities, diverting a percentage of PM Cares fund towards disability empowerment, redirecting CSR funds towards healthcare and skill-building, and promoting digitization and e-learning. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

18,960FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,782FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Vaani Kapoor Would Love to do a Biopic on Kalpana Chawla

Actress Vaani Kapoor would love to do a biopic and says it would be an absolute honour for her to play astronaut Kalpana Chawala...

Sonali Bendre: Lockdown Has Given Me No Alternative But to Become Tech Savvy

Actress Sonali Bendre Behl says the lockdown has given her no alternative but to become tech savvy. She adds that is happy to learn...

Sonu Sood: The Real Life Hero

By Venkatachari Jagannathan Sonu Sood, for the Tamil movie viewers, has until now been the actor who played the villain in "Kallazhagar" and several others....

Shoppers can Follow These Tips to Spend Worry Free Days at Malls

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe Malls are open and as the footfall starts to pick up, the only one who can ensure your safety on a...

Bacterial Infections May Elevate Risk of Heart Disease in Individuals With Diabetes

Researchers have found that bacterial infections may elevate the risk of coronary heart disease in individuals with type 1 diabetes. For the findings, published in...

Tips to Help you Combat Oral Health Issues

By Puja Gupta Foul breath can be a very embarrassing, putting one in an uncomfortable position. With a little bit of care, this common condition...

WhatsApp Launches ‘Search the Web’ Option to Cross-Check Forwarded Messages

WhatsApp has launched a new 'Search the Web' option that will enable users to check information shared to them via a forwarded message. The 'Search...

Early Blood Test Can Detect Baby Brain Damage Just Hours After Birth

Researchers, including one of Indian origin, have found that an early blood test could detect which babies deprived of oxygen at birth are at...

Recent Comments