The Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) will from Monday next week observe a flag week with special focus on Covid-19 prevention among persons with disabilities.
Macoha spokesperson Harriet Kachimanga said the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the question of equality of rights of
persons with disabilities is yet to be achieved in the country.
She said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), persons with disabilities are at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19.
“Persons with physical disabilities may have problems accessing handwashing machines when machines are not properly placed and also have challenges social distancing as they require assistance or direct support to push their wheelchairs.
“Similarly, those with visual impairments are held by the hand, thereby increasing chances of contracting the virus.
She said this year’s Flag Week will therefore create awareness on Covid-19 targeting persons with disabilities, guardians, parents and ambient communities.
The main focus will be on how best persons with various disabilities can be assisted at the same time protected from the virus.
Proceeds from the cause will be channelled towards the distribution of food rations, personal
protective equipment (soap, masks, sanitizers and washing buckets) to persons with disabilities across the country.
According to Kachimanga, despite Malawi having various instruments and other efforts, persons with disabilities remain in the margins of society.
She underscored the marginalization in all aspects of life including education, health, livelihoods among others.
Malawi Union of the Blind (MUB) Executive Director Ezekiel Kumwenda’s has recently expressed disappointment over exclusion of persons with disability in Covid-19 messages.
Kumwenda cited Covid-19 messages on television and print media, which he said people with visual impairment are having difficulties to access.
Every year, Macoha observes a Flag Week to create awareness on issues concerning
persons with disabilities and raise funds to be invested in some of its programmes and services.
According to Kachimanga, as usual, the week will be inaugurated with the buying of the first flag by the Head of State or his chosen representative.
The theme for this year is ‘Inclusive Health Response to Combat Covid-19.’