The Disability community Covid-19 response team has been inaugurated in Anambra by the state government.
The response team comprises of a Steering committee and six other sub-committees which includes Information and Communication, Medical Outreach and Rehabilitation, Palliative and Welfare, Contact and Mobilization, Fund Raising, Security and Statistic.
The team is expected to coordinate with and take initiative from the State COVID-19 Action Committee, towards the achievement of its terms of reference as regards the various sub-committees.
The inauguration ceremony which was held at the Prof. Dora Akunyili women development centre, Awka, makes Anambra the first state in the country to inaugurate such committee for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Inaugurating the team Governor Willie Obiano said his administration places premium on the welfare of persons with Disabilities in line with its resolve to run an all-inclusive government.
Governor Obiano who was represented at the ceremony by his Special Adviser on indigenous medicine and herbal practice, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, Said aside ensuring that PWDs in the state receive the desired support during the pandemic, the committee has a major function to pass the message down to the grassroots in an acceptable manner.
“What we are doing is to ensure that no one is left behind in our efforts. Coronavirus is real and as a government, we are concerned about how to help the people survive. While many able-bodied persons may survive on their own, these persons with special needs cannot. Hence the essence of this committee to come up with measures to reach them better,” the governor elucidated.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Disability Matters, Barr Chuk Ezewuzie said the Obiano administration has distinguished itself by its special attention to the Disability community.
In his words, “the governor has consistently maintained that we are a constituency and not just a community. He believes that we are not just a community that needs sympathy and pity but a constituency with rights and privileges. With its population of over 400,000 registered voters in the state, the governor’s stance on the disability community is not wrong.
“That was why he signed the Disability Rights Bill into Law in Anambra State, not only to provide for the needs of our people but also to protect them from unfair treatments which they have suffered for so long in our society.”
On his part, the Anambra State Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke observed that members of the Disability community were the worst hit during and after the lockdown initiated by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Some of our members have underlying sicknesses that they are suffering and during the lockdown, it became very difficult for them to access medicare. Some who are into mini businesses could not do again because of the restrictions on movement. When the government eased the lockdown, we faced stiffer competition with our able-bodied counterparts in accessing basic services such as the in the banks and markets,” Okeke regretted.
He noted that it is evident that there is little or no knowledge of the existing Disability Rights Law but commended Anambra state government for its humane disposition towards the community.
Some visually-impaired persons, Emeka Ataka and Barr Peter Muoneke also expressed gratitude to the state government for inaugurating the response team which they noted, will help aggregate issues around community and ensure it gets to the government for prompt attention.
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