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Exempt PwD caregivers from lockdown curbs, States told

A physically-disabled man had to leave empty handed due to a shortage of food in New Delhi on March 25./ File photo

A physically-disabled man had to leave empty handed due to a shortage of food in New Delhi on March 25./ File photo   | Photo Credit: BibekChettri

The Social Justice Ministry has issued an advisory for protection and safety of persons with disabilities.

The Union Government has asked all the States and Union Territories to ensure that caregivers of persons with disabilities (PwD) are able to reach them during the three-week lockdown imposed by the government to control the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Empowerment of PwD of the Social Justice Ministry issued an advisory to the States and UTs on Thursday night on the “protection and safety” of PwD during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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‘More vulnerable’

In a letter to the Chief Secretaries, secretary of the department Shakuntala Gamlin wrote: “While COVID-19 is impacting the entire population, PwD are more vulnerable to the disease due to their physical, sensory and cognitive limitations.”

The advisory followed a letter by the Secretary to all the States and UTs on Monday, asking them to make all information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 accessible to all in the form of Braille, videos with subtitles etc.

 

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While reiterating that all relevant information should be made available in accessible formats, the advisory also instructed the States and UTs to give sign language interpreters who work in healthcare the same health and safety protection that is being given to other healthcare workers. Emergency response workers should be trained on the rights of PwD and the additional problems faced by those with specific impairments, the advisory said.

“Caregivers of PwD should be allowed to reach the PwD exempting them from restrictions during lockdown or providing passes in a simplified manner on priority,” it said.

Residents’ Welfare Associations should be made aware of the needs of PwD to enable entry of caregivers, maids and other staff into their homes, after following the relevant sanitising procedure, it said.

 

Also read | Safeguarding the vulnerable among us

 

The States and UTs were also asked to provide food, water and medicine to PwD at their homes or wherever they may be quarantined.

The advisory said that the State commissioners for PwDs should be made in charge of resolving any disability related issues during the crisis. Similarly, the district-level officers dealing with the empowerment of PwD should coordinate with government agencies, NGOs and RWAs in order to provide care for PwD in their areas.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:16:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/exempt-pwd-caregivers-from-lockdown-curbs-states-told/article31180694.ece

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