Jinja’s PWDs chairman criticizes Covid-19 presidential directives

PWDs have been ignored according to Jinja chairman Mr Kalule. Courtesy photo.


By Fred Siminyu

Jinja – July 24, 2020: Jinja district Disability Council Chairman, Rashid Kalule, has expressed dissatisfaction and referred to President Museveni’s directives and measures against Covid-19 as “inappropriate and unfit for people with disabilities”.

 Kalule tearfully expresses his disappointment and wonders why the President failed to consider the plight of people with disabilities when issuing out the directives and measures intended to fight the spread of the pandemic.

“All along we thought the president loves us; I wonder how at this critical moment of the pandemic he forgot about us. He should have come up with measures favouring us too,” he tearfully puts it.

Talking about learning materials which were provided by the Ministry of Education and Sports, the PWDs chair further said the learners with disabilities were completely left out.

“Learners with sight impairment were completely disregarded when issuing out learning materials to such an extent, with either intend or deliberate neglect the materials were written using a very small font that cannot be read. It is even worse when it comes to people who are totally blind because we did not get even a single brail,” he added.

He even wondered why we have special needs teachers (SNT) who are paid monthly by government, yet when it comes to such critical moments children with disabilities and staff are not considered.

Referring to social distancing as a measure that was instituted by the president and the Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the virus,  Kalule explained that it is inappropriate and cannot in any way apply to most people with disabilities because they cannot move in isolation, but must at all times be accompanied with a helper.

He argued that since it must be put into account that people with disabilities are lame, but at various degrees of inability, it cannot be generalized that to a certain extent they can all independently help themselves and keep social distancing as a measure against Covid-19.

Kalule said even the deaf who need an interpreter must be close to the interpreter and can therefore not keep social distancing.

“It is myopic and unfair to think the physically lame and the blind should abide by the presidential directive of social distancing and be left alone without being assisted,” he said.

Kalule also complained about hand washing facilities in public places like markets and offices, which he said the stands are too high for people with physical disabilities to access.

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