In an oral intervention in the general debate on persons with disabilities at the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council, Samarthanam Trust for the disabled raised awareness about the impact of post-Covid on persons with disabilities.
"It was a kind of imprisonment for them without any interactions. Some persons with disabilities particularly women and girls with disabilities were abused physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally and subjected to exploitation and violence all over the world," said Dr Mahantesh Ghativalappa Kivadasannavar, Chairperson and Founder Managing Trustee of Samarthanam.
The first and second waves of COVID19 had adversely affected globally to persons with disabilities. Thousands of persons with disabilities lost their lives due to infection of COVID19, starvation, and hunger, without medication and treatment, rehabilitation services and got secondary complications without therapeutic interventions.
"Social distancing isolated them and they emotionally felt loneliness. There was no interaction from the outside community with them," added Mr Kivadasannavar.
The post-COVID impact was very severe than the pre-COVID waves. Thousands of persons with disabilities lost their livelihoods. Families got separated, resulting in broken homes. Aged were deserted by their children. There was a huge amount of displacement.
"Factories targeted them as a first priority during the retrenchment and downsizing of the workforce. Starvation and hunger continued. There was no support system. Medication and treatment became non-existent for them. Children with disabilities and aged with disabilities suffered the most due to middle-aged and other non-disabled family members migrating to cities and towns in search of livelihood opportunities leaving these people without any care or support," said Samarthanam chief.
Malnutrition among children and the aged was a common feature during the post-COVID. Many civil society agencies undertook the intervention and extended support with the available resources.
"Government of India and the state governments took many affirmative actions and played a vital role in protecting the interest of persons with disabilities during COVID-19 in many ways. This has significantly contributed to improving the situation of persons with disabilities during the pandemic," added Dr Kivadasannavar.
The provisions enshrined in the rights of persons with disabilities act 2016 were effectively implemented and issued guidelines and standards to protect the interest of persons with disabilities in humanitarian emergencies, particularly COVID-19.
Samarthanam, the Government of India and the State governments undertook massive strategic interventions during COVID19 for persons with disabilities.
The interventions included: Distribution of dry ration kits; sensitisation, awareness generation, and training for multiple stakeholders; COVID and related kits for Anganwadi and ASHA workers, police personnel, health workers, and sanitation workers; ICU beds; oxygen concentrators; Oxygen plants; ICU ambulances; cooked food packets; vaccination; medication; monthly allowance; RTCPR kits; etc.
This partnership with Union and State Governments significantly contributed to protecting the interest of persons with disabilities. More than 94 jobs fairs in partnership with 500 companies were conducted as a result of which 10000 persons with disabilities have got placement opportunities.
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