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» » Persons with disabilities must be included in vaccine rollout strategy, says ICOD Zim

Colleen Chitsa

MASVINGO - The Institute for Community Development in Zimbabwe (Icod Zim) has called upon government to prioritize people with disabilities in its Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan, saying the group represented some of the most marginalised communities in the country.

The rollout plan which was released last week by the Ministry of Health and Child Care does not include PWDs as a priority.

The country received 200 000 doses of SinoPharm vaccine from China on February 15, while 1.8 million more doses are expected to arrive from Russia.

The organization says any potential neglect of the disability community in the vaccine rollout exercise would result in deprivation of the group from realizing the right to health as enunciated in Section 81 of the Constitution.

In a statement, Icod Zim implores government to ‘immediately provide on the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines with emphasis on the possible implications to persons with disabilities especially those with mental challenges and others already battling other chronic illnesses.

The organisation says it is government’s responsibility yet again to promote, protect and facilitate the realization of constitutionally provided rights for persons with disabilities in accordance with Cection 83 of the Constitution.

The organisation also calls for ‘an urgent engagement of institutions of, and persons with disabilities to deliberate on how they can be included in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan.’

The organization also expects the government and other stakeholders in the frontline Cocid-19 responses to timely disseminate correct and reliable information in disability-accessible formats like Braille, large print, videos with captions and sign language.

Icod Zim is a non-partisan woman found and led non-governmental organization for women operating in Masvingo and Midlands provinces of Zimbabwe. It targets women and girls with disabilities in rural, commercial farm and mining communities.

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