health

Feb. 11, 2022

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

3 min read

LNFOD implements Covid-19 response strategy

LNFOD implements Covid-19 response strategy

Minister of Social Development, 'Matebatso Doti

Story highlights

  • The project’s objectives is to challenge government to review the national COVID-19 response
  • LNFOD says children with disabilities also lost daily meals provided at schools during the school closure

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THE Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) is implementing a Strategy for Equitable Access and Response to COVID-19 pandemic (SEAR), which advocates for the participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LNFOD says the project’s objectives is to challenge government to review the national COVID-19 response and recovery plans to ensure the inclusion of people living with disabilities such as women and girls.

It advocates for the budgeting of programmes of persons living with disabilities and to document their experiences of the COVID-19.

During one of its recent virtual COVID-19 meetings, the LNFOD shared the findings of its review on the National COVID-19 response and recovery plan.

The review was conducted in 2021 to determine the situation of persons with disabilities in terms of participation and inclusion in the COVID-19 decision-making processes.

It covered economic recovery, access to social protection, education, and access to public health COVID-19 information.

In terms of participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the COVID-19 decision-making processes, the review indicates that persons with disabilities neither participated nor were included in the COVID-19 decision-making processes.

“This oversight resulted in the total exclusion of persons with disabilities in all economic, educational, and social protection measures undertaken to build community resilience against the coronavirus disease,” LNFOD said.

In order to recover from the negative effects of COVID-19, the Ministry of Development Planning in consultation with other government ministries has been developing a COVID-19 economic recovery plan which will guide the government’s intervention to ensure that Basotho are able to recover from this pandemic.

The review says that persons with disabilities through their representative organisations have not been consulted to provide their inputs on how the economic recovery plan could boost and benefit persons living with disabilities.  

LNFOD further notes that is highly likely to result in the economic recovery plan which will not be disability and gender-sensitive to the needs of women and girls.

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Despite these efforts, it said the situation of learners with disabilities had worsened due to the pre-existing barriers to education.

Learners with disabilities have found it hard to participate in the remote distance teaching platforms because they were not accessible to them.

While some learners could not listen to radio lessons because their families did not own radios due to poverty, others did not have televisions to watch such lessons.

LNFOD said children with disabilities did not only lose in the education but they also lost their daily meals provided at schools during the school closure which negatively affected their lives.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Health has provided Braille and solar radios to the visually impaired community through the Lesotho National League of the Visually Impaired Persons (LNLVIP).

The review said the contribution by the Lesotho development partners was significant in assisting organisations of persons with disabilities.

They among others devised means to reach out to persons living with disabilities about COVID-19 messages.

LNFOD has called upon the Ministry of Education to improve accessibility of online distance teaching and learning methods to accommodate persons with disabilities.

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