During global pandemics such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and now the COVID-19 crisis, people living with disabilities can experience reduced agency and independence with changes in routines and support.
“I am a person with disability. I am independent and I like socialising. But the situation now is challenging. Public transport, including the ride-hailing transport I use, is now suspended. It is good that there is a nearby shop, I can buy my food there. But how about those who live far from the shop? How about those who rely on public transport to buy their needs?” writes CBM Philippines Country Officer Marife.
Marife’s statement reflects the challenges for many people living with disabilities who rely on medical and everyday supplies, without which will struggle to maintain their quality of life.
“The current situation has a big effect on people with disabilities, especially those who are daily-wage earners. Someone told me that they have not received support from their village leader. Another told me that they received half a kilo of rice and two cans of sardines. Those will not last for very long. They do not have a source of income at the moment. What will happen to them in the next few days?” notes July, a field coordinator.
For many people, the reduced income and struggle to provide for families can affect self-esteem and independence. The reduced independence can add extra stress during already stressful times. Added stress, loss of agency and independence can adversely affect mental health.
CBM Australia has been working hard to support our Country Offices and staff like Marife and July to identify possible challenges facing people living with disabilities and how best to assist them in adapting to the new challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.
With hospitals and clinics still open to provide services to the most vulnerable, the most neglected, the most forgotten, CBM Australia is actively working with field partners to ensure essential programs are delivered and people with disabilities are included in response efforts. Discover how CBM is working with field partners and how you can help.