DAPD concerned about dissemination of COVID-19 information

Nathalie Murphy, Executive Director of DAPD speaking at the press briefing

Executive Director of the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities (DAPD), Nathalie Murphy is calling on the authorities to consider persons with disabilities when disseminating information with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Murphy who was delivering remarks at a press briefing held on Wednesday night said there is a major problem when it comes to catering to the needs of persons with disabilities.

“When we first heard of the virus, as an organization, we decided that we had to take immediate measures and one of the areas was that we started working onwards to ensure that persons with disabilities see the information necessary to enable them to deal and to battle with this virus,” she said. “Information disseminated to the Ministry of Health about the association’s concerns and some recommendations as to what can be done to ensure that person’s with disabilities who are in the highest risk are not too affected.”

She continued, “We were concerned with the way the information was being disseminated to some of our constituents, for example a person who is deaf [hearing-impaired] or hard of hearing when you have messages, public announcements in audio going out these people do not have access  to that information.”

In Murphy’s view some sign language interpretation should be instituted for video presentation so persons who are hearing-impaired will actually see what is going on and understand so that they too will be able to ensure that they protect themselves.

She explained that at one of the press briefings, there was a demonstration on how individuals should put on a mask properly and she was confused.

 “I was confused as a blind person because I didn’t know what was going on, there was nobody around to show us or assist us to ensure that the mask had been worn properly,” Murphy remarked. “We have people who are blind who live alone, they do not have access to pipe-borne water, but yet still we were told we have to wash hands frequently, sanitizing.”

She asked, “How do these persons acquire these relief supplies if they do not have the means to do so?”

Murphy added, “These are some of the things that really concern us as an organization.”

She also gave an example of a young man who returned from studies who had to be quarantined and who experienced great difficulty at the centre, “because the persons were not trained to deal with him… I am not blaming anybody but these are things we have to consider going forward.”

She believes that those persons who are mobility-impaired who depend on wheelchairs and other mobility aids they too, need someone to assist them.

Murphy went on to say that social distancing for persons with disabilities is a challenge.

“It has been and it continues to be a challenge for persons with disabilities…we would really like to ensure that the necessary training, the necessary support by those in authority, by those who have the mandate to ensure that this virus does not spread, that we as persons with disabilities continue to be provided for,” she remarked.

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  1. what????
    October 23, 2020

    Mrs. Murphy: “We have people who are blind who live alone…”
    Me: :( what????

    This was a great overall presentation by Mrs. Murphy on the needs of persons with disabilities during this Covid-19 pandemic. But, we have blind people here who live alone? how do they manage? this must be extremely difficult for them emotionally and psychologically. Don’t they have family or close relatives who can care for them? Persons who are blind should never be allowed to live alone. They are as vulnerable as young children. Isn’t there a ministry of government which looks after our vulnerable people, who are unable to care for themselves especially the older ones who were very productive and responsible citizens in their younger days? There must be some social safety net to catch them. We can do better.

  2. Roger Burnett
    October 23, 2020

    These are very valid points.

    Even those of us with a reasonable degree of hearing depend on lip reading to a certain extent and it can be difficult to understand a person who is speaking from behind a mask. I depend on a cashier pointing out the amount on the till.

    The skin on the back of my hands is sensitive to the alcohol based sanitizers that are sprayed when entering a store. Most stores are understanding of my predicament but some refuse entry even though I offer to wash my hands with water and a mild soap.

    With all the precautions it is the coins and bank notes passing from purse, to pocket, from hand to hand that worries me.

  3. Sylvester Cadette
    October 23, 2020

    I just love the work of the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities and the proactive approach of the Executive Director, Ms. Murphy and her team. They are always proactive and always precise in their recommendations. We must all do ALL WE CAN to ensure that ALL have access to information.

    Great work!! we hope & pray for maximum realization of all their goals in serving the Persons with Disability community.

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