Guterres requests the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Covid-19 response

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres On Wednesday, it requested the inclusion of people with disabilities in the COVID-19 response.

I urge governments to place people with disabilities at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to consult and engage people with disabilities, Guterres said in a video message for the release of a new report by policies.

Even under normal circumstances, people with disabilities are less likely to access education, health care and income opportunities or participate in the community, he said.

People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse, he added, noting that the pandemic has intensified these inequalities and produced new threats, the Xinhua news agency reported.

People with disabilities are among those most affected by COVID-19, Guterres said, adding that they face a lack of accessible public health information, significant barriers to implementing basic hygiene measures and inaccessible health facilities.

The proportion of COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes, where older people with disabilities are overrepresented, ranges from 19 percent to a staggering 72 percent, he noted.

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We cannot allow this to continue. We must guarantee the equal rights of people with disabilities to access health care and life-saving procedures during the pandemic, the UN chief said.

People with disabilities who faced job exclusion prior to this crisis are now more likely to lose their jobs and experience greater difficulties in returning to work, he said.

Guterres mentioned that only 28 percent of people with significant disabilities have access to benefits, and only 1 percent in low-income countries.

People with disabilities, particularly women and girls, face an increased risk of domestic violence, which has increased during the pandemic, she said.

The summary of policies requested the accessibility of information, as well as of goods and services for people with disabilities; accessibility to health services, tests and life-saving procedures; expansion of conventional and specific social protection programs for people with disabilities and their families.

Governments, donors, UN agencies and other actors must establish accountability mechanisms to monitor investments and ensure the inclusion of disability in the COVID-19 response, according to the report.

Looking ahead, we have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies to achieve this, Guterres said. When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we are investing in our common future.