May 22, 2021 11:15:52 am
All District Commissioners in Delhi have been directed to set up ‘exclusive vaccination centres’ for persons with disabilities by the office of the Divisional Commissioner Revenue, but disability rights activists say that the manner of implementation will be key.
“A notice has been received from State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (SCPWD) wherein it is requested to make separate centre at least one in each district for the vaccination of Persons with Disabilities on priority basis…” read a letter from the office of the Divisional Commissioner to all District Commissioners on Friday, asking for action taken reports within three days.
The SCPWD had written to the secretaries of the Social Welfare and Health Departments and the Divisional Commissioner Revenue Department, stating that persons with disabilities in Delhi are finding it difficult to get vaccinated and that “persons with disabilities are more vulnerable to the disease due to their physical, sensory and cognitive limitations”.
Stating that the “priority in attendance in attendance and treatment” is mandated by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, commissioner Ranjan Mukherjee wrote, “It is observed that many Homes/Schools/District Social welfare offices are available with the Department of Social Welfare which may be utilised for the purpose of vaccination of the PWDs specifically. Besides, it has also come into notice that some NGOs have offered their facilities for covid care/ vaccination… which may be used for efficient and fast vaccination of the PWDs”.
Disability rights activists in the city have been raising the issue of difficulties faced by persons with disabilities in going to vaccinations centres, and the dangers of the exposure to them.
“There are parts of Delhi where more people of disabilities reside such as a leprosy colony in East Delhi, or halfway, or in Ashakiran. Setting up centres there would help but if they’re just set up without consideration in an inaccessible place they won’t serve their purpose. It will still need to be see when this will be implemented at all,” said Dr. Satender Singh who teaches at University College of Medical Sciences and is also a disability rights activist.
Last week, the Directorate of Education had directed that wheelchairs which government schools had been equipped with for elections be arranged for all the schools now functioning as vaccination centres.
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