Disability Inclusive Community Action – COVID-19 Matrix

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is an alliance of civil society organisations, corporates and professional bodies promoting eye health through advocacy, knowledge and partnerships.
Organisation: IAPB

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To support CBM’s Community-Based Inclusive Development (CBID) partners, a “Disability Inclusive Community Action – COVID-19 Matrix” has been developed with the aim to provide community programmes guidance on possible action points in community development and mobilization in relation to COVID-19 preparedness and response.

The matrix is not intended to be a comprehensive implementation tool. It rather aims at providing brief and clear action points, that can easily be adapted to the local context and give CBID programme managers ‘keywords’ and anchors for engaging with local governments and service providers and holding them accountable.

The action points as listed in the matrix emphasize the importance of pro-active community development responses and encourage community stakeholders to work collaboratively to respond to the COVID-19 challenge.

Why do we need a COVID-19 Matrix in the first place?

This Matrix is a tool for those looking for guidance on what CBID programmes could do to more effectively support people with disabilities in their communities during these challenging times. It is well documented that people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable population in a pandemic, as they often may not be able to fully implement the required self-protection and hygiene or might end up in inappropriate health care environments. In the current context, many people with disabilities have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 (e.g. difficulty of accessing a sink, need to touch their face more often) and may have more difficulty in acting social distancing or self-isolation (e.g. because they need to remain in close contact with other people who support them). In addition, many people with disabilities have an increased risk of developing a severe case due to underlying health conditions and they experience barriers in accessing appropriate health care and support once they have contracted COVID-19.

So far, little has been done by national governments to provide people with disabilities with the guidance and support needed to protect them during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, even though many of them are part of the high-risk group.

The challenges communities face with this pandemic cannot be met by central government institutions alone. Persons with disabilities and their families, local government, community based civil society groups and private sector stakeholders also need to be actively involved. Providing access to informed and appropriate technical and financial support is key so that communities can effectively mobilize and organize to identify appropriate priorities and actions while working in partnership with local and national stakeholders. It is crucial that essential community awareness is promoted in accessible and acceptable ways, involving the targeted groups in the design and implementation of community responses.