PODICAM

 

 

 

  • Persons with disabilities must be prioritized in vaccination rollout, says Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi

     

    The Federation of Disability organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA), Sight savers and Equal World Campaign are calling on the government of Malawi to ensure persons with disabilities are prioritiesed in the country’s vaccination rollout.

    The call to support by advice from the World Health Organization which has identified persons with disabilities as a priority group for vaccination. Growing evidence shows that persons with disabilities are particularly exposed to to the risks of Covid-19  and require  specific measure to mitigate these risks and their impact.

    Bright Chiwaula, Country Director of Sight savers says “With the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine gaining momentum and winch limited initial vaccine supplier it is vital that persons with disabilities are not left behind. We are campaigning to ensure vaccination  plans and pandemic recovery strategies involving them, are accessible to them and reach them,”

    Simon Munde, Acting Executive Director of FEDOMA says “Since the World Health Organization declared Covid  -19 as a pandemic, persons with disabilities have had to shoulder some of the worst effect of this disease in Malawi and around the world,”

    “We are seeing Covid-19 protective measures being developed without any form of consultation with persons with disabilities. These messages mostly been inconsiderate of the needs of persons with disabilities. For example, many people have received information which may not be applicable to their particular disability. The continued emphasis on physical distancing and use of masks has ended up depriving persons with disabilities of support personal services.,”

    ” Most of these preventive measures have found their way  into the Covid-19 guidelines which form part of public health subsidiaries in an award position where they have to choose contravening the law or withdrawing from their  various social and economic activities,”

    FEDOMA and Equal World  say that the lack of disability inclusion in various Covid-19 interventions have left  persons with disabilities behind in all area from access to information to testing and vaccination services. This negligence has left persons with disabilities  not to only feel dissuaded from searching such services but also to become more reliant on misinformation.  Lack of disability aggregated data non Covid-19 cases is also worsening the understanding of the needs of of persons with disabilities. This all consequently exposes them to more serious risks of the pandemic.

    The organizations have acknowledged that in recent months the Ministry of Health through the presidential task force on Covid-19 has announced that persons with disabilities be prioritized in the vaccination initiative. And they commend the decision to include FEDOMA in the national Covid-19 health cluster and national Covid-19 Social Protection Cluster.

    For the government to be successful in prioritizing persons with disabilities in vaccine rollout,  FEDOMA and Equal Would are calling for:

    • Health information campaign and vaccination delivery sites to be inclusive and accessible  to all persons with disabilities. For example, information related to vaccination must be provided in accessible format including captioning language, audio formats and plain language.
    • Organizations of persons with disabilities to be meaningfully involved in the development of Covid-19 related planning and policy making and vaccination to only happen with the free informed consent persons with disabilities and their families.
    • Data collected on the vaccination programs to be aggregated by age, gender and disability using internationally comparable tools and shared in accessible formats.

    Simon Munde, Acting Executive Director of FEDOMA says ” The disability rights movement is calling  for these measures around the world. This cannot be put on the back burner.

    We are in  international crisis and there are up to one billion persons with disabilities who are trying to survive without the recognition or support they need,”

    Ends

    For further details, interviews and case studies, contact Simon Munde, Acting Executive Director at FEDOMA on Swmunde@gmail.com or call +265 888 894 287.

     

     

  • RISING ABOVE DISABILITY

    It has proven that disability is not inability as Machinga District has re-elected Alexander Short as District Council Chair while in Blantyre, the disability movement has registered another milestone where Sigere  Pemba  has been elected as chairperson of the council. Both Short and Pemba were elected as Councillors of Machinga and Blantyre respectively in 2019 Tripartite Elections.

    In his written congratulatory message, FEDOMA Acting Executive Director, Simon Munde, said both Short and Kasai proved a point in 2019 by coming out victorious in the Local Government Elections, saying they are the pride of disability movement.

    “For Alexander Short was subsequently being elected as chairperson of the Machinga District Council and now he has retained his sit in an election held on 3rd July, 2021 in Machinga and this is no mean achievement.”reads in part.

    He added that the election of these two persons with disabilities is a true mark of inclusion while ensuring parity between persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities in our society.

    Councils are now conducting elections of chair persons to save for the remaining Four years before Malawians will go for another tripartite election in 20125.

     

  • EXPOSING THE POSITIVE LIFE OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM

       

    The united  Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on December 18th 2014, designating June 13 every  year as an International  Albinism Awareness Day. This landmark resolution reaffirmed the international community commitment to albinism advocacy.

    Albinism is a genetically inherited non-contagious dissimilarity that is both sexes and occurs in all places around the world , regardless of origin civilization, or culture. Albinism is characterized by a lack of pigment (Melamin) in the hair, skin, and eyes making the person vulnerable to the sun and strong light. As a result, particularly everyone with albinism is visually impaired and is at a risk for skin cancer. There is no therapy or cure for albinism.

    Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Albinism Awareness Day on 13th June, 2021. However, the main commemorative event will take place on 26th June  2021  at Nkhotakota Community Ground in Nkhotakota District.

    This year’s theme in Malawi is  ‘Exposing the positive life of persons with albinism’.  Internationally the theme is ‘Strengthen against all odds’  This comes at a time that persons with albinism in Malawi had continued living in fear considering that within the year, some more cases on the atrocities them  have been registered. This is  a cause of a concern as it significantly and negatively affect the full and effective participation of persons with albinism in various socio-economic endeavors. Although persons with albinism face such atrocities, they contribute meaningfully to the national development agenda. It is with this regard, this year’s them  was chosen  to celebrate the achievements and successes of persons with albinism worldwide. It is  also a call to stand in solidarity with persons with albinism throughout their challenges.

    As we commemorate the day, Federation of Disability  Organizations in Malawi  FEDOMA as an apex  body of 12 Organizations of Persons with Disabilities  OPDs such include:  APAM, APPDM, DIWODE, DWOOM, DROM, MANAD, MUB, MEHUCA, NEA, PODCAM, SIAMA  & VIHEMA  would like  to call upon the government  of  republic  of Malawi to take serious measures to curb these malpractices.  This involves handling the fight against the vice not in the manner of business as usual but business unusual.

    It will be important  at a point Malawi is to sick international help more especially in investigating  the cases  and discover the market.  The fact the  prosecution is able to secure conviction, is sign enough that capacity is there to  investigate wrong doings  but the continued  attacks confirms that the investigative processes is still missing a piece   to establish this, surely the market  hence our call.

    In addition, we are calling upon the Malawi judiciary to employ deliberate measures so as to expediate the process of trying the many outstanding albinism related cases. Much  as it is appreciated that the judicature is still grapping  with so many other outstanding cases, speeding up the case in question, has a strong bearing in efforts to deal with these atrocities.

    As we commemorate the day, we would like to wish all the best  to  all  Malawians with albinism and shine  more from 13th June, 20221 and beyond.

ADCs DRILLED ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING

The Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi FEDOMA embarks on the training Area Development Committees ADCs on gender and  disability mainstreaming as it has seen M’bwana ADC of Traditional Authority M’bwana of Usisya in Nkhata-Bay being drilled on how to embrace gender issues.

Speaking during the training exercise, FEDOMA Acting Executive Director Simon Munde said it is the wish of all Organizations with Disabilities to see local developmental structures  like area Development Committees ADCs to be drilled in gender and disability mainstreaming so that marginalized groups should be left behind in policy and decision making.

” It is a must that Women and persons with disabilities should take part in all decision making committees so that no one should be left behind and in the end enhancing a barrier free society for all and it is our hope that here in Nkhata-Bay, ADCs must take gender issues seriously,” he said.

FEDOMA takes a swipe to train ADCs on gender mainstreaming as such structures are custodians of local developmental activities hence the training.

 

NEW DAWN FOR MWISOWA AS HE GETS WHEEL CHAIR FROM FEDOMA

       

There was  joy in Julius Village in the area of Traditional Authority T/A Kaledzera in Phalombe where  villagers turned up to witness the donation of a wheel chair to  a 14 year old boy Julianono Mwisowa who has been for the past 14 years struggling to get an assistive device.

FEDOMA decided to Donate the wheel chair to Mwisowa after it received a call from Emily Nthenda who works in the area as a volunteer  as she reported the mobility challenges  the boy encountered as for example, he was failing to go to school due to luck of an assistive device.

Speaking at the function, Group Village Head  Julius commended FEDOMA for the timely gesture saying the boy will be attending classes as mobility challenge will be the thing of the past as his parents  were used to carry him at the back.

“I would like to extend my sincerely gratitude to FEDOMA for coming in to assist since we had no way to go for a help. I have been witnessing with my own necked eyes Several organizations have been coming in this village with their promises to assist the family with the wheal chair but nothing showed up and it is only FEDOMA that has relieved the burden we had,” he said.

In his remarks, Lyson Mapanga who handed over the wheel chair on behalf of FEDOMA said the wheel chair has been sourced with an aim to prioritize the education for the boy and he was quick to plead with his guardians  to use the wheel chair for sending the boy to school.

“We shall be happy at FEDOMA when we will  see the boy  going to school as it stands that  education is the paramount tool  transforming one’s  future. I therefore make an appeal to you parents try as much as possible to send the boy to school since the device will ease his mobility challenges,” said Mapanga.

Juliano Mwisowa has been failing to go to school as he had no  means of mobility.

 

DPOs GAIN COMPETENCE ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING

                       

The representatives from the  Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) formally known as Disabled Peoples  Organizations (DPOs) have gone through a three day gender mainstreaming training workshop that took place in Blantyre facilitated by Women’s Resource Legal Center (WORLEC).

In an effort to curb gender stereotype in its affiliated organizations, FEDOMA  conducted such a training workshop for all OPDs to understand how they can address gender issues and how they can   accommodate females in their institutions and in  policy making process.

More