- SAFOD: Covid-19 Inclusive Response Program
SAFOD: Covid-19 Inclusive Response Program
Part of the interventions on inclusive COVID-19 Response Interventions by SAFOD affiliate in Mozambique
Project duration (total months):
60 Months (5 Years)
FunksjonshemmedesFellesorganisasjon (FFO) / Atlas Alliance
Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)
SAFOD national Affiliates
SAFOD has developed a regional response strategy – available for downloading here – which proposes a list of interventions targeting persons with disabilities and their carers through our national affiliates who constitute federations of Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs).
So far, we have already organized a virtual capacity building training / workshop on COVID-19 for our national affiliates (See photo, left).
To continue improving the response strategy, we have been conducting an online survey whose latest survey responses can be accessed here.
We are also running a competition for Artists and craftspeople with disabilities to showcase their artistic work on COVID-19.
The main long-term goal is to reduce infection and increase impact of COVID-19 responses among persons with disabilities, through supporting SAFOD's affiliates and key stakeholders at national levels in the development of effective and inclusive national response strategies. This will lead to sustainable and increased access to quality health services related to COVID-19 by Persons with Disabilities. Part of this work will, therefore, involve capacitating local DPOs in Botswana so that they can effectively advocate for increased inclusion, for which funding is being specifically sought from the Commonwealth Foundation.
In order to affectively implement this Response Strategy for COVID-19, SAFOD adopts a people-centred approach based both on our own cumulative experience and that of our membership and national level partners in advancing and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities at both national and regional levels in Southern Africa.
SAFOD creates and holds a strategic niche as a Southern Africa organisation of persons with disabilities championing their own rights. SAFOD is the first regional organisation in Southern Africa bringing together ten national federations from ten different SADC member States having a coordinated focus on the human rights of persons with disabilities. As a regional umbrella organisation, SAFOD supports national federations (affiliates) to take charge of their own issues and seeks to capacitate them in addressing social issues affecting their rights, such as teh advent of Covid-19.
SAFOD recognizes that people with different forms of disabilities generally have more health-care needs than others. Their needs are both standard and linked to impairments. They are, therefore, more vulnerable to the social impact brought by the advent of COVID-19 on the basis that:
Low quality or inaccessible health-care services than others.
Social attitudes characterized by stigma and discrimination.
Low participation of persons with disabilities leading to policies that are not inclusive of their needs.
In response, SAFOD is responding in the following ways:
We have drafted the COVID-19 Response Strategy for Persons with Disabilities in Southern Africa.
We have been conducting an online survey to collect data from persons with disabilities related to COVID-19.
We have organized virtual capacity building training / workshop on COVID-19 for our national affiliates.
We are in the process of developing an online portal on COVID-19 for persons with disabilities.
We are running a competition for Artists and craftspeople with disabilities to showcase their artistic work on COVID-19.
The main goal of this regional response strategy to support SAFOD affiliates and key stakeholders at national levels in the development of effective and inclusive national response strategies that are focused on reducing infection and impact of COVID-19 among persons with disabilities in Southern Africa.
To generate and utilize already existing knowledge, evidence and data from research studies, case studies (good practices), etc. related to inclusive responses against COVID-19 for purposes of documentation, shared learning, disability programming, monitoring and evaluation.
To engage and influence SADC and its member states to develop/integrate disability inclusive national response plans on COVID-19.
To increase the capacity of SAFOD’s national affiliate federations of DPOs in ensuring their effectiveness and sustainability in promoting and securing implementation of inclusive interventions on COVID-19.
To increase awareness through sensitization and capacity building of DPOs, SADC, Government Departments, Development partners, Civil Society Organisations, Private Sector and the media on inclusive plans, programs and interventions that address COVID-19 and related issues concerning persons with disabilities.
To advocate for mainstreaming of disability into health services and programs ensuring increased access to quality health services related to COVID-19 by Persons with Disabilities.
What started as an epidemic limited primarily to China sometime in December 2019 has now rapidly grown a global pandemic. Popularly referred to as coronavirus, the official name of the disease, however, is Covid-19, the virus that causes the disease called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2 for short.
The disease has affected everyone, directly or indirectly; it is affecting the health and socio-economic status of people in both developed and developing countries alike. People with different forms of disabilities, for many reasons, are not spared. A response strategy to address potential effects on persons with disabilities in this crisis is not a matter choice. It is a matter of urgency.
At the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) level, there are few facts that are currently known affecting persons with disabilities, which have formed the basis for putting in place the SAFOD’s response strategy.
These factors include:
1. Most Governments in Southern Africa were taken unawares, as a result they are no sufficient funding/resources to address the epidemic especially if it continues to rise.
2. Most preventative and safety information related to COVID-19 so far being shared is not yet available in accessible formats such as Braille, sign language, large text, etc.
3. There are no specific stand-alone strategies/plans/etc. targeting persons with disabilities even though there are efforts to broadly mainstream disability – at rhetorical/political level – in some of the national response strategies. How such rhetoric is translated into action on the ground remains to be seen.
4. Involvement of persons with disabilities themselves in national response planning efforts has so far been very insignificant.
However, the following critical issues affecting persons with disabilities remain unclear at present, in the absence of any empirical data/research on the ground:
1. Estimates of persons with disabilities already infected and/or affected by the coronavirus within communities, disaggregated by sex and type of disability.
2. Estimates of persons with disabilities at risk of being infected and/or affected by the coronavirus within communities, disaggregated by sex and type of disability.
3. The other challenges being faced by persons with disabilities in accessing health services related to Covid-19, besides inaccessible information related to Covid-19,
4. Other current needs beyond accessible information related to Covid-19 with respect to persons with disabilities in communities.
5. Specific best practices – if available – of disability mainstreaming efforts in national response strategies/plans at all levels – community level, policy level, political level, etc. – on Covid-19 that can be scaled across the region.