PWDs voice concerns over COVID-19 lockdown challenges

Men wear protective masks as they walk down a deserted street on the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo


PEOPLE with disabilities (PWDs) have appealed to government and other stakeholders to assist them during the COVID-19 period as they are facing challenges, including too much littering in the country’s cities which pose serious health threats to them.

They said this during a meeting with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) last week.

PWD representative Arnold Ncube urged government to come up with a database for PWDs in the country. He said too much litter in Bulawayo was making it difficult for PWDs to move freely.

“A database must be used so that  council can know how to address our concerns. My concern is on littering which makes it difficult for us to move around. As a visually-impaired person, I often bump into garbage or step on sewage flowing around,” Ncube said.

He appealed to the Bulawayo City Council to address the environmental issues in the city.

Ward 26 resident Raymond Chifamba, who relies on an artificial leg, said PWDs lost their jobs during the COVID-19-induced lockdown period and were finding it difficult to feed their families. Another PWD Peter Choto said lack of access to water also affected them.

”How can we maintain cleanliness without water and how do l even go to the toilet?  I am on a wheelchair and cannot squat in the bushes like everyone else.  It is also not easy for PWDs to access water from the bowsers that deliver it,” Choto said.

Ward 10 councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda said all PWDs’ names should be captured in  databases created at ward level to ensure they get assistance.

“All wards must have community groups to bring data to us.  Communication is very important between the councillors and the community so that we help each other.  If you don’t give us your concerns we will assume that everything is running smoothly,” Mutanda said.

Bulawayo water supply committee chairperson and councillor for ward 17 Sikhululekile Moyo said the water shortage in the city was a result of power cuts.

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