International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as part of its response to COVID-19, has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hygiene kits, economic support and informational material to 26 ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centers across Pakistan.
PWDs constitute a particularly vulnerable segment during this pandemic due to challenges related to accessibility that are exacerbated by a restriction on movement and services. To ensure continuity of services for PWDS and safety of the staff at work, the ICRC is providing 10,000 surgical masks, 500 protection gowns, 20,000 examination gloves, 300 liters of disinfectant gel, 2,600 body soaps and 2600 toilet paper rolls to 26 physical rehabilitation centers across Pakistan, according to ICRC spokesman.
Moreover, information, education and communication material has also been distributed at all centers to raise awareness about the necessary preventive measures among physical rehabilitation professionals and the PWDs receiving services there.
Many ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centers are offering consultations and free-of-cost treatment to PWDs during the pandemic with precautionary measures in place. Underpinning the need to make services and information accessible to PWDs, Ilyas Syed, Chief Executive Officer of Paraplegic Centre Peshawar, says, “During a crisis like this, it is very easy for people with disabilities to slip through the cracks of the health system. Our efforts are directed to ensure that we continue to meet their needs and equip them with appropriate knowledge regarding the safety measures they can adopt to protect themselves at this time.”
To ensure that an inclusive approach to assistance is adopted, the ICRC will also provide economic support to 3400 deserving PWDs and their families. Furthermore, in collaboration with the DPO SSP in Multan, ICRC will support 500 wheelchair-bound individuals with food and hygiene parcels.
Head of the ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Program in Pakistan, Jozef Nagels adds, “Since 1984, we have been working in Pakistan to provide prosthetic and orthotic support to people who have lost a limb. In the current circumstances, it is time for solidarity, inclusion and compassion. Therefore, we continue to work in our capacity with the authorities and local partners to ensure that the voices and needs of people with disabilities are addressed.”
To ensure long-term sustainability of services, the ICRC works in close cooperation with local partners for its Physical Rehabilitation Program (PRP). To ensure continuity of services during COVID-19, the ICRC is working with PIPOS Rehabilitation Services Program, CHAL Foundation, DGHS Merged Areas (Landi Kotal and Bajaur), Rehab Initiative, LRH Clubfoot Clinic, Paraplegic Center Peshawar, Friends of Paraplegic, Society for Special Persons, Indus Hospital PRCS, MPRC, CHEF International and, Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association.