Amref Zambia, the national task force to respond to COVID-19, launches a new project “Nobody is Left Behind” to provide the distribution of material in braille in 71 points including schools and libraries.
Amref Health Africa in Zambia collaborated with the Ministry of Health to create and print 3,000 Information, Education and Communication (IEC) booklets concerning the COVID-19 for the visually impaired.
According to the World Bank, a billion people, equal to 15% of the world’s population, has one or more forms of disabilities and prevalence of disabilities is higher in developing countries. Furthermore, the 2015 Zambian National Disability Survey, a national survey on the spread of disabilities in the country, indicated that 4.4% of the population lives with some form of disability.
The IEC material was printed in Braille with the aim of educating and disseminating information on COVID-19 to the blind. This will give interested people access to and understanding of the security measures to be implemented and the necessary information regarding the spread of Coronavirus . This is because the lack of information exposes people to an increased risk of infection.
“The material in braille will guarantee people who are visually impaired access to the necessary information regarding the spread of the virus and the preventative measures being taken. This is our demonstration of support not only to the general public, but also to the most vulnerable groups. We make sure nobody is left behind,” says Viviane Sakanga, Amref Health Africa’s project manager in Zambia.
He encouraged the public and anyone who shares various forms of information to consider the most vulnerable groups. IEC material will be available at 71 main reading points, including schools and libraries for the blind.
IEC materials were delivered to the Minister of Health in Zambia, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya. The minister praised Amref Health Africa for its constant support to marginalized groups, underlining the importance of guaranteeing access to information for the whole population. Dr. Chilufya also described the gesture as “a gesture of great impact”, especially at such a crucial moment when the government is fighting a battle against the spread of COVID-19.
Amref Health Africa in Zambia is also part of the COVID-19 National Response Task Force. In particular, Amref participates in the local response committees where problems related to the involvement of community health workers (CHW) in the response are discussed, and appropriate risk communication is developed.
In addition, Amref will train 160 CHWs in the province of Copperbelt on the spread of COVID-19. This includes preventing, controlling and responding to the virus so that they can protect and support their communities. Plans are underway for training in other provinces which will be implemented when the necessary resources are available. Furthermore, brochures and megaphones will be provided to the CHWs to effectively disseminate the most important messages on COVID-19 in their respective communities.
Finally, healthcare providers and healthcare facilities will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential supplies to protect those on the front lines.
Amref Health Africa in Zambia continues to collaborate, nationally and provincially, with the government of Zambia in the fight against the new Coronavirus (COVID-19).