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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 02 May 2021 : 11:47:09
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“We Suffered In COVID-19”: Differently Able Women Narrate Their Ordeal in The Gambia
Foroyaa: May 1, 2021
By Makutu Manneh
Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people globally, posing major threat to the economic and social fabric society.
The differently able women in the Gambia were among the people hard hit by the pandemic. These women complained that they were marginalized by the State following the advent of coronavirus in the country.
Isatou Sonko, a differently abled woman and a beggar at the Bertil Harding Highway, said covid-19 has negative impact on her livelihood and her family.
She said when covid-19 hit the country and curfew and state of emergency ensued, life became tough for her and her family.
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“I was unable to bring food home for my children. We depended on handout given to us by our neighbors,” she said and bowed her head in her wheelchair.
Ms Sonko said it was through begging in the streets that she used to bring food on their table. She said everything changed in The Gambia following the advent of coronavirus in the country as people begun to distance themselves from her.
A visually impaired woman, Fatou Secka, believes that covid-19 brought suffering onto persons living with disability, especially women. Madam Secka said as a differently able person, she received no support from the central government during the pandemic.
She said since covid-19 entered the Gambia, she received support only once and that was from the Banjul City Council.
“During the curfew and state of emergency in the country, as a blind person, I found it difficult to move around since the one to render assistance to me has to observe social distance,” she said.
Madam Secka further stressed that the wearing of face masks was posed a challenge for her as a blind woman. She said even though she is blind, she had to go out to make ends meet for her family. The Banjul born said she had only one son and she was also a teacher at one of the blind schools in the country.
Secka urged the authorities to pass the bill on persons with disability because the bill contains all their concerns. She also called on the government to consider persons with disabilities (especially women) in decision making.
Hawa Boye, is an albino and an advocate for the rights of persons living with disability. Boye said differently able women in the country are marginalized and that the covid-19 pandemic has added to their marginalization.
She said covid-19 impacted differently able people most because most of them were not ‘self-independent’ to do many things on their own.
Madam Boye said during the lockdown, differently able women struggled as they were unable to go out to provide basic needs for their respective families.
She said some of the women that were tenants were confronted by their landlords due to their inability to pay their rent fees.
“I came to know that some of them were sent out of their rental compounds because they have not paid the rent fees for months,” she said.
Madam Bayo further said women with disabilities were vulnerable to covid-19 because they could not sit home seeing their children starving. To her, differently able women received no support from the government.
She said The Gambia federation of the disabled did not receive any support from the government during the period of the State of Public Emergency and that the support they got was from philanthropists and other NGOs.
In the area of education, Madam Bayo said as schools were shut down and education was introduced through the internet, television and radio, differently able students especially those visually impaired and hard of hearing found it difficult to cope with the online and radio classes.
“So, the differently able students were not on the same track with their fellow counterparts,” she said.
Madam Boye tasked the government to look into the plight of differently able persons in the country and consider them as citizens with equal rights and opportunities like the rest of society.
The Covid-19 pandemic was first confirmed in the Gambia on 17th March 2020. And as of 27 April 2021, the deadly respiratory disease has claimed the lives of over one hundred people. The total confirmed cases since March 2020 is over five thousand.
|1 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 09 Jun 2022 : 19:13:25
Jun 9, 2022, 12:24 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb
Gambia Clubfoot Foundation last Friday joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Clubfoot Day.
The commemoration funded by Miracle Feet was held at the Youth Monument at Westfield. The celebration involved a short walk by clubfoot patients, treatment providers and parents with children born with clubfoot and the Minister for Health. The walk was to demonstrate the challenges and difficulties people with this condition face. The day is to raise awareness about clubfoot disability and its prevention using the Ponseti Method.
Ibou Camara, founder and national Coordinator Gambia Clubfoot Foundation, explained that Clubfoot is treatable in The Gambia and by Gambians for free, saying currently they have 183 children under the treatment programme, with 65% having fully recovered.
“Clubfoot treatment is challenging and we therefore thank parents with children born with clubfoot for their commitment to the program. We aim to bring the treatment under the Ministry of Health.”
Camara expressed their resolve to decentralise the treatment across the country, but lamented that they struggle with sustaining trained healthcare workers on the program.
He therefore appealed to the Ministry of Health to ensure the availability of funds for the sustainability of the programme.
“Nobody can guarantee that you will not have a child born with clubfoot,” he also said while further appealing for funds for the sustainability of the treatment program.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister for Health, thanked Foundation for marking the event alongside parents of children born with clubfoot.
The treatment, he added, shows Gambia Clubfoot Foundation’s commitment, desire and love for country, adding that their treatment is yielding results.
“These children are saved. However, the abilities of elders with clubfoot who were not straightened are limited but thank you to Gambia Clubfoot Foundation, that will not be the case for these children,” he stated, while thanking the foundation for their initiative.
The minister reminded that government cannot do it all alone, hence the need for all to collaborate to bring about the much needed development in the country.
Dr. Kajali Camara on behalf of Dr. Kebba Marenah, lead doctor in the treatment, said the foundation has facilitated the training of 22 Gambian healthcare workers that are now providing free clubfoot treatment in 3 health facilities in the country.
He spoke about their plans to train 5 Gambian health care workers and to expand Farafenni General Hospital to become a clubfoot treatment centre.
Dr. Camara also expressed their readiness to train midwives to be able to identify clubfoot at the earliest possible time.
Sheikh Tijan Jarju, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the foundation, assured that they will not relent in their efforts to ensure every child born with clubfoot in The Gambia is treated.
“We will also ensure any child born with clubfoot in The Gambia does not end up being disabled for their rest of their lives,” he added.
Chamba Mbye, a parent with a child born with clubfoot, recalled that when his child was born with clubfoot he was worried but was later told that it is treatable in The Gambia by Gambians.
“Even with the assurance that it is treatable in The Gambia by Gambians, I was not comfortable but thank the Foundation my child’s foot has straightened tremendously.”
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