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In the coronavirus crisis, people with disabilities face higher risks

A young boy is washing his hand from a water canister that is fixated on wood.
Child washing hands in Mozambique.
  • Disability Rights
  • Humanitarian Action

Our motto at Light for the World and in this crisis: Protect the most vulnerable! We are committed to protecting those who are most at risk as the virus spreads rapidly in our part of the world and threatens countries in Africa where we work.

People with disabilities are especially vulnerable

The rapid spread of the coronavirus and the threatening nature of the crisis have kept the whole world in suspense. As an international development organization, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD responded quickly and immediately implemented recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to minimize a possible spread of the virus while still remaining fully operational. Employees are working remotely, and travel is highly restricted. These days, flexibility and creative solutions are more important than ever, as is the case when ongoing video conferences are enlivened by a staff member’s children.

The spread of coronavirus in African countries

Healthcare systems across Europe are being pushed to the limit. If the virus hits Sub-Saharan Africa with the same force, the consequences are likely to be much more severe. There have been only a few reported cases of coronavirus in Africa, but the numbers may rise rapidly. LIGHT FOR THE WORLD is very concerned about the impact on the poorest and most vulnerable: women, men, and children with disabilities in our project communities. This is in addition to the elderly with a history of illness or who are immunocompromised and individuals suffering from malnutrition. Worldwide, these demographics undergo a more severe course of the coronavirus – and a correspondingly higher mortality rate.  

“The lessons we have learned from our programme work in Africa – especially in fighting trachoma – are similar to today’s global recommendations on the coronavirus. Number one: frequent handwashing! Number two: information is the key”, said Klaus Minihuber, Program Manager, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD. 

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