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Coronavirus safety measures pose challenges for the deaf

Persons living with hearing disabilities have been neglected and are not being assisted despite suffering from the economic effects of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.
Coast Association for Persons with Disability (CAPD) Chief Executive Officer Hamisa Maalim Zaja singled out the distribution of food to cushion them from economic hardships.
Zaja said the disabled fall under the vulnerable peoples following measures by the government to curb the spread of the virus.
“They lack civic education and sensitization against the deadly pandemic,” she said, adding the new norms of the coronavirus era like wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and conducting conversations have made life more complicated for the deaf.
Zaja said they lack special masks to enable them to read lips for proper translation during communication through sign language.
Persons living with hearing disabilities can’t communicate in sign language without reading lips and the masks currently in the market to fight the spread of corona virus are not fit for them.
“It’s not possible to communicate in sign language without using lips and making gestures,” she pointed out.
She called on the government to manufacture special facemasks for the deaf and the dumb.
She spoke during the launch of special masks for the persons living with hearing disabilities held at Tudor flats in Mvita constituency, Mombasa County.
She said the special masks will make it easier for them to communicate with each other and said she is targeting almost 1000 persons in her program in the county.
“To make matters worse they are unemployed and those in income generating activities are not doing well,” she pointed out.
The CAPD Chief Executive Officer reminded the forum the program will be rolled out in six counties to assist them to defeat the virus.
Zaja urged the disabled to take precautions and take up the challenge in the fight against the virus.
She added they are faced with more challenges which pose as a risk of being infected with the virus.
“They are most vulnerable to the effects in the fight against the spread of the virus and precautions should be taken against getting infected,” she said.
She said she will ensure they don’t become vulnerable in the war against the virus when infected.
By Hussein Abdullahi

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