Nagaland government served notice over Covid-19 vaccination of PwDs
Dimapur, June 3 (EMN): The Court of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) on Thursday issued a notice to the state government, State Disaster Management Authority and the Health department in connection with prioritising vaccination of persons with disabilities.
The notice, a copy of which is available with this newspaper, stated that the court had intervened over delayed action despite several communications by the office of the State Commissioner for PwDs.
The respondents have been requested to immediately initiate action as envisaged under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It include implementation of office memorandum issued by the department of Empowerment of PwDs, Government of India, on April 29 this year for priority and preference to PwDs in testing, treatment and vaccination of Covid-19.
The respondents have been asked to implement Union Health Ministry’s directive to vaccinate PwDs without prescribed identity cards through CoWIN, adding that it should be should be carried out in co-ordination with the Social Welfare department whereby the District Welfare Officers shall act as nodal officers for smooth vaccination.
“Further, the nodal officers must co-ordinate with the district-level committees on disabilities in their respective districts and should identify those PwDs with high support needs/who are unable to leave their houses, to arrange for home vaccinations,” read the notice.
The notice further asked to establish separate centre (wherever feasible) for vaccination of only PwDs in each district on priority basis; ensure that existing vaccination centres are made accessible for PwDs; ensure that they are given priority at the vaccination centres; and carry out regular special vaccination drive for such persons in all the districts.
The respondents have been directed to submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) within seven days of receipt of the notice.
The notice maintained that ‘PwDs are among the most vulnerable since they are at very high risk of contracting the virus and developing a severe case of the disease which may even prove fatal because of their co-morbidities’.
Informing that there are approximately 30,000 PwDs residing in Nagaland (as per 2011 census), it said many of them might not have the required ID cards which will cause hindrance in getting vaccinated, and hence the need to do away with the procedure.
“Further, due to attitudinal and environmental barriers, persons with disabilities are often among the last group who can access highly demanded public services, especially in situations of risk and emergency,” read the notice, adding that ‘Section 25 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 mandates free healthcare, barrier-free access and priority in attendance and treatment to PwDs’.
“Under Section 80 (b) of the RPwD Act 2016, the State Commissioner for Person with
Disabilities is mandated to inquire suo motu or otherwise, deprivation of the rights of persons with disabilities and safeguards available to them and to monitor implementation of the Act and take up with the appropriate authorities for corrective action,” it added.