Health staff at a vaccination centre in a district of Laos. | © Vilaysack XAYSANA / HI
HI is working to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in Laos and recently published a survey on the obstacles to vaccination faced by people with disabilities.
HI recently carried out a survey on access to vaccination programmes by people with disabilities in Laos. HI’s teams interviewed some one hundred people with disabilities by telephone from May to June 2021 in the districts of Xamnua and Kaison and in the capital Vientiane.
“Our current projects show that people with disabilities always find it harder to access care. As the survey we conducted in Laos a few months ago revealed, access to Covid-19 vaccination programmes is no exception,” says Pilar Duat Llorens, the director of HI’s programmes in the region.
The survey revealed that:
“As a humanitarian organisation, we need to help reduce the impact of Covid-19 in the countries where we work,” explains Pilar Duat Llorens. In Laos between January and June 2021, HI:
People with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially since the virus has the potential to impact pre-existing conditions. Physical obstacles and discriminatory behaviour can also limit access to high-demand public services.
“The pandemic affects everyone, but people with special needs are even more vulnerable. Many easy and reasonable adjustments can be made so everyone is included in the fight against Covid-19,” says Pilar Duat Llorens.
“The people organising Covid-19 vaccination programmes need to ensure everyone is included,” she adds. “It is important to adapt communication campaigns by making new formats available and translating messages into sign language, for example. We also need to transport vulnerable individuals and provide appropriate support to people with special needs if they have to queue.”