Issue of October 11, 2020
     
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PWDs also special concern during pandemic, says doc
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

Senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities are not the only ones susceptible to the Covid-19 infection.

Those who have difficulty in processing information; those who could hardly communicate their thoughts, and those who are highly dependent on care providers are equally at risk to infection, according to Dr. Gwendolyn Cayad, medical specialist V of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Psychiatry Department.

Cayad was one of the speakers in the health and nutrition seminar organized by the CAR Media Educators on Nutrition and the National Nutrition Council-CAR in partnership with the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO).

Cayad said while disability alone does not make a PWD at higher risk of getting the infection, they are still at risk because of their condition.

She added those who have limited mobility and can’t avoid close contact with their care providers, people who have trouble understanding information, people who are not able to communicate Covid-19 symptoms such as those with mental retardation, severe psychosis, autism, and the deaf-mute are among the vulnerable sectors among PWDs.

Apart from following minimum health protocols, Cayad has suggested to families with a PWD that there should be an alternative care plan in case a PWD or their care providers get infected with the Covid-19 virus.

“There should be a plan B. What should be done if the direct support provider gets sick?” Cayad said.

She suggested to the PDAO to also discuss these possibilities so they can provide assistance to those with special needs.

So far, no PWD has been infected with the Covid-19.

PDAO-Baguio head Samuel Aquino said having a plan B has not been explored but assured that his office is closely coordinating with the City Health Services Office to ensure that PWDs continue to be given the assistance they need in the event that one of them or their care provider is infected.

He said the PDAO will also strengthen its collaboration with family members of PWDs and barangay officials so that in the event that no one will be available to assist them, government will still be able to extend assistance.


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