The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) continues to work towards two major technological shifts officials anticipate will “transform” the avenues in which the Commission and its Secretariat assist the community of persons with disabilities. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, who has remit for the community of persons with disabilities, said taking advantage of the digital trend that the COVID-19 environment has created, has sped up many of the Ministry’s affiliate departments/entities efforts to upgrade their technological infrastructure in order to meet clients’ needs wherever they are. This includes the National Commission for Persons with Disability and its Secretariat.
The two major technological shifts the NCPD continues to work towards are the Disability App and The Digital Identification Card for Persons with Disabilities. Minister Campbell said the disability register is “steadily progressing.” The NCPD has so far secured two quotes for the development of a Mobile App as Information Communications Technology (ICT) have increasingly become important and necessary in a digital age.
“Access to ICT’s is one of the greatest equalizers for persons with disabilities,” Minister Campbell said. “They can become life-changing tools for persons with disabilities, enabling them to more fully participate in various aspects of society. The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities proposes the development of a Mobile App for persons with disabilities and their families (PwDaF), in addition to the creation of a Digital Identification Card for Persons with Disabilities.”
The primary purpose of the App is to serve as a portal whereby Persons with Disabilities and their families can have access to accurate, timely and reliable information with regard to disability-related services and support. The App’s features will provide: one touch access to all Emergency Services [including text services for deaf and hard of hearing (DHoH); name and contact information of all Government departments, agencies and services frequently used by Persons with Disabilities and their families; name and
contact information of non-profit organizations (NPOs); name and contact information of disability-related organizations (disability NGOs); NCPD Person with Disability official registration form.]
The Digital Identification Card for Persons with Disabilities is being proposed in conjunction with the National Insurance Board, and is based upon on the possibility of NIB cards including the word “Disability” on the cards of persons with disabilities, similar to what is extended for “Seniors.” Another option is to have the global symbol for “disability” imprinted on their NIB card. Alternately, there exists the consideration of the Commission issuing a stand-alone card. An additional option is a digital ID Card, which is proposed to be a part of or linked to the Mobile App, though not in the initial phase of the App.
The App hopes to provide: push notification for national alerts, emergency and disaster news; access to Video Relay Service (VRS) a video telecommunication service that allows deaf, hard-of-hearing, individuals to communicate over video devices and with hearing people in real-time, using a sign language interpreter, and access to visual assistance service, a video telecommunication service that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to receive visual assistance through a live video call.
Also as part of its ongoing efforts, the NCPD has also worked on updating The Registry of Persons with Disabilities as part of the measures they have implemented and undertaken to address the needs of the community of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This list is also required for disasters to know where each person with disability is located in case evacuation is required.