Social Agencies work ‘hand-in-hand’ to ensure access for PwDs

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Mrs. Desiree Clarke, Deputy Executive Secretary, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) at work in her office at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development. Officials at the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and its Secretariat, and the Disability Affairs Division of the Department of Social Services, have been diligently working hand-in-hand to ensure that both the needs of regular and new clients who are persons with disabilities are being addressed during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (BIS Photo/Matt Maura)

Officials at the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and its Secretariat, and the Disability Affairs Division of the Department of Social Services, have been diligently working hand-in-hand to ensure that both the needs of regular and new clients who are persons with disabilities are being addressed during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The collaboration is part of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development’s continued efforts to ensure that all of its human and other resources are brought to bear in the delivery of social assistance. Provisions have been made for persons with disabilities who are not clients of the Department, to provide their information via telephone to the Social Workers at the Disability Affairs Division so that they can receive Emergency Food Assistance. They are required to show their ID’s upon collection. Persons with disabilities can contact the Disability Affairs Division at telephone: 325-2251/2 for assistance.

Officials at the Disability Affairs Division have also collaborated with The Bahamas Red Cross to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of the Red Cross’ Meals on Wheels Programme. Meanwhile, officials at the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and its Secretariat, have established a 24hr call and whats app line at 376-8328 as part of the measures it has implemented to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities are being met and with a view of bringing any outstanding matters to a speedy resolution.

Persons with disabilities can also register online through the Ministry’s link on the government’s website: www.bahamas.gov.bs. They may also email the Disabilities Commission at Disabilitiescommission@bahamas.gov.bs, or register online at the website: www.disabilitiescommissionbahamas.org or visit the Commission’s Facebook Page at disabilitiescommission242.

The Commission and its Secretariat have also been liaising with the relevant Non-Governmental Organizations to ensure that persons with disabilities have sufficient food, medical supplies, and protective equipment to ensure their safety and protection during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Other initiatives have included working closely with members of the Blind Community and the Association of Banking and Clearing Houses in The Bahamas to enhance and improve members of the community’s banking experience, and ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to, and receive the benefits and assistance due them, and that they remain safe, protected and have the necessary items for their continued well-being.

Additionally, they have ensured that persons with disabilities who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing have access to information being disseminated from the media through the participation of a Sign Interpreter on all national broadcasts and have assisted persons with disabilities and other able-bodied persons to obtain wheelchairs by liaising with The Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. Administrators have updated the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities website to reflect information relative to the COVID-19 Pandemic; answered and responded to emails from family members/persons with disabilities concerns relative to COVID-19, all while performing the general administrative duties of The Secretariat by assisting the fifteen Commissioners of The NCPD who ensure that the Provisions contained in the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Bill, 2014 are adhered to.

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