EBOLA AWARENESS FOR EDEN’S VISUALLY IMPAIRED THROUGH DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH
3 November – 3 December 2014
With the current Ebola outbreak in the African countries which so far claimed the lives of more than 4 000 people, and the commemoration of National Disability Awareness Month, the Eden District Municipality, launched the first Ebola Braille document for visually impaired persons residing within the Eden district.
The launch took place at a press conference that was held at the Eden District Municipality on Friday, 7 November 2014. This vital educational document was launched under the National theme “Celebrating 20 years of the rights of persons with disabilities in our Democracy”.
For months already Eden District Municipality worked tirelessly on an Ebola Contingency Master Plan to ensure that their readiness and management of a possible imported case or cases is up to standard. The Provincial Department of Health and Eden officials were trained and constant information sessions are attended by these officials to get on par with the status of the disease and its possible spreading to other countries. This Braille document forms part of Eden’s statutory mandate to inform the community to ensure that even the most vulnerable person’s such as the disabled, are informed, in a dignified manner.
The Braille document contains basic Ebola disease awareness information, such as the symptoms, incubation period and prevention measures to educate the broader public. Last year on 7 October 2013, Eden also launched a Braille information document on Fire Safety, Meningitis, TB and Hand washing etc where partially sighted Mr Albert Booysen, a volunteer at the Pacaltsdorp Clinic, almost got the audience in tears when he read out of the document.
Early this year, Eden went as far as donating Braille Bibles to the Association for People Living with a Disability (APD).
For the Eden District Municipality, these Braille documents are not merely produced to create awareness on vital aspects, but also to ensure that the needs of the disabled, as outlined in the Bill of Rights, are met. We remain committed to firstly our own IDP, the objectives of National Development Plan, that ensures equal access to all and that the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the Africa 2063 Agenda likewise guarantees that no-one is left behind, and that the reduction of inequality, exclusion, segregation and marginalisation experienced by persons with disabilities in, for example, the Millennium Development Goals, be reversed by putting mechanisms in place that will ensure equitable access and participation in public health education, with specific reference to Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) by persons with disabilities, Mr Clive Africa, Eden’s Executive Manager for Community Services said.
Ebola information is also available in Xhosa, Afrikaans, English and will soon be available in French languages.
This small gesture of assistance in the restoration of the dignity of the disabled, on behalf of the Executive Mayor of Eden, Cllr Wessie Van Der Westhuizen, the Mayoral Committee and Council, the Municipal Manager, Mr Godfrey Louw and senior managers and staff, is in support of the commemoration for the rights of the Disabled.
Cllr Henry McCombi at the event said that, these Braille Ebola information brochures will be placed at strategic points such as local libraries, municipal offices etc. in the Eden District municipal area for access to those who are visually impaired.