Malawi commemorates deafblindness day: Vihema donates Covid-19 prevention items

Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association (Vihema Deafblind Malawi) donated Coronavirus disease (Covid 19) prevention materials to people with deafblindness as part of commemoration of International Deafblind Awareness Day which is also known as Helen Keller Day.

Vihema officials making a donation

Held under the theme: Deafblind and Thriving, the commemoration took place at Kudya Tourist Lodge in Blantyre over the weekend.

Stichting Tot Verbetering Van Het Lot Der Blinden–an organization from Netherlands–funded the commemoration and donation of Covid-19 materials.

The event also attracted officials from Blantyre Health Office–who spiced it up with Covid 19 talk in order to raise awareness about the pandemic to people with deafblindness.

Some of the Covid-19 prevention items deafblind people received at the ceremony included; masks, gloves, tap pales and soap.

According to Programs Coordinator for Vihema Deafblind Malawi Martha Momba, her association chose to commemorate this year’s Deafblindness Day in this manner to enable deafblind people share their experiences on virus pandemic and voice their rights to good health and well-being.

Deafblindness is a disability of a combination of sight and hearing loss that affects the person’s ability to communicate, access information and get around.

Although it can affect people of all ages including babies and young children, it is mostly common in older adults.

Vihema Deafblind Malawi has raised concern that this condition is fast becoming a larger proportion of disabilities in the country and asked authorities to quickly come up with specially tailored interventions for deafblind people especially in this era of Covid-19.

Speaking at the commemoration and donation, Vihema executive board chairperson, Dalitso Ngwira noted that most Covid 19 restrictions and instructions do not have clear guidelines with regard to people with deafblindness.

Among other things, Ngwira bemoaned what he described as inaccessibility of media information, invisibility of deafblindness to service providers and inavailability of personal protective equipment.

Deafblindness Day falls on 27 June in commemoration Helen Keller and many other deafblind people.

Keller was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

She lost her sight and hearing at the age of 1 year and 7 months to a disease now believed to be scarlet fever.

Vihema Deafblind Malawi is a non-govermental organisation involved in the promotion and empowerment of its members in various approaches in order to end the overdue mentality of prejudice towards deafblindness.

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