By Menue Bainda, Communications Assistant – AIFO Liberia
In an effort to combat the new variant of the deadly COVID-19 in Liberia, Community Workers of AIFO Liberia are accessing hard-to-reach areas in rural communities to inform and educate rural residents about the Coronavirus. They are also educating locals on how people can prevent themselves from contracting the virus and how everyone can contribute to the fight against the pandemic.
Four counties including, Montserrado, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh are benefiting from this initiative. Since the middle of May, 2021, Liberia has been experiencing a sharp increase in the new variant of the deadly COVID-19 and has triggered fear in many people, as they continue to see and hear daily statistics of COVID-19 cases from the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and the Ministry of Health, as well as death news. Since the occurrence of COVID-19 in Liberia in 2020, the country has recorded 1397 confirmed cases.
The AIFO initiative is part of the Disability and Startup project, which is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
In addition to the initiative, the Community Workers are informing and educating residents including disabled people and non-disabled people about the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disabilities.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations. The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008.
The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced. The Convention was negotiated during eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2006, making it the fastest negotiated human rights treaty. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html.
Local residents have expressed interest in the initiative and they have vowed to apply best health practices for their own protection and enforce government health protocols in their respective towns and villages.
AIFO Liberia is a professional non-profit health and development organization that enables opportunities for persons affected by leprosy, persons with disabilities, women, children and members of poor and vulnerable groups. This is done through focused healthcare, education and economic empowerment initiatives in Liberia with the aim of providing a better quality of life and creating large scale positive change.