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Catholic Bishops in Tanzania Reach Out to Persons with Disabilities on COVID-19 Prevention

Catholic Bishops in Tanzania facilitate training of special needs groups on COVID-19 prevention. Credit: TEC

Catholic Bishops in Tanzania are reaching out to persons with disabilities in a training that seeks to equip the blind and deaf with COVID-19 prevention strategies. 

In a report about the two-day training that was organized in Tanzania’s Tabora Archdiocese, the Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) explains the choice of the beneficiaries.

“There has been a wave of COVID-19 and we have considered people with disabilities especially the deaf and blind because we want everyone to be informed about COVID-19,” Fr. Charles Kitima has been quoted as saying in the news report published Saturday, September 18.

Fr. Kitima adds, “We must go together without anyone being left behind because COVID-19 does not choose. It affects anyone, so everyone must know how to protect themselves and others,”

“TEC has provided education to various groups and now have seen the need for special groups so that they can protect themselves and others against viral infections,” the Tanzanian Priest further says about beneficiaries of the initiative realized through a partnership between Catholic Bishops in the East African nation and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). 

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“Disability does not mean that one is less human; they have rights to get all information on the Coronavirus pandemic hence be ambassadors to others,” Fr. Kitima underscores, and continues, “The Church values human life which is a gift from God. This life has great value and we should respect it.” 

Tanzania has recorded at least 1,367 cases of the virus including 50 deaths and 183 recoveries. 

In the September 18 news report authored by Sarah Pelaji following the September 13-14 training, TEC Project Manager says the initiative of reaching out to persons with disabilities is countrywide.

“The training in Tabora is the beginning of the mission of Catholic Church in Tanzania for the aim is to meet most people with disabilities in the country through Dioceses,” Fr. Chrisantus Ndaga has been quoted as saying. 

The training, Fr. Ndaga says, “is not an easy task, for there is a communication barrier.”

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The Tanzanian Priest continues, “We have used experts and professionals who are able to use sign language and translate symbols for the deaf and Braille for the visually impaired.” 

The beneficiaries are being “trained through practical protective measures and at the end of the training we shall support them with masks and sanitizers for their daily use,” Fr. Ndaga further said. 

The member of the Clergy of Tanzania’s Mahenge Diocese called on the government and other development agencies to collaborate in bringing awareness about COVID-19 “pandemic to all people, especially those with special needs, so that no one is left behind in the fight against the global pandemic,” the news report published September 18 indicates.