Albinism Society of Botswana has reported government to Southern African Litigation Centre for failing to prioritise people living with disability in its vaccination program.
Albinism Society chairman, Sergeant Kgosietsile said despite a known fact that those with albinism disability are the most vulnerable, government did not make any arrangements for them to receive Covid-19 vaccine.
“We have since taken a decision to report government for failing people living with disability in its vaccination campaign. We had thought government will give us priority considering our vulnerability but nothing has materialised,” said Kgosietsile.
Kgosietsile highlighted that their intention is to force government to fully vaccinate those living with disability, adding that the virus has continued to get worse.
He said it is disheartening that government has made considerations for frontline workers without the inclusion of people living with disabilities.
“We had thought that since government is aware of our plight, they would at least consider some sort of arrangement for the disability. It would have been commendable to vaccinate people with disabilities at their homes, and not having to wait this long to be vaccinated with other people at health facilities,” said Kgosietsile.
He said people living with disability continue to find themselves marginalised, saying that a great number of their society has not been vaccinated.
“There is a lot of progress when it comes to vaccination of people living with disability in some countries, it is in Botswana where government continues to disregard our interests,” added Kgosietsile.
He further said it has been proven over the years that government has sidelined them, indicating that they remain hopeless.
It has been widely reported that the country is struggling with vaccination.
It has been widely reported that Botswana is experiencing a shortage of the second dose of AstraZaneca due to a delay in the arrival of the vaccine.
“The ministry was expecting the AstraZeneca vaccine consignment procured through the Covax facility, by the last week of June 2021. Owing to high global demand for Covax-19 vaccines, which has now outstripped supply, the supplier has so far not been able to deliver in the time lines expected,” said government.
In 2017, The Albinism society petitioned government to address their concerns signed by 58 members of the Albinism Society of Botswana. It emphasised that people with albinism had always suffered in Botswana as their condition was not recognised as a disability.
They said the situation was worsened by government’s failure to domesticate the UN Convention of the Rights of People Living with Disabilities.
The petition said because Botswana served people living with disability through policies which do not constitute Acts of Parliament, such policies could not be enforced in courts of law to meet the legal expectations of people living with disabilities.