As Burundi has stepped up efforts to fight against Coronavirus countrywide including mass testing, reduction of soap and water prices by 50 percent the deaf community in Burundi remained uninformed in the fight against the pandemic in the country.
Aline Berahino the chairperson of the Deaf Women Association in Burundi (AFSB) said that majority of the deaf including herself knew nothing about Coronavirus, neither on how the virus is spread nor cured as most of the information disseminated through media houses can’t be consumed by the deaf.
“No sign language used on TV while transmitting the information regarding the virus so the deaf are left out because we can’t know exactly how the disease infects, prevented or even cured,” said Ms. Berahino.
Aline Berahino as the chairperson of the AFSB said that communication barrier is the major hindrance in the country’s effort to fight Coronavirus spread, urging the government to introduce sign language interpretation on TV or at the health centers.
“We can’t call on the hotline that was provided by the government…at the health center most of the doctors do not understand the sign language and this make it more difficult for us to communicate,” she said.
A mass Coronavirus testing campaign kicked-off this week in Burundi’s economic capital Bujumbura following President Evariste Ndayishimiye’s call on stepping up the fight against the pandemic.
Two days into the mass testing campaign at least 1233 people tested for the virus in three different testing centers located in Bujumbura, according to the Burundian health ministry 41 of them tested positive for the virus.
Burundi’s government said that the mass test will be conducted for a period of three months and the results of those tested will be out within 24hrs.
According to the country’s health ministry the number of citizens who turned up for testing on day one surpassed the expectations as the targeted daily number of tests was estimated at 250, however by Monday midday the number had exceeded 400.
Currently the number of COVID-19 cases in Burundi stands at 250 with one fatality, the government says 131 people who had earlier tested positive for the virus recovered and were discharged from the hospital.
As the Burundi government has stepped up new COVID-19 preventive measures, the deaf community in Burundi remains uniformed hence causing a greater risk of being infected or spread the disease if nothing changes.