Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services and Other Preventive Measures against COVID-19 among People with Disabilities, Dodoma, Tanzania

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  • 1 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
  • | 2 1eme etage, Aram Siga, Almadies, Dakar, Senegal;
  • | 3 Sanitation and Water Action (SAWA), Tanzania, Opportunity Tanzania Building, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) among people with disabilities is a great concern in developing countries. During COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in addition to other preventive measures the government of Tanzania invested heavily on hand washing facilities in public places. However, the interventions were mostly for the general population. A big question was the appropriateness of the preventive measures to address different kinds of disabilities. The study was conducted to assess access to WASH and other preventive measures against COVID-19 among people with disabilities. This was a qualitative study where a total of 16 key informant interviews and nine focus group discussions were conducted. The study was carried out in seven districts of Dodoma region, Tanzania. Findings show that there were inadequate WASH and other COVID-19 preventive measures designed specifically for people with disabilities against the pandemic. Many people with disabilities experienced challenges in accessing adequate water for hand washing and using hand washing facilities installed for general population. Also they received inadequate health education and timely communication on COVID-19 preventive measures in addition to challenges in keeping distance and accessing and use of face masks and sanitizers. People with mobility, hearing, and vision impairments were mostly affected. There was no representation of people with disability at the national COVID-19 task force. Specific programs for people with disabilities to address access to WASH and other preventive measures against COVID-19 would address most of the identified challenges.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Hussein Mohamed, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. E-mail: hmohameds1@gmail.com

Financial support: The funding for this study was obtained from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), now Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) through Sanitation and Water Action (SAWA), Tanzania.

Authors’ addresses: Hussein Mohamed, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, E-mail: hmohameds1@gmail.com. Elizabeth Wamera, 1eme etage, Aram Siga, Almadies, Dakar, Senegal, E-mail: lizkwamera@yahoo.com. Wilhelmina Malima, Sanitation and Water Action (SAWA), Tanzania, Opportunity Tanzania Building, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, E-mail: minamalima@yahoo.com

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