MULTAN - Over 7000 differently-abled citizens, majority of women, lacked customized wheelchairs for their movement as they could not afford due to financial issues because the prices of wheelchairs gone up significantly following pandemic coronavirus.

Before emergence of COVID-19, the average price of wheelchair was nearly Rs 10,000. However, now, the price of an ordinary wheelchair jumped to Rs 20,000, said market sources while talking to APP, here on Sunday.

The pandemic coronavirus also resulted into shortage of wheelchairs due to disruption in supply system and price hike trend, at global level. The prices of iron and other articles, required for manufacturing of wheelchairs witnessed upward trend and it affected the poor special persons.  When contacted Chairperson Society for Special Persons Ms Zahida Hameed, she apprised that they had over 7000 wheelchairs requests.  She hinted that price hike trend created more troubles for disabled citizens.  Society for Special Persons is one of the leading organizations in the country with over 20,000 members, working for rights of the physically challenged citizens. The organization also runs a customized wheelchair manufacturing unit to provide wheelchairs and tri-cycles, to disabled citizens as per their requirement.

The organization lacked resources to meet the issue of wheelchairs shortage. She suggested that government should facilitate the organization in expansion of the customized wheelchair unit so that it could meet the issue of wheelchairs shortage. Locally prepared customized wheelchairs are highly economically if compared to imported wheelchairs, Zahid disclosed.

She, however, observed that the shortage of wheelchairs, especially for persons with cerebral palsy, were very much expensive.

The government and philanthropists should come forward to facilitate the differently-abled persons and resolve accessibility problems.