The chat was run by ARISE, a project which improves healthcare provision across informal settlements. Like Sightsavers, they are concerned that many at-risk groups – such as those with disabilities and chronic conditions – will suffer greater consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chat sparked lots of thought-provoking conversations about the greater risk people with disabilities face, how to make the global response more inclusive and the impact on daily life for people with disabilities.
The only way that we can fight COVID-19 is if we all ensure that we leave no one behind; people with disabilities and long-term health conditions are a vital part of ensuring that we can collectively do that. In case you missed it, here are some of the main points that came out from the conversations.
We know that older people and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, fall into a greater risk group for contracting the virus and are likely to have more severe symptoms if they get ill. Many people with disabilities also have underlying health conditions and face higher risks due to the barriers they face in society. For example, handwashing facilities might not be accessible and living in isolation may be impossible for someone who relies on others to help them with their daily needs. @JosephEtyang7, a deaf health worker from Kenya, pointed out that there is lack of accessible information, education and communication in signed languages, braille, pictorials and plain language. Others highlighted the difficulties of those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in accessing healthcare information.
— Humanity & Inclusion UK (@HI_UK) April 6, 2020
The world is coming to ensure a human-rights based approach to the #COVID19 response. Think #accessibility… make hand washing points either designated or accessible (Photo via AP Images). #disabilityC19 #DisabilityRights pic.twitter.com/0YHuODT5tu
— Estelle (@estherangulu) April 6, 2020
It’s essential that we listen to people with disabilities so we know how to respond in a useful, inclusive way.
It’s also crucial that data collected on the disease is disaggregated by groups such as age, sex and disability so that we can build a clear picture of how the disease is impacting different groups.
A3. Don't talk about "people with disabilities" as "the other". The messaging should not only be *for* us, it should be *by* us. We should be speaking to each other, not being spoken to by people who do not know our experience. @chronicinclude #disabilityC19
— Dr Anna Ruddock (@annalouruddock) April 6, 2020
A3: Some people with #disabilities are at higher risk of contracting #COVID19 due to underlying impairments. But we are receiving info on discriminatory treatment of persons w #disabilities when accessing emergency services. Their lives are NOT less of a priority. #DisabilityC19
— IDA (@IDA_CRPD_Forum) April 6, 2020
A3: Guess who’s best placed to talk about, with, and on behalf of people with disabilities? ?
?? People with disabilities.
— Andrea Pregel (@A_Pregel) April 6, 2020
Across the world, people with disabilities face stigma and discrimination in their daily lives. Now, we are beginning to see how the outbreak is exacerbating this. Accessing support and care is harder for people with disabilities and with many countries now on lockdown, lots of people are finding that their previous support has diminished. Stigma could also worsen a person’s chances of receiving medical assistance and recovering from the disease.
#disabilityc19 in people with hearing loss, lip reading is the most common way of communication, which will be hampered when caregivers are wearing masks. Providing deaf-spefic training is very crucial.@AktarBachera@sallytheobald @PamojaUK @oooppu046
— Ateeb Ahmad Parray (@dr_ateeb) April 6, 2020
An essential but often overlooked component is adequate knowledge and appropriate training for medical staff (all tiers) on accessibility, attitudes and knowledge about disabilities-goes a long way in providing safe, appropriate health services #DisabilityC19 and A5
— S Nagesh (@snagesh2) April 6, 2020
There are also fears that the pandemic could have long-term negative impacts on education. School-age children with disabilities frequently face exclusion and discrimination in the classroom and now, if their education is not prioritised, there is a danger that they may miss out entirely.
A6: Adequate and sustained financing for inclusive education is needed during, and after, #COVID19 outbreak and specific actions needed to ensure that the most marginalised children are effectively included and supported to return to school when schools re-open #DisabilityC19
— IDDC (@iddcconsortium) April 6, 2020