This qualitative study was undertaken as part of the work of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded Inclusion Works programme which aims to improve inclusive employment for people with disabilities in four countries: Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged early in 2020 the work of this consortium programme was adapted to focus on pandemic relief and research activities, while some other planned work was not possible.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic
Resources on coronavirus and disability
This is a database of resources from experts around the world on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it intersects with disability.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities. Emerging research suggests that people with disabilities across the world have experienced various rights violations and been disproportionality affected by the health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses to it. The aim of this research was to explore how people with disabilities, who often are excluded from research, have experienced the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. To better understand how it has affected jobseekers with disabilities, in-depth qualitative research was conducted in Kenya as part of the Inclusion Works programme.
This report documents the experience of exclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences reveal pre-existing structural inequalities that affected the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families before COVID-19, during the pandemic, and beyond, and this report raises up the voices of those most excluded in a time of global crisis and demands an inclusive COVID-19 recovery.
This report includes the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and families across eight different issue areas. Across these themes, we examined how and why people with intellectual disabilities were left out and excluded in pandemic responses, what pre-existing conditions and inequalities contributed to their vulnerability and exclusion, and how future policy structures could begin to address both this immediate and systemic exclusion.
Together, these experiences and policy solutions form our global agenda for inclusive COVID-19 recovery, an action plan to ensure that government efforts to ‘build back better’ are inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
This qualitative study was undertaken as part of the work of the FCDO funded Inclusion Works programme which aims to improve inclusive employment for people with disabilities in four countries: Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged early in 2020 the work of this consortium programme was adapted to focus on pandemic relief and research activities, while other planned worked was not possible.
The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) led a piece of qualitative research to explore the experiences and perceptions of the pandemic and related lockdowns in each country, using a narrative interview approach, which asks people to tell their stories, following up with some further questions once they have identified their priorities to talk about. 10 people with disabilities who were involved in Inclusion Works in each country were purposively selected to take part, each being invited to have two interviews with an interval of one or two months in between, in order to capture changes in their situation over time. The 10 interviewees had a range of impairments, were gender balanced and were various ages, as well as having differing living and working situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities. Emerging research suggests that people with disabilities across the world have experienced various rights violations and been disproportionality affected by the health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses to it. The aim of this research was to explore how people with disabilities, who often are excluded from research, have experienced the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. In order to better understand how it has affected jobseekers with disabilities, in-depth qualitative research was conducted as part of the Inclusion Works programme in Bangladesh.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities globally, yet the impact has not been equal. People with disabilities were already often living with severe disadvantage and marginalisation and, as predicted by many disability-focused agencies, Covid-19 has exacerbated these inequalities. Emerging evidence from Inclusive Futures, a UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded programme, highlights the catastrophic emotional and material impacts on people with disabilities in Nepal and Bangladesh. To respond to and plan for future crises, decision makers should consult inclusively with both organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and people with disabilities themselves.
Antony Were, who works for Humanity & Inclusion in Kenya, briefly describes his experience as an inclusive teacher in refugee camps and asks panelists how can teachers be better supported to be inclusive teachers, especially during times of crisis like COVID, so that children with disabilities don’t lose out
The overall objective of this study was to examine the impact of school closures due to Covid-19 on the education of children with disabilities attending primary schools. Using phone surveys, 99 parents/carers were interviewed to gain insight into the educational experiences of their children, any barriers faced and their main concerns. All the families had at least one child with a disability in the 6-15 years age group, with approximately six families reporting two or more children with disabilities (though not in the same age range)
Digital information systems serving the social protection sector, and especially social assistance, are increasingly prominent and will continue to be, as is the case within all other sectors. “Why? Because the ability of a country to care for its people and respond to their lifecycle needs depends on its ability to identify those who are in need, enroll them, provide tailored benefits and services, and follow up to cater to evolving circumstances”. Governments also need to be able to monitor programme implementation and impact, feeding into longer-term decisions on design and resource allocation. “All of these actions require accessible, dynamic and real-time data and information exchange if the goal of universal coverage is to be achieved” (Chirchir and Barca, 2019).
The coverage (% of the population included in the information system), relevance (amount/type of data they store), and accessibility (e.g. level of interoperability/data sharing across the government data ecosystem) of these administrative data systems has also been increasing in many countries – posing important opportunities and challenges to policy-makers. The question is how to develop these systems in a way that is inclusive and right-based, leveraging technology “to ensure a higher standard of living for the vulnerable and disadvantaged” (Alston, 2019) rather than becoming a further barrier to inclusion. To illustrate the point this paper specifically focuses on gender and disability inclusion, while acknowledging similar considerations apply to all other forms of (intersectional) exclusion.
Developed by Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice (SPACE) in collaboration with the UNPRPD joint program on inclusive Social Protection, the UNPRPD global initiative on COVID 19 inclusive response and recovery, and Humanity & Inclusion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that countries which have disability identification mechanisms and registries already in place have been in a better position to provide fast relief and expand shock responsive support to persons with disabilities and their families.
This guidance note includes:
- Brief introduction to the definitions and terminology surrounding disability and the concept of inclusive social protection
- Summary of the rationale for the inclusion of persons with disability in social protection programming
- Examples for overcoming the challenges for outreach, identification, and registration, and needs assessment
- Some country examples
- Overall implications for future programming.
An introduction into South Asia looking at the pandemic who people are struggling with in 2020. The DGS has aimed to first identify and acknowledge the diversity of disability experiences in the Global South and, second, make these experiences readily available and accessible to disabled people and their communities in the regions where the contributors themselves are from. In fact, in undertaking this special issue as editors, we would like to recognize the incredible persistence of our contributors to continue to work with us throughout the development of the papers, alongside acknowledging the many original contributors who were also unable to accept our invitation to participate because of the covid19 pandemic impacts upon every aspect of their lives.
Persons with disabilities are invisible and almost silent in the Indian media. This paper examines the emergence of articulate expressions of persons with disabilities (pwd) in the social media over the months March to June 2020 during COVID Lockdown. While technology has been seen as a great leveller for persons with disabilities, the digital divide, however, remains very real for masses of disabled persons, whereby it is largely the educated middle class who have access to internet facilities and presence on social media. This paper draws from observation and analysis of posts on Facebook by different categories of persons with disabilities. There appear to be a number of discourses emerging and imageries running almost parallel. Accessibility and support appear to be very important issues especially in terms of access to domestic workers, regular medical checkups, and procuring daily provisions as well as access to online teaching. On the other hand, little concern is being paid to the huge humanitarian crisis of returnee workers from cities to villages. Interestingly, disabled persons appeared more connected, participating in discussions and Webinars and voicing out their experiences with greater clarity and also analysing the COVID situation through Disability Studies (DS) perspectives.
The circumstantial understanding of the ‘normal’, ushered in by the spread of COVID 19, has been the practice of ‘social distancing’. Exercising this ‘new normal’ has been a challenge in general for society. However, it is particularly important to recognize the psycho-social impact and analyse it through the lens of ageing in relation to experiences of disability. This paper therefore attempts to explore the experiences of uncertainties in the light of ageing with disabilities, pronounced during a time of crisis, leading to social distress. With the help of telephonic conversations, the paper discusses some of the stories of people living in Guwahati, in the age-group of 70 to 90, drawing on an intersectional understanding of personhood, social suffering, and symbolic disability. It is also an attempt to look into the aspect of wellbeing (physical, psychological and emotional) of the elderly amidst disabilities, while stepping into unfamiliar social boundaries of ambiguity, that further disable the elderly in terms of the sudden fading of the regular support structures and systematic foundations of the ‘social’ once known to them.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures have resulted in a mental health crisis globally. Marginalised populations have been disproportionately affected during the pandemic with an aggravation of existing inequalities, and this has increased the risks to their mental health. The LGBTIQ+ population is among those marginalised whose lives have been rendered even more precarious than before by the pandemic. This paper explores some of the main risks to the mental health of LGBTIQ+ people in India, the advice being given to them by mental health professionals and activists, and need for queer revisionings of uncertainty, the concept of a future and individualism.
The ongoing pandemic situation has disrupted lives globally. These disruptions are embodied in gender, social location, ethnicity and in the body. Public health facilities, accessibility of urban infrastructure, support services for persons with disability, educational accessibility in cities prior to the pandemic have influenced the manner in which disabled people are able to adapt to the current situation. This paper presents the experiences of young people living with visual impairments who reside in an urban low-income community in India. It explores the unique challenges such as the further reduction in accessibility to health and educational facilities that they are facing and the manner in which their carefully structured everyday lives have changed. The narratives also describe the manner in which they are coping with the public health disaster in addition to preparing for the new ‘norms’ that people living with visual impairments are required to navigate as an outcome of the pandemic. The paper gives voice to their needs and requirements in this situation, and in turn, aims to inform policy responses through first person accounts.
The onset of the sudden and global pandemic, COVID-19, has forced all of us to change our ways of living and interacting with the outside world. Additionally, a lot of restrictions on movement mandated by governments have also been issued in the past few months. In the context of India, a nationwide lockdown was in place from midmarch till the end of May. These lock-downs have had serious consequences for various segments of the population across the country, especially, those on the margins, who are vulnerable and/or in a minority. One such segment has been the disabled population. This paper, with the help of narratives, addresses the challenges faced by the deaf population during the COVID crisis and the ways in which they have negotiated these. There has been a big void in the dissemination of information to the deaf, owing to the fact that the majority of information from official sources has not been translated into sign language. More so, in times when information is the key to maintaining proper health care, this is a big lacuna. Additionally, the paper will also talk about the role of technology as well as of deaf groups in the lives of deaf people, and how it has proved to be very helpful to not just spread proper awareness about the pandemic, but also in trying to build up a movement in trying to recognise Indian Sign Language as the 23rd Official Language of India.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has initiated debate in the world about the response mechanism towards different communities in society. Pandemics have a long history in human societies, changing not only human behavior but also world politics. The Russian flu of 1889, the Spanish flu of 1918, the polio pandemic of 1949, H2N2 virus, 1956, HIV/AIDS 1981, Swine flu 2001, SARS 2002 among others have caused millions of deaths in contemporary recorded history. This paper examines Pakistan’s response mechanisms for persons with disabilities through an analysis of relevant policy documents, UN guidelines and content analysis of key speeches by the Prime Minister Imran Khan, interviews and initiatives taken by the government. The paper concludes that in the absence of any definitive policy for persons with disabilities during COVID19, there has been a general ignorance and apathy towards the way persons with disabilities were given care or in dealing with them during the lockdown situation. As the COVID-19 second wave started in different parts of the world, it is time for the government to take substantive measures to ease problems faced by persons with disabilities.
Recent research in the global South has highlighted that persons with disabilities are a vulnerable category of persons during the COVID19 outbreak. This paper provides some preliminary insights into Sri Lankan government responses to the outbreak, which, as we will be highlighting, take an ableist approach that further neglect the interests of persons with disabilities while entrenching disability dependencies on informal structures of familial and household support and in turn, increasing their marginality and economic insecurity. The COVID-19 outbreak hit Sri Lanka during a period of political turmoil – national Parliament had been dissolved on 3 March 2020 with elections initially called for 25 April 2020, six months prior to the official end of the Government’s elected term. Drawing upon rapid interview narratives, we present the lived experiences of two women with disabilities and the unique challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we write this paper in September 2020, we acknowledge that the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 will not become immediately visible, particularly for disabled people from ethno-religious minority groups, including those residing within the former conflict zones.
The COVID 19 pandemic crisis is unfolding against the backdrop of several important milestones for equality and the human rights of various marginalized groups including women and girls, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities in all their diversities and intersections in Nepal. The COVID-19 pandemic has entrenched systemic gaps, underlying structural inequalities and pervasive discrimination, more visible with inadequate healthcare, access to information, employment and livelihoods, and social protection system mainly for marginalized groups. This study aims to understand the challenges and impacts of the COVID 19 on marginalized groups including persons with disabilities in Nepal. Based on qualitative research with primary and secondary information, the paper emphasizes the experiences and realities of marginalized groups during the lockdown and pandemic situations. Some of the existing challenges faced by marginalized groups include access to information and health measures related to COVID 19, access to livelihoods and employment, increasing rates of suicide, violence against women from marginalized groups, women with disabilities, and others. The study will integrate these components and deal with intersections with concrete recommendations.
Despite disability rights being recognized through formal legislation in Bangladesh, the rights of persons with disabilities are still not effectively ensured. State interventions during the pandemic have not sufficiently accommodated the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Pre-existing social prejudices have added to their plight. Due to social prejudice and myriad access to justice challenges, persons with disabilities in Bangladesh face negative attitudes when it comes to exercising their legal rights. The article uses primary data obtained through qualitative interviews and secondary sources to illustrate how the Covid19 pandemic has reinforced structural discriminations and increased the vulnerability of persons with disabilities