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COVID-19 in South Asia: State practices, responses and the experiences of persons with disability within the region

MEHROTRA, Nilika
SOLDATIC, Karen
2021

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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.

Mental health of LGBTIQ+ people in India during the COVID 19 pandemic: risks, access, lessons

TENNETI, Suchaita
2021

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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.

COVID 19 in Nepal: The Impact on Indigenous Peoples and Persons with Disabilities

GURUNG, Pratima
2021

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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. 

Patients’ and communication partners’ experiences of communicative changes in Parkinson’s disease

JOHANSSON, Inga-Lena
SAMUELSSON, Christina
MULLER, Nicole
February 2021

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Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the experiences of people with Parkinson’s disease and their close communication partners regarding disease-related communicative changes and participation in everyday conversations.

 

Materials and methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with six dyads consisting of a person with Parkinson’s disease and a close communication partner. The interview material was analysed through thematic analysis.

 

Results: The main theme was the experiences of barriers and facilitators for participation in conversations. Subthemes were experiences related to changes in voice and articulation, language and cognition, body language and facial expressions, fatigue, self-image, communicative initiative, and familiarity with conversation partner. The results show individual variation. A change observed in almost all dyads was the person with Parkinson’s disease participating less in conversations.

 

Conclusions: Assessment and interventions should be based on a broad perspective on communication, and individuals’ priorities should be foregrounded in intervention planning. Both the person with Parkinson’s disease and communication partners need to make adjustments for communication to work. Therefore, close communication partners should be included in assessment and intervention of communication in Parkinson’s disease from an early stage.

The protection situation during COVID-19 in Syria. The impact of COVID-19 on protection activities and on vulnerable groups

PROTECTION CLUSTER, UNHCR
February 2021

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After nearly nine months of preventative COVID-19 measures in place by the Government of Syria, the protection sector and its area of responsibilities ( Child Protection AoR, Gender Based Violence AoR and Mine Action AoR) have attempted to understand the level and types of impact this has had on the implementation of activities, specifically on partners' ability to provide services through community centers, and on the most vulnerable groups of the served population. The aim is that this report will provide protection partners with key information for reviewing and revising their current activities in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The data presented in this report was gathered during December 2020 from 213 protection partners and staff working directly or through partners with the affected population throughout Syria through an online survey. The main protection issues affecting persons with disabilities as a result of COVID-19 situation are identified.

Perspectives on access and usage of assistive technology by people with intellectual disabilities in the Western Cape province of South Africa: Where to from here?

BOOT, Fleur H
KAHONDE, Callista
DINSMORE, John
MACLACHLAN, Malcolm
2021

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Background: Whilst assistive technology (AT) can play an important role to improve quality of life, health inequity regarding access to appropriate AT for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is still very much present especially in low resource countries.

 

Objectives: This study focused on exploring factors that influence access to and continued use of AT by people with ID in the Western Cape province of South Africa and to suggest potential implications of these findings and actions required to promote access to AT.

 

Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences of people with ID and providers of AT. Face-to-face interviews with 20 adults with mild to profound ID, and 17 providers of AT were conducted and the data were analysed thematically.

 

Results: People with ID within the study setting faced many challenges when trying to access AT and for those who managed to acquire AT, its continued usage was influenced by both personal characteristics of the user and environmental factors. Important factors that influence AT access and use for people with ID found in this study were (1) attitudes from the community, (2) knowledge and awareness to identify AT need and (3) AT training and instructions to support the user and care network.

 

Conclusion: With the perspectives of both the providers and users of AT, this study identified priority factors, which could be addressed to improve AT access and use for people with ID in the Western Cape province.

Bullying among primary school-aged students: which factors could strengthen their tendency towards resilience?

GANOTZ, Tanja
SCHWAB, Susanne
LEHOFER, Mike
2021

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Resilience is the capacity to cope successfully with various threats. This paper aims to adapt the Resilience-Scale of Schumacher et al. (2004. Die Resilienzskala – ein Fragebogen zur Erfassung der psychischen Widerstandsfähigkeit als Personmerkmal. [The Resilience Scale – A Questionnaire to Measure Mental Resilience as a Personal Characteristic]. Zentrum für Klinische Psychologie, Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie) to measure the tendency of being resilient even before a threat occurs. Since primary school students are exposed to various threats at school, 535 4th grade students of Austrian primary schools were surveyed for the study. The reliability of the short-scale was found to be acceptable (Cronbach’s α = .66), and the tendency towards resilience can be explained by the students’ perception of their social inclusion in class (F (1,252) = 15.11, p<.05) and the relationship with their mothers (F (2, 251) = 10, 02, p<.05). The stability of the students’ tendency of being resilient was only moderate. A similar correlation between resilience and school-wellbeing for victims and non-victims of bullying can be reported. Future studies should focus more on primary school students’ resilience and related protective factors.

Validation of the international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF) core sets from 2001 to 2019 – a scoping review

KARLSSON, Elin
GUSTAFSSON, Johanna
February 2021

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Objective: To investigate and summarize the literature on the validation of International classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF) core sets from 2001 to 2019 and explore what research methods have been used when validating ICF core sets.

 

Methods: The current study is a scoping review using a structured literature search.

 

Results: In total, 66 scientific articles were included, of which 23 ICF core sets were validated. Most validation studies were conducted in Europe using a quantitative methodology and were validated from the perspective of patients. Analysis methods differed considerably between the studies, and most ICF core sets were validated only once for a single target population or from a single perspective. The comprehensive core sets were validated more often than the brief core sets, and core sets for stroke and low back pain were validated most often.

 

Conclusion: The results of the current study show that only 66% of the existing ICF core sets are validated. Many of the validation studies are conducted in a European context and from a single perspective. More validation studies of ICF core sets from the perspective of both patients and professionals are needed.

Silver linings. Mental health & wellbeing in the COVID era. Global Protection Update Feb 2021

GLOBAL PROTECTION CLUSTER
February 2021

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The Global Protection Cluster is committed to ensuring that Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) response is right across all humanitarian sectors. In this update (December 2020 - February 2021), emerging protection trends are identified and key country news is reported. The "IN FOCUS section" is about "Tackling Trauma and Prioritizing Mental Wellbeing to Deliver Protection Outcomes". The situation in Palestine, South Sudan and Ukraine is highlighted.

Impact of Covid-19 on people with disabilities in Albania

LAHE, Alma
SHEHU, Arlinda
January 2021

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This report aims to assess the level of access that People with Disabilities have to services and institutions during the pandemic period, as well as to analyze their economic and financial needs to cope with the consequences of the crisis caused by COVID-19.

The survey was conducted in the form of a quantitative field survey. 360 individuals participated in the survey: 199, or 55.3%, of the participants were people with disabilities (PWDs) while the remaining 161 persons, or 44.7%, were guardians or parents of a person with disabilities. The survey was conducted in all 6 districts of the country. The questionnaire was designed to gather information on the perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and experiences of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 period.

“It’s not a simple answer.” A qualitative studyto explore how healthcare providers can bestsupport families with a child with autism spectrumdisorder and overweight or obesity

MCPHERSON, Amy C
PEREZ, Arnaldo
BUCHHOLZ, Annick
FORHAN, Mary
BALL, Geoff D C
January 2021

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Purpose: This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of parents supporting their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and overweight or obesity (OW/OB), including their weight management support needs.

 

Methods: Interview transcripts were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Nine parents (n = 9 mothers) of ten children with ASD (7 males, 3 females) participated in individual semi-structured interviews.

 

Results: The three themes developed were: (1) Our journey to obtain weight management support; (2) I need real-world solutions; and (3) The what, who and how of our weight management needs. Parents reported being proactive in seeking weight management support for their child but were disappointed with the services offered. Resources were not tailored to the child’s complex nutrition and behavioural issues or their abilities and functioning. A multidisciplinary approach that integrated both disability and weight management expertise was desired, but not experienced. A range of formal and informal programs were recommended.

 

Conclusion: This study provides a call to action for supports that ensure children with ASD and OW/OB receive integrated, individualised support to maximise their health and wellness.

Cognitive behaviour therapy-based early intervention and prevention programme for anxiety in South African children with visual impairments

VISAGIE, Lisa
LOXTON, Helene
SWARTZ, Leslie
STALLARD, Paul
2021

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Background: Anxiety is the most common psychological difficulty reported by youth worldwide and may also be a significant problem for children with visual impairments. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions have proven to be successful in treating childhood anxiety; however, mostly these are not suitable for children with visual impairments, as the materials used are not sufficiently accessible to this population.

 

Objectives: The present study was motivated by the dearth of research on this topic and aimed to examine the effects of a specifically tailored, group-based, universally delivered, CBT intervention for anxiety in children with visual impairments and to examine the influence of three predictor variables (i.e. age, gender and level of visual impairment) on prevention effects.

 

Method: A randomised wait-list control group design with pre-, post- and follow-up intervention measures was employed. The final sample of 52 children (aged 9–14) with varying degrees of visual impairment received the anxiety intervention. Participants were followed over a course of 10 months during which their anxiety symptoms were assessed quantitatively at four time points (T1–T4).

 

Results: The results indicated that the anxiety intervention did not significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety within the intervention groups. However, the intervention appeared beneficial for girls, younger children and legally blind participants.

 

Conclusion: This study demonstrated how CBT interventions can be adapted for use in children with visual impairments. Results obtained provide a foundation upon which future updated anxiety intervention programmes can be built, meeting the need for further research in this area.

Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: A road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)
January 2021

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The road map sets global targets and milestones to prevent, control, eliminate or eradicate 20 diseases and disease groups as well as cross-cutting targets aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Three foundational pillars will support global efforts to achieve the targets: accelerate programmatic action (pillar 1), intensify cross-cutting approaches (pillar 2) and change operating models and culture to facilitate country ownership (pillar 3).

The disease summaries annexed to the road map detail the current epidemiological status and burden of disease, core strategic interventions and progress towards the 2020 targets of the previous road map. The targets, sub-targets and milestones for 2030, and the critical actions required to achieve them, were used to generate the evidence in the road map document endorsed by the World Health AssemblY

The Complete Guide to Insomnia - and How You Can Manage It

January 2021

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It shares comprehensive information such as:

  • An in-depth look at insomnia: what causes it, the different kinds of insomnia, and its effects on health and wellbeing.
  • Advice for managing insomnia effectively with stress management and relaxation techniques, proper diet and exercise, good sleeping environment, CBT, and mindfulness meditation.
  • How certain medications and treatments can affect sleep, the importance of routine for good sleep hygiene, and why you should keep a sleep journal.
  • Links to other useful resources and websites to better understand and develop good sleeping habits.

Children with disabilities. Ensuring their inclusion in COVID-19 response strategies and evidence generation

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF)
December 2020

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, children with disabilities were among the most disadvantaged, facing increased exposure to abuse and discrimination and reduced access to services in many parts of the world. Understanding these pre-existing vulnerabilities can help anticipate how the COVID-19 pandemic could sharpen existing inequities and can shed light on where targeted efforts may be required.

The publication below draws on pre-COVID data to highlight how children with disabilities face greater risks in the midst of this pandemic. It documents what has happened to services for children and adults with disabilities across the world and includes examples of what has been done to address disruptions in services. It also discusses the challenges in generating disability-inclusive data during the pandemic.

Characteristics of Outpatients receiving Physical Therapy Services at a Provincial Hospital in Papua New Guinea: A Descriptive Case Study

Saito, Takashi
Bai, Angelberth
Matsui, Nobuko
Izawa, Kazuhiro P
Shuichiro Watanabe
Alfred Malagisa
2020

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Purpose: Development of Physical Therapy (PT) services for people with disability is one of the urgent challenges in the health sector in Papua New Guinea (PNG). However, information on the current status of PT services in PNG is scarce, as also is the case for the hospital-based outpatient PT services. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of outpatients receiving PT services in a provincial hospital in West New Britain (WNB) Province, PNG and to compare them with the characteristics of inpatients.

 

Method: This was a retrospective case study using outpatient and inpatient records. The records of clients receiving PT services as either outpatients (413 records, outpatient group) or inpatients (350 records, inpatient group) were reviewed in relation to sex, age and diagnosis. Comparisons were made between the two groups on basis of quantitative data of the two patient groups .

 

Results: The final analysis comprised 404 records in the outpatient group and 344 records in the inpatient group. In the outpatient group, injury and musculoskeletal disease were forming the most dominant diagnosis groups with 52.5% and 22.0%, respectively. Injury was most common in the age group 20 to 39 years and musculoskeletal diseases was most common in the age group 40 to 59 years. These two diagnosis groups and congenital malformations were significantly more represented among outpatients than among inpatients.

 

Conclusions: Young to middle-aged clients with injury or musculoskeletal disease were predominant among outpatient PT services as compared to inpatient services. The study findings serve to provide information on the current situation and potential needs of hospital-based outpatient PT services in one provincial hospital of PNG. These findings could be the base for planning outpatient PT service in WNB Province and PNG.

Disclosure of Disease among Women affected by Leprosy: A Qualitative Study

Ramasamy, Senthilkumar
Govindharaj, Pitchaimani
Kumar, Archana
Panneerselvam, Suganya
2020

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Purpose: Although leprosy is completely curable with multidrug therapy, it is unfortunate that the stigma attached to leprosy persists even today. Fear of social exclusion prevents disclosure of the disease to the family and community. This study aimed to evaluate the extent of disclosure of disease among women affected by leprosy in a tertiary referral hospital in Chhattisgarh State, India.

 

Method: A qualitative study was conducted with 57 women affected by leprosy who reported at a tertiary referral hospital in Champa, Chhattisgarh State. The respondents were 18 years of age or older, and had completed multidrug therapy for leprosy. They were asked whether the disclosure of disease had affected their interactions with family, neighbours and community members.

 

Results: Of the 57 women, 48 (84%) had disclosed their disease to their family, 17 (30%) to their neighbours and 13 (23%) to the community members. Thirty women (53%) reported that they experienced problems after revealing the ailment to their family, friends and neighbours. The qualitative analysis found that negative behaviour towards people affected by leprosy still persists in the community. Consequently, women affected by leprosy try to hide their disease due to fear of negative community reactions.

 

Conclusion: This study emphasises the need to spread awareness about the disease and its transmission, by educating the people affected by leprosy, their families and the community. This should be a continuous process in order to reduce or remove the stigma and discrimination against women affected by leprosy, in particular.

Activity Limitation of People Affected by Leprosy in an Endemic District in West Bengal, India

Govindharaj, Pitchaimani
Srinivasan, Sampathkumar
Darlong, Joydeepa
2020

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Purpose: This study aimed to assess the level of activity limitation, and the factors associated with it, among people affected by leprosy who were reporting at a leprosy referral centre of Purulia, in West Bengal state, India.

 

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 358 individuals affected by leprosy. Persons recruited for this study were above 18 years of age, married, and had been diagnosed with leprosy for at least 1 year at the time of the interview. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to gather information about the respondents’ socio-economic and disease status. The Screening of Activity Limitation and Safety Awareness (SALSA) Scale was used to measure activity limitation.

 

Results: Of the 358 respondents, 59% were male, 60% were between 18 and 45 years of age, and 42% were illiterate. About 144 or 40% of the respondents had Grade 2 disability and 60% had disease duration of more than 3 years. There were 229 individuals (64%) who had no limitation in activities, 103 (29%) had mild limitation and 26 (7%) had moderate to severe limitation in activities. There is a significant association between gender, age, occupation, physical disability and disease duration with activity limitation.

 

Conclusion: It appears that limitations in activities among persons affected by leprosy are associated with being a woman, ahousewife, an aged person, and with longer disease duration. The physical disability was intrinsically associated with limitation in activities.

Disability, Sociodemographics, and Discrimination: A Descriptive Analysis of Household Survey Data from Bangladesh

Ekman, Björn
Borg, Johan
Khan, AHM Noman
Bari, Nazmul
Tanbir, Moin
Emmelin, Maria
2020

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Purpose: Disability affects upwards of one billion people worldwide, the majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. Based on survey data from Bangladesh, the aim of the study is to contribute to an improved understanding of the experiences of people with disabilities in terms of discrimination, health, and sociodemographic indicators.

 

Method: A descriptive analysis of data is presented, from a survey implemented in 2016 on a sample of adult persons with disabilities from 18 districts in Bangladesh (n=1,900). The summary statistics of main indicators and correlation analysis of key variables are given.

 

Results: Women comprised around 40% of the sample. The mean age was 36 years (minimum 18 years and maximum 55 years). Women had lower socioeconomic status than men (p<0, 01), were less likely to be well-educated or employed, had worse self-assessed health (p<0, 05), and were less likely to be able to read and write. Men were more likely to have a physical disability than women (p<0, 01). Both women and men reported unmet needs in terms of access to assistive products and not receiving a benefit. Around 40 % of the sample reported having experienced discrimination, with no significant differences between women and men.

 

Conclusion and Implications: Many women and men with disability experience some forms of discrimination, including in matters pertaining to healthcare, education, and employment. Such experiences may have a negative impact on their life chances. However, women and men with a disability differ in several important respects, both in terms of socioeconomic status and types of disability. Such differences need to be considered for effective and equitable policy development.

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