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COVID-19 and DISABILITY

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and the virus is now a global pandemic, spreading to many countries and territories. While a lot is still unknown about the virus that causes COVID-19, we do know that it is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). While COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important that communities take action to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.[1] (UNICEF 2020)

Ensuring that persons with disabilities are protected and respond effectively to a COVID-19 outbreak, it is critical that their exposure and vulnerability to the spread of the disease are recognised and necessary measures are in place to ensure their inclusion, effective participation, protection and safety is addressed in the health response.

Persons with disabilities and their families will be exposed to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the likely event of this, they face barriers in accessing information due to the lack of availability and accessibility of critical information to guide them take necessary precautions, identify where to go to seek help and who to contact in cases of emergencies. Lack of access to education for most persons with disabilities further contributes to their vulnerability to the outbreak as they would lack the understanding of technical medical terms used in public advisories, further contributing to their inability to respond to the outbreak and take necessary actions. Most persons with disabilities are unemployed, poor and live in overpopulated areas with poor living conditions. This exacerbates their exposure to the outbreak and limits their ability to put in place measures to respond to the outbreak, hence raises the risk of their vulnerability.

Below is a list of Resources to strengthen the COVID-19 response to be disability inclusive;

AWARENESS RESOURCES

Disability and COVID-19 Situation Analysis
- Ensuring that persons with disabilities are protected and respond effectively to a COVID-19 outbreak, it is critical that their exposure and vulnerability to the spread of the disease are recognised and necessary measures are in place to ensure their inclusion, effective participation, protection and safety is addressed in the health response. We urge all levels of government, agencies and the private sector to work with disabled peoples’ organisations to make sure that persons with disabilities in particular women, children and young persons with disabilities aren’t left behind in the COVID-19 response. Click here for pdf format Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format Clear here for French version

TOOLS AND GUIDELINES
Disability inclusion considerations for disaster response during the COVID-19 outbreak - The pre-existing and intersecting inequalities and power imbalance can exacerbate in a crisis situation. In the context of COVID-19 pandemic and TC Harold emergencies, response agencies need to ensure protection to improve safety, well-being and dignity for affected populations. It is also crucial to recognize the capacity of affected population in understanding the information and carrying out their role to respond to and effectively participate through the various measures in place to combat the outbreak and stay safe. 
Click here for pdf format  Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format Click here for French version

Guideline on Pre-Condition to Inclusion Persons with Disabilities – COVID-19 Response - The pre-condition to inclusion can be referred to as the pre-requisite for disability inclusion. If the pre-conditions are not realized, it will seriously undermine the inclusion of all persons with disabilities across the COVID-19 response and recovery actions. Click here for pdf format  Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format Click here for FRENCH version
 
Human Rights Based Approach guideline to Disability Inclusion in COVID-19 Response -  Ensuring effectiveness of health services and guaranteeing that no one is left behind, discriminated against and excluded from the COVID-19 response, a human rights based approach must be adopted. COVID-19 response must ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by all persons with disabilities when accessing health services, taking into considerations their diversities of needs, priorities, capacities and vulnerabilities to the outbreak. Click here for pdf format  Click here for word format  Click Here for HTML format Click here for French version

Disability Inclusive Communication Guidelines - This document shows various ways you can communicate with persons with disabilities recognising the different impairments. Click here for pdf format  Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format Click here for the French version

Disability Inclusive Messaging Guidlelines - This document show some ways that Ministry of Health, WHO, Media and other COVID-19 messaging and advisories stakeholders can ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind. Click here for pdf format Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format Click here for French version
 

ADVISORIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Advisories on the use of Mask - If you are providing care to persons with disabilities, with high support needs and are showing respiratory symptoms such as fever cough or running nose, wear your mask before putting their mask on. Click here for pdf format Click here for word format  Click here for HTML format  Click Here for the FRENCH version

PRESS RELEASES

PDF calls for inclusion of persons with disabilities in COVID-19 response - PRESS RELEASE

The Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) is urging all governments in Pacific Island Countries and Territories to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their COVID-19 planning, response and related actions. Click here for more information

Below are some General Advisories for all

Know the facts about COVID-19. 

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Click here for more information