Covid-19 and Persons with Disability

In times of unforeseen situations like Covid-19, disabled remain one of the most deprived sections of society. They are often left in the lurch by the virus and the consequent lockdown. Moreover, in these challenging times, disabled people need to take immense precautionary measures to keep themselves safe as well as those concerning them.

Vulnerability of Persons with Disability

According to the WHO, people with disabilities (PWDs) are more vulnerable to viruses like Covid-19 compared to others. This is because of the limitations in accessibility and difficulty in maintaining social distancing. Relative to normal people, disabled persons are at the greater risk of developing the infection. Also, Covid-19 can worsen the existing health conditions of disabled persons related to respiratory functions, diabetes, heart diseases, and immune system-related problems.

Persons with disabilities can contract corona virus more easily than the rest of the population due to their dependency. It is important that the lives of PWDs are protected and sustained in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government shall take possible actions in all areas of life of persons with disabilities, including their general well-being and access to healthcare/caregiver. Promoting measures for mental health, isolation, and negative attitudes are also need of the hour.

Risk reduction and risk management are two important measures in times of pandemic like this to ensure that disabled persons are not left out to bear the brunt of the lockdown. There is immense difficulty in enacting social distancing since care givers are needed to work in close proximity for carrying out daily routines like bathing, using toilet, and washrooms. They are in need to touch things while transferring from wheelchair, making the contact risk much higher. For disabled persons other than locomotive, there are difficulties in accessing information about the disease in a clear way. However, the government is addressing such problems by making the information about covid-19 accessible to all categories of disabled people through braille and sign language. For those with psycho-social disabilities, mental health issues have had their conditions further aggravated during this lockdown period.

Guidelines to reduce Risk

According to the WHO, people with disabilities can reduce their potential exposure to the corona virus by following several guidelines. Disinfecting assistive products like wheelchair, calipers, and other disability aids can help the risk of the virus from spreading. They should also plan ahead to gather urgent items like medications, catheter, urobags, diapers, and other essentials.

People with disability should pre-plan to ensure continuation of care and support through caregivers and others to prevent any deprivation and hardship. Most of them living alone are dependent on domestic help and caregiver for day to day activities, making their plight more intense. Home-care support during quarantine must be ensured available and not discontinued, at any cost. The unavailability of one caretaker can disrupt the entire daily routine, when they could not make it to home. This is why PWDs shall consider increasing the pool of caregivers for the benefit of uninterrupted care. Moreover, visits to hospitals and rehabilitation centers should be restricted, unless emergency.

So, it is during these trying times that disabled people need support to handle the worst of conditions. With awareness and preparedness, PWDs can reduce the risk of infection and ensure the need of care services are taken care of. It is important for government to take measures to ease the life of India’s disabled population amid this lockdown situation.

Posted in disabled and tagged , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *