Literature Review to Support a Survey to Understand the Socio-economic, Wellbeing and Human Rights Related Experiences of People with Disabilities During Covid-19 Lockdown in South Africa
Wickenden, J Mary
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COVID-19 pandemic and associated national responses have had ramifications for societies around the world, including South Africa. The marginalisation of people with disabilities is well documented in pre-COVID times, and emerging evidence suggests that the crisis has made this worse, as well as presenting new challenges for people with disabilities. This paper presents a review of published research and grey literature of relevance to the proven or anticipated socio-economic, wellbeing and human right related impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities in South Africa and other contexts. Its purpose is to summarise evidence to inform a study on the experiences of South Africans with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the development of an improved inclusive framework for future management of such crises in South Africa. After a brief introduction, the paper is structured around four main sections. Context is provided by considering COVID-19 and disability both globally and in Africa. Then the literature focused on Humanitarian Disaster Risk Reduction and disability inclusion is discussed. Finally the South African policy and legislation environment on disability and humanitarian action is explored. The review finds that globally there is a limited but growing body of work on COVID-19 and disability. There is a particular dearth of evidence focusing specifically on Africa. The evidence that does exist tends either to be focused on a few particular countries or form part of large global surveys. Much of the global level grey literature published early in the pandemic and subsequently anticipates exacerbated negative experiences for people with disabilities, including exclusion from services, stigma and discrimination and lack of inclusive approaches to relief and support by governments and others. Advisory materials, sometimes focussed on specific subgroups, are generally in agreement about calling for a universally inclusive and disability aware approach to pandemic mitigation across settings and sectors. The limited primary research on COVID-19 and disability is mostly focussed on high income settings and or populations with particular health concerns.