Persons with disabilities and COVID-19

A novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Oranization in March 2020 and the disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. First identified in Wuhan, it spread in rapid form globally. During this pandemic outbreak, compared to persons without disabilities, persons with partial and severe disabilities are more at risk. Generally, persons with disabilities lack access to health related needs without additional support and during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, person with severe disabilities are part of more vulnerable group as containment measures such as social distancing and self isolation might sometimes become impossible for those who completely rely on other people for their daily activities.

Further measures is required for persons with disabilities in safe way throughout the situation of crisis. Accomodation measures for these people are essential to enable them to reduce social contacts and chances of transmission. Since, most of the persons with disabilities depend on support and services that has been put off and may not have got enough money to store food, medicines and other basic needs, persons with disabilites and their families are being pushed towards greater vulnerability and poverty.

Along with COVID-19, misinformation about the disease, discrimination and stigma has also been fueled up. In ground level, NLR Nepal has been working toward giving factual information to health care providers in community level and support with preventive materials to the local government thereby safeguarding the accessibility of basic needs to vulnerable group of people with basic focus on persons affected by leprosy and persons with disability.

Below is the document with recommendations to respond to persons affected byt leprosy during COVID-19.