COVID-19 and Disability

Persons with disabilities generally have more health-care needs than others – both standard needs and needs linked to impairments – and are therefore more vulnerable to the impact of low quality or inaccessible health-care services than others. Compared to persons without disabilities, persons with disabilities are more likely to have poor health: among 43 countries, 42 per cent of persons with disabilities versus 6 per cent of persons without disabilities perceive their health as poor.

To achieve the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities, the following actions should be considered:

Strengthen national legislation and policies on health care in line with the CRPD.

Identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility in health-care facilities.

Improve health-care coverage and affordability for persons with disabilities as part of universal approaches to health care.

Train health-care personnel on disability inclusion and improve service delivery for persons with disabilities.

Empower persons with disabilities to take control over their own health-care decisions, on the basis of informed consent.

Prohibit discriminatory practices in health insurance and promote health insurance coverage for assistive products and rehabilitation services.

Improve research and data to monitor, evaluate and strengthen health systems to include and deliver for persons with disabilities.

While having a disability probably doesn’t by itself put someone at higher risk from Coronavirus, many persons with disabilities do have specific underlying conditions that make the disease more dangerous for them.

Over 100 disability advocacy organizations and a coalition of disability rights and emergency management experts in the host country recently made an urgent call for immediate response, addressing the specific needs of persons with disabilities to maintain their health, safety, dignity, and independence in the community throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and related health emergencies.

UN Resources on Persons with Disabilities and COVID19

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