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Disability inclusiveness of government responses to COVID-19 in South America: a framework analysis study

Sakellariou, Dikaios, Malfitano, Ana Paula Serrata and Rotarou, Elena S. 2020. Disability inclusiveness of government responses to COVID-19 in South America: a framework analysis study. International Journal for Equity in Health 19 (1) , 131. 10.1186/s12939-020-01244-x

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Background: Disabled people are particularly exposed to the risks of COVID-19, as well as to the measures taken to address it, and their impact. The aim of the study was to examine the disability-inclusiveness of government responses to COVID-19 in four South American Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Methods: We conducted documentary research, using framework analysis to analyse reports, legislation, decrees, and other official documents that communicated measures taken in response to the pandemic, published from February 1st until May 22nd, 2020. We included documents reporting measures that affected disabled people either directly (measures specifically designed for disabled people) or indirectly (measures not designed specifically for disabled people). We developed an analytical framework based on recommendations for disability-inclusive response to COVID-19 published by the World Health Organisation and other international organisations. Results: We analysed 72 documents. The findings highlight that while some positive measures were taken, the needs of disabled people were not fully considered. Several countries published recommendations for a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19, without ensuring their translation to practice. All countries took at least some steps to ensure access to financial support, health, and education for disabled people, but at the same time they also implemented policies that had a detrimental impact on disabled people. The populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19, disabled people living in institutional care, were the ones who were left the most exposed to the risks, in several cases protected only by recommendations rather by legislation. Conclusions: This study illustrates how the official government responses taken by four countries in the region – while positive, in several aspects – do not fully address the needs of disabled people, thus further disadvantaging them. In order to ensure response to COVID -19 is disability inclusive, it is necessary to translate recommendations to practice, consider disabled people both in mainstream policy and in disability-specific measures, and focus on the long-term reconstruction phase.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1475-9276
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 17 July 2020
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2020 12:32

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