How did South Africans with disabilities experience COVID-19? Results of an online survey

African Journal of Disability

Field Value
Title How did South Africans with disabilities experience COVID-19? Results of an online survey
Creator Wickenden, Mary Hart, Tim G.B. Thompson, Stephen J. Davids, Yul D. Ngungu, Mercy
Subject Disability, Health, socioeconomic, Human Rights South Africa; disability; COVID-19; rights; socio-economic; survey; online.
Description Background: People with disabilities are a large, disadvantaged minority, comprising approximately 12% of the population. The South African government has ratified international and regional disability treaties but deals with disability rights within general anti-discrimination legislation. There are no specific frameworks to monitor justice for people with disabilities. The study aims to inform further development of disability inclusive mechanisms relating to crises including pandemics.Objectives: This study explored the perceptions of South Africans with disabilities, to understand their experiences during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), focussing on socioeconomic, well-being and human rights aspects.Method: An online survey tool generated quantitative and qualitative data. Widespread publicity and broad recruitment were achieved through project partners networks. Participants responded via mobile phone and/or online platforms.Results: Nearly 2000 people responded, representing different genders, impairments, races, socio-economic status, education and ages. Findings include: (1) negative economic and emotional impacts, (2) a lack of inclusive and accessible information, (3) reduced access to services, (4) uncertainty about government and non-government agencies’ support and (5)exacerbation of pre-existing disadvantages. These findings echo international predictions of COVID-19 disproportionally impacting people with disabilities.Conclusion: The evidence reveals that people with disabilities in South Africa experienced many negative impacts of the pandemic. Strategies to control the virus largely ignored attending to human rights and socioeconomic well-being of this marginalised group.Contribution: The evidence will inform the development of the national monitoring framework, recognised by the South African Government and emphasised by the United Nations as necessary to ensure the realisation of the rights of people with disabilities during future crises including pandemics.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor UKRI GCRF Newton Fund, Institute of Development Studies UK, Human Sciences Research Council SA, NCPD SA
Date 2023-02-09
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Online survey - quantitative and qualitative
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1119
Source African Journal of Disability; Vol 12 (2023); 12 pages 2226-7220 2223-9170
Language eng
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Coverage South Africa 2020-2021 Adults, South Africans with disabilities, all genders
Rights Copyright (c) 2023 Mary Wickenden, Tim G.B. Hart, Stephen J. Thompson, Yul D. Davids, Mercy Ngungu