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Disabled People during Pandemics
From a population health perspective, during disease outbreaks and pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the general population, it is important for governments to include people with disability in their pandemic planning and response.
According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, disability is defined as an “umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions; it denotes the negative aspects of the interaction between an individual (with a health condition) and that individual’s contextual factors (environmental and personal)” . More than a billion people (15% of the world’s population) live with some form of disability worldwide and around 785 million (15.6%) people with disability are 15 years and older . Over 4.4 million (1 in 5) people in Australia live with some form of disability . Furthermore, people with disability experience significant inequalities in health .
Epidemics and pandemics pose a serious threat to the health of children and adults with disability, their families, carers and all those that work (both directly and/or indirectly) with people with disability. The recent global pandemic, COVID-19 has shown itself to have profound impacts on all groups of society worldwide, and specifically places people with disability at an increased risk of harm. This is because people with disability are especially vulnerable to the physical, mental and social effects of the pandemic. People with disability are at an increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g., through contact with multiple support workers or potentially poor hygiene practices) and many have high risks of complications and death if infected because of underlying health problems .
Evidence from the aftermath of previous emergencies, such as storms and hurricanes, shows that people with disability are often disproportionately harmed, as emergency preparedness plans are often not tailored to their needs . Despite the potential risks to people with disability in pandemics and evidence that they fare poorly in emergencies, people with disability were not prioritised by governments around the world in responding to COVID-19.
The first aimed to collate evidence on the risk of infection for people with disability during infectious disease outbreaks and/or pandemics. This was done to understand previous evidence on the extent to which people with disability were infected, the settings in which the infection was acquired (exposure site, e.g., private home, residential care setting or health facility) and which sub-groups within the population of people with disability were at greater risk of infection and poor health outcomes. The second rapid review aimed to gather government responses to previous infectious disease outbreaks and pandemic plans for people with disability. This will contribute to the pandemic preparedness and public health response aimed at reducing the risks of COVID-19 posed to populations with disability.
2. Aim 1
Overview of Included Studies
3. Aim 2
Overview of Included Studies
The entry is from 10.3390/ijerph18126505
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