Post Publication Independent Review of

"The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive"

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Post Publication Independent Review of "The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive"

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Post Publication Independent Review of

The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive

Richard Armitage

Laura B Nellums

Open Access Published: March 27, 2020 DOI:

Review Comments:

1. Quote

"People Living With Disabilities (PLWD), including physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory disabilities, are less likely to access health services, and more likely to experience greater health needs, worse outcomes, and discriminatory laws and stigma.2 COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate these disparities, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries, where 80% of PLWD reside, and capacity to respond to COVID-19 is limited.3, 4 Preparedness and response planning must be inclusive of and accessible to PLWD, recognising and addressing three key barriers."

End of Quote.

Quote "First, PLWD might have inequities in access to public health messaging. " End of Quote

Quote "Second, measures such as physical distancing or self-isolation might disrupt service provision for PLWD, who often rely on assistance for delivery of food, medication, and personal care" End of Quote

Quote "Third, PLWD might be at increased risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection or severe disease because of existing comorbidities, and might face additional barriers to health care during the pandemic.2" End of Quote

The authors are highlighting the concerns of People Living With Disabilities (PLWD), who need assistance for their daily activities. In times of lockdown and physical distancing, when the normal human being faces inherent difficulties in daily life, the PLWD will face a more acute distress in fulfilling their daily activities.

2. Quote "COVID-19 mitigation strategies must be inclusive of PLWD to ensure they maintain respect for “dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms,”5 and avoid widening existing disparities. This necessitates accelerating efforts to include these groups in preparedness and response planning, and requires diligence, creativity, and innovative thinking, to preserve our commitment to UHC, and ensure people living with disabilities are not forgotten." End of Quote.

The insights provided by the authors call for a Nation wide effort by the Govt. to include PLWD and organizations in service of PLWD into the COVID-19 containment and treatment protocols, so that the PLWD may have a dignified life in times of National Lockdown and Physical Distancing.

3. Suggestions provided by the authors include the following:

Quote "All communication should be disseminated in plain language and across accessible formats, through mass and digital media channels. Additionally, strategies for vital in-person communication must be safe and accessible, such as sign language interpreters and wearing of transparent masks by health-care providers to allow lip reading" End of Quote.

Quote "Mitigation strategies should not lead to the segregation or institutionalisation of these individuals. Instead, protective measures should be prioritised for these communities, so care workers and family members can continue to safely support PLWD, who should also be enabled to meet their daily living, health care, and transport needs, and maintain their employment and educational commitments." End of Quote

Quote "Health-care staff should be provided with rapid awareness training on the rights and diverse needs of this group to maintain their dignity, safeguard against discrimination, and prevent inequities in care provision." End of Quote.

These are only generic guidelines suggested by the authors. However, there may be additional concerns that may arise due to demographic and ethnic variations.

A better option would be to bring the PLWD under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and attend to them via dedicated channels of the Govt.

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Annexure to IJBST Journal Group Editorial Policy