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Experiences of people with disabilities during Covid-19 in South Africa: the exacerbation of disadvantage

Authors T. HartM. WickendenS. ThompsonY.D. DavidsY. MajikijelaM. NgunguT. RubabaN. Molongoana
OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
Print HSRC Library: shelf number 9812362
handle 20.500.11910/19435
This policy brief presents some of the economic and social well-being experiences and perceptions of people with disabilities during the pandemic, as reported by 1 857 respondents who voluntarily participated in an online survey undertaken during July and August 2021. The majority of the participants were black South Africans (83%). Types of functional difficulties included vision, hearing, mobility, communication, self-care, concentration, and memory challenges. Respondents also reported upper-body immobility, lack of use of their hands, and experiences of anxiety or fear, stress, and depression (psychosocial challenges). The study specifically aimed to reach individuals in order to hear their unique voices. Key findings included inaccessible communications relating to COVID-19, financial and employment challenges, the experience of 'abnormal' events such as food insecurity, increased inadequate access to transport and other essential services, and the psychosocial impact of the pandemic. Based on the findings, we recommend the following: communication in all media formats must be improved to encompass the diversity of disability types; disaster and emergency planning processes must be urgently worked on to become disability inclusive; disability-inclusive baseline data is required over and above data on those who are simply social grant recipients; and there must be inclusive provision across essential and disability-specific service sectors.