With the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, being a new virus, there is a lot of uncertainty about who is at increased risk of getting infected or who is at risk of developing a more severe case when contracting the virus. Concerns have been expressed within the spina bifida and hydrocephalus community. We have gathered several useful COVID-19 resources to try and put people’s minds at ease.
The World Health Organization WHO) has published a document on “Disability considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak“, which is also available in Arabic, French, Italian and Russian. The document explains why persons with disabilities could be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, for instance because of barriers to implementing basic hygiene measures, such as hand-washing, or difficulty in enacting physical distancing due to additional support needs or because they are institutionalised.
COVID-19 exacerbates existing health conditions, particularly those related to respiratory function, immune system function, heart disease or diabetes, both for people with or without disabilities. Access to healthcare is key. Governments need to eliminate any physical or attitudinal barriers and prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability, in line with Article 25 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The document also offers actions for people with disability and their household, including how to reduce your potential exposure to COVID-19. For instance, ensuring that assistive products, if used, are disinfected frequently; these include wheelchairs, walking canes, walkers, transfer boards, white canes, or any other product that is frequently handled and used in public spaces.
WHO shared more information on this topic during its online Q&A on disability considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
When looking for information about COVID-19, please use materials from reliable and trustworthy organisations such as WHO and regional and local health authorities.
Below you will find a selection of additional resources:
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Advice for the public
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Myth busters
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) When and how to use masks
- World Health Organization – COVID-19: Resources for Care for Older Persons
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) – COVID-19 info
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Africa CDC – Disease Outbreak – Coronavirus updates
- Unite Against COVID-19 – New Zealand (with translated resources)
- Hesperian Health Guides – COVID-19 fact sheet (in various languages)
- Cochrane resources and news – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- PMNCH compendium of COVID-19 related partner resources on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health
Human rights information
- UN Human Rights – COVID-19 and its human rights dimensions
- Human Rights Watch – Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response
- United Nations – The impact of COVID-19 on women
Disability specific information
- International Disability Alliance – COVID-19 and the disability movement
- European Disability Forum – COVID-19 resources
- International Disability and Development Consortium – COVID-19 and disability inclusion resources
- United Nations Human Rights – COVID-19 and the rights of persons with disabilities: Guidance
- United Nations Policy Brief: A disability-inclusive response to COVID-19
- EASPD Snapshot Report: Impact of COVID-19 on Disability Services in Europe
IF members’ COVID-19 pages
- Spina Bifida Association (US) Information related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Spina Bifida Association (US) Información para Personas que Viven con #EspinaBífida: Guía Durante la Pandemia Global COVID-19
- Shine (UK) Covid 19 (Coronavirus) – information for Shine members
- Hydrocephalus Association (US) Update and Information for the Hydrocephalus Community Regarding COVID-19
- Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland – Coronavirus/COVID-19 information
- Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland – Coronavirus Update for SBH Scotland Members
- Asociación Madrileña de Espina Bífida- special COVID-19 website for its members
- Associazione Spina Bifida Italia (ASBI) – COVID-19 information
- Vlaamse Vereniging voor Spina Bifida en Hydrocephalus – Het Grote VSH-coronadossier