Pandemic Portraits: Capturing experiences of people with disabilities in Bangladesh and Liberia during COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. However, the pandemic has significantly affected the lives of people with disabilities with many facing additional barriers in access to services, increased isolation and increased risks of poor health and social outcomes. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability from their own perspective is essential to strengthening pandemic responses now and in the future. This study took place in Bangladesh and Liberia, where 14% and 16% of the population are thought to live with disabilities respectively. However, there is a lack of data on the needs and experiences of this population group. To date (03/08/21), there have been 1,296,093 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bangladesh, with 5,459 confirmed cases in Liberia.
People with disabilities are often excluded from being actively involved in research. This project aimed to prioritise the views of people with disabilities and caregivers to document their own lived experiences of COVID-19. We used photovoice as a creative participatory method whereby experiences and perspectives are presented through photographs taken directly by co-researchers within their communities. We refer to people with physical and psychosocial disabilities, as well as caregivers as co-researchers because they are participants with lived experiences, who conducted data collection and analysis as they directly shared their stories and captured their experiences of living through COVID-19 in this project. Photographs were shared remotely via WhatsApp with the research teams and followed up with conversations on their context.
Through highlighting challenges and experiences of people with disabilities who are often marginalised from research, we hope to add to an evidence base to inform inclusive responses to pandemics.RSTMH Pandemic Portraits Book - Accessible