Original Research

Understanding the impacts of the COVID-19 response measures on Deaf adults in Cape Town

Charlotte Slome, Myrna van Pinxteren, Leslie London
African Journal of Disability | Vol 13 | a1371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v13i0.1371 | © 2024 Charlotte Slome, Myrna van Pinxteren, Leslie London | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2023 | Published: 19 June 2024

About the author(s)

Charlotte Slome, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Myrna van Pinxteren, Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Leslie London, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: International literature has evidenced that Deaf people have been disadvantaged during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, there is currently little research published within the South African context.

Objectives: This study investigated the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequent response measures impacted Deaf adults in Cape Town.

Method: Using a descriptive approach, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were held with 15 Deaf adults in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants were purposively selected through a local Deaf organisation. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Data revealed the challenges experienced when accessing information, the impact of communication barriers on daily life, and how the response measures impacted access to healthcare.

Conclusion: The findings of this study demonstrate how the needs of the Deaf community were overlooked and their voices disregarded during the planning of the national pandemic response, ultimately having detrimental consequences. Therefore, the authors argue for greater inclusion of Deaf representatives to ensure equal access to information and resources, especially during a crisis.

Contribution: This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of disability and insights can inform both future research and interventions to promote equity and inclusion for Deaf people.


Keywords

deaf; COVID-19; information access; South Africa; access to healthcare

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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