Disabilities can develop during a person’s lifetime (for example, loss of a limb or contraction of a incurable disease), or develop before birth (such as with cognitive or learning disabilities). Regardless, during a disaster or humanitarian crises, special attention to the needs of disabled persons is heightened because accessibility and other relied-on resources may be significantly reduced. For example, during a pandemic like COVID-19, transitioning health care to virtual, telehealth platforms may be difficult for those with vision, hearing, speech, or intellectual disabilities to use effectively. In a humanitarian setting, disability may also be a cause for additional human rights abuses, particularly with refugees, women, and children. Research in these areas, therefore, is much needed. Specific ethical considerations typically include: understanding vulnerabilities associated with being disabled rather than as a general vulnerability; issues related to informed consent; caring for individuals who incur disability during an emergency or during health-related research study; and inclusion of the disabled in humanitarian and disaster research as a matter of social justice and equity. Given the general lack of literature on research ethics and disability during disasters, guidance in this area is an important research priority.
Which of the following are features of your study?