Namomsa Daraje Gutama:

Disability and response to COVID-19. On social protection in Sub-Saharan African countries – The case of Ethiopia

2023/1 | #COVID-19 pandemic #disability #Ethiopia #poverty #social protection #Sub-Saharan Africa | DOI: 10.31287/FT.en.2023.1.5

Across the world, it is estimated that there are more than one billion people living with disabilities and facing the intensified risk of poverty. This situation has dramatically increased since the occurrence of the COVID-19
pandemic. Ethiopia is a country having more than one hundred million people; from this the number of disabled people was more than 17.6% (1.23 million people, estimating 70 million of the total population in
2011) of the total population in 2011. The Ethiopian National Plan of Action with Disabilities estimates that 95% of disabled people are living below the poverty line, and the majority of them live in the rural parts of the country where access to basic services is minimal even for the non-disabled people of the country. The main objective of this research is to assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disability, and
how social protection and other economic responses should be considered as remedies for these people in order to reduce the risk of poverty increase as a result of the pandemic. In this research, a narrative literature review was used in order to summarize the body of literature written and published on disability, poverty, and social protection. The study revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is particularly challenging for people living in deep poverty, for those living with a disability where there are fewer practices and actions for social protection. There was discrimination and stigma against people with disability within the community where they live, moreover, they were beaten by the police while searching for food and some work to get cash. During the pandemic, the number of rape cases among girls with disability increased, as a result they were exposed to HIV-AIDS and other STDs, they were psychologically affected, and they faced economic problems. Besides this, ongoing war and high rate of inflation are factors affecting the people with disability. Based on the findings the researcher suggested policy recommendations on how to improve social security for disabled people in Ethiopia.