Open letter: COVID 19 - Medical guidelines should not discriminate against persons with disabilities

24 March 2020

We are extremely worried with reports stating that, in some countries, medical guidelines for the COVID 19 pandemic are discriminating against persons with disabilities.

We understand that, in some countries, healthcare professionals will not be able to provide the same level of care to everyone due to lack of equipment and underfunding of the healthcare sector. Medical guidelines for these situations need to ensure that persons with disabilities are not discriminated against.

We call on the World Health Organization and other health authorities to create non-discriminatory ethical guidelines to be followed by healthcare professionals.

These guidelines need to follow international law (specifically the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, article 11 – situations of risk and humanitarian emergency) and existing ethics guidelines for care in the event of disaster and emergencies.