United Disabled Persons of Kenya(UDPK) Disability inclusive COVID-19 Response:

UDPK as an umbrella organization of Disabled Persons Organization of Kenya.We are the fore front championing inclusive response to the Coronavirus Crisis.

Just like the whole world we are doing our part to Flatten the Curve.Of concern is the impact Coronavirus could have on the most vulnerable parts of our society,including people with disabilities.What we need now is Inclusion and collaboration as we tackle this crisis together,Leaving no one behind.


  • Data and information concerning the Coronavirus crisis including plans in place or services available should be disseminated in accessible formats.For availability of the Data in accessible formats to everyone can save lives
  • The personnel responding to the crisis on the ground should be trained and they get sensitized on how to respond to and assist people with disability.
  • Measures taken by the Government to restrict public movements or socialization must consider or take to account people with disability on equal footing with others
  • All preparation,response mechanisms and developed plans to the coronavirus crisis should have in them the accessibility component
  • In the Event of public quarantine/self quarantine support services and personal assistance have to be considered far as people with disability are concerned
  • Persons with Disability in need of medical attention due to coronavirus should not be denied the service or given less priority on the ground of their disability
  • Organizations for Persons with disability should act as key players in Raising awareness of persons with disabilities and advocating for Disability Inclusive Response to the Coronavirus Crisis.
  • On developing response plans to the coronavirus Government has to ensure that additional layer of care is taken for people with certain types of disabilities
  • The government should ensure  measures that ensure safe health and social care services are are provided for to the people with disability in the coronavirus crisis
  • Products to sterilize should be available to the people with disability in all places
  • Disinfection of Handrails of ramps or staircases used by people with disability has to be carried out.
  • Government has to ensure food and other basic amenities are available to people with disabilities during the coronavirus crisis.

Governments must Consider inclusion in Coronavirus Response as integral part of the whole plan.For no one should be left behind.







Pan African Network of Persons with
Psychosocial Disabilities
Redesfera Latinoamericana de la Diversidad
TCI Asia Pacific (Transforming communities
for Inclusion of persons with psychosocial
disabilities, Asia Pacific)
European Network of (Ex-) Users and
Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP)
Center for the Human Rights of Users and
Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP)
World Network of Users and Survivors of
Psychiatry (WNUSP)

We, persons with psychosocial disabilities from regional and international
organizations across the world, are concerned about the vulnerability of persons
with psychosocial disabilities to COVID-19 infection and deaths. ‘Persons with
psychosocial disabilities’ refers to a historically discriminated and marginalised
group that includes users and ex-users of psychiatry, victims-survivors of
psychiatric violence, mad people, voice-hearers, and people with psychosocial
People with psychosocial disabilities may be at increased risk of contracting
coronavirus as a result of:
• their being placed and/or deprived of their liberty in psychiatric units and
institutions, social care institutions, vagrancy homes, unregulated and
informal 'shelters', jails, prisons, and correctional facilities, where they are
unable to exercise social distancing as per their will and preferences;
• the inherent risk of infection in these environments, exacerbated by their
being overcrowded and unsanitary, and places where ill-treatment tends to
• barriers in accessing health information, including lack of information in
plain language and communication support;
• barriers in implementing preventive hygiene measures due to poverty,
unequal access to resources within households and homelessness;
• mistreatment and abuse;
• lack of social support networks and inclusive communities; and
• the systemic discrimination against persons with psychosocial disabilities,
especially of women, children, older persons, LGBTQIA+ persons,
indigenous persons, persons of diverse race, colour, descent, caste,
national or ethnic origin, persons of different religious affiliations, persons
with other disabilities, and other groups otherwise facing multiple and
intersectional discrimination.
People with psychosocial disabilities may also be at increased risk of
developing more severe symptoms and dying due to:
• poor nutrition, healthcare and sanitary conditions in psychiatric units and
institutions, social care institutions, group homes and prisons;
• weakened immune systems due to poor nutrition, neglect,
institutionalization and homelessness, including in children and older
persons with psychosocial disabilities;
• long-term consequences of physical, psychological and sexual violence and
abuse, particularly against women with psychosocial disabilities;
• reluctance to access the health system due to experiences of
discrimination, dismissiveness, neglect, violence and traumatization in
that system;
• underlying health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension caused or
exacerbated by psychiatric drugs, often administered against people's will
or under coerced consent; and
• barriers in accessing healthcare and lack of health insurance coverage.
States have the responsibility under international law to respect and ensure the
human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities on an equal basis with
others. This responsibility is heightened during a national and global emergency,
such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The vulnerabilities highlighted during the
pandemic as a result of structural discrimination, discriminatory legislation, and
practices of exclusion and violence both in communities and in medical and social
care settings, must be taken into account and remedied both during the
emergency and afterwards.
We remind states that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities requires states to abolish involuntary admissions and treatment in
mental health settings and to release those detained and treated against their will
under such regimes. This obligation is not suspended during the COVID-19
pandemic, as discriminatory detention is never justified, nor is the administration
of mind-altering treatments against a person’s will.
We call on national and local governments to implement the following
Institutional settings
• Drastically reduce the number of people in psychiatric units and
institutions, and institute a moratorium on involuntary admissions.
Ensure that no one is compelled to remain in such settings against their
will, where they are at greater risk of infection, more severe illness, and
• Urgently implement sanitary and preventive measures to avoid infections
in psychiatric units and institutions, social care institutions and group
homes, including environmental cleaning and disinfection, air circulation,
regular hand hygiene and free access to sanitary supplies such as soap,
hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and paper towels. People should not have to go
to a centralised place to get sanitary supplies. Staff must be required to
comply with all sanitary and preventive measures.
• Stop the use of seclusion, restraints, non-consensual medication, and any
restriction on using the lavatories in psychiatric units and institutions. In
addition to being contrary to people’s dignity and integrity, these practices
inevitably generate unsanitary conditions and cause severe stress and
physical deterioration, resulting in weakened immunity.
• Provide people in psychiatric units, institutions and group homes with
access to the latest information about COVID-19, and enable them to keep
in touch with their friends and family. People should not be banned from
leaving their rooms or having contact with the outside world as a way to
prevent infections. While preventive measures to avoid infections from
visitors are needed, blanket policies barring visitors are disproportional
and can expose people to further abuse and neglect. Alternative means of 
keeping in contact, such as telephone and Internet, must be allowed
without restriction.
• Drastically reduce the population in jails, prisons and correctional
facilities, including by releasing those who are in pre-trial, imprisoned for
non-violent offences, or scheduled to be released soon, including persons
with psychosocial disabilities on an equal basis as others.
• Ensure in each and every case that people deprived of their liberty and
those in congregate settings are tested in a timely manner, given their
differential vulnerability, and that all such settings implement proper
sanitary and preventive measures. When an outbreak occurs in an
institutional setting, those affected must be moved to competent
healthcare facilities, and the rest should be removed from the infectious
environment. Any quarantine efforts must not result in persons being put
into more restrictive environments, such as solitary confinement.
• Ensure that persons with psychosocial disabilities have equal access to
testing, healthcare and public information related to COVID-19. Quality
healthcare should be provided to those infected without discrimination of
any kind, and regardless of health insurance coverage. Persons with
psychosocial disabilities should not be diverted from mainstream hospitals
to psychiatric units and institutions for treatment, where healthcare for
COVID-19 is often of a lower standard.
• Public restrictions based on public health, and actions of law enforcement
and security personnel, must not discriminate in any way against persons
with psychosocial disabilities. Psychiatric coercive measures must not be
used as any part of the response to COVID-19. Human rights standards
and mechanisms offering protection to persons deprived of their liberty
and those in congregate settings, including those in psychiatric units and
institutions, must remain in effect and not be reduced as part of
emergency measures.
• No one should be compelled to take psychiatric drugs or other treatments
that inflict suffering and that compromise their health or immune systems.
Compulsory treatment orders must be lifted, and no new ones introduced,
as required by international law.
• Ensure persons with psychosocial disabilities are not discriminated against
in accessing the temporary measures implemented by governments to
ensure the continuity of services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including
education and social protection programs.
Community support
• Ensure continued access to support for people experiencing distress or
unusual states of consciousness during the COVID-19 outbreak, including
through call-in and online psychosocial support and peer support, based
on respect for individual will and preferences.
• Step up efforts to develop a wide range of community-based services that
respond to the needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities and respect
people’s autonomy, choices, dignity and privacy, including peer support
and other alternatives to conventional mental health services.
• Guarantee voluntary access to psychiatric drugs during the COVID-19
outbreak for those who want them, and offer support to anyone who wants
to come off their medication or experience home-based withdrawal.
• Prepare and encourage communities to be supportive of one another in an
inclusive way, including of persons with psychosocial disabilities, during
the COVID-19 outbreak. This is especially important since mandatory
quarantine, home confinement and information overload may result in
heightened states of distress.
• Provide practical support, such as support with obtaining food and
supplies, for people with psychosocial disabilities who may be unable to
leave their homes due to quarantine or experience difficulty with leaving
home during this period of heightened concerns about contamination.
• Consider flexible mechanisms to authorize people with psychosocial
disabilities to be able to leave their homes during mandatory quarantines,
for short periods and in a safe way, when they experience particular
difficulty with home confinement.
• Adopt additional financial measures to support people with psychosocial
disabilities who may need to self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak,
particularly those who live in poverty, or are unemployed or selfemployed.
• Encourage media to report responsibly and accurately about the COVID-19
outbreak and the general population to exercise critical thinking and
judgment when reading and sharing information on social media
Vulnerable groups
• Provide access to domestic violence information and services to support
people, including children, experiencing abuse and violence at home.
People with psychosocial disabilities, of any age, may experience increased
risk of abuse and violence during home quarantine or home isolation.
• Conduct community outreach activities to identify and rescue persons with
psychosocial disabilities deprived of their liberty or ill-treated at home or
within communities, including by shackling and pasung, and provide
adequate support to them in a manner that respects their human rights.
• Ensure access by homeless people, including those with psychosocial
disabilities, to preventive measures against COVID-19 infection, such as
access to well-supplied and clean sanitation facilities, as well as testing and
treatment, without discrimination, and in a manner that respects their
human rights. Governments must ensure that people with psychosocial
disabilities who are homeless during the period of social isolation are not
mistreated by authorities, and provided with water, food and shelter on
equal basis with others.
• Guarantee the continued provision of harm reduction services, such as
needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution therapy, to prevent
the spread of COVID-19 among drug users.
• Consult and actively involve persons with psychosocial disabilities and
their representative organizations in the state response to the COVID-19
• Involve persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in
the independent monitoring of institutional settings.
26 March 2020




Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing

The most common symptoms of COVID-19(Coronavirus) are :

  • fever,
  • tiredness,
  • dry cough.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache



Some patients may experience

  • aches and pains,
  • nasal congestion,
  • runny nose and sore throat .

These symptoms are mostly mild and begin gradually. People with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.


People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention promptly.


Read more on Kenya Health Ministry

Read more on World Health Organization

Protection Measures a person should take

Stay updated on the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on relevant and trustworthy websites, National and County public health officials and through Media and relevant official pronouncements and publications.The situation is unpredictable  checking regularly for the latest news is prudent.R

Reducing  your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 can be achieved by taking some precautions :

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash them with soap and water
    Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
    When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth in the air,which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses.Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene.
    This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue .Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.


  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in dustbin.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 sec. or with alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean  and disinfect regularly touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets,  sinks and the like.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely. If possible, avoid traveling to places

   Read More on Government of Kenya Health Department   

Read more on World Health Organization


There are various ways on how the Coronavirus can spread as described in the Ministry of Health Kenya it can be through:

  • Respiratory Droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes:

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick

  • Close contact with Covid-19 infected person(s)

This can be within 2 meters or 6 feet or 2-3 steps.This cab be through hugging,kissing or shaking hands

  • By touching surfaces or objects contaminated by Coronavirus and then touching mouth,nose or eyes



Stay home except to get medical care
  • Stay home:   Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Limit Contact


as described in the Ministry Of Health Kenya  self quarantine is an act of persons who may have been exposed to Covid-19 separating themselves for 14 days to monitor if they develop symptoms.


Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick

World Health Organization on When and How to use Masks


April 2020
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