Disability and Reproductive Health during COVID-19


Study Title: Disability and Reproductive Health during COVID-19
Rationale: Twenty-four percent of Canadian women have a disability. Women with disabilities experience social, health, and health care disparities, including disparities in sexual, reproductive, maternal, and child health (SRMCH). The United Nations has documented the global impact of COVID-19 on SRMCH. In Canada, impacts include restricted access to contraception, abortion, and perinatal services; rising rates of maternal anxiety and depression; missed child routine vaccinations; suspension of in-person family access to children in the child welfare system; and elevated rates of intimate partner violence. These impacts have been felt most acutely in marginalized groups, including racialized, low socioeconomic status, and rural/remote communities. However, one marginalized group for whom the impacts of COVID-19 on SRMCH have received little attention is women with disabilities.
Study Description: The proposed study is a partnership between the University of Toronto (where we have been conducting CIHR and NIH-funded research on disability and SRMCH) and the Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada (the only national feminist disability organization in Canada). We plan to examine the impact of COVID-19 on SRMCH in women with disabilities in Canada. Our objectives are addressed in two parallel parts:

1. In Part 1, we will use an accessible, nation-wide survey of women with disabilities to:
a. Describe the overall impact of COVID-19 on SRMCH; and
b. Examine the differential impacts of COVID-19 on SRMCH by other intersecting social determinants of health.

2. In Part 2, we will use interviews with women with disabilities across the life course to:
a. Explore the processes by which COVID-19 has impacted SRMCH in these groups; and
b. Identify opportunities and strategies to build a more inclusive SRMCH service system.

We will use the evidence to ensure an accessible and inclusive approach to reproductive health for people with disabilities during and beyond the pandemic.
Starting Date: 2022-05-16
Ending Date: 2023-04-01
Who can participate: Eligible participants must meet the following criteria: 1) Identify or may be identified as having a disability, 2) Identify as a woman, trans, or non-binary person, 3) Are 18 years or older, and 4) Live and receive health care in Canada
Trial Institution: University of Toronto Scarborough
Trial Investigator: Dr. Hilary Brown
Contact Information: Sidrah Zafar
Trial Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research