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The Care Economy: For Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

August 19, 2021



  • A rising demand for care services for persons with disabilities provides an opportunity to further develop the formal care sector and increase labor force participation and productivity. The care sector does not only provide solutions to persons with disabilities and their households, but also, often enables persons with disabilities to live independently and actively participate in society. It also generates employment opportunities and expands markets for the economy.

    In response to COVID-19, this roundtable discussion will explore the care economy within the context of existing emergency care measures and more long-term care systems that are inclusive of persons with disabilities. As the spread of COVID-19 slows in some parts of the world that have better access to vaccines and as people begin to return to their pre-pandemic ways, we cannot forget that the pandemic continues unabated in many countries particularly in the global South. It is therefore important to examine the care economy and its support for persons with disabilities.  

    The objective of this roundtable discussion is to initiate a conversation about the care economy of persons with disabilities, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of this discussion, we want to be able to distill messages that we can take forward and act on, whether through an analytical piece of work, a webinar series, or any idea that might organically come up during this timely conversation. 
    Umesh Bawa, University of Western Cape

    Discussant and co-moderator:
    Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor, World Bank

    Leslie Swartz
    , Stellenbosch University 
    Bonga Chiliza, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    Sameera Maziad Al Tuwaijri, World Bank
    Emanuela Pozzan, International Labour Organization 
    Alradi Abdalla, International Disability Alliance
    Vic McKinney, University of Cape Town