Each year the EMA Council of Directors selects five theses, which stand out not only for their formal academic qualities but also for the originality of topic, innovative character of methodology and approach, potential usefulness in raising awareness about neglected issues, and capacity for contributing to the promotion of the values underlying human rights and democracy.
Browsing Global Campus Europe (EMA) Awarded Theses by Author "Agapiou-Josephides, Kalliope"
(Global Campus of Human Rights, 2021)
Heinrici, Agnes; Agapiou-Josephides, Kalliope; Constantinides, Aristotelis
The Deaf community faces many barriers in the access to healthcare and
is underrepresented both in politics and research. Although legislation in
European countries such as Austria, Switzerland and Germany provide the
basis for the fulfilment of human rights including equal access to healthcare,
there is a big implementation gap. In the Covid-19 pandemic, additional new
challenges like the use of face masks, daily changing information and a higher
mental health burden affected the Deaf. This thesis aims to investigate how
Covid-19 policies concerning access to healthcare were experienced within
the Deaf communities of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, and to identify
potential areas of improvement.
Based on the review of theoretical materials and existing research, an online
survey was distributed to 120 participants within the Deaf community in
Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Overall, 85.3% study participants stated
that Deaf persons generally have more difficulties in the access to healthcare
than people with average hearing. In addition, 75.7% reported that the access
to healthcare became even more difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Face masks, lack of awareness and insufficient information availability were
identified as major challenges. The survey participants named concrete
improvement measures like transparent face masks, more sign language
interpreters, telehealth, education for medical staff and increasing the amount
of official information in sign language.
These findings raised a series of issues concerning equal access to
healthcare during the pandemic due to the limited availability of resources
and information as well as limited representation of Deaf people in policy
making. The current findings could help to guide future adaptations regarding
the Covid-19 policies of Austria, Switzerland and Germany as well as of other
countries and to enhance human rights compliance.