Introduction

‘Tech and Society Dialogues’ on Disability and Access to the Public Digital Health Services

‘Tech and Society Dialogues’ on Disability and Access to the Public Digital Health Services

Online event flyer. Green background. Main illustration is an artistic representation of a CAPTCHA window. 12 individual images in small squares within the CAPTCHA window. Images show a conventional symbol of accessibility, traffic lights, a fire hydrant (representing images used commonly in image-based CAPTCHAs). Final image is a pink heart inside a stethoscope. Under the images is the text ‘Am I Human?’ upside down. Below the CAPTCHA illustration is the text ‘Tech and Society Dialogues: Disability and Access to Public Digital Health Services’, followed by the date and time of the event, 4th May, 2022 from 4:30 pm to 6 pm IST. Digital Futures Lab (simple white text) logo in the left hand corner. 4 white cursor hand pointers surrounding the CAPTCHA illustration. Two strips of black and yellow caution tape behind the image.

Digital Futures Lab organised a ‘Tech and Society Dialogues’ conversation on ‘Disability and Access to the Public Digital Health Services’ on May 4 2022. Srinidhi Raghavan, Co-Leads Programmes, joined the panel alongside Gesu India (PhD student at Swansea University), Tony Kurian (PhD in sociology at IIT Bombay), and Smitha Sadasivan (Regional trainer for South Asia Women’s Institute on Leadership & Disability (WILD) program).

Srinidhi spoke about the process of researching the Rising Flame and Sightsavers India report ‘Neglected and Forgotten: Women with Disabilities during Covid Crisis in India’, saying that one of the things that came up in cross-disability experiences of women was that access to essential medical information was extremely low. Such information was mediated through family, who had access to this information.

Cases where digital healthcare was not accessible or helpful for women with disabilities also came to the forefront during the conversation as the digital divide between men and women with disabilities remains quite high. There were also issues of privacy, especially around sexual and reproductive rights.