3rd December is observed as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) every year. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of issues related to disability and to support upholding the rights and dignity of a person with a disability.
Did you know more than 1 billion people across the world live with some type of disability which accounts for 15% of the world's population?
One in seven people alive has a disability; The number is dramatically rising owing to an increase in chronic health diseases, and an aging population, and yet disabilities are grossly ignored.
What is Disability?
Disability is the experience of any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to perform certain activities that others can do with ease, usually counted as a limitation of activities. It also includes conditions where a person is not able to freely interact with anyone around them [participation restrictions]. Disabilities encompass impairments that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory or a combination of multiple factors.
Dimensions of disability
A person with a disability struggles every single day while living with his condition, however, people with the same disability can be affected differently.
As per WHO, there are 3 dimensions of disability [Table 1]
|Limitation of activities [execution of a task]||
|Participation [person’s involvement in various life situations]restrictions||
Classifications of disabilities
Any physical or mental impairment that affects the person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities can be further classified into various subcategories which majorly include
- Visual impairments: Person's eyesight cannot be corrected
- Hearing impairments
- Motor impairments [Lost or damaged limb]: Seen in
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spina bifida
- Injury [traumatic brain injury/spinal cord injury]
- Cognitive impairments
Disability is associated with conditions that are present at birth (genes/chromosome disorders) or acquired later in life (injury, muscular dystrophy, diabetes associated vision loss/nerve damage, etc.) and Psychological Disorders
Impact of disability on a person’s life- A matter of concern
Disability impairs the quality of life whether it is a visible or invisible disability. The other factors that make them vulnerable include:
- Increased risk of contracting infections because they need someone else’s help or physical contact for support.
- Reduce access to healthcare: People with disability commonly face barriers, stigmatization, and discrimination while accessing services. Moreover, they are very rarely involved in decision-making or asked for an opinion about their health.
- Physical barriers demotivate them: Millions are spent on infrastructures but the reality is still without a slope/ramp. Stairs at the entrance of buildings, no elevators, inaccessible toilets, and fixed-height furniture at the clinic, are a few disheartening examples.
- Limited availability of the material in a simple written language, prescriptions in braille or sign language interpreters can pose communication barriers at health centers
- Less access to education, and work opportunities, and hence, they are more likely to spend life in poverty
What can be done? Meaningful strategies should be laid:
Activists from all over the world have come together to give equitable access to a person with a disability in society.
- Major reforms are needed to change the mindset of people so that there is an environment that welcomes all.
- Improving accessibility [ Wheelchair ramps, lifts, adaptive desks & chairs, accessible toilets, and braille signage ] at the workplace and health care centers are required to make life easier which can eventually have a huge impact
Let us join hands to inspire and encourage them so that it becomes easier for persons with disabilities to beat physical and mental barriers and flourish in their respective fields and work towards the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind”