Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 - Page 70

It is also essential for the healthcare industry to hire disabled individuals , thereby ensuring a diversified workforce that enhances healthcare organisations .
Socioeconomic factors and obstacles to healthcare access The �N ’ s �epartment of Economic and Social Affairs reported that living with a disability increases the likelihood of falling into poverty . This is because the additional cost of living for disabled persons involves a range of extra expenses for healthcare , housing , transportation , personal assistance , and assistive products . Higher health costs further exacerbate health inequity due to the unaffordability of timely care and treatment and the purchasing or repair of assistive devices .
According to the latest �NICEF data , children with disabilities are 25 percent less likely to receive early childhood education and 49 percent more likely never to attend school . Lack of education among disabled children causes them to be 16 percent less likely to read and 42 percent less likely to possess foundational reading and counting skills . Low education will further lead to slimmer chances of employment and an inability to generate income . Lower education levels correlate with low health literacy , leading to poor oversight of health practices , such as vaccinations , and unhealthy dietary habits , ultimately affecting life expectancy and health outcomes .
The housing plans in many countries do not consider the special requirements of disabled persons , resulting in people being sent to institutionalised settings such as special care homes . These often have low accommodation standards , lack of trained caregivers , and poor health outcomes . Disabled persons also face the risk living alone due to a lack of social interaction and limited mobility .
The inability to commute by accessible public transportation is also a significant barrier for disabled individuals attempting to reach the nearest healthcare facility . Disabled passengers are more likely to incur extra costs for more expensive modes of transportation that provide more space for them and their carers and storage space for mobility equipment such as wheelchairs . Lack of access to transport is common in low-income countries where road or rail infrastructure is not extensive enough to cover rural areas . Additionally , multistep transportation services that require changing vehicles can be challenging for those with intellectual disabilities .
Promoting a disability-inclusive health sector The WHO report stressed that the disabled community is entitled to the same access to quality healthcare as their non-disabled counterparts . It is therefore imperative for governments to design pro-health equity policies that should not be carried out exclusively by the health sector but rather as an inherent element of a country ’ s efforts to enhance its healthcare system .
Empowering primary healthcare ( PHC ) PHC contributes to the local health system by providing integrated health services focusing on primary care and essential public functions , promoting cross-sectoral policy and action , and empowering local communities . Cultivating health equity for disabled persons is possible by incorporating targeted disability-inclusive strategies within mainstream actions . One method includes rolling out a training module on disability inclusion to all healthcare workers , such as doctors , nurses , midwives and community health workers , and equipping them to provide adequate and inclusive health services to disabled patients .
It is also essential for the healthcare industry to hire disabled individuals , thereby ensuring a diversified workforce that enhances healthcare organisations . Recruitment of disabled persons can be streamlined by providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities at higher learning institutes and offering career progression programmes for disabled healthcare professionals . Furthermore , non-medical staff such as administration , maintenance , and cleaning personnel can also be trained on accessibility issues and communicating with disabled patients — for example , learning sign language to engage with patients with impaired hearing .
Disability-friendly buildings and public spaces In terms of making physical infrastructure accessible to people with disabilities , universal design is widely
A sample of disability-friendly public space
68 ISSUE 2 | 2023 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com