Health

This page features disability news on Health from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.

Overview

International

Disability-Inclusive Health Care Systems: Technical Note for World Bank Task Teams. “The guide provides the rationale for disability inclusion, tips for engaging in dialogue, information and examples on disability-inclusive practices and operations, and specific guidance on integrating disability into health service programming and delivery supported by the World Bank.” (Nov, World Bank)

Reimagining health systems for a billion people with disabilities. (Dec, BMZ)

Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities. See also the press release. “Health systems should be alleviating the challenges that people with disabilities face, not adding to them.” (Dec, WHO)

Evidence brief on addressing intersectional stigma for people living with disability and chronic infectious diseases. (Oct, Disability Evidence Portal)

Promoting equity in health emergencies through health systems strengthening: “Lessons learned relating to disability inclusion in the COVID-19 pandemic can inform health systems strengthening in recovery efforts, addressing underlying barriers to access and inclusion, and in turn improving preparedness for future health emergencies.” (Oct, International Journal for Equity in Health)

Reimagining Health Systems that expect, accept and connect 1 billion people with disabilities. “People with disabilities have 2.4-fold higher mortality rates than those without disabilities and are missing 10 to 20 years of life expectancy.” (Sep, Missing Billion)

World Alzheimer Report 2022 Life after diagnosis: Navigating treatment, care and support:

“A surprising number of people living with dementia indicated they had not been offered post-diagnosis support beyond the initial information provided immediately after their diagnosis. In lower-income countries, 45% indicated they had not been offered support, while 55% reported they had. In higher-income countries, although 63% reported having been offered post-diagnosis support, 37% indicated they were offered nothing” (Sep, ADI)

WHO-ITU global standard for accessibility of telehealth services: “very
often telehealth platforms are not compatible with devices such as screen readers that
facilitate people with vision impairment to access information, or the lack of captioning
or volume control in video conferencing impedes persons who are deaf or hard of
hearing to interact with health professionals virtually”. (WHO)

A report on access and equity in the Future of Virtual Health and Care features discussion and practices of inclusion of persons with disabilities. (Jun, Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development)

A selection of videos on rehabilitation from around the world shortlisted for WHO's Health For All Film Festival (Apr, WHO)

A focus on disability is necessary to achieve HIV epidemic control:

“People with disabilities often have lower levels of access and adherence to HIV treatment due to barriers with regard to the provision of services (eg, inadequate knowledge among health-care workers and inaccessibility of facilities) and the demand for services (eg, absence of autonomy and awareness of people with disabilities of HIV care needs and service availability). ” (Apr, The Lancet HIV)

Chronically ill face life-or-death challenges due to pandemic shortages. “Millions of chronically ill people struggle to get medical supplies amid global shortages.” (Mar, Washington Post)

Disrupting Global Health: From Allyship To Collective Liberation:

“We must understand that many disabled people across the world have experienced public health and biomedicine in violent and oppressive ways; and that that history continues to resonate today. So, we must engage meaningfully with (involve them as stakeholders) disabled people’s voices, opinions, activism, and advocacy,” (Mar, Forbes)

Evidence brief on what works to improve healthcare professionals’ competency on disability: “Negative healthcare professionals’ attitudes and stigma towards people with disabilities remain a major barrier in receiving equitable healthcare services. ” (Jan, Disability Evidence Portal)

Inclusive Medicine and Medical Education: Increasing the Number of Clinicians With Disabilities "Their experiences as patients position them to provide recommendations for promoting patient-centered care and reshaping healthcare systems and delivery processes to increase accessibility and improve patient outcomes." (Feb, Global Public Health)

Lessons from Long COVID: working with patients to design better research:

"Scientific research sets the medical and care agenda for patients with chronic illnesses. It also influences the wider social and economic agenda for people living with these conditions. The more socially and economically disadvantaged people are, the greater the potential influence on their lives. This is a huge responsibility that researchers are only able to fulfil with sharp awareness of the power structures involved in conducting research, with humility and with an openness to see things from different perspectives." (Feb, Nature)

Africa

Taking steps towards disability inclusive (sexual and reproductive) health: exploring lessons from programming in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rwanda. One disability focal point in a health centre in Ethiopia said:

“Once we received a deaf woman who came to the center for help. We understood that she was raped and was pregnant, and as showed the test she was HIV positive. Yet, none of us could explain it to her and inform her on necessary treatment. So she left and never came again. We all remember this lady, so we are committed to learn sign language to be able to address such cases next time.” (link to pdf, Feb, See You Foundation)

Australia

Access to general practice for people with intellectual disability in Australia: a systematic scoping review. (Nov)

Hospitals only note a person's intellectual disability 20% of the time – so they don't adjust their care. “Potentially avoidable deaths (from conditions that could have been prevented through individualised care or treatment, like viral pneumonia, asthma, or diabetes) are more than twice as likely in people with intellectual disability.” (May, the Conversation)

Bangladesh

“We bear it and accept our fate”: Perceptions of healthcare access from people with disabilities in Cox’s Bazar. (Aug, Relief Web)

Government launch of health insurance for persons with (some?) disabilities. (Mar, Asia News Network) Also on the daily star.

Brazil

The National Health Policy for People with Disabilities: An Analysis of the Content, Context and the Performance of Social Actors. “The coming to power of ultra-right governments triggered fiscal austerity, a setback in the implementation of the care network and a weakening in the content of various social policies related to the care of people with disabilities. During this era, the political approach changed, with the attempt to evade the role of the State, and the perspective of guaranteeing social rights. Undoubtedly, the neoliberal offensive on social policies, especially the Unified Health System, is the main obstacle to the effective implementation of the PNPCD in Brazil.” (Jun, Health Policy and Planning)

Europe

EDF position paper Recommendations on cancer screening and treatment. "Unfortunately, the mention of persons with disabilities in EU policies does not translate into concrete actions to ensure their equal access to cancer screening and care, and to address the pre-existing inequalities and factors putting them at higher risk of cancer or inadequate care." (Feb, EDF)

Policy brief on disability-inclusive health systems Highlights greater risk factors in health, limited service delivery and poor health outcomes. (WHO)

India

High Court rules that People with disabilities are entitled to health insurance. (Dec, Times of India)

Can a Blind Doctor Become a Psychiatrist? discussion of a case that has reached the Supreme Court. (Feb, The Wire)

Indonesia

Healthcare Ensured short video feature on accessing universal healthcare. (Aug, Disability Justice Project)

Jordan

Language in Medical Worlds: Hearing Technology for Deaf Jordanian Children "The focus on the acquisition of orality and speech for deaf Jordanians, to the exclusion of other forms of language and communication, can result in deaf Jordanian children not being able to communicate—in any modality—as well as their having a diminished sense of belonging to broader deaf collectivities." (Jan, Medical Anthropology)

Malawi

Mismanagement of public resources affecting healthcare of people with disability (Jul, Malawi24)

New Zealand

Woman wheeled herself to hospital when ambulance couldn't take her wheelchair (Jul, Stuff)

Nigeria

Report on barriers to healthcare access for Deaf Nigerian Women and Girls during Emergencies. (Dec, WFD)

Healthcare Services Should be Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities: Here is How. (Aug, Nigeria Health Watch)

Albinism group calls for reinstatement of free skin cancer treatment. (May, Radio Nigeria)

Norway

Balancing on a knife-edge: Experiences of older patients with acquired deafblindness when receiving existential care. "The patients can experience empowerment through the maintenance of trust and communion. However, if met with an overprotecting or neglecting attitude, older patients with acquired deafblindness can feel disempowered." (March, Nordisk Sygeplejeforskning)

Uganda

Hospital and a home: Uganda shelters offer a lifeline to cancer patients. (Dec, the Guardian)

United Kingdom

Recognising lived experience is essential to empowering disabled patients. (Sep, BMJ)

Will the NHS Care for Me? feature by a disabled person on why people with a learning disability are more than twice as likely to die from avoidable causes than the rest of the population. (Oct, BBC)

Fractured, fighting, fixed: my personal experiences in hospital as a base to reflect on why medical systems struggle with inclusion. (Sep, Disability Debrief)

A study on avoidable mortality in children/young people with intellectual disabilities. “Children with intellectual disabilities had significantly higher rates of all-cause, avoidable, treatable and preventable mortality than their peers. The largest differences were for treatable mortality, particularly at ages 5–9 years. Interventions to improve healthcare to reduce treatable mortality should be a priority for children/young people with intellectual disabilities.” (Sep, BMJ Open)

Warning over early deaths of learning disabled: “adults with a learning disability were twice as likely to die from preventable illnesses.” (Aug, BBC)

A BBC show Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism?

“A pioneering drug is coming on the market that promises to make children with achondroplasia - Ellie’s form of dwarfism - grow closer to average height. A genetic condition, achondroplasia is the most common type of dwarfism in the UK, and the new treatment raises the question: if cutting-edge medicine can stop disability in its tracks, should we use it?” (Apr, BBC)

United States

Revenge of the gaslit patients: Now, as scientists, they’re tackling Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (Dec, Stat News)

Visually impaired people less likely to access health care. A study from the CDC shows that 50% of those with vision impairment reported fair or poor general health compared with 17% without vision problems. (Nov, Washington Post)

Doctors Are Failing Patients With Disabilities “Decades after the ADA passed, medical care still isn’t accessible.” (Nov, The Atlantic)

Mistreatment of physicians with disabilities is widespread, study finds. (Oct, Medical Economics)

Disability & Health In 10 Exhibits: Themes from Health Affairs’ October 2022 Issue. (Oct, Health Affairs)

‘I Am Not The Doctor For You’: important research on Physicians’ Attitudes About Caring For People With Disabilities (Oct, Health Affairs) Coverage in New York Times.

At last, medical guidelines address care for adults with Down syndrome. (Jul, Washington Post)

The autistic community is having a reckoning with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy. Includes interesting reflections on the privatization of autism services and how ‘ABA has become “the single most reliable way to make money in the human services field beyond being a physician.”’ (May, Fortune)

Committing to Health Equity for All, Including People with Disability (Apr, Mathematica)

Severe maternal morbidity and other perinatal complications among women with disabilities. (Apr, Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology)

An article on Ableism: Types, examples, impact, and anti-ableism. “In healthcare, ableism can affect interactions with doctors and other professionals, healthcare policies, and health outcomes. The idea that disabled people have less value or lower-quality lives contributes to damaging practices that persist today.” (Nov)

A new book, Deaf Rhetoric “An Ecology of Health Communication” (Jan, Spriner)

People with disabilities left behind by telemedicine and other pandemic medical innovations. (Mar, CNN)

Why billions in Medicaid funds for people with disabilities are being held up (Mar, NPR)

Technical Standards from Newly Established Medical Schools: Review of Disability Inclusive Practices: "medical schools may perpetuate historically restrictive technical standards that serve as barriers to applicants with disabilities." (Jan, Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development)

'I am a medical student with significant hearing loss. ': Here’s what the pandemic has been like for me and others with my disability (Jan, AAMC)

Program Access, Depressive Symptoms, and Medical Errors Among Resident Physicians With Disability. 'Our study establishes an association between a lack of accessibility and heightened risk for depression and self-reported medical errors during training.' (Dec, JAMA Network)

Pregnancy among Women with Physical Disabilities: Unmet Needs and Recommendations (Jan, Brandeis)

Zimbabwe

A path toward disability-inclusive health in Zimbabwe Part 1: A qualitative study on access to healthcare “People with disabilities experienced difficulties accessing health services in Zimbabwe prior to COVID-19. These experiences were shaped by health literacy, self-stigma and affordability of services, which limited demand. Supply of health services was constrained by the perceived poor capacity of health workers to treat people with disabilities and discrimination. Inclusion was facilitated by clinic staff support of people with disabilities’ access to medication through referral to mission hospitals and private clinics, and the lobbying of organisations of people with disabilities.” (May, African Journal of Disability)

A path toward disability-inclusive health in Zimbabwe Part 2: A qualitative study on the national response to COVID-19 “People with disabilities demonstrated good awareness of COVID-19 mitigation strategies, but faced difficulties accessing COVID-19 information and health services. Challenges to the implementation of COVID-19 guidelines related to a person’s functional impairment and financial ability to do so. A key supply-side constraint was the perceived de-prioritisation of rehabilitation services. Further restrictions on access to health services and rehabilitation decreased an individual’s functional ability and exacerbated pre-existing conditions.” (May, African Journal of Disability)

Should disability-inclusive health be a priority in low-income countries? This paper proposed four complementary arguments why it is important to focus on people with disabilities. They include a “a growing rationale that disability-inclusive health systems will work better for all“ and “that they will create cost savings“. (Mar, Global Health Action)

Rehabilitation

International

Provision of rehabilitation for congenital conditions “We argue that the global health community must act to ensure that rehabilitation services to support functioning from birth are well established, accepted and integrated within health systems, and that disability is prioritized within child health.” (Nov, Bulletin World Health Organization)

The World Rehabilitation Alliance is open to membership applications. (May, WHO)

Factsheet on Rehabilitation through a gender lens (Dec, ReLAB-HS)

Bangladesh

An assessment of disability and quality of life in people with spinal cord injury upon discharge from a rehabilitation unit. Unfortunately, post-discharge quality of life decreases and disability level increases. (Oct, Spinal Cord)

South Africa

A review of the framework and strategy for disability and rehabilitation services (Dec, African Journal on Disability)

Food Security and Nutrition

International

Feeding and Disability Resource Bank “A collection of resources to address feeding difficulties and disability inclusion in nutrition programs” (Nov, USAID Advancing Nutrition)

Belgium

Discussion on why “Veganism isn’t ableist” (Jun, Crip HumAnimal)