DAA News Network

USA: Emphasis on prevention and cure leads to health inequality for disabled people

Posted 06/10-09 at 19.37

Amassive (434 page) authoritative report from the National Council on Disability has found that disabled people "...bear a disproportionate burden of poor health compared with the general population ..."

The report, which contains over 40 detailed recommendations, points out that disabled people face many barriers to obtaining appropriate health care. For example, a lack of disability equality training for health care professionals has resulted in "... misperceptions and disability stereotypes that can lead to ineffective and inappropriate care...". Added to this, and as a consequence of the lack of awareness, researchers discovered there was a widespread failure to provide accessible equipment, information and communication.

Disabled people also often cannot afford health insurance or if they can it does not cover specialty care, medication, medical equipment or assistive technology.

Because disability is viewed as a health issue, the report finds that research on disparities in health care does not recognise disabled people as a distinct group. This has meant that the barriers to equality of treatment have not been clearly identified or addressed.

Most tellingly, the report concludes that, "The root causes of these longstanding health and health care inequities involve multiple, complex factors that are embedded in the historical evolution of the nation's health care structure, and the parallel research and public health emphasis on disability prevention and cure." (Emphasis added).


Editorial comment :

The report's findings provide clear evidence that seeing disability essentially as a medical question, rather than one of discrimination and denial of human rights, has served to do little more than undermine the health of disabled people!



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