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Leaving No One Behind

Leaving No One Behind: The Need To Build An Inclusive Society, One With Equal Access For People With Disabilities

Is enough being done to integrate people with disability socially and economically? Here is a fact sheet on the extent of the problem in India and the world

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New Delhi: World Health Organization states that around 15 per cent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with some form of disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines disability as a condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities and interact with the world around them.

This year, as the world gears up to mark Valentine’s Day on February 14, the day of love, team Banega Swasth India decided to dedicate the day with a special theme – Love That Makes Us Human to highlight the daily trials and tribulations faced by people with disability.

Here’s a fact sheet on disability in India and the world:

  1. India’s disabled population stands at 2.68 crore, which is 2.2 per cent of the population, according to the National Health Portal of India. It further states the division and adds:
    a. The prevalence of disability is more in rural areas, which is 2.24 per cent
    b. In urban areas, the prevalence of disability is at 2.17 per cent
    c. In India, prevalence of disability is more in males at 2.4 per cent than among females at 2 per cent.
  2. However, the World Bank states that disability numbers are much more around the world. It estimates that in India over 8 crore people are living with some form of disability, whereas, around the world around 20 per cent of the poorest people have some kind of disability.
  3. There is growing evidence that suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that:
    a. 200 million people around the world need glasses or other low vision devices and do not have access to these
    b. 70 million people in the world need a wheelchair, however only 5-15% have access to one
    c. 360 million people globally have moderate to profound hearing loss and only 10% of global needs of hearing aids are met
    d. Half of the people with disabilities cannot afford health care.
  4. According to the report by market intelligence firm, Unearthinsight, half of the disabled population in India is employable, but only 34 lakh of them have been employed across the organised sector,unorganised sector, government-led schemes or are self-employed. As per United Nations, in developing countries, 80 per cent to 90 per cent of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed.
  5. WHO also states that people with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education levels, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disability. This is due to many obstacles they face in their everyday life and due to lack of services available to them.
  6. United Nations states that women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It further states an example of a small survey in Odisha, that found that virtually all the women and girls with disabilities were beaten at home, 25 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities had been raped and 6 per cent of women with disabilities had been forcibly sterilized.
  7. UNESCO says that 90 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school.
  8. WHO states that although the numbers of children with disabilities have steadily increased with demographic trends, most health systems lack capacity to even address current needs of children with disabilities, let alone meet rising demand.
  9. WHO adds that people with disability are vulnerable to poverty, they also have worse living conditions – including insufficient food, poor housing, lack of access to safe water and sanitation – than people without disability. They may also incur extra costs from medical care, assistive devices or personal support while facing greater barriers to employment.
  10. WHO also states that almost everyone is likely to experience some form of disability – temporary or permanent – at some point in life. It also adds that today, the numbers of people with disability are increasing substantially and that’s due to demographic change including population ageing and the global increase in chronic health conditions.

Now is the time to build greater dialogue around inclusion and accessibility for people with disability around the world and to educate and sensitise everyone around us about the challenges faced by disabled people.

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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