FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

Gambia: How Do Some Differently-Able Persons Acquire Their Disability?

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It's arguably sympathetic and miserable to learn how some differently-able people acquire their disability. People often tend to think about disability in terms of catastrophic events, like a terrible car accident that leaves one paralyzed or in a nursing home. However, they don't think about disability caused by things that are less dramatic and much more common.

Besides common conditions that cause disability, such as arthritis, back pain, heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes, and even pregnancy. There exist another negligible cause that confines scores of people to wheel chair or using crutches in order to go about their routine activities. This negligible but preventable causes of disability that many are victims of today includes wrongful administration of injection by some reckless healthcare providers.

I felt guilty and empathetic as a healthcare provider when I read the plight of a differently-able person in Foroyaa Newspaper Disability Column who claimed to have acquired her disability through improper administration of an injectable material when she visited a particular health facility for a treatment after an illness. This sounds alarming to say the least because people expect to have their health problems redressed when they go to treatment facilities instead of walking out from those places with debilitating health conditions.

Healthcare givers are there to alleviate suffering as a result of ill health and by extension to restore health. The young lady walked into that health facility with expectation that she would have her suffering alleviated or at least better restore her lost health status but not the other way round that unfortunately befell her.

Administering injection is one of the quickest ways of treating a disease due to its fast action but it can equally be catastrophic if wrongly administered. Depositing injectable material in a wrong target can cause instant paralysis. As a healthcare provider, you should be wary of how and where to insert your needle to avoid mishaps. For instance, the glutei muscle in the buttocks, deltoid muscle in the upper arm and upper outer quadrate in the tie must be targeted at all cost during injection to avert complications. The injection site must also always be disinfected to prevent post- injection sepsis. This must be a food for thought for all healthcare givers.

Furthermore, here's the rundown of the most common disabling conditions -- along with advice about how you can protect yourself from the costs of disability.

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems: These are the most common causes of long-term disability. They make up as much as a third of all disability cases. Arthritis is probably the biggest single cause. About one in three people say that arthritis affects their ability to do their jobs in some way, according to the CDC. Other muscle and joint problems -- bad backs, bones that never mend, bad hips -- are common causes of disability too.

Heart disease and stroke: While we tend to think of cardiovascular disease in terms of sudden medical events -- like a heart attack or stroke -- it's often a chronic condition. People live with heart disease for years or decades. It can severely limit their ability to work.

Cancer: While cancer itself can be disabling, treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can also make it difficult to work. Cancer is the fastest-growing cause for disability.

Mental health problem:. You might think of disability as physical, but mental health problems can make work difficult or impossible. Depression, bipolar disorder, and other conditions can be as disabling as any physical illness.

Diabetes: As a cause of disability, diabetes is rising fast. Along with obesity, it's linked to a number of serious health problems, like heart disease. Diabetes is a costly disease to manage too, in part because of the drugs and supplies.

Nervous system disorders: This category includes a number of conditions -- multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, ALS, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions that affect the brain or nerves. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a leading cause of disability in young adults. It most often appears between ages 20 and 40.

Pregnancy: You might not think about pregnancy as a disabling condition. Long-term disability caused by pregnancy is relatively rare. Women who wind up needing bed rest while they're pregnant or who suffer from complications afterward -- like postpartum depression -- can face serious financial stress.

Accidents: Although surveys show that people assume accidents are the most likely cause of disability, they are actually the cause of less than 10% of disability cases. This category includes not only accidents at home or on the road, but accidental poisoning too.

Finally, as full citizens, people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights. In their daily lives, they continuously battle exclusion and restriction to their full participation in society, facing discrimination, abuse, and poverty. People with disabilities are entitled to equal access to education and employment, equal rights to parenthood, property ownership, political rights, and legal representation.

Presently, there is no internationally binding convention specifically devoted to the rights of people with disabilities. However, in December 2001, the General Assembly adopted resolution 56/168, establishing a committee to consider proposals for an international convention to protect and promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. A treaty on the rights and dignity of people with disabilities would create legally binding human rights obligations specific to the needs and situation of people with disabilities.

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