Health the Greatest Wealth

Disability is extremely diverse. While some health conditions associated with disability result in poor health and extensive healthcare needs, others do not. However, all people with disability have the same general healthcare needs as everyone else, and therefore need access to mainstream healthcare services without discrimination.

Together disabled women and health workers can make health services better serve women with disabilities. Like every person, women with disability have an equal right to get access to physical and mental healthcare services.

What can we do ?

  • Be Active to Stay Healthy.

Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining health, well-being, and quality of life. It can help to control weight, improve mental health (by reducing depression and anxiety), lower the risk for early death, heart disease, type2 diabetes, and some cancers. For people with disabilities, physical activity can help support daily living activities and independence.

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  • Nutrition

For a healthy body, consumption of healthy food is important. The role of diet in preventing chronic disease is well-established. Those foods that are too high in saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar and too low in fiber and life-enhancing nutrients such as antioxidants act as a catalyst for chronic diseases and obesity.

Proper eating habits and weight reduction strategies should be emphasized. Because overweight appears to be a greater problem among people with disabilities.

A healthy, balanced diet includes:

  • Vegetables and any subgroup such as beans, peas, starches, and those that are dark green, red or orange in color

  • Whole fruits

  • Whole grains such as quinoa, corn, millet, and brown rice

  • Limited full-fat dairy

  • A variety of protein such as lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products

       Oils such as olive, flax seed, canola, and avocado

What families Can do?

  • Consider women with disability along with other members.

  • Provide healthy food for them.

  • Give proper care and attention to their health and diet

  • Try to include nutritious rich food in their diet.

  • Don't think that they are women and have disability so they need less food.

Ideas and suggestions to make health services more disability-friendly

 

  • Offer weekly or monthly home visits to people who live far from health centers.

  • Offer free health services for women with disabilities.

  • Make equipment easy to use.

  • Provide public or private transportation to the health center. Transport must be easy to use for people who use wheelchairs, crutches, or have difficulty walking .

  • A clinic will be easier for deaf women to use if even one health worker knows the sign language used among deaf people who live in that community. Deaf women themselves will be the best people to tell health workers the type of communication that works best for them.

  • Clinics and hospitals must also have trained staff members who can communicate effectively with people who are deaf or blind, or who have cerebral palsy, and who can make sure that women who have learning difficulties understand what is happening in the clinic.

     Clinics and hospitals can:

 

  • Include women with disabilities as health workers and staff members in clinics and hospitals.

  • Put handrails or ropes around the building so that people who are blind or do not see well can find their way inside safely.

  • Provide disable friendly toilets having wide opening doors with handles.

  • Organize activities about health and women with disabilities.

  • Provide monthly or regular counseling sessions for women with disabilities.

  • Make it easy for women with disabilities to combine as many appointments in different departments as necessary during the same day they go to the clinic or hospital.

  • Some health centers allow village health workers to make these appointments for women with disabilities.

  • Make information on how to use health services easy to obtain and understand.

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  • Provide health information in different languages.

  • Provide blind women with health information in Braille or on audio cassettes.

  • Encourage health workers to use simple, clear language and pictures to illustrate what they are saying to women who have trouble learning or understanding.

  • Train health workers to communicate with women who have problems with speaking clearly.

  • Train staff members in sign language so they can give health information to deaf women.

Even though there are so many barriers that act as constraints to the availability of healthcare services, women with disability can maintain good health by adapting to certain ways of living such as consuming healthy food and knowing ones own body.

Know One's Body.

 

Health conditions probably affect how we feel about our body. Keeping a positive attitude towards our body will help us to maintain good health. Understanding our body makes us to recognize if something happens because of our disability or it is a normal change that happens to all women. So understanding our body and its changes by ourselves is something important for a woman with disability to be healthy.

 

Mostly body of a girl begins to grow and change by the age of 9-15, the puberty period, which is a challenging and confusing time in woman’s life .Your disability will not ward off you from these changes and it is even more challenging.

At puberty period :

  • You may grow taller and rounder

  • Hair growth will there in your under arms and genitals

  • Breast growth.

  • Inside your body, the womb (uterus), tubes, ovaries, and vagina grow and change position.

  • Wetness (discharge) starts to come out of your vagina.

  • Your monthly bleeding starts (period, menstruation).

  • You begin to have more sexual thoughts and urges.

  • Your face may get oily, and pimples or spots may grow.

  • You may sweat more, and your sweat may smell different from it did before puberty.

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I got my periods, but I hate this.. I feel embarrassed..  I know I am not a girl now, but I feel I am not even a woman.

Accept your body and its changes. Observe every change in your body. Don't feel ashamed of your body. Be proud of yourself. Try to engage with other people and society. Stay healthy.

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Along with all these, it is important for you to look after yourself and to stay clean during your monthly bleeding. It is equally important to eat healthy food. You should be equipped to protect yourself from sexual abuse. You should earn mental health and self-esteem. You need not to be submissive and withdraw yourself from public gatherings. Try to do things on your own as much as possible.

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But people may stare at me; I feel like I don't belong to this world.

Be comfortable with your body. Accept your physical development. Interact with other women with disabilities. You can develop a loving and caring relationship with family and friends.  Express your feelings, confusions and fear with your near ones.  

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   I easily lose my temper these days.

It's normal these days because by puberty your body starts producing more hormones, causing both physical and mental changes. There will be developments in your emotions and sexual feelings. Accept it and share it with your peer group. Respect yourself as a woman.

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Our girl withdraws herself from family gatherings. She seems more submissive these days. We feel like we lost our girl.. her spiritedness..

Accept that your girl is becoming a woman and she is going through lots of confusion. Help her to communicate with her peer group. Make opportunities for her to take part in activities outside the home.

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Talk to her about sexuality and encourage her to express her feelings. Give awareness about sexual abuse.

 

As a health worker, we can include her in projects related to health education. We can provide awareness programs for family members and teachers of girls with disability on how to take care of the mental and physical health of such girls.       

 

Mental health also plays a major role in a person's life, especially in the case of women with disability.

What is mental health.. how can we attain mental health...