Diversity of Needs among the Disabled and People with Health Conditions
A WHO study shows that the region where 10 ASEAN members are situated, Southeast Asia, has “the second highest prevalence rate of moderate disability (16%) and the third highest prevalence rate of severe disability (12.9%).” Some of the most prevalent impairments or disabilities include mobility disability, impairment in speech and hearing, visual impairment and intellectual disability. According to a 2001 news report, Indonesia, for example, had the third largest number of blind people in the world.
People with disability and health conditions do not exist in isolation, i.e. they live in various social, cultural and environmental contexts as does everyone else. While most tend to think of disability and health conditions as physiological issues, this is not entirely the case. People with disability and health conditions often suffer from activity limitations, either as a cause or as a result of participation restrictions. The level of curtailment experienced by people with disability and health conditions often hinges upon the conduciveness of their physical and community settings. In other words, the variety of disability and health conditions, combined with the social, cultural and environmental circumstances that these people face, paint a complex picture that reminds the greater society of the diversity of healthcare needs among the disabled and people with health conditions. Yet, most of these needs remain unmet.
Limited Economic Options for the Disabled and People with Health Conditions
Undeniably, people with disability and health conditions often spend more resources on healthcare services, day-to-day assistive devices and personal assistance to achieve similar standards of living to those of the rest of the population. Moreover, conditional factors, such as occupational safety and health, financial stability, inflexibility in work arrangements, increased risks of disasters and environmental hazards etc., may place a huge burden on their psychological wellbeing. If living a physiologically and socially healthy life is the primary objective, then work for people with disability and health conditions should allow more leeway in sorting out priorities while maintaining a certain level of autonomy.
However, in the absence of creative income-generating schemes that permit people with disability and health conditions to work and live life as functional and dignified members of society, the same people often find themselves deprived of income, dependent on handouts or working under unfavourable conditions. Skill development among the disabled and people with health conditions is also limited as opposed to the rest of the population, further reducing their employability and thus, independence.
Dependence on Social and Environmental Wellbeing
“Work-life balance for the disabled and people with health conditions is reflected by their ability to derive income while (semi-) independently managing their conditions with dignity.”