International Perspectives

Following on from today’s session – start to share/explore international perspectives on disability and social care.  This can be used as preparation for Week 7 and/or your summative assignment

37 thoughts on “International Perspectives”

  1. Hi
    I have been looking at Sweden and their position on social care. Here is a wee snap shot of what I have gleaned so far:

    Sweden has a high percentage of over 65s (18%) (2014) and a high level of welfare spending.
    They seem to value social care highly. Whilst they
    spend the same % of GDP on health care as does the UK compared to the UK’s 1.2% they spend more (3.6%) on Long Term Care with approx 3% of that being spent on social care. The figures are from 2011.

    Their long term care provision is viewed as best practice due to generosity of cover and low limits on out of pocket expenses. Such expenses only make up 3-4% of the budget for long term care. Anyone know what it would be in Scotland?

    They take care of their informal carers and thus have a direct budget from which they pay informal carers. This is called a Relative care benefit. Whilst the cash payment may be worth less than the alternative ‘in kind’ benefit it offers more flexibility. Carers can organise their own services to meet their individual needs should they take a cash payment. Similar to they Scottish Self direct payments system.

    They have recently introduced a choice of home help service from either the public or private sector.

    I have sourced this information from, Commission on the Future of Health & Social Care in England. The Social care & health systems of 9 countries.

    Anybody else looked at Sweden?

  2. Being disabled in Ghana is a very difficult situation to be in.
    The society still lacks knowledge and does see disability as a curse or something that should not be embraced.
    Below links are just to give overview.

    1. Thank you for sharing Esther. Although what is done in Ghana in terms of not respecting disabled people’s rights is very sad and reproachable, we have to see the legacy of colonialism which is perpetuated by neoliberalism. What people have learnt from previous rulers is that the strong have to dominate the “weak” and have to be put in shackles. Christianity has also been used as a tool of oppression, and I’m catholic, mea culpa.
      Perpetuating and securing the old colonial system is what many of the leaders only know, because they can’t remember other ways, more of their own African ways, of ruling.
      Doris’ story is an inspiration to us all and example of strength of women and in particular of African women.

  3. Hi, a few words about Nepal.

    Due to Nepal being one of the poorest countries in the world and it being mainly situated in mountainous terrain, the infrastructure tends to be underdeveloped. Family structures are very strong in Nepal which can help to provide support for a family member who has a disability. However, extreme poverty and lack of education can lead to poor care. Also, their ethnic group and caste will have a bearing on their wealth and subsequent access to education and resources.

    The first legislation related to people with disabilities was the Disabled Persons (Protection and Welfare) Act (1982). Some of the legal provisions relate to Education (for example, no fees charged to students with disabilities), Health (free medical exams), Social Welfare (subject to available resources).
    It does at first appear that Nepali legislation provides positive ways to support those with disabilities but in fact the government is not obliged to make any of these provisions. Plus the framework tends to focus on what provisions people with disabilities may need rather than looking at their equal rights in society.
    However, there is a glimmer of hope with the new constitution of Nepal 2072 (2015). Evidently there are various rights of people with disabilities, including the right to political participation, being incorporated in the new constitution.

    I personally believe any change will remain to be seen as the Nepali government has a terrible track record. Corruption being a major problem. For example, aid has still not been distributed properly (or at all) to people who were affected by the earthquake in 2015. During that time it appeared to fall to NGO’s, individuals etc. to come together and organize aid, especially for people living in remote villages. Just my personal opinion of course!

    Information from the National Survey on Living Conditions among Individuals with Disabilities in Nepal. 2014-2015.

  4. Hello, I’ve been having a look into America’s approach to disability and social care. They devote on average 17.7% of GDP to health care, the largest amount out of all developed countries (Robertson et al, 2014). It could be expected that the more money spent on health care, the greater the life expectancy for that country. However, despite spending nearly double that of the UK, America still has a lower life expectancy, 78.8 compared to 81.4 (ONS, 2016). One reason for this difference could be the costing of health care to the American population. Schoen et al (2013) found that America had one of the highest reporting’s of not using needed health care due to the cost, with the UK having the lowest reporting’s of cost-related issues. Could this be a result of the UK’s privilege to the NHS and many areas having access to free prescriptions and medical care etc? Americans are expected to have their own private health care insurance. However, it is means tested so those who are on low incomes, have certain disabilities and the older population have access to government-funded Medicare and Medicaid (Robertson et al, 2014). In 2012, it was found 21% of 19-64 year olds were uninsured (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014). This is a relatively high percentage considering those who don’t have insurance are not entitled to adequate care.

    I’ve found these websites useful in comparing different countries approaches so worth a look if anyone is interested.

  5. I looked at a study comparing dementia care policy between Scotland and Taiwan. Taiwan and Scotland both have aging populations demographically, which as pointed out by Simon Little from Fife’s Integrated Joint Board, means increasing pressures upon dementia care sectors. What was emphasised was the significance of change in political leadership. In Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party replaced the long-standing (since 1912) Chinese Nationalist Party in 2000. This led to a shift from an emphasis on state and family sectors in welfare provisions, to one that provides universal welfare for everyone, specialized for different sectors of the country (e.g. mothers, children, older people, disabled people, indigenous people etc). In Scotland, Devolution, followed by the replacement of Labour by the SNP in 2007 have had significant effects on policy and legislation.
    Initial diagnosis is much more rapid in Taiwan than in Scotland, but longer-term care standards are less satisfactory. Yet medical care has a limited role. Social care is key in terms of quality-of-life (QOL) issues. In Taiwan, people with advanced dementia are treated as psychiatric patients, with no focus on social justice or inclusion, unlike in Scotland. In Taiwan, Health and Social Care are in separate government departments, unlike the integrated joint boards (IJBs) recently developed in Scotland, which have huge potential in terms of the needs of dementia sufferers. While Scotland have legislation relating to carers (e.g. Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002), Taiwan relies on filial piety, a deeply ingrained cultural ethos that stresses that families should look after their aging relatives. This can isolate carers and place great stress on them. However, the benefit of filial piety is that 80% of sufferers live in the community, compared to 70% in Scotland. However, end stage dementia can place very significant burdens on families. While wages are 2.5 times higher in Scotland than in Taiwan, allowances for elderly people in need are 7 times higher in Scotland.

  6. Hi guys, naturally I will be sharing with you what it is like to be a disabled person in Ukraine. When Susan asked us to share our experiences from international perspectives, I went into a deep thought. I was trying to think of anything that I already know or what I remember from my life in Ukraine up to 2001.
    And guess what? I know very little. I do not remember having much encounters with disabled people – not at school, not at the University, not on the streets of the city or really anywhere.
    I spent a day reading about it and understood why – In Ukraine disabled people were “invisible” when I grew up and although disabled rights movement has been developing since early 1990, it is still far from any meaningful level of change in lives of those affected.
    I have found some interesting literature, especially the book “Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Post-socialist Ukraine” written by Phillips, Sarah D. 2011. She wrote the book based on over 10 years of research, visits to Ukraine, sharing what it is like to be disabled person through individuals’ stories, covering the period from 1990, when Ukraine was one of the republics of Soviet Union and than through years of struggle of becoming independent, collapse of economy, health and social care systems, financial crisis of 2008 and most recent civil war struggle.
    So she says: “The word used most often in Ukraine, Russia, and other former Soviet countries to describe persons with a range of physical, mental, and intellectual challenges is “invalid.” In one sense, invalid is an official designation, an identity conferred upon one by the state apparatus and its various health and social welfare institutions. When one refers to another—or to oneself—as an invalid, oftentimes it is in reference not only to the person’s physical or mental characteristics, but also to his or her membership in an official category of citizens with a particular relationship to the state, which affords them access to a range of benefits and entitlements. “Invalid” carries with it also the assumption that the referent—the invalid—does not (and cannot) work. This identification is rooted in the Soviet system of classification and support of invalids as a category of citizens who by definition did not possess labour capacity, or whose ability to work had been partially compromised”
    In Soviet times the officials did not recognise “invalids” as a class of citizens. When first Paralympic games were organised in UK shortly after 1980’s USSR Olympic Games, the reply from a Soviet representative was swift, firm, and puzzling: “There are no invalids in the USSR!”.
    People affected by disabilities did not work, they were given a “live pass” and was supported by a benefits. They were confided to stay in their little state apartments, due to lack of opportunities for education or work or access to transport; all houses were build by the same model and with no facilities like ramps, rails, lifts or special adaptations in the baths, toilets…etc Disabled person faced the life of social isolation and a lot of stigma from the rest of the population.
    It is sadly has not changed much, according to the report “Child Poverty and disparities in Ukraine” (document published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2010) which highlights concerns of lack of support to children with special needs that leads to parent’s (primarily women) carrying out role of carers, giving up employment and facing poverty and issues of family separations (in most cases fathers live family and start new relationships, living mother to care for the child with special needs alone); also societal views on separation in educating disabled and healthy children;
    and some technical barriers like:
    a) Unsuitability of residential buildings – “If a family (especially a single-parent one) with a disabled child confined to a wheelchair lives on upper floors of a large apartment house without an elevator, it is virtually impossible for it to take outdoor walks with the child” Even if elevator is in place it is not wide enough for a wheelchair user.
    b). Unsuitability of public transportation and transport stations “The vast majority of families of this type are low-income households that usually cannot buy a car or even use a taxi. They have to use public transportation. But not one type of transportation is equipped with relevant machinery to help disabled persons get on a bus, for example, without other people’s help. It should be added that sidewalks and curbs without ramps are another serious barrier for disabled people who wish to move around.”
    c)Unsuitability of the facilities themselves. “Only some health care facilities in Ukraine are equipped with special entranceways for free movement of disabled persons, while shops, drugstores, and educational and cultural facilities are not so equipped”

    The situation with Care for Elderly is also very challenging due to lack of support state services/funding and also the fact that most of today’s pensioners in Ukraine have lost their live savings when USSR banking collapsed in 1991 and they are facing poverty hardships as well as lack of health and social care support. (more about these age group in “Long-Term Care Policy for the Elderly in the Zaporozhye Region of Ukraine”, a Case Study of Social Development Following the Collapse of Communism, Howard A. Palley PhD & Lyudmyla A. Romanenkova PhD, available to read via Dundee Library)

    Finally, a few statistics from National Health Reform Strategy for Ukraine 2015-2020:
    The current status of Ukraine’s Health System (hereinafter «HS») is characterized by the following:

    • Ukraine lags behind European counterparts in terms of life expectancy and also it’s mortality patterns are of a chronic disease in nature strongly linked to risk factors such as levels of smoking, levels of obesity, levels of physical inactivity and levels of excess alcohol consumption

    • Ukraine spends a fair amount of its per capita GDP on health, but its per capita GDP levels are less than most of Europe. With that said, many countries achieve decent age specific mortality rates and life expectancies with little per capita spending on health.

    • The healthcare system in Ukraine is sclerotic and basically based on the Shemasko model with very rigid public finance management procedures.

    On live expectancy: In 2012 Average Life Expectancy at Birth, LEB, in Ukraine was 66.1 years for men and 76 years for women, which is low compared to European averages (72.5 and 80 respectively).
    Combined with migration, the current health status has caused a demographic crisis as a result of which the population has been reduced by 7 million (from 52 to 45.3 million) over two decades.
    Ukraine presents one of the worst health profiles in the European region, characterized by high mortality, morbidity and disability rates. In terms of mortality, it is second in the European ranking, increasing by 12.7% between 1991 and 2012 while it dropped by 6.7% in the European Union.

  7. Scandinavian approach to Disability and Social Care
    Having lived in Sweden for few years with my daughter with additional needs…I reminisce how well she had been looked after by the local authority which they call it KOMMUN; back home we call it Council.
    Being one of the health conscious country in world…I was very new to Stockholm…for my daughter’s snack box, I bought few packets of chocolate cookies and crisps which she always enjoyed. I was told by the school, that we do not encourage parents to provide these kind of snacks in the school…and that was a challenge for me to find a right kind of snack to provide for my daughter knowing her likes and dislikes.
    From being one of the poorest countries in Europe, the 100-year period from 1870 to 1970 turned Sweden into the fourth richest country in the world. Today, Sweden’s generous health and long-term care systems for the elderly are regarded among the best in the world. Strong partnerships between authorities, care providers, academia and industry have promoted and developed new products, solutions and processes for evidence-based and cost-effective medical and social care.
    According to the UN, Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world. Universal Declaration of Human Rights In 1948 The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” which is the most fundamental document that also defines the rights of people with disabilities. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity, without a distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
    Ethics in the workplace is associated with how one is treated; the interaction that occurs when people meet is the core to all welfare work. Swedish legislation is based on a humanitarian view of people, to be subjective; there all individuals are seen as a participating resource. The central principles in the Social Services Act are of own free will, self-determination, participation and influence.
    The elderly and disabled also qualify for transportation services in taxis or specially adapted vehicles. This option is available to those who are unable to travel by regular public transport. In 2014, 11 million such journeys were completed across the country, a national average of 35 per eligible person.

    I have obtained these sources from;

  8. Scandinavian approach to Disability and Social Care

    Having lived in Sweden for few years with my daughter with additional needs…I reminisce how well she had been looked after by the local authority which they call it KOMMUN; back home we call it Council.

    Being one of the health conscious country in world…I was very new to Stockholm…for my daughter’s snack box, I bought few packets of chocolate cookies and crisps which she always enjoyed. I was told by the school, that we do not encourage parents to provide these kind of snacks in the school…and that was a challenge for me to find a right kind of snack to provide for my daughter knowing her likes and dislikes.

    From being one of the poorest countries in Europe, the 100-year period from 1870 to 1970 turned Sweden into the fourth richest country in the world. Today, Sweden’s generous health and long-term care systems for the elderly are regarded among the best in the world. Strong partnerships between authorities, care providers, academia and industry have promoted and developed new products, solutions and processes for evidence-based and cost-effective medical and social care.

    According to the UN, Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world. Universal Declaration of Human Rights In 1948 The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” which is the most fundamental document that also defines the rights of people with disabilities. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity, without a distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

    Ethics in the workplace is associated with how one is treated; the interaction that occurs when people meet is the core to all welfare work. Swedish legislation is based on a humanitarian view of people, to be subjective; there all individuals are seen as a participating resource. The central principles in the Social Services Act are of own free will, self-determination, participation and influence.

    The elderly and disabled also qualify for transportation services in taxis or specially adapted vehicles. This option is available to those who are unable to travel by regular public transport. In 2014, 11 million such journeys were completed across the country, a national average of 35 per eligible person.

    I have obtained these sources from;

  9. Please check the link below to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is a map of Countries who signed and ratified the convention ( May 2016) Also, you can find the other translations of the Convention.

  10. Hi guys, just a little overview of how disability is projected in Ghana.
    In Ghana, a person is referred to as disabled if he is person with a physical, mental or sensory impairment including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability, which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers that substantially, limits one or more of the major life activities of that individual.
    About 10% of Ghana’s 20 million citizens are persons with disability. Although their rights are guaranteed both by Ghana’s Constitution and by international conventions, in reality these provisions have offered them very little actual protection against discrimination.
    In 2006 Parliament implemented the ‘Persons with Disability Act’, which aims to provide a legal framework for persons with disability in Ghana. With an objective to reinforce the life of a disabled person the right to a family life and right to participate in social, creative or recreational activities; the prohibition of differential treatment for residential purposes, the right to the same living conditions as persons without disability when persons with disability are placed in special institutions; no exploitation, abuse, discrimination or disrespect to persons with disability, appropriate facilities when involved in court proceedings; and access to public places.
    This sounds like great list of policies the Government has in mind for the people in this category, but on the other hand, it doesn’t go so well as planned . The Government is presented with tons of huge challenges on the implementations of some of these policies and legislature in the system, for the welfare of the disability.
    Major Issue – High illiteracy rate, Corruption from both the private and public sector, Lack of education and no major sources of information for people in this category.. Disability is more of a cultural sensitive topic than a national issue . And the list goes on and on
    Issues with the private sector – lack of monitoring on the enforcement of laws of disability in this sector, The private sector plays a major role in the economy of Ghana, as people mostly refer the public sector as a weaker part and highly politicised institution. The private sector contributes to about 49.9% GDP to the Economy of Ghana.(Ghana Statistical Services) giving a stability to the Economy. However there is no regard or very less consideration of laws on disability to this sector.
    Most business owners regard this issue as a charitable one than just an obligation where the law bounds them to., Issues with accessibility of Business centres, certain considerations is totally not in their plan. They see no obligation to ensuring accessibility and other suitable arrangement for the disabled as they don’t even envisage the patronage of product or a service from this group of people. This rather intensifies the stigma placed on the disabled person leaving them to even accept their disability as rather a hopeless situation.
    The social service sector – (Another headache ) to support and help improve the lives of these vulnerable groups are almost inactive. The social service sector is mostly projected as minute and a weak sector which has very or less influence. There are less consideration of social work as an educational/career module in Educational institution such as the university and other professional educational institution. Social work is mostly not practiced as an academic module , Therefore, in generality, researches and other key educational element is not invested in the sector. So obviously it is quite not so a good experience to be disabled in Ghana as it poses and frustrates the people who truly want to make a change by fighting for justice for the voiceless .
    People with disability mostly depend on immediate families for support. And the families however also lack the financial support, educational and the right information to be able to provide their required needs.
    Government Interventions “The So Call”
    The Government through the local municipal authorities have a list of support for people with certain forms of disability, (Idealy) These supports are spelt out in the legislatures and policies formulated. There is a consideration of Educational Support, Employment support through the public employment centre, Financial support ,Transportational needs,etc
    however the problem back again is the implementation of these good looking laws formulated.
    Unlike most developed countries who provide housing support/Caring support when necessary to the vulnerable, In Ghana, it is the opposite somehow, The best the government does is worst case scenario, establisher habilitation centres in some parts of the regions with the aim of offering support and assistance through guidance, counselling and certain training for people with disability. . But due to luck of funding, eventually, the staff at this institutions vacate their jobs leaving these vulnerable groups, hoping rather for an intervention from NGOs, International and charitable organisations.
    People with disability do not have access to regular schools and do not have the capacity for aid and support to do regular things like the abled person. This makes them resort to one another mostly at disability centres and special schools designed for them, which is not so bad, but however mostly, they are ostracised from regular people if they cannot receive aid to be able to support their irregularities. The implication is more of reject and neglect , in these cases the system rather prevents them and renders them more disabled.
    However, over the years, there have been tremendous intervention from international organisations such as the African charter on human rights and peoples right, world programme of action , World programme of charter concerning disabled person who all have a vision of empowering and promoting social justice against these conscious and unconscious discriminative structures against the disabled and also offering financial support where necessary.
    Personally I think the change that people hoping to see in this social issue has already become a very hopeless situation. Government could make a difference, if the laws are brought to life and a lot Education and information and other resources are developed for a better way forward,I guess it would be impactful then, Issues with funds, etc would continue to pose a challenge on a bigger picture if corruption is not dealt with but however a little scale, start up with synthetisation and empowerment could bring a little change especially for those at the typical remote areas who think disability could even be a curse.

    Information from Ref. Commonwealth rights initiative, Ghana,

  11. In Zimbabwe, not much has been done on a societal level to ensure that the needs and rights of people living with disabilities are met. The systems in Zimbabwe are not inclusive enough to provide for the needs of people living with disabilities from accessing education to holding public office positions. Currently Zimbabwe has only one member of parliament who is disabled. From my experience growing up in rural Zimbabwe, I observed how people living with disabilities were socially excluded and isolated, for example in schools there was no provision set for them to access education, and in rural areas having few schools which are very far, (my primary school was 5 miles away on foot) clearly, they had no means of accessing the schools as a result, it further marginalises them. Although Zimbabwe has been celebrated as a country that has achieved near universal primary education for all, about 65% of the estimated number 600 000 of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe have no access to education (UNICEF 2013). A 2007 study on disability issues in Zimbabwe by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) found that disabled people are one of ‘the most marginalised, socially excluded and poorest groups in Zimbabwean society’ and ‘are less likely to complete primary education than their non-disabled counterparts’. Also, in Zimbabwe there are strong, ‘prevailing negative social attitudes to disability and disabled people’, as some people believe that disability is a ‘curse’ or a result of witchcraft. According to a UNICEF report, few people in Zimbabwe are aware of the challenges facing people with disabilities and their families because of ‘fearful of social stigma, many parents of disabled children avoid sending their disabled children to school for fear they would be mistreated and stigmatised’.
    In terms of disability legislation and policy, Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in the world to enact disability discrimination legislation, the Disability Act was first enacted in 1994 and revised in 1996, ‘specifies that it is an offence to prohibit or deny disabled persons of access to public premises, services and amenities and to discriminate against disabled persons in employment’. But the 1994 Act is based on medical-based approaches and not on human rights of disabled people as clearly there are ‘attitudinal, institutional and physical barriers that prevent disabled people in Zimbabwe from participating in everyday life’, as well as being able to exercise their basic human rights. Also, the Government of Zimbabwe has not ‘developed the necessary administrative infrastructure for effective implementation’ of the Act. Furthermore, Zimbabwe is a country which is currently experiencing a severe political and economic crisis, as a result even though, ‘disabled people are entitled to receive disability grants, their monetary value is so grossly inadequate to have a significant impact upon the quality of life of disabled people’. In Zimbabwe, most of the services are provided by international NGOs, but because of the political instability in Zimbabwe, the future of the NGOs/INGOs who are willing to work for the improvement of living standards of the people with disability in the country is uncertain.
    The DFID report found that Zimbabwe has some of the strongest Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), for example the Southern African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), founded in 1986 by people living with disabilities to effectively represent their own interests, has its headquarters in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and ‘provides strategic leadership for the advancement of disability rights in 10 countries – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe’. (if anyone is interested, SAFOD website has interesting information of disability issues in Southern Africa, ( Also, Zimbabwe ratified ‘The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008’ on 23 Sep 2013, but as with the 1994 Act, there are no ‘agreed standards to monitor the implementation’ of these disability legislations, and ‘the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe seriously compromises the effective implementation of sustainable services’. There is no escaping the fact that the current political and economic crisis has a huge impact on the country in terms of provision of state welfare services, as Zimbabwe now heavily relies on international aid. For example, ‘the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for the rights and needs of people with disabilities, but has no budget at all for addressing the needs of the group’. Clearly Zimbabwe has a long way to go in terms of promoting meaningful public awareness of disability issues and to fight stigmatisation and promote acceptance, social inclusion and support for people with disabilities.
    Some Statistics:
    Zimbabwe population 15.5 million people (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2016)
    There are approximately 1.4 million disabled people in Zimbabwe (DFID report, 2007)
    There are approximately 600 000 children with disabilities in Zimbabwe (UNICEF 2013)
    56% of the population live on less than $1 per day and 80% of less than $2 per day (DFID report, 2007)
    18.1% the population is living with HIV/AIDS (DFID report, 2007)


  12. Hello people,
    The Ghanaian perspective of the Disabled Human…
    In Ghana, it is argued that traditional and religious beliefs in addition to present day attitudes within the community, are influences on the perception of disability. Many communities in Ghana, used pejorative labels and the manner in which people with disabilities are treated tends to be considered justified, because disability in the past was so strongly attributed to religious or magical models where ‘Evil’ was placed on an individual from the gods. Children with disabilities were therefore seen as less than human and were subsequently vulnerable to less than human treatment (Corbett,1996). Attitudes of the community to those with disabilities were shaped largely by beliefs in and fear of the deities and gods , who were considered morally equipped to guide law and order and were capable of inflicting punishment on those who had offended or strayed away from the norms of society. Many parents were therefore, blamed for bringing disability to themselves. Due to this, attitudes of many communities in Ghana, towards those with disabilities is largely influenced by stereotypes.
    However, views about disability being atonement for sins are now being outdated as a result of increase in urbanization and western influence and Christianity in particular, has diluted the effect . Thus, the religious/magical model of disability, gained root in traditional African Societies as a result of apparent lack of Education and ignorance of the nature of disability, coupled with a blend of superstition and a belief in eugenics.
    Apart from the traditional cultural and religious underpinning that influenced the extermination of people with disabilities in many communities in Ghana, it is important to point out that ‘survival of the fittest’ became the rule, rather than the exception in a number of instances and some progress has been made with people with physical disabilities, although it’s very minute. This then put people with disabilities in a dependent position as they were considered to be incapable of fighting and protecting themselves. You find most of them on streets of Ghana, begging for alms. This is because, the legislative/ policy framework for the disabled are absent in all things ranging from individual prejudices to institutional discrimination, from inaccessible public buildings to unusual transport system, from segregated education to excluding work arrangements and so on. (Oliver, 1996, p.33)
    However, there is has been a little progress; Government is aware, and they are beginning shift and change focus especially for special education service delivery. Eg.Ghana Blind Union(1951), New Horizon Special School, (Private-1972), Autism Awareness Care and Training Center (Private-1998) Dzorwulu Special School(1970), School for the Deaf (2000), etc…
    Consequently, buildings of schools and institutions are being restructured in order to make room for people with disabilities to have access to these facilities. But all this, is happening at a very slow pace in Ghana.

    Disability and Society (2002)
    Corbett (1996)
    Oliver (1996, p.33)

  13. In South Africa, people with disabilities are not very visible. This is mostly due to the poor service infrastructure, especially for people with disabilities in underdeveloped areas. The majority of people with disabilities have been excluded from the mainstream of society and, have therefore been prevented from accessing fundamental social, political and economic rights.

    The exclusion experienced by people with disabilities and their families is the result of various factors such as, the political and economic inequalities of the apartheid system, social attitudes which have perpetuated stereotypes of disabled people as dependent and in need of care, and a discriminatory and weak legislative framework which has sanctioned and reinforced exclusionary barriers.

    Statistics South Africa wrote a report on the prevalence of disability and characteristics of people with disabilities, however I would not say it was very accurate as it did not include statistics on children under the age of five or people with psychosocial and certain neurological disabilities. The reason stated for this were data limitations.

    While going through the report, I noticed that vague terms such as ‘difficulty in seeing’, ‘difficulty in hearing’, ‘communication’ disability’ and ‘difficulty in walking were used’. This is another problem in South Africa, as there is very little investment in, and understanding of the various forms of disabilities.

    According to the (Integrated National Disability Strategy: White paper) There is a serious lack of reliable information on the nature and prevalence of disability in South Africa. Some of the reasons for this include, but are not limited to different definitions of disability, different survey technologies used to collect information, negative traditional attitudes towards people with disabilities and violence in some areas impeding the collection of data and affecting the overall picture.

    The key forms of exclusion responsible for the cumulative disadvantage of people with disabilities in South Africa are poverty, unemployment and social isolation (Integrated National Disability Strategy: White paper).

    I feel that as long as the issues of corruption and lack of education are not resolved, it will be very difficult to meet the needs of people living with disabilities in South Africa.


  14. Hello,
    It was really interesting learning about international perspectives of disability and social care and I can’t wait to learn more!
    I chose Greece and let’s see about statistics..
    According to research in 2014 Healthcare expenditure by government scheme in Greece was 28.4%, a low percentage comparing to other European countries such as Denmark (84.2), Sweden (83.4%), and UK (79.5). Whereas healthcare expenditure by household out of pocket money was 35.4, % third highest percentages among European countries following Cyprus (49.9 %) and Bulgaria (45.8 %).
    (Visit the following for more info:,_2014_(%25_of_current_healthcare_expenditure)_YB17.png )

    Greek insurance system was always considered more privatized due to low government funding. However, effects of financial crisis decreased social insurance revenues from 30.7 billion in 2008 to 24.4 billion in 2013 (ELSTAT, 2014).
    It is important to keep in mind that there are many uninsured people living in Greece but since June 2014 there is free access for prescribed pharmaceuticals and for services in emergency departments in public hospitals for everyone (Eurofound, 2014).
    As far as disability is concerned Greece also countersigned the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006. However, I know through experience that there is hardly ever access for disabled people in buildings and also access to marked parking areas for disabled people due to disrespectful attitude of drivers. Public transports also provide seats and space for disabled people but unfortunately it is impossible to enter a bus without help cause there is no ramp! Concerning education students with disabilities can attend mainstream schools but an accessible school must be found.
    One very interesting article was published in Guardian in 2015 indicating through pictures the real situation for disabled people in Greece:

  15. Based on the World Report on Disability approximately 25 million Nigerians have a disability, with 3.5 million of these having very significant difficulties in social and physical functioning. These disabilities include physical and intellectual developmental conditions. Regardless of the large number of people with disabilities in Nigeria, little support, if any is given to individuals living with disabilities. These individuals are often excluded from social, economic and political affairs in the society. The most common avenue of social aid for people with disabilities is usually through families. non-governmental organizations and religious organizations.

    Although charities and/or families take on the responsibility for the social support of a person with disability, these support systems are however limited or non-existent due to the stigma attached to disability within the society, as these individuals are often seen as a disgrace to their families, for example by neighbours and relatives. As a result people with disability are subject to neglect and isolation. In extreme cases, for example, these individuals are abandoned to become homeless/living on the streets; or family members keep them indoors away from public notice or institutionalise them, especially the wealthy families, in governmental institutions.

    In addition to stigma and negative attitudes, the most common problem associated with the poor social care situation for the disabled in Nigeria is the lack of recognition and financial support social agencies face in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Due to reduced spending on social welfare, as it is believed by the government not to directly contribute to the economic growth and development of the country, social agencies are limited in the amount of human and material resources they can obtain for the successful implementation of their social programmes for the support of the disabled and/or vulnerable people in general. Lack of financial resources also means lack and/or inadequate means of communication, record keeping or visiting individuals and groups in need of support, specifically those residing in rural areas where most of the vulnerable population live.

    Another common challenge is the lack of effective government policy that protects and promotes the rights of people with disability in Nigeria.

    I feel that until the social system of Nigeria is improved on, the people living with disabilities will be irrelevant.

  16. I have been doing some research on neo-liberalist policy and austerity on social welfare and disability, I am looking at this from an oppressive and discriminatory lens and considering how we as prospective social workers can aspire to work within a system that constrains us by a lack of resources.

    At a time when vulnerable people are subject to the Tory cuts agenda, it is important for us to be aware of the socio-economic and political climate that SU are living in and to consider the effects of neo-liberal policy and austerity not only in the UK but globally. I am interesting in learning about the welfare provision for disabled people and in what ways the economic policy have effected people in other developed nations.

  17. Every 7th person in Poland is disabled.
    • The number of blind people in Poland is estimated 100,000
    • Almost 900 thousand people in Poland have serious hearing impairment.

    According to the results of the Polish National Census 2012, the number of people with disabilities in Poland is close to 5.5 million, which accounts for 14.3% of the total population. Of this about 4.5 million has a legal proof of disability.

    One of the problems in Poland is the low level of working activity
    people with disabilities, amounting to only 16%. For comparison, activity in EU countries are average of 40-50%.

    The social effects of low working activity of people with disabilities are such that 3,189 thou. ie, 130.9 per 1000 inhabitants, ie 2 times more than in highly developed countries. In Poland the cost of rents in 2004 amounted to 4.2 GDP, and around 4% in 2005-2006 and is highest in OECD countries.

    Only 5% of employers express an interest in employing people with disabilities (GUS 2001, OBOP 2003, IMAS 2005). 10.5% of all public expenditure is spent to solve problems arising from disability, but spend on employment of people with disabilities is only 0.2%.

  18. Hi guys, I’m also looking at Sweden

    At face value, they seem to value the idea that people with disability should “have power and influence over their every day lives” and seem to have different grants which allows those with disability to have modifications done to their homes and for a car subsidy. This implies that in Sweden they promote people being able to stay at home for as long as possible, independence and care within the community. Like in the UK, private care has increased (five fold in Sweden, I’ll have to check Scotland) to compare, however there is criticism of these private companies as they are accused of letting profit impact on the standards of care. I’m going to have a closer and more critical look and see how neoliberalism ties into this too.

  19. I am bought up in Italy and during my 3 years of undergrad i was a live in carer. The discrimination on the grounds of disability is illegal throughout Italy. However, living with a physical handicap in certain countries can be a challenge and unfortunately, Italy is no exception, in spite of the fact that approximately 5% of the total Italian population comprises of disabled people.
    When it comes to work, according to the Italian legislation, an organisation that hires 15 to 50 employees should have at least 1 or 2 handicapped people. In case of larger companies, the law demands that 7% of the workforce consist of people with disabilities. Certain benefits, such as lower Social Security contribution, are granted to companies that hire disabled people. Workers with special needs are supported by various legislative bodies. While there is no discrimination against the disabled in terms of employment or education, some amount of societal discrimination does exist.
    Most of the major cities in Italy are now making efforts to accommodate people with disabilities. Many buildings and structures have installed ramps, so that people on wheelchairs face less difficulty getting in and out of the premises. The public transport has also become a lot more user-friendly for handicapped people in the last few years.
    All Italian residents who are disabled, including the visually impaired and war invalids, are entitled to mobility allowance, just by obtaining a free Blue Card from a Blue Hall or a ticket counter.

    On June 25, 2016, legislation establishing measures for the benefit of persons with disabilities entered into effect in Italy(Law No. 112 of June 22, 2016, Provisions on Assistance Benefitting Persons with Serious Disabilities Who Are Deprived of Family Support .The new Law provides for the assistance, care, and protection of persons with serious disabilities, whether caused by natural ageing or medical conditions, and who are deprived of family support because they are either missing both parents or their parents are not able to provide adequate support. 

    The stated purpose of the new legislation is to promote the well-being, full social inclusion, and autonomy of persons with disabilities through the implementation of certain key principles set forth in the Italian Constitution: inviolable rights of the person, social dignity and equality before the law, the duty and right of parents to support, raise, and educate their children, health as a fundamental right of the individual and as a collective interest, and the rights of citizens unable to work and of persons with disabilities to welfare support. The legislation also aims at implementing related provisions of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (2000 O.J. (C364) 1, EUROPA) and of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006 (A/RES/61/106 (Dec. 13, 2006), Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for  Human Rights website) ratified by Italy by Law No. 18 of March 3, 2009. 

    The law requires that government at all levels ensure basic health services and social care as needed by persons with serious disabilities, based on available resources and according to applicable legislation. This duty may be carried out through collaboration between municipalities.
    The new legislation creates mechanisms to facilitate its financial goals, including through contributions by private individuals, insurance policies, trusts and other special funds, and contracts for the custody and administration of a beneficiary’s assets by another person or a non-profit organisation.
    The law creates a Fund for the Assistance of Persons with Serious Disabilities Who Are Deprived of Family Support within the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.

  20. I looked into the Canadian perspective on social care and disability. The Canadian Government refers to social care as more ‘home care’ in regard to caring within the home either through informal or formal carers. Their system is very much similar to the UK, with some obvious differences.
    Most of the home and community care services are provided by provincial, territorial and some municipal governments, which support from the federal government. Those who can receive such services are par with the UK, including those with frailty, disability, medical condition or family members who need support in caregiving. Some Canadian families pay for private health care either because they are not eligible for funding or because they require additional support services that is not covered under the home care system (Government of Canada, 1999). On this note, some insurance companies to not cover the costs of social work services, therefore some families living in Canada are excluded from such services – mainly those from the lowest and lower middle-income families (Towns and Schwartz, 2012). Alongside the UK, informal caregivers are seen as high importance in Canada. Some care programmes provide support for informal carers through information, training, advice and respite care. The Government of Canada (1999) highlights that there are social and economic pressures for informal carers, yet fail to address such issue and do not provide much funding for those giving care within the home.
    Canadians living with a disability are one of the highest groups at risk of poverty as services and supports are often unavailable or unaffordable (Prince, 2005). This can disempower individuals with a disability from living as active citizens within society. On this note, Towns and Schwartz (2012) claimed that there is a need to share information on what services are available as there are a lack of information and knowledge circulating within Canada.
    A lot of the literature I read whilst looking up the Canadian perspective on disability and social services address many neo-liberal and managerial ideologies – similar to a UK perspective! A lot of the care provided within Canada are also embracing the private sector, with some provinces hiring outside agencies to carry out formal care within the community and the home. I was very shocked to see that there are little services for informal carers in regard to financial support even though the Canadian Government highlights that it is an issue.

    Government of Canada (1999). Home Care in Canada 1999: Overview. Canada: Government of Canada.
    Towns, A. and Schwartz, K. (2012). Social Workers’ Role in the Canadian Mental Health Care System. Research on Social Work Practice, 22(2), pp.214-218.
    Prince, M. (2005). A National Strategy for Disability Supports: Where is the Government of Canada in this Social Project?.

  21. In 2007 there were over 5 million disabled people living in France.

    In 2005 the French government put new legislation in place which looked to promote equal rights and opportunities and enable people with disabilities to participate fully in society. These included setting targets to ensure that all public buildings were accessible by 2015 and that employers with 20 or more employees had to ensure that 6% of the workforce were disabled.

    However since 2010 (Austerity) France has made numerous cuts to their disability budgets and the above recommendations have not been fully realised. With so much promise in 2005, France has been ranked as one of the ten least successful states in implementing the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    The information highlighted a few questions for me…in times of financial constraints is cutting disability and social care budgets an easier option, than cutting Education or Health budgets? Is there less backlash from the general public?

  22. Hey all,

    I looked at China in regards to their concepts and perspectives regarding disability and care.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that 15% of the world’s population has a disability. In China, according to the WHO, there are around 200 million individuals with a disability. Prior to 1980, attitudes regarding disability in China was very poor, with disabled people being referred to as ‘canfei’ which means ‘the handicapped and the useless’. However, in the last 40 years, due to economic growth and innovation, attitudes towards disabilities have shifted and changed and individuals are now referred to as ‘canji ren’ meaning ‘persons with disabilities’. Living conditions and social status has improved in the last 40 years for individuals with disabilities, but still a great number live in poverty.

    The Law on Protection of Disabled Persons (1990, amended in 2008) safeguards the rights of people with disabilities in China. Physical accessibility for disabled individuals has improved in China (e.g. on transport), but this is very much restricted to the major cities. Further, disabled accessibility is required for new buildings, but not in regards to old pre-existing buildings – thus, they do not need to adapt for disabled access. Therefore it is difficult for people in wheelchairs to access most restaurants, for example, even in the major cities.

    Children with disabilities will face difficulties accessing education. School drop-outs or children who never go to school (with disabilities) between the ages of 6-17 is 34.74%. Half of this number will never go to school at all. The law states that mainstream schools must accept children with disabilities, however this seems to be a grey area, with negative attitudes toward disability overriding the law. It seems that may schools simply say ‘no’ to families based on the ‘disruption’ a disabled child in class may cause to other pupils. Further, some schools will simply not adapt to the individual needs of disabled children, and there is a distinct lack of accessibility and many barriers for these students – so much so that it is not uncommon for schools to only accept these children if they can adapt to the school’s environment. Colleges and universities are allowed to restrict candidates with disabilities, and have the authority to make their own rules and policies, most of which are not friendly to the disabled individuals. Many further education institutes also make it harder for disabled people to get into also, raising the grading criteria higher specifically for these individuals.

    In regards to employment, the law states that no discrimination shall be practiced against people with disabilities. It is stated that this is poorly enforced, however. Skills and training programmes exist, but focus on skills such a massage, matchbox making etc.

  23. I chose to talk about mental health crisis management in Finland, where a new approach has been developed. It also links to our class in Practice Learning about crisis management.

    There’s a tendency to value techniques and interventions that are the result of studies in very developed countries, with high GDP per capita, and that should be applied worldwide, and less developed countries are made to feel inadequate because they don’t have the same comparable resources.

    The Finnish approach contradicts that line of thought because it’s based on the culture of the indigenous people of the Artic, the Sami people who inhabit northern Scandinavia and many parts of Finland, also know as Laps, or Reindeer people.

    The approach is called Open Dialogue and was developed by Andersen, a Norwegian psychiatrist and Seikkula, a Finnish clinical psychologist in Western Lapland, in the early 1990’s, and soon after psychiatric hospitals became empty.
    Open Dialogue can be applied in different areas of Social and Mental Health Care. The professional team can include psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists, and other professionals in the Care area.
    Their attitude is not patronizing which empowers the client and family/social network (can include the employment officer) and enables a safe space for positive outcomes.

    By intervening early with a team that goes to the client’s home and does the follow up, the relapse rate and dependence on anti-psychotic drugs is greatly reduced. Since there’s less consumption of drugs, it is not an approach that Pharmaceuticals are motivated to support.

    Open Dialogue is being implemented around the world: Scandinavian countries, UK, Australia, Italy, Poland, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, US among others.
    In the United States the Parachute Project in New York based on Open Dialogue has been very successful.
    In the UK there’s a team in London, on a private basis, and where training takes place, and an NHS team in Kent.
    The hope for the spread of Open Dialogue could be the cost argument more than the humane factor: it’s a cheap alternative to the system most countries have right now.

    There’s ongoing research and gathering of evidence and Seikkula is still quite involved in this work. The underlying philosophy of Open Dialogue can’t be better expressed than in this statement:

    “Nothing more is needed than being heard and taken seriously, and it is this which generates a dialogical relation. And when — after a crisis — we again return to dialogical relations, the therapeutic task is fulfilled, because agency is regained” (Seikkula, 2016)


    I found this article very interesting. It is on a study in New Zealand which focusses on barriers faced by people with disabilities. such as time wastage for example waiting on carers to arrive or mobility taxis and what that time could be used for instead eg. going to work. It asks the people with the disabilities to determine their needs and service requirements as opposed to the health professionals demonstrating ‘expert through experience’ and social model of disability debate- Well worth a read.

  25. Here are 2 interesting articles on international comparisons to the UK. I found it hard to choose one country to compare as there are so many quality indicators and you can not truly compare countries as there are several different approaches to health care needs.

    However I decided to chose Taiwan to talk about. In Taiwan the government provides healthcare for all its citizens’, it is universal for everyone to use whether you have a high income or are unemployed. A small affordable percentage is taken off of peoples wages, it varies depending on how much you earn. But, even if you are unemployed or elderly you can still have access to healthcare. Taiwan has smart cards which contain patients health history and needs from birth. They are seen to be very useful as they make it easier for doctors to diagnose health problems and it cuts down on paper work. I think this idea is interesting as it is similar to the idea of the Digital Passports. Taiwan has improved greatly in healthcare over the past 20 years and seems to being more respected and recognized as providing decent healthcare.

  26. I found that the UK government has recently completed an enquiry into social care, and drew on international perspectives from Japan and Germany for a solution to the rising aging population in the UK. In Japan, the cost of caring for their aging population is being covered by those over forty paying into an elderly care insurance scheme, with those over 65 having money deducted out of their pensions to pay for their insurance. The premiums which they pay depend on the wages that they earn and where they live. The government in Germany created a social care insurance scheme in 1995, and the cost of the insurance that each person pays has risen since.
    I then had a read of paper on the disability rights movement in Japan which I have outlined below.
    The Japanese government has progressed with the action taken towards those in society with disabilities who are in need of support. Back in 1874, rice was to be provided for those who were very poor and the elderly, young, sick or disabled. However the government support was very limited and it was seen as the responsibility of neighbours and blood relatives to support those with disabilities. As WWI progressed the governments’ responsibilities’ to the poor were increased and the government implemented medical insurance and pension programmes for employees.
    Welfare grew after WWII, and three new welfare laws were implemented. These were the Public Assistance Law, the Welfare for People with Physical disabilities (enacted in 1949) and the Child Welfare Law. The Welfare for people with Physical disabilities however only applied to veterans with disabilities and those who were not were still to depend on their families for support.
    In 1961, National pensions were introduced for employed groups and gradually came to cover more groups of people until it became universal. Despite the universal application pensions, those with disabilities were still to be supported by their families. When families did not provide support, people with disabilities were put into residential institutions which were established quickly during the 1960’s.
    During the 1960’s parents of disabled children were expected by social norms and policies to care for their children through adulthood, however many demanded that they required residential institutions’ to care for their disabled children. Post WWII, the residential institutions built for disabled veterans for rehabilitation was increasingly becoming used for those with disabilities not caused by war. However, these institutions’ became places for those with disabilities to live segregated from the rest of society. It became common for disabled children to be separated from their family homes to residential facilities until they were eighteen when they moved onto adult residential facilities for the rest of their lives. The institutions imposed strict rules to control all aspects of their lives. The people were segregated in generally harsh living conditions, made to obey and given no privacy. The overall experience for children was extremely neglectful and abusive with many dying due to lack of medical treatment.
    Some parents consented to surgery for their children which was to ‘cure’ their children, however many were left worse off as a result. Children were treated in a degrading manor with the aim that this would motivate them to overcome their impairments to avoid further abuse.
    The disability rights movement between the 1970’s and 1980’s criticised the ‘able bodied culture’, and changed the perception of disabled people. A group of Fuchu Ryoiku residents carried out a hunger strike in 1970 in protest of the horrendous treatment which they faced. No policy changes were made despite the media coverage of the strikes. The government looked into the residential institutions following sit ins triggered by residents unions in front of Tokyo municipal building in 1972. This possibility of living independently in the community was looked at by the government. The disability rights movement was also asserted by three people who had cerebral palsy who were born into an affluent background who formed a group called Aoi Shiba. This very influential group managed to succeed in negotiations with the Japanese government.
    In the 1990’s, the activists reached the achievement of funds and attendant services which enabled those with disabilities to live independently within the community without activism. The disability rights movement has moved onto support independent living movements in other Asian countries, and some of those with disabilities are being trained in centres for independent living in Japan.
    I found that this article gives an overview of how Japanese policy and legislation has progressed over time to work towards equality within society, although this has been achieved as a result of a lot of activism.

  27. Hello Guys
    A few interesting facts about Polish Disability Law and Policy.
    It doesn’t look very optimistic… Despite the fact that Poland signed and ratified ( 2012) the The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and it is part of legal systems in Poland, doesn’t look like all the legal obligations are being incorporated into Polish Legal system . Please, read and decide what do you think ?

    *Poland has a population of about 38 500 000 inhabitants (6th country in the EU and 34th in the world). The Central Statistical Office estimates that 4 697 000 of them have an official confirmation of their disability.

    *The Constitution of Poland states that all citizens have the right to social security in case of being unable to find a job, reaching the retirement age, or suffering from inability to work due to illness or disability

    *In 2015 The State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled People has commissioned a study to diagnose the feelings of disabled people about the support system in Poland.
    ** The study has shown that the support system is rated neutral or bad.
    ** Disabled people are disappointed with their ability to get support, feel lost and left alone with the institutions that help them.”
    ** Users of Support system see it as a bureaucratic and dispersed in terms of responsibility and information. There is a lack of an integrated services, as well as the exchange of information between the institutions. In the feelings of the respondents, the support offered is not always adequate to the actual needs.. The respondents also pointed out that they could not always count on the kindness and understanding.

    *In 2016 there were around 50 000 people in Poland which are carers of adults with disabilities.

    *Currently benefit for carers is 520 zł per month, (120 pounds)
    which is less than the threshold of extreme poverty. You can apply for the benefit after provided the strict low income criteria.

    *The disability adjudication system, is inefficient, confusing and based on the medical model of disability focus on dysfunctions and limitations. . eg : two types of persons are distinguished – those fully and those partially incapacitated for work. This system is based on a medical model and it uses a terminology that is misleading and strengthens stereotypes about persons with disabilities. According to the regulations of this system, the capability to work in suitable conditions is not an obstacle in adjudicating work incapability.

    *The Government Plenipotentiary for Persons with Disabilities. is a secretary of state in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which causes the issues of persons with disabilities to be treated as tasks of this department only and they are believed to be funded only by the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (a fund financed by contributions from employers engaging more than 25 people but not employing persons with disabilities at the level of minimum 6% – which in total accounts for 1% of all companies). Transferring the Plenipotentiary to the Prime Minister’s Office should strengthen his role and give a clear signal that a horizontal approach to questions related to persons with disabilities is necessary

    *According to the official Polish translation of the CRPD, “persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. In the Polish language the terms “mental impairments” and “intellectual impairments” relate to the same group (intellectual impairments). The term “mental impairments” is missing in the Polish translation, and this may limit the conventional protection towards persons with this kind of disability

    *There is no single universally applicable definition of disability in Polish law. There is also no uniform system of disability adjudication. Individual acts use different terms to determine disability, or types of disability, and consequently the granting of certain types of support is conditional on a series of documents. This results in the lack of a coherent system of support for persons with disabilities.

    *In Poland, the status of a disabled person is granted on the basis of the certificate of disability which specifies one of the three degrees of its severity, ranging from mild and moderate to profound (certificates issued in the
    first and second instance by the District and Provincial Disability Evaluation Boards, respectively) or on the basis of the certificate of partial or complete incapacity for work or of complete incapacity for work and independent living.

  28. Thank you for the statistics Agnieszka, I cannot believe the shocking poverty that people are forced into as a consequence of caring for someone who is disabled.

  29. I would like to share a documentary from Channel 4 from the Unreported World episodes. It is hosted by an African British physically challenged reporter, Ade Adepitan.
    The video is about Witch Hunters in Tanzania that have killed more than 400 women in 2016. When women are strong they are seen as evil just like disabled people in some of the countries mentioned in the blog.

  30. I thought I would introduce a few international perspectives through personal experiences of health and social care.

    When visiting family in Pakistan, it is quite saddening to see that there is no welfare system there at all in regards to health or social care for those with disabilities or in fact anyone in need of health care as a whole. The whole system is extremely corrupt and in a nutshell: If you have money you will be treated for (anything) and receive help if you have disabilities. If you don’t have money well nobody really cares about you! For example an individual who has multiple disabilities and is also extremely poor, they will just live a life trapped in one room and do nothing else. On the other hand if you are from a wealthy family and in the same position you can live a luxurious lifestyle and have access to all the health care you need!

    I visited Karachi, in Pakistan now only speaking for this city the inequality and depravation is so explicit in front of you, you could drive past a child who has a sever disabilities lying on the road outside (physically starving to death) in order to get to your own ‘rich’ neighbourhood.

    We come from an affluent area and when visiting we have ‘privilege’ when it comes to health care (personally don’t like this feeling of ‘superiority’)
    I went a bit crazy with eating outside as you do with the amazing food, and stopped drinking water just stuck to fizzy juices in 50 degrees heat! Unfortunately I became dehydrated and was admitted into hospital.
    Now my treatment was in one of the top hospitals in Karachi and was so quick, and efficient, would rate it 10/10.
    In other words if you have money you will be treated and cared for. The reason for mentioning personal stories is when I come back to UK, although the inequality is not as explicit and in front of your eyes. Using one of the most ‘progressed societies’ in comparison, I have to question why do I see news clips of physically disabled individuals having to crawl around the floor to get around there home here in the UK?? Why do I see those in need of welfare being demonised and embarrassed through assessments in order to prove how ‘independent’ they are? Is this what an advanced society should look like?? — Just food for thought…

    Just to add- if you have worked for the army you receive a pension and free health care and benefits. Also, family members who are part of exporting and importing of stock on ships also receive benefits from the government in regards to health care and pensions. Bit of a sad pattern here where if you help them they help you.

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