Indiability wants improved sanitation across the country, to help people avoid the conditions that cause disability. This requires sustained programmes to improve hygiene, nutrition and access to medical support.
The Government has declared it wants the country to be disease-free by 2013. There have been concerted immunisation drives to try to achieve this – with some success. The district of Bihar had no reported cases of polio in 2010 – even though it had the second highest number in the country just a year earlier. However, many people in rural areas slip through the net during official vaccination campaigns. They are still contracting the virus and action must be taken to ensure they are immunised too. We also need a drive to ensure proper nutrition and improved care for pregnant women and babies. Parents need to be taught the benefits of good nutrition for themselves and their children. (This is particularly important as in some communities girls, women and disabled people are restricted and often denied food.) Disabled people across India have a wide range of healthcare needs – and they deserve equal access to the services available. Indiability wants to make sure that all people with disabilities have adequate care.
One of the Millennium Development Goals, drawn up by the United Nations, was to halve the number of people who don’t have access to safe water and basic sanitation. This includes providing clean water and sanitation to people with disabilities.
A Millennium Development Goals report found that people with disabilities ‘often experience discriminatory obstacles accessing equal water and sanitation services.’ Many face huge problems and further illness when it comes to basic human functions others take for granted, such as needing to go to the toilet. Often they are frightened to go out into the fields because reports of rapes are common. Illness and contractable disease can be prevented by better sanitation especially in a country where many have to clean themselves and eat with same hands. Social responsibility initiatives from businesses and corporate organisations can make a huge difference in this. Dow Chemical International initiated a sustainable drinking water program in Gujarat in 2008 which has since provided more than 400,000 litres of clean, drinking water to rural villages. We’d like more companies to help in this way.
Indiability can help through practical action. We work to:
Indiability also takes part in collaborations with partner organisations who can help us achieve our aims. We have added our voice to the calls for urgent action to improve sanitation levels for people with disabilities. At the Mobility Design Workshop, in Rajasthan we have created facilities for posture correction for polio sufferers to avoid problems in life, such as bent spines and scoliosis. We have helped rehabilitate victims of the the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat. We have facilitated medical treatment for Lakshmi Tatma, ‘the girl with eight limbs,’ in Rajasthan. She required extensive surgery and rehabilitation.
–United Nations Millennium Development Goals