Hesperian Health Guides

Who Should Be Responsible for Disability Prevention

a man talks about a man in a wheelchair as his horse goes to kick him off a cliff

That could never happen to me!
Disability can affect everybody, and sometime in our lives it usually does.

Notice that many of the specific preventive measures we have discussed, just like the more general social measures, depend on increased awareness, community participation, and new ways of looking at things. These changes do not just happen. They require a process of education, organization, and struggle led by those who are most deeply concerned.

Most able-bodied persons are not very concerned about disability or trying to prevent it. Often people think, “Oh, that could never happen to me!”—until it does.

Those who are most concerned about disability are usually disabled persons themselves and their families. Based on this concern, they can become leaders and community educators for disability prevention.

They can do this in an informal, person-to-person way. For example,

a woman with a disabled child talks to another woman with a child

No, I wouldn't take her for an injection. Most of the time people don't need them, and injections can even cause paralysis.
That's what happened to my son.

Or disabled children and families can join together to form prevention campaigns. In one village, mothers put on short plays to inform the whole community about the importance of breast feeding and vaccination. In Project PROJIMO, Mexico, disabled rehabilitation workers have helped to vaccinate children in remote mountain villages.

In PART 1 of this book, where we discuss different disabilities, we also include basic information on prevention. We hope that those of you who use this book for children who are already disabled, will also work actively towards disability prevention.

This page was updated:21 Nov 2019