On the day of the first ever Global Disability Summit (GDS18), organised by the Department for International Development, we want to add our voice to that of those working on all aspects of improving the lives of people living with disability.
The organisers are hoping GDS18 results in a "fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements and rights of people with disabilities, and one that creates an enduring impact, which results in lasting change for people with disabilities around the world".
For us at NDORMS, our research focus is only part of our approach to changing the lives of people living with disabilities worldwide. Here's how we're putting our mouth where our heart is.
The University's and NDORMS' commitment to fostering an inclusive culture means that we recognise that people are different and work in different ways. Creativity and flexibility are the key to supporting disabled members of staff: you may want to try some of the suggestions below, whether or not you have a disability.
From a legal standpoint, we are obliged to make 'reasonable adjustments for disabled people', but we hope that we'd be supporting all employees, whether or not they fall within this definition. We also recognise that many disabled people need no additional support.
Flexibility is the key to arranging effective support. We are all different, and support will vary depending on the individual and the requirements of their role. Discussing your needs, and any difficulties you are experiencing because of your disability, is a good place to start. You can find more about specific support on the University pages.
People living with disability sometimes feel a bit isolated in their workplace; the Disabled Staff Network provides a forum where you can talk to people who are likely to understand what you are going through.
It is always worth remembering that a disabling condition isn't necessarily a visible thing. Disability Narratives beautifully profiles people describing some of the effects of migraines; how having very regular work patterns aided someone with his diabetes or strategies another person has put in place to manage her dyslexia.
research in Africa
Professor Chris Lavy OBE, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, led a recent study in Malawi, in which community volunteers were trained to identify children with disabilities who were then screened by medical professionals and referred for appropriate health and rehabilitation interventions. The study estimated the prevalence of moderate/severe physical, sensory and intellectual impairments and epilepsy among children in the Ntcheu and Thyolo districts in Malawi, and the results were used to inform improvements to services for children with disabilities.
Professor Lavy’s team have also developed educational materials for training healthcare workers in Africa to treat clubfoot. More than 30,000 children in Africa are born with clubfoot each year. Many of these children get no treatment, as it is simply not available where they live. They end up with severe deformities that make it hard and very painful to walk, are usually stigmatised and cannot work or support themselves. The new training materials have already been used in 18 countries in Africa, and also in Cambodia, Myanmar and Iraq in the last year.
“The Africa Clubfoot Training project has helped to promote life-changing treatment for clubfoot. We have worked together with many dedicated colleagues and supporters to help train more health professionals which means that more children with clubfoot will be able to access effective treatment.” says Professor Lavy.
Find out more about ACT here.
global call to action
Matt Costa, Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma at NDORMS and President elect of the Fragility Fracture Network (FFN) is leading a Global Call to Action for better care for people suffering from hip fractures and other fractures that result from increased fragility. The initiative already has the support of 81 organisations worldwide and is pushing for more.