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What is the relationship between impairments and disability?

Describes the relationship between impairments and disability, as mediated by personal and environmental factors

In this video, we will hear from a range of health and rehabilitation professionals, who will discuss the need to understand the relationship between “impairments” and “disability” in their work. They will share their experiences in terms of acknowledging the additional needs of their patients and clients beyond the direct services they are able to provide, and being aware of the difference between impairment and disability.

Professor Hannah Kuper (LSHTM) introduces the video, providing you with an example of a person she knows with a disability, to help you start thinking about the difference between “impairments” and “disability” as concepts.

Professor Allen Foster (co-director of the International Centre for Eye Health at LSHTM and Public Health Ophthalmologist) continues with an example of eye health service provision in Africa. Darren Brown, Specialist Physiotherapist in HIV, Disability and Rehabilitation provides a case study on impairment and disability in the context of a long term health condition; and lastly LSHTM Doctoral Student in Public Health, and physiotherapist, Mark Spreckley concludes with an overview of his recent research on hearing impairment and disability in Guatemala.

Use the comments section below to share your thoughts after watching the video. Particularly if you are a health or rehabilitation professional yourself, have you ever stopped to think about the relationship between a patient’s impairment, and the broader concept of disability?

And, what about thinking about the link between other health conditions and disability. For example, is there a need to think about disability in terms of the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika virus? What about common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like diabetes?

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Global Health and Disability

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