n South African Medical Journal - Sexuality, disability and human rights : strengthening healthcare for disabled people : editorial

Volume 102, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The by the World Health Organization and the World Bank marks a watershed in the history of how disability should be understood by healthcare practitioners. Along with a special issue of the , this report marks recognition by organised healthcare that healthcare practitioners acted paternalistically towards disabled people, often deciding on their behalf what is in their best interests. South Africa favours a human rights approach to disability, where the Constitution mentions non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, and globally through the promulgation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Historically, health practitioners have underestimated the capacities of disabled people and from clinical encounters view disability as an illness, whereas in reality most disabled people are not ill.

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