Causes of disability 13
Medicines and injections
When used correctly, certain injected medicines, like some vaccinations, are
important to protect health and prevent disability. However, there is a worldwide
epidemic of unnecessary injections. Each year these unnecessary injections sicken,
kill, or disable millions of persons, especially children.
Giving injections with an unclean needle or syringe
is a common cause of infection and can pass the germs
that cause serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
Unclean injections are also a common cause of infection Avoid unnecessary injections.
that can lead to paralysis or spinal cord injury or death.
Also, some injected medicines can cause dangerous allergic reactions, poisoning,
and deafness to a baby in the mother’s womb.
A needle or syringe must never be used to inject more than one person
without disinfecting it each time.
Some medicines and drugs taken during pregnancy can cause disability in the
baby. The overuse of injectable medicines, such as oxytocin, to speed up childbirth
and ‘give force’ to the mother’s labor, deprives the baby of oxygen during birth. It
is a major cause of brain damage. Alcohol and tobacco used during pregnancy can
also damage a developing baby.
Everyone must consider the possible risks and benefits of using any medication.
Doctors, nurses, other health workers, pharmacists, and everyone else must stop the
misuse and overuse of medicines—especially of injections. For ideas on teaching
about the danger of unnecessary injections, see Helping Health Workers Learn,
Chapters 18, 19, and 27.
Dangerous work conditions
Women who work long hours without enough rest are likely to have accidents.
Women who work in factories, mines or on agricultural plantations can be exposed
to dangerous machinery, tools, or chemicals. Accidents, overwork and exposure to
chemicals can all cause disability.
A growing number of women have also been permanently injured due to
violence at work. Supervisors sometimes use violence and threats to try and make
women work harder and faster. Sometimes the authorities bring in the military or
police to stop women from striking or protesting unsafe working conditions.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007