42 chapter 2: Organizing for disability-friendly health care
When a woman with a disability comes to see you for a health problem, remember
she is a woman, just like any other woman. First, ask her why she has come to see you
and how you can help her. Do not assume it is because of her disability.
Encourage her to ask questions. That way, she can explain her problems. Respect
her opinions. After all, she understands her health problems better than anyone else
and can make good decisions about her treatment.
Help her relax and give her time to express her unspoken questions. This will
help her not to be afraid. Sometimes a woman with a disability may not have the
confidence to ask questions about what is really worrying her. Or she may not have
enough privacy. But you can help reduce the fears of women with disabilities, help
them become more confident, and get the information and care they need.
Ask people with disabilities
how they would like you to
do things. And when they ask
questions, you do not have to
have all of the answers. It is
fine to admit you do not know
something, and then offer to
find the information they need.
In my ideal clinic the health worker
would say: “Is there something
about your disability you think I
should know? Tell me about how your
disability affects your health care.”
Anyone who is concerned about
the health of a woman with a
disability should know how
to care for her in a sensitive
way. Anyone who provides her
health care must always treat
her with dignity and respect.
Unfortunately, people sometimes
need to be reminded of this. The
woman should be encouraged
to talk about what she thinks is
causing the problem and how
she would like to solve it. This
way a health worker will learn to
understand different disabilities.
Working together reduces conflicts and
confrontations, and brings the best results!
I didn’t think
a woman like
her could have
When doctors and other health
workers know little about disability,
their attitudes can humiliate a
woman with a disability.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007