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UNAPD broadly defines Physical Disability as either the absence, non-function, or mal-function of a bone, a muscle, nerve, or any part of the body, resulting into the person having restricted movement, agility or has a countenance or gait that is regarded ordinarily not normal or needs the support of assistive devices to move.

The Ministry of Health, however, defines Physical Disability as all those disabilities that affect movement and posture of a person, often referred to as Movement Disability.

Levels of Physical Disability

Physical disability is grouped by Ministry of Health as:

  • Mild – The impairment does not cause significant disability.
  • Moderate – The impairment brings about disability but one can move without depending on appliances.
  • Severe – Heavily dependent on appliances and other people for activities of daily living.

Common causes of Physical Disabilities

  • Diseases such as polio and malaria.
  • Accidents and wars leading to broken bones, amputations and brain injuries.
  • Birth defects.
  • Poor feeding/ malnutrition.
  • Poor  health and antenatal care.

Common types of Physical Disabilities

Persons with physical disabilities are similar but not the same and UNAPD classifies them into 23 categories.  The classification is based on causes of disability, effect and condition.

  • Polio Survivors.
  • Cerebral Palsy.
  • Brain Injury.
  • Amputees.
  • Post-Injection Paralysis.
  • Stroke Paralysis.
  • Spinal Injury.
  • Spinal Bifida.
  • Clubfoot.
  • Cleft Lip.
  • Cleft Palate.
  • Leprosy.
  • Hydrocephalus.
  • Hunch Back.
  • Little People.
  • Pelvic Dislocation.
  • Elephantiasis.
  • Short Limb.
  • Missing Limb.
  • Stiff Limb.
  • Rheumatism.
  • Muscular Dystrophy.
  • Muscular Atrophy.
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