Comm Eye Health Vol. 26 No. 81 2013 pp 01. Published online 21 May 2013.

About this issue

Diane Mulligan

Deputy Director, Advocacy and Alliances for Inclusive Development: CBM International. diane.mulligan@cbm.org

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Diane Mulligan
Diane Mulligan

I am delighted to have been asked to be the consulting editor for this special issue on disability and diversity. It covers a range of interesting articles that are relevant for anybody working in community eye health specifically, as well as in the health sector generally. As an amputee myself, I often find myself making jokes to put people at ease around me. Why? Simply because most people are not confident about how to approach or interact with people with disabilities, and humour breaks down barriers. This journal is jam-packed full of articles that will give you information to boost your confidence. In particular, the section on practical tips for eye care workers on how to engage with people with different impairments, and the poster on guiding someone who is blind, are simple and straightforward.

The editorial, written by Professor Tom Shakespeare, until recently working on disability with the World Health Organization, gives a great overview. ‘What does it mean to have an impairment?’ is a wonderful interview with Gertrude Fefoame, a blind Ghanaian disability advocate and mother of three. Read about her brilliant insights and powerful solutions to barriers she has faced.

The moving story of disability from a child’s perspective is captured by Maria Zuurmond’s article. It demonstrates how we need to work in the most inclusive way possible for the next generation.

The articles that follow are full of practical ideas about how to make eye care inclusive and accessible. You’ll find some key recommendations, an overview of what inclusion, participation and accessibility actually mean; and a case study from Cambodia.

And the articles on community-based rehabilitation and disabled persons’ organisations emphasise the importance of referral to services both inside and outside of the health system. Read on, and enjoy!