An impairment is defined as “Any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function”, e.g. loss of foot, defective vision or mental retardation.
A disability has been defined as “Any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”.
As a result of disability, the person experiences certain disadvantages in life and is not able to discharge the obligations required of him and play the role expected of him in society. Any disease which leads to disability has a significant impact on the individual’s life. It can impact on the individual’s family, social life and in a broader sense has financial implications to society in terms of productive employment lost.
In third world countries not much attention to the concept of rehabilitation as it can be an expensive affair. Rehabilitation has been defined as “The combined and co–ordinated use of medical, social, educational, and vocational measures for training and retraining the individual of the highest possible level of functional ability”. Rehabilitation does not only involve the provision of mechanical devices and functional methods but also involves psychological and social rehabilitation. Thus:
- Medical rehabilitation–restoration of function. For example providing for prostheses for a lost foot.
- Vocational rehabilitation–restoration of the capacity to earn a livelihood.
- Social rehabilitation–restoration of family and social relationships.
- Psychological rehabilitation–restoration of personal dignity and confidence.