Purpose: To investigate access to basic human rights such as health, a standard of living adequate for health, education, work, marrying and establishing a family, and voting for prosthetic and orthotic users with lower limb disabilities in Malawi.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional design and a questionnaire were used to collect data from 83 participants.
Results: Most participants reported their overall physical and mental health as good (60 [72%] and 50 [60%], respectively) and said they could access medical care (69 [83%]). Fifty (60%) participants had access to food, 72 (87%) had access to basic water, and 55 (66%) lived in housing adequate for their health. Most participants had studied in school (74 [89%]) but only 27 (33%) of the participants were working. Forty-three (52%) were married and 53 (64%) had children. Seventy-six (92%) participants could vote if they wished.
Conclusions: Rurality and high costs of transport and medication increase the barriers to accessing several basic human rights for people with lower limb physical disabilities. Interventions to target these barriers and increase access to secondary school, employment, and income could improve health equity for people with physical disabilities in Malawi and similar contexts.