World’s health ministers endorse action plan to improve health for all people with disability
In an historic move, the 67th World Health Assembly today adopted a resolution endorsing the WHO global disability action plan 2014-2021: Better health for all people with disability.
Thirty-three Member States, some speaking on behalf of regional groupings such as the WHO African Region and the Union of South America Nations, voiced strong support for the resolution, proposed by the Government of Ecuador. Five nongovernmental organizations also expressed their support of the resolution, including CBM, International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Rehabilitation International, Sight Savers and World Confederation for Physical Therapy.
The Action Plan will provide a major boost to WHO and governments’ efforts to enhance the quality of life of the one billion people around the world with disabilities.
The Action Plan, called for by the 66th World Health Assembly one year ago, is based on the recommendations of the WHO and World Bank World report on disability and in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was developed in consultation with Member States, United Nations organizations and national and international partners including organizations of people with disabilities.
The Action Plan has three objectives:
- to remove barriers and improve access to health services and programmes;
- to strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habilitation, assistive technology, assistance and support services, and community-based rehabilitation;
- to strengthen collection of relevant and internationally comparable data on disability and support research on disability and related services.
The new resolution urges Member States to implement the proposed actions in the Action Plan as adapted to national priorities and specific national circumstances. It invites international and national partners to take note of the Action Plan and its objectives, and requests the Secretariat to provide guidance, training and technical support and submit reports on the progress achieved in implementing the Action Plan.
Across the world, more often than their non-disabled peers, people with disabilities do not receive the health care they need and have poorer health. People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to find healthcare providers’ skills and facilities inadequate; nearly three times more likely to be denied health care; and four times more likely to be treated badly. The WHO global disability action plan 2014-2021 seeks to address these disparities.