Disabilities and rehabilitation

WHO Director General’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014 (IDPD, 2014)

A billion people in the world, 15% of the population, have a disability severe enough that it limits their participation in family, community and political life. Eighty percent of those billion people live in low and middle-income countries, where often access to basic health and social services is limited for all citizens. However, the impact on persons with disabilities is more profound. On this day in which we remind ourselves of the situation of persons with disabilities around the globe, it is important, first of all, to resist the temptation to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Instead we must remind ourselves that disability is part of the human condition: all of us either are or will become disabled to one degree or another during the course of our lives.

Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE)

Assistive technology is the tool, and often the first step for any next steps to ensure people with disabilities are equal beneficiaries of, and contributors to any development process. “When I get up in the morning, the first thing I look for are my eyeglasses, wheelchair, prosthesis, hearing aid etc.” a common expression from a person with disability. However, today only 5–15% (approximately 1 in 10 persons) of the population in need globally have access to assistive products and the problem is more acute in low- and middle-income countries.

The 53rd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) approved the Global Action Plan on Disability and Rehabilitation 2014-2019 for the Region of the Americas

In 2014, the most significant event in WHO in the disability arena was the endorsement of the WHO Global Action Plan on Disability 2014-2021: Better health for all people with disability by the 67th World Health Assembly.

World’s health ministers endorse action plan to improve health for all people with disability

In an historic move, the 67th World Health Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing the WHO global disability action plan 2014–2021: Better health for all people with disability . 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.

Main stories


Contact us