Global Report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities

The Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities was released on December 2 by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was released ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3).

What are the key findings of the report?

  • The persons with disabilities are at higher risk of premature death and illness when compared with others in the society.
  • Due to systematic and persistent health inequalities, they are at higher risk of dying up to 20 years earlier than people without disabilities.
  • They are at double the risk of developing chronic conditions like asthma, depression, diabetes, obesity, oral diseases and stroke.
  • The difference in health outcomes between PwDs and others is not due to underlying health condition or impairment but because of avoidable, unfair and unjust factors.
  • Currently, one in six people (1.3 billion) across the globe has significant disabilities. This figure shows the importance of creating an inclusive society that supports the needs of PwDs in all aspects.
  • The report highlighted the importance of immediate actions to address significant health disparities created by the unfair and unjust conditions.
  • It identified several factors that contribute to differences in health outcomes. These include:
  1. Healthcare providers’ hostile attitudes
  2. Formats of health information being incomprehensible
  3. Physical barriers, lack of transportation or financial constraints making healthcare facilities inaccessible
  • Addressing these factors can be difficult as an estimated 80 per cent of PwDs live in low and middle-income countries where there are limited resources and facilities.
  • The report recommends 40 steps the governments can implement to make healthcare sector more inclusive. It draws on the evidence provided by latest academic studies and consultation with countries and civil society. These actions differ based on resource level and range from addressing physical infrastructure to training healthcare workers.
  • Ensuring health equity for PwD will help the world achieve several global health priorities like universal health coverage, improving health outcomes and combating health emergencies.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been observed since 1992 to spread global awareness about the rights and well-being of people with disabilities. It highlights the political, social, and economic inequalities faced by PwDs. The theme for 2022 is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: The role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.’ It focuses on innovative solutions that help create an inclusive society for people with disabilities.

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