Disability and health
• Over a billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability.
• Between 110 million and 190 million adults have significant difficulties in functioning.
• Rates of disability are increasing due to population ageing and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.
• People with disabilities have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.
Better health for people with disabilities
• There are over 1 million people globally experience disability.
• People with disabilities have the same health care needs as others.
• Rehabilitation and assistive technologies can enable people with disabilities to be independent.
• Making all health care services accessible to people with disabilities is achievable and will reduce unacceptable health disparities.
Model Disability Survey
The Model Disability Survey (MDS) is a general population survey that provides detailed and nuanced information about how people with and without disabilities conduct their lives and the difficulties they encounter, regardless of any underlying health condition or impairment. The MDS helps Member States identify the barriers that contribute to the problems people encounter, which, in turn, helps guide policy and service development. The MDS can also contribute to monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) was initiated by WHO following the Declaration of Alma-Ata in 1978 in an effort to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families; meet their basic needs; and ensure their inclusion and participation. While initially a strategy to increase access to rehabilitation services in resource-constrained settings, CBR is now a multisectoral approach working to improve the equalization of opportunities and social inclusion of people with disabilities while combating the perpetual cycle of poverty and disability. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services.
- Rehabilitation in health systems
- Rehabilitation 2030: A Call for Action
- Regional Framework for Action on Community-based Rehabilitation 2010-2020
- WHO Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021
- Guidance Note on Disability and Emergency Risk Management for Health
- Emergency medical teams: minimum technical standards and recommendations for rehabilitation
- World report on disability
- The community-based rehabilitation guidelines
- Community-based rehabilitation indicators manual
- - CBR indicators manual (Chinese)
- - CBR indicators manual (English)
- Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less-resourced settings
- Report – Workshop on Community-based Rehabilitation - June 2009
Model disability survey
Disability is an important issue for all countries. However, in many places information about people with disability can be scarce and of poor quality. This is often because measurement tools don't take into consideration all of the factors that impact on disability, in particular the context in which a person lives.
Relevant programmes and activitiesRehabilitation » Mental health and substance abuse » Blindness » Deafness » Equity » Human rights » Violence and injury prevention » Noncommunicable diseases »
WHO collaborating centres and partners
WHO Collaborating Centres
- Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences
- Tongji Medical College, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
- The Hong Kong Society of Rehabilitation
- National Rehabilitation Centre for Persons with Disabilities (Japan)
- University of Sydney
- Korea National Rehabilitation Center
- Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
- Australian Health Services Research Institutes/University of Wollongong
- ASEAN Disability Forum
- International Committee of the Red Cross
- Motivation Australia
- Nossal Institute for Global Health/University of Melbourne
- Pacific Disability Forum
News and events
Other important links
- Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Disabilities and Rehabilitation
Division of NCD and Health through the Life-Course
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific Region
P.O. Box 2932 1000 Manila Philippines