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

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.

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.

News and events

Pacific CBR Forum

July 2018 (Nadi, Fiji)

Member State Consultation on Regional Action Plan for Rehabilitation

April-June 2018 (Manila, Philippines)

Expert Meeting on the Regional Action Plan for Rehabilitation and Disability

6-8 March (Manila, Philippines)

Contact us

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