Disability and rehabilitation

Disabilities and rehabilitation

Fifteen per cent of the world's population has some form of disability. Between 110 million (2.2%) and 190 million (3.8%) people aged 15 years and older have significant difficulties in functioning. The rates of disability are increasing in part due to ageing populations and an increase in chronic health conditions.

Disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society, environment in which he or she lives.

The mission of the Disability and Rehabilitation programme in the Western Pacific Region is to help Member States in improving the health of people with disabilities through access to general health services as well as rehabilitation, assistive devices and community-based rehabilitation. The programme also aims to improve decision-making with respect to disability and rehabilitation through better data and appropriate information systems.

Disability and health

53%of disabled people in low-income countries cannot afford proper health care.

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Rehabilitation and assistive technology

Only 5–15%of people in low- and middle-income countries who require assistive devices and technologies have access to them.

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Community-based rehabilitation

More than 90countries in the world are now implementing community-based rehabilitation, creating access to health care, education and livelihood opportunities for the people living with disabilities.

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Featured publication

Regional Framework for Action on Community-based Rehabilitation: 2010–2020

Upcoming events

Micronesia and Melanesia Sub-regional CBR Forum

19-21 October 2016 (Nadi, Fiji)

Training on Psychosocial Disability and Human Rights

24-26 October 2016 (Nadi, Fiji)

Meeting on Rehabilitation as Part of the Continuum of People-Centred Health Care

13-15 December 2016 (Seoul, Republic of Korea)


Disabilities and Rehabilitation
Division of NCD and Health through the Life-Course
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific
P.O. Box 2932
1000 Manila