The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of goals designed to improve the social, economic and well-being of all, while maintaining global and environmental sustainability. Health is one of the 17 goals, and focuses not only on addressing morbidity and mortality, but also on improving access to healthcare services for all through Universal Health Coverage (UHC). While disability is not specifically mentioned in this goal, a focus on people with disabilities is important given the inclusive nature of the SDGs and the fact that people with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the world. This paper aims to critically consider what the health goal could mean for people with disabilities and advocates for inclusive health. It discusses the complex relationship between disability and health, and why people with disabilities are more vulnerable to poor health are discussed, and then considers factors that impact access to quality healthcare for people with disabilities and how these impact on the achievement of the targets in SDG Health Goal and the main principles of UHC. The paper argues that developing an inclusive approach to healthcare will not only improve achieving good health for all, but is also important since experiencing poor health may reduce quality of life and participation (e.g. in education, employment or community activities). Poor quality of life and participation can exacerbate disability, poverty and exclusion in addition to increasing suffering, morbidity and early mortality. The paper concludes that an inclusive UHC will not only fulfil the fundamental rights of people with disabilities to health and rehabilitation, as emphasized within the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but also contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2017, Vol. 4 No. 1