The missing billion - Access to health services for 1 billion people with disabilities

KUPER, Hannah
HEYDT, Phyllis
Publication Date 
July 2019
28 p

One billion people around the world live with disabilities. This report makes the case that they are being “left behind” in the global community’s work on health. This lack of access not only violates the rights of people with disabilities under international law, but UHC (Universal Health Care) and SDG 3 cannot be attained without better health services for the one billion people with disabilities. 

Health and healthcare are critical issues for people with disabilities. People with disabilities often need specialized medical care related to the underlying health condition or impairment (e.g., physiotherapy, hearing aids). They also need general healthcare services like anyone else (e.g., vaccinations, antenatal care). On average, those with disabilities are more vulnerable to poor health, because of their higher levels of poverty and exclusion, and through secondary conditions and co-morbidities. People with disabilities therefore may require higher levels of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services. However, health services are often lower quality, not affordable, and inaccessible for people with disabilities. In many situations these barriers are even more significant for women with disabilities, compared to men with disabilities.

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Regional Focus 
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