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

KUPER, Hannah
HEYDT, Phyllis
July 2019

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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.

Shaping health systems to include people with disabilities. K4D emerging issues report

DEAN, Laura
et al
November 2018

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People with disabilities are at a heightened risk of communicable and non-communicable diseases and these diseases can cause debility and disability. Health needs of these people often extend beyond requiring continual longterm medical support to addressing broader social inequities. Key areas that are likely to be critical in re-orientating health systems from a biomedical approach towards inclusive health systems that are more responsive to the needs of people with debility and disability in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are offered in this report and cover the following:

 

  • 1. Nothing about us without us: prioritising person-centred health systems
  • 2. Responding to issues of access in mainstreaming disability within health systems
  • 3. Ensuring the provision of specialised services
  • 4. Community based rehabilitation 
  • 5. Improving the collection and use of disability related data against modified legal and policy frameworks
  • 6. Partnerships are paramount
  • 7. Financing and social protection 

Case studies are provided from Sudan, India, Liberia, Uganda and Nigeria

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