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World Health Assembly commits to disability action plan

May 2014

The World Health Assembly has committed to an action plan that aims to secure better health for people with disabilities.

The plan recognises the barriers faced by people with disabilities, and acknowledges that in order for them to be able to lift themselves out of poverty, their health needs have to be addressed. The draft plan consists of a set of guidelines to help countries make sure they’re meeting these needs.

The plan sets out three objectives:

  • to remove barriers and improve access to health services and programmes
  • to strengthen and extend assistance and support services, assistive technology and community-based rehabilitation
  • to strengthen collection of data on disability and support research on disability and related services

It also states: “The World Health Organization recognises disability as a global public health issue, a human rights issue and a development priority,” and states that “persons with disabilities through their representative organisations should be fully consulted and actively involved in all stages of formulating and implementing policies, laws, and services that relate to them”.

Sightsavers has made a statement to the World Health Assembly in support of the plan, asking member states to lead the way in championing disability-inclusive health care.

The disability action plan echoes our Put Us in the Picture campaign’s calls to ensure people with disabilities can access health services.

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