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.

Want to read more about our work?

Sightsavers and disability rights
Three women, one of whom is using a wheelchair, holding up signs reading '#EqualUN for an equal world'.
Sightsavers blog

Why we’re calling for an equal UN

Globally, it’s recognised that people with disabilities are vulnerable to being left behind in efforts to eradicate poverty. Yet there’s still not enough progress being made.

Tessa Murphy, March 2019
A large crowd of people standing in a conference hall with a banner promoting the Africa Health Agenda International Conference.
Sightsavers blog

Five takeaways from the Africa Health Agenda conference

The conference, in Rwanda, brought together more than 1,500 participants from all kinds of sectors, all working on ways of ensuring better health outcomes for everyone.

Fred Smith, March 2019
A close-up of two girls holding hands.
Sightsavers blog

“Grace gave me the courage to empower people with disabilities”

Disability ambassador Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame remembers Grace Preko, her friend, sister and role model who showed her there was life after blindness.