RI Global Press Release: World Health Assembly Adopts Global Disability Action Plan

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RI Global: Office of Communications

Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021 was adopted today at the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

After a call for a comprehensive action plan regarding better heath care for people with disabilities at the 66th World Health Assembly last year, a long consultative process began and a draft was developed. In January 2014, the plan was submitted to the 67th World Health Assembly for adoption.

Rehabilitation International (RI) has been extensively involved in the process leading to this adoption, with RI leadership providing key insights into the needs of people with disabilities at consultative meetings around the world.

“This action plan recognizes the growing disparities people with disabilities face when it comes to receiving adequate health care services. With this comprehensive plan in place, access to health care and appropriate support are achievable goals on a global scale,” said Rehabilitation International President Jan Monsbakken.

“For over 90 years, Rehabilitation International has lobbied for changes in the way people with disabilities are treated, and we have seen great changes and developments over the years. This action plan is sure to be yet another significant step towards achieving universal accessibility and inclusion for all.”

According to the WHO, people with disabilities have the same general health care needs as others, but they are twice as likely to find health care providers’ skills and facilities inadequate. They are also three times as likely to be denied health care as the general population, and twice as likely to suffer catastrophic health expenditure.

One in seven people worldwide experience disability. Approximately 200 million people need low-vision devices but do not have access to them, and only 5 to 15 percent of people who need a wheelchair have access to one.

Learn more about the WHO Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021.


RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.

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