BRIEFING PAPER – A human right to health: what about persons with disabilities ? | February 6, 2015

The right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is a fundamental human right anchored in a range of international instruments, including the UN convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Removing barriers and empowering persons with disabilities is essential in ensuring their right to health. Over one billion people […]

The right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is a fundamental human right anchored in a range of international instruments, including the UN convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Removing barriers and empowering persons with disabilities is essential in ensuring their right to health.

Over one billion people worldwide live with a disability, representing 15% of the world’s population. 80% of health care needs for persons with disabilities are similar to the ones of the rest of the population. However, persons with disabilities are two times more likely to find health care providers’ skills and facilities inadequate, 3 times more likely to be denied health care and 4 times more likely to be treated badly in the health care system.

Handicap International call states, donors and health providers to devote greater attention to disability and ensure access to affordable, appropriate, timely and quality health services. Persons with disabilities have similar health care needs, including sexual and reproductive health as the rest of the population. But they may also need more health care services, depending on the nature of their impairment, socio-economic status etc. They might be at greater risk of secondary, co-morbid and age-related conditions (e.g. obesity, vision and eye disease). They also often exhibit risky health behaviors (e.g. smoking) and face higher rates of premature death. People with impairments, whether episodic or long term ones, may require access to a full continuum of care across the life course. Access to specific health services and in particular access to rehabilitation services and assistive devices and technologies must thus also be included.

You will find in this briefing paper recommendations targeting states, donors, and international organisations to ensure that they deliver inclusive health and that persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are consulted and involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health policies. Key recommendations include :

  • Development policies and programs at international and national levels are UNCRPD compliant, and ensure health services, including rehabilitation, are available, accessible, acceptable, affordable, accountable and of good quality;
  • Greater resources must be allocated, from international and national level, to health budgets and to make health inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities,
  • Funding mechanisms for covering health expenditures, including rehabilitation services, assistive devices and technologies as well as human aid/personal assistance, are developed at national level ;
  • Collection of data on health and disability is supported at international level, and disaggregated data, including by disability, is collected through all national health information system;
  • Ensure for the participation of persons with disabilities in planning, monitoring and evaluation of health related policies.

To read the tribune published in the Huffington Post by Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations – Handicap International, click here.

 


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