A new report from the World Health Organization shows evidence of a higher risk of premature death and illness among many people with disabilities (PwD) compared to society.
The global report on health equity for people with disabilities published today shows that, due to systemic and persistent health inequities, many people with disabilities risk dying much sooner – up to 20 years earlier – than people without disabilities.
They have an increased risk of developing chronic conditions, up to twice the risk of asthma, depression, diabetes, obesity, oral disease, and stroke. Many differences in health outcomes cannot be explained by the underlying health condition or disability but by preventable, inequitable, and unfair factors.
Released just before the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated tomorrow, the report shows that the number of people with significant disabilities worldwide has increased to 1.3 billion (or 1 in 6 people). This number reinforces the importance of achieving the full and effective participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and incorporating the principles of inclusion, accessibility, and non-discrimination in the health sector.
Unfair factors: a significant cause of health disparities
The report emphasizes the need for urgent action to address the health systems’ vast health inequalities caused by unfair and unfair factors (inequities). These factors – which account for many of the differences in health outcomes between people with and without disabilities – can take the form of:
- Health equity for all is critical to achieving universal health coverage;
- Inclusive public health interventions that are administered equitably across different sectors can contribute to healthier populations; It is
- Advancing health equity for people with disabilities is central to all efforts to protect everyone in health emergencies.
“Addressing health inequalities for people with disabilities benefits everyone,” said Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for Non-communicable Diseases. “Older people, people with non-communicable diseases, migrants and refugees, or other often unreached populations can benefit from approaches that address the persistent challenges to mainstreaming disability in the health sector.”
She added: “We urge governments, health partners, and civil society to ensure that all health sector actions are inclusive of people with disabilities so that they can enjoy their right to the highest standard of health.”