According to the World Health Organisation, what per cent of the world population has some form of disability?

Over 1 billion people are estimated to live with some form of disability. This corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, with up to 190 million (3.8%) people aged 15 years and older having significant difficulties in functioning, often requiring healthcare services. 

Disability is extremely diverse. While some health conditions associated with disability result in poor health and extensive healthcare needs, others do not. However, all people with disability have the same general healthcare needs as everyone else, and therefore need access to mainstream healthcare services. Article 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) reinforces the right of persons with disability to attain the highest standard of healthcare, without discrimination. However, the reality is that few countries provide adequate quality services for people with disability.

Also, very few countries collect data to enable disaggregation by disability in the health sector.  This became very apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic where countries failed to include disability consistently in their response to control the pandemic. This left people with disability exposed to three increased risks with devastating consequences: the risks of contracting COVID-19, developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 or dying from the disease, as well as having poorer health during and after the pandemic, whether or not they are infected with COVID-19.


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