A new landmark Resolution EB148.R6 “The highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities” was adopted by the 74th World Health Assembly.
The resolution aims to make the health sector more inclusive by tackling the significant barriers many persons with disabilities face when they try to access health services.
- Access to effective health services: persons with disabilities often experience barriers including physical barriers that prevent access to health facilities; informational barriers that prevent access to health information; and attitudinal barriers leading to discrimination which severely affects the rights of persons with disabilities.
- Protection during health emergencies: persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic because they have not been considered in national health emergency preparedness and response plans.
- Access to public health interventions across different sectors: public health interventions do not reach persons with disabilities because the information has not been provided in an accessible way and the specific needs and situation of persons with disabilities have not been reflected in the interventions.
The Resolution also aims to improve collection and disaggregation of reliable data on disability to inform health policies and programmes.
The resolution lists a range of actions to be taken by the WHO Secretariat including developing a report on the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities by the end of 2022; implementing the United Nations disability inclusion strategy across all levels of the organization; supporting the creation of a global research agenda on health and disability; and providing Member States with technical knowledge and capacity-building support necessary to incorporate a disability- inclusive approach in the health sector.