Int’l Day of Persons with Disabilities: WHO Urges for Disability Inclusion



On 3 December, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined partners around the world to call for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with, and by persons with disabilities.

Health Inequities

Many persons with disabilities die earlier, are at increased risk of developing a range of health conditions, and experience more limitations in everyday functioning than the rest of the population.

These poorer health outcomes are called “health inequities” because they are largely avoidable and driven by unjust factors within and beyond the health sector.

These factors include, for example, discrimination in the up societies, inequitable policies, the determinants of health, lack of access or quality of care, and negative attitudes of health workers, to name a few.


Health inequities are a stark reminder that persons with disabilities are too often left behind, and that achieving good health, well-being for all, SDG3, requires the meaningful participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities.


Achieving the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities is now, more than ever, within our reach, so long as we are united.

In 2019, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched the Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) to bring disability inclusion in every work and core functions of the entire UN system.

These achievements are remarkable demonstrations of the value of systemic planning for disability inclusion, a cause for celebration, and a source of aspiration to pursue these efforts.

Everyone Has a Role to Play

Achieving SDG3 on health and well-being for, with, and by persons with disabilities requires the empowerment and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.

Everyone has a key role to play to make this happen because, disability is part of being human and almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life.

Facts About Disability

* An estimated 1.3 billion people, about 16% of the global population, currently experience significant disability.

* This number is increasing due in part to population ageing and an increase in the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases.

* Disability results from the interaction between individuals with a health condition, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression.

* Others are personal and environmental factors including negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social support.

* A person’s environment has a huge effect on the experience and extent of disability.

Progress on Improving Social Participation

Inaccessible environments create barriers that often hinder the full, effective participation of persons with disabilities in society on an equal basis with others. Progress on improving social participation can be made by addressing these barriers and facilitating persons with disabilities in their day to day lives.

The WHO is committed to working with partners to achieve the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities.

We believe that everyone has the right to a healthy life, and that persons with disabilities should be empowered to live their lives to the fullest.

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