Geneva Health Forum Archive

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Health for All: a Human Rights Approach to Persons with Disabilities

Author(s): Giampietro Griffo1
Affiliation(s): 1World Council member, Disabled Peoples International - DPI-Europe, Trentola-Ducenta, Italy
Key issues: The disability condition is both cause and effect of poverty. Persons with disability live two kinds of poverty: poverty for economic and social conditions and poverty for social impoverishment. The consequences are that 600 million people with disabilities live the poverty of social recognition that produces social exclusion. Some 500 million people with disabilities living in poor countries are denied access to the right to health because of a disability condition. So these persons become disabled for poverty based on economic conditions (lack of food, water, etc.) and are treated as invisible and useless citizens, without access to health services. The international cooperation forgets these people with needs due to disabilities. This is a violation of human rights. For this reason a UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is discussing in an AHC nominated by UN General Assembly. It is necessary develop a new approach to programmes and policies addressed to persons with disabilities, focused on Community- Based Rehabilitation (CBR). The CBR has become emancipated even more so from a medical vision of disability, to reach a social model of disability, based on human rights. The CBR supports a development that includes all communities, including persons with disabilities. The access to health service is one step to the inclusive development, an essential framework to building an inclusive society, based on non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all citizens.
Conclusion (max 400 words): Include persons with disabilities in all health programmes. Train health care services on CBR. Include persons with disabilities in MDGs priorities. Support the UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities.

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