The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today signed an agreement to work together to foster diversity and equity through global initiatives promoting health and sport for everybody, everywhere.
The two partners will collaborate to improve global access to quality rehabilitation and assistive technology as part of universal health coverage; and mitigate existing inequalities in relation to access to these life-changing services -- a prerequisite for equal opportunities and participation in sports for persons with disabilities, including for Paralympians and Para athletes.
Disability is a global public health issue but with a higher prevalence in lower-income countries with even less access to health care and assistive technology. The World Health Organization estimates about 15% of the world’s population live with a disability – and this number is growing due to demographic changes including population ageing and the global increase in chronic health conditions. Only 1 in 2 persons with disabilities can afford health care, including rehabilitation services; and 1 in 10 have access to life-changing assistive technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed persons with disabilities to increased risks of contracting COVID-19 and having poorer health, as health information and care have not been provided in ways easily accessible to them.