The missing billion

A billion people around the world who live with disabilities are being left behind without access to healthcare.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has issued a major publication on access to health services for the billion people worldwide living with disabilities. The report argues that SDG 3, Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, cannot be achieved without better efforts to make sure persons with disabilities have access to healthcare. There are some sobering statistics. Persons with disabilities are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from diabetes;
  • 2 times likelier to suffer from HIV/AIDS; and
  • 50 times likelier to incur catastrophic health expenditures.

The report urges organisations such as ILEP Members to ensure that in all of our services, programmes and training, we make sure that we are reaching, and not excluding, persons with disabilities. We should ask ourselves, for example, whether there are any barriers that prevent leprosy case-finding and contact tracing activities from reaching persons with physical, sensory or intellectual disabilities. Or factors that limit access by persons with disabilities to treatment centres, rehabilitation or community development programmes. The report can be found here