World Health Organization
منظمة الصحة العالمية
Organisation mondiale de la Santé

Rehabilitation & Disabilities

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Many people with disabilities have limited or no access to health care and rehabilitation, education, skills training, and employment opportunities. In Iraq, during the years of war, and all the man-made disasters throughout, have further increased the number of disability, to approximately reach two-million people.

In recent years, the approach of disability has been steered away from a medical understanding towards a social one. This suggests that disability arises from the interaction between people with a health condition and their environment.

In Iraq and the rest of the world, people with disabilities are from all genders, ages, and socioeconomic status; they also differ in their response to, and way of dealing with their disability. Nevertheless, they all face obstacles in their daily lives, with social and physical barriers including stigma and discrimination, lack of adequate health care and rehabilitation services, inaccessible transport, as well as barriers rising from the designs of buildings and of information and communication technologies. Due to these obstacles, people with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty. This also causes them to be marginalized and excluded from being active members of their community.

On levels of policy development, capacity building and technical assistance, the World Health Organization is supporting the Government of Iraq and its Ministries of Health in strengthening and improving its disability registration system, to ensure health systems are more inclusive and responsive to the needs of people living with disabilities. The data collected through this registration system will show the magnitude of the disability burden in Iraq and will provide evidence that will be instrumental for decision-makers in developing future strategies and plans aimed at improving access to services for these people in need.

The first ever WHO/World Bank World Report on Disability was launched globally in June 2011, and was nationally endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Iraq during a dedicated event in presence on the WHO Representative to Iraq, people living with disabilities, activists living with disabilities and media representatives. The report provides the foremost global assessment of disability to date using the latest scientific evidence. It further encourages governments to adopt a disability strategy and plan of action, improve research and work to increase public awareness and understanding of disability, and highlights a number of approaches and recommendations that can be used to enable people with disabilities to access services, infrastructure, information and employment opportunities.

 Disability stands at an intersection of public health, human rights and development. With consolidated efforts, if governments, non-governmental organizations, professional and people with disabilities and their families work together, these barriers can be overcome.