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130311 WHO Disability Report of the secretariat


130311 WHO Disability Report of the secretariat

Disability is neither purely a biological nor a social construct but the result of interactions between health conditions and environmental and personal factors. Disability can occur at three levels: an impairment in body function or structure; a limitation in activity, such as the inability to read or move around; a restriction in participation, such as exclusion from school or work. As such, people with disabilities include those who are traditionally understood as disabled (for example wheelchair users, people who are blind or deaf or people with intellectual impairments), and people who experience difficulties in functioning due to a wide range of health conditions such as chronic diseases, severe mental disorders, multiple sclerosis and old age.

In April 2008, the Director-General established a Task Force on Disability, with representation from all clusters and regional offices. The Task Force has made significant progress, in both raising awareness of disability as a cross-cutting issue in technical work (for example, sexual and reproductive health, and emergency risk management) and removing barriers, be they physical, lack of information or reasonable accommodation1 or policies, to the participation of people with disabilities in WHO’s work.