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Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

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Disability and health (World Health Organisation)

Key facts

  • Over a billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability.
  • Between 110 million and 190 million people have significant difficulties in functioning.
  • Rates of disability are increasing due to population ageing and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.
  • People with disabilities have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.

Disability and health

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).

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