WHO - Disability and Rehabilitation (DAR)

An estimated 650 million people live with disabilities around the world.

WHO's role is to enhance the quality of life, and promote and protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities through local, national and global efforts. WHO guides and supports countries to increase awareness about disability issues, improve disability data, scale up public health programmes and community-based initiatives that promote health and rehabilitation and make assistive devices available to persons with disabilities. A six-year plan directs WHO's efforts.

Join the Disability and Rehabilitation team at WHO on social media.  Share your news about country launches of the World Report on Disability, videos and stories with the Disability and Rehabilitation team at WHO.

Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

In support of the UN International day of Persons with Disabilities 2010 a WHO DAR paper discusses the Achievement of the Millenium Development Goals for People with Disabilities and the role CBR can play.

Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) guidelines

WHO, in partnership with other UN agencies, collaborating centres and non-governmental organisations has published guidelines for CBR. The CBR matrix gives an overall visual representation of CBR. It consists of five key components; health, education, social, livelihood and empowerment, each divided into five key elements. Each of these elements has a dedicated chapter in the guidelines.

Community-based rehabilitation guidelines:

  • Provide guidance on how to develop and strengthen CBR programmes;
  • Promote CBR as a strategy for community-based development involving people with disabilities;
  • Support stakeholders to meet the basic needs and enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families;
  • Encourage the empowerment of people with disabilities and their families.

Download the guidelines from the WHO website.

Mobility devices

WCPT was one of several organisations representing health professionals, international nongovernmental organisations, disabled people's organisations and academic institutions working with WHO in the development of the Joint position paper on the provision of mobility devices in less resourced settings.  The document sets out recommendations for individual countries and international stakeholders.  One of the prize winning WCPT photographs features in the report.



Wheelchair guidelines

On the occasion of the 21st World Congress of Rehabilitation International, WHO, the US Agency for International Development, the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics and Disabled Peoples' International launched this important new document, Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings.






Wheelchair Service Training Package (Basic Level)

The Wheelchair Service Training Package (Basic Level) is to develop the minimum skills and knowledge required in wheelchair service delivery. An important aim is to get it integrated into professional entry level education programmes including physical therapy. The materials include  reference and trainers manuals and guides, checklists, forms, workbooks and posters and visual materials such as slides and videos. The package is available in Chinese, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Thai and Turkish as well as English. The package can be downloaded from the WHO website. Intermediate and advanced packages are in preparation.


World Report on Disability

The first ever World Report on Disability has been published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank. This landmark landmark report estimates that more than a billion people in the world (20%) experience disability. The report will be influential in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and includes recommendations for action to governments and their partners.