One Billion People Globally Experience Disability

Jun 11, 2011 06:16 AM EDT

Stouffville, ON, June 10, 2011 - “The World Report on Disability (WRD) presents evidence that previous figures underestimated global prevalence of disability,” says Winston Miller, Director, International Programs, cbm Canada.

Miller, along with Catherine Naughton, CBM Director International Advocacy & Alliances and several CBM international partners, attended the historic launch of the WRD at the United Nations in New York on June 9.

“The reports states that one billion people experience disability worldwide,” adds Miller. “Eighty percent live in developing countries; up to 190 million persons with disabilities are the poorest of the poor.”

Launched by the World Health Organization, together with the World Bank, the WRD is the first real update on disabilities in 40 years.

It was reported that people with disabilities have:

• Poorer health outcomes

• Lower education achievements

• Less economic participation

• Higher rates of poverty

• Increased dependency

• Restricted participation.

“The conclusions of the report, especially regarding the world's poorest countries, strongly reinforce the need for – and worth of – CBM’s work,” says Miller.

The World Report on Disability presents evidence that 1 in 7 of the world’s population experience disability – and that the numbers are rising, and will continue to rise.

The WRD comes at a critical time as 150 countries have now signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). These countries, and other governments, are in the process of planning the implementation of this convention. The WRD provides strong evidence of the need to make rapid progress to equalize rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities.

“The Report provides a road map for governments and civil societies, including non-profit government organizations like CBM, for the way forward,” adds Miller.

“One recommendation that really stood out was the need to invest in specific programs and services for people with disabilities,” adds Miller.

“CBM is already doing that. It’s time for governments and other non-profit government organizations (NGOs) to follow suit.”

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General WHO noted, “We must do more to break the barriers which segregate people with disabilities forcing them to the margins of society.”

Robert Zoellick, President World Bank remarked, “Addressing the health, education, employment and other development needs of people living with disabilities is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

A leading international Christian development organization, CBM (formerly known as Christian Blind Mission) is committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. cbm Canada is one of 10 CBM Member Associations.

CBM has more than 900 projects in 90 countries, and currently serves over 25 million people.