Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities

24 October 2018

24 October 2018 // During the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities Catalina Devandas presented a report on the right of persons with disabilities to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. To prepare the report, she asked for input from all relevant stakeholders, from Member States to organisations of and for persons with disabilities and individuals. IF responded to this call on behalf of persons with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

In the report, the Special Rapporteur points out that a significant number of newborns with congenital impairments such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus die before one month of age owing to the absence of specialised treatment. The report also emphasises the importance of Universal Health Coverage as an instrument to increase the access of persons with disabilities to healthcare. However, States need to ensure that the implementation of universal health coverage includes the full range of healthcare services that persons with disabilities may need, including health-related habilitation and rehabilitation, assistive devices and technologies and essential medicines. Lifesaving surgeries for children with disabilities such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus should also be taken into account.

Apart from topics on physical and mental health, the report also discusses, among other things, sexual health, stigma and stereotypes, discrimination, accessibility, and the need for health literacy programmes and activities to be inclusive of and accessible for persons with disabilities.

The report can be downloaded in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, and is also available in an Easy-to-read format (in English only).

The full list of responses to the call of the Special Rapporteur is available on the OHCHR website.