HD Track

Global Health & Disabilities: Building an Inclusive and Healthy Society for All

Betts Theatre


Dr. Richard Montgomery, UK Executive Director, The World Bank Group

Priscila Rodríguez, Associate Director for Advocacy, Disability Rights International

Anna Martin, Disability Inclusive Education Advocacy Officer, Light for the World


Access to quality, affordable and reliable healthcare stands out as one of the most crucial requirements for human development and achieving a better world, and is the basis for Sustainable Development Goal 3, which calls for countries to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Immense progress has been made in some aspects of health care, for example, the maternal mortality ratio globally has declined by 37 percent since 2000, and, from 2000 to 2016, the under-5 mortality rate dropped by 47 percent. However, thousands around the world continue to die needlessly from preventable diseases, and many global epidemics are still widespread, with some health hazards even on the increase. The number of people with disabilities stands out as a figure on the rise, and adequate support for those with physical and mental disabilities is greatly lacking in many countries. In some countries, 90 percent of youth with disabilities are out of school, and the literacy rate for adults with disabilities can be up to 53% below average. This panel will seek to discuss the latest progress and pathways forward for global health and address the future initiatives that have to be made for the disabled community. Particular attention will be paid to how the next generation of young leaders can better understand and make an impact in this field.

Possible Discussion Points:

  • Within the global sustainable development agenda, how important is quality healthcare? How closely are poor health and disabilities connected to poverty and other issues? What wider benefits are there from a country having healthy citizens?
  • Healthcare has greatly improved in some areas but less in others – what are the key areas where progress needs to be stepped up?
  • Around 15% of the global population has some form of disability, and this rate is increasing, while those with disabilities also face greater barriers to healthcare. What can governments, multilateral institutions, the NGO community, and others do to mitigate this urgent situation?
  • Is good progress being made to improve access to and a!ordability of healthcare, including for people with disabilities? Has there been more success in certain countries or regions as opposed to others, and what lessons can we learn from this?
  • Around 800,000 people commit suicide each year, and, in 2016, 79% of these were in low and middle-income countries. How can mental healthcare be improved to prevent this and other devastating effects?
  • What are some successful examples of care for the disabled in countries or communities that could be emulated elsewhere?
  • How is progress being made to increase public education access and career opportunities for disabled persons?
  • What skills, knowledge, and experience do young people need to make an impact in the #eld of healthcare?
  • How can youth best work to improve conditions for the disabled in their own schools or communities?