Persons with disabilities (PWDs), according the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) refers to disability as “an umbrella term covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations”. The ICF’s definition of disability denotes a negative interaction between a person (with a health condition) and his or her contextual factors (environmental and personal factors). A comprehensive approach in interventions is then necessary for persons with disabilities (PWDs) as it entails actions beyond the context of health, but more on helping them to overcome difficulties by removing environmental and social barriers (WHO, 2013).
Globally, over 1 billion people, or approximately 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability. About 110 to 190 million people 15 years and older have significant difficulties in functioning. Moreover, the rapid spread of chronic diseases and population ageing contribute to the increasing rates of disability. About 80% of the world’s PWDs live in low-income countries, wherein majority are poor and cannot access basic services. With their conditions, PWDs need greater attention and considerations in terms of health needs, without discrimination. However, reports show that PWDs have less access to health services and therefore have greater unmet needs (WHO, 2012).
In the Philippines, the results of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH, 2010) show that of the household population of 92.1 million, 1.443 million Filipinos or 1.57%, have a disability. Region IV-A, with 193 thousand PWDs, was recorded to have the highest number of PWD among the 17 regions, while the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) had the lowest number with 26 thousand PWDs.For every five (5) PWD one (18.9%) was aged 0 to 14 years.
Dr. Hildegardes C. Dineros
Sr. Agnetia Naval, RN, Ph.D
Prof. Federico Jaboya, MaED
Lucita M. Oreta