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WHO: 1 billion disabled worldwide
by Staff Writers
Geneva, Switzerland (UPI) Jun 10, 2011

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About 15 percent of the world's population -- 1 billion people -- is disabled and subject to discrimination, a report issued from Switzerland indicates.

Despite a vibrant disability rights movement and movement toward inclusion, disabled people still experience "significant difficulties" concerning healthcare and employment, the first-of-its-kind report by the World Health Organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the World Bank in Washington released Thursday indicated.

The report found disabled people in developing countries are three times more likely to be denied healthcare than other people, The Guardian reported.

Children with disabilities are less likely to start or stay in school than other children, the report found. Employment rates among the disabled were at 44 percent, compared with 75 percent employment rates for non-disabled people in the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the report found.

People with disabilities face barriers such as discrimination, lack of adequate healthcare and rehabilitation services, and inaccessible transport, buildings and information, the report said.

"The clear message from the report is that there is no country that has got it right," report co-author Tom Shakespeare said.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said disability is part of life, The Guardian said.

"Almost every one of us will be permanently or temporarily disabled at some point in life," Chan said. "We must do more to break the barriers which segregate people with disabilities, in many cases forcing them to the margins of society."

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