Dr. Alessandra Aresu Inclusive Health Policy Lead UHC2030
United Nations

Statement on Universal Health Coverage

On Monday April 29, Dr. Alessandra Aresu, Inclusive Health Policy Lead for Humanity & Inclusion (Formerly Handicap International), and co-chair of the Inclusive Health Task Group of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), was set to deliver the following statement to the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage at the United Nations, but was not able to after the meeting ran over its allotted time. The IDDC statement follows.

On behalf of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), a consortium of 40 members active in 100 countries and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, including the right to health.  

There are approximately one billion persons with disabilities globally, with numbers rising due to aging populations and increases in chronic and mental health conditions.

Ensuring access to health for persons with disabilities is essential to achieve SDG3.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 25 requires that State Parties take all appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities access disability and gender-sensitive health services, including rehabilitation and provide free or affordable health services covering the same range and quality as those provided to others.

In reality, persons with disabilities often encounter physical, communication, attitudinal and financial barriers, as well as lack of information in accessing health services. According to WHO’s estimations,  50% of persons with disabilities globally cannot afford access to healthcare and are three times more likely to be denied health care.

As countries work towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage, the lack of gender, age and disability disaggregated data is a major challenge for monitoring the equity gaps in health status and access to services.

The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) recommends:

1) To improve the availability and use of gender, age and disability disaggregated data on health status and access to services;

2) To promote data dissemination to ensure appropriate planning and policies for equitable access to health.

3) To adapt and provide health services for persons with disabilities ensuring accessible and affordable services and, most importantly, meaningful participation of persons with disabilities.


Photo: Dr. Alessandra Aresu stands next to a Universal Health Coverage sign at UN HLM 2019 in NYC on April 29, 2019.