HIV and Disability Policy Brief Released

Posted on 29 May 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Health, HIV/AIDS, News, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disability advocates have long known from observation that people with disabilities around the world are often at higher risk for HIV/AIDS. The difficulty has been in persuading mainstream educators and service providers of this fact. A new policy brief on disability and HIV can help advocates educate governments, mainstream organizations, and agencies about the need to include people with disabilities in HIV-related programs and services.

Disabled people are routinely excluded, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose, from mainstream education outreach programs on HIV and from health care services meant for people with AIDS. But a growing body of evidence shows that people with disabilities have an active sex life and are as likely as anyone else in engage in risky behaviors. They also are far more likely to be targeted for sexual assault, particularly from men who have HIV. The United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have jointly released a new, 8-page policy brief on disability and HIV. This policy brief summarizes what is known about disabled people and their high risk level for being infected with HIV. It also summarizes some of the reasons why they have been excluded from mainstream programs meant to prevent HIV transmission. For example, many workers in the field mistakenly assume that people with disabilities don’t have sex or never abuse drugs. Or they may simply neglect to consider the needs of deaf people who need information delivered in sign language or highly visual materials; blind people who need materials in audio or Braille formats; people with intellectual disabilities who need information in plain language; or people with mobility impairments who may need to attend training workshops held in wheelchair accessible buildings.

The Disability and HIV Policy Brief includes a set of recommendations for governments, including suggestions such as ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); providing HIV information in different formats tailored for different disability groups; providing people with disabilities with the same range of HIV, sexual, and reproductive health services as the rest of the population; ensuring that people with disabilities are trained to provide HIV-related education and care; and more. The policy brief also includes a few recommendations for civil society (for example, Non-Governmental Organizations) as well as for international agencies. The last section of the policy brief describes an example of AIDS-related activities in South Africa.

Learn more about the new policy brief at Or download the 8-page policy brief in PDF format (207 Kb) at

We Can Do learned about this policy brief via a notice posted to the IDA CRPD Forum email discussion group. I then gathered additional information about the UNAIDS web site and from the policy brief in PDF format (207 Kb).

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JOB POST: Research Assistant for AFrican Policy on Disability and Development

Posted on 10 March 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Vacancy – Research Assistant Position for African Policy on Disability and Development (A-PODD)

Application Deadline: 13 March , 2009

A-PODD has a Research Assistantship position for 1 Year, and the candidate has to be from Sierra Leone. We seek a person with experience in researching disability issues for the above position. The project is housed at the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin and The Secretariat of the African Decade for Persons with Disability, being other partners.

The Research Assistant should have a degree in a relevant social or health science, or evidence of operating at an equivalent level. The Research Assistant will be considered for fully-funded registration for a Masters in Research at Stellenbsoch University. Limited travel to South Africa will be required, with the Research Assistant based in Sierra Leone.

This is a re-advertisement as only two applicants with the relevant qualifications have been shorted listed. We need 3 interviewees so that we have a wide selection. The teleconferencing interview will take place on the 19th April 2009. People with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Project Description
A-PODD is a three year project funded by the (Irish) Health Research Board and Irish Aid. A-PODD is led by Prof Mac MacLachlan, Centre for Global Health and School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin; Ms Gubela Mji, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and Mr A.K. Dube, The Secretariat of the African Decade for Persons with Disability.

This research investigates how disability can be put on the agenda of national and international development initiatives. It focuses on how research evidence can be utilised to inform the policy environment (such as PRSPs and SWAps), development institutions (such as the IMF, World Bank and WHO), as well as less formal local, community and grass-roots decision making and inclusion efforts.

A-PODD will undertake four country case studies: in Sierra Leone, a country emerging from conflict that resulted in many people being disabled; Malawi and Uganda, the only two African countries that have Ministries for people with disabilities; and Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, with significant geographical barriers and a highly dispersed population, presenting significant challenges to the inclusion of people with disability.

Our comparative analysis will inform disability policy and implementation within the region. Barriers and facilitators will be identified along implementation pathways, and so too will local means and mechanisms of addressing these. Country reports will be discussed at a concluding workshop to which governments, civil society, donors, researchers and others will be invited. A code of best practice will be drawn up for Moving Evidence to Action on African Disability Policy.

Other collaborating partners on this project are:

International Partners:
Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University
Southern African Federation of the Disabled
Ministry of Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, Government of Malawi
Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
South African Medical Research Council’s Cochrane Centre
SINTEF Health Research (Norway)
World Bank

Irish Partners:
Institute for Nursing Research, University of Ulster Law & Policy Research Unit, NUI Galway.
National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin
Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin.

Research Assistants will be appointed in the range EUR8,000-10,000 (Euro)

Interested applicants should send
1) A statement of interest – 1 page
2) A Curriculum Vitae –
3) Contact details for at least two referees (at least one of which should be an academic).

For any quiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please forward your application to:

Dr Tsitsi Chataika (Post doctoral Research Fellow)

Dr Tsitsi Chataika – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stellenbosch University
Tygerberg Campus
Faculty of Health Science
Centre for Rehabilitation Studies
African Policy On Disability and Development (A-PODD) Project
P.O Box 7505
Tygerberg, 7505
South Africa
Tel: +27 219389816 (office)
+27 7764085148 (Cell/Mobile)
Fax:+27 219146875

I received this job post announcement via the Disability-Research listserv.

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Wheelchair Consensus Symposium, Sept 25-26, 2008, Asia-Pacific Region

Posted on 3 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Assistive Devices, East Asia Pacific Region, Events and Conferences, Mobility Impariments, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Wheelchair Consensus Symposium is being held September 25-26, 2008, to discuss approaches to providing wheelchairs in low-resource settings within the Asian-Pacific region. The conference is being held at the University of South Australia.

For more detail on how to register for the conference, costs, visa applications, etc., please follow the link to the conference website at

Questions about the event can be directed to:

Kylie Mines, Motivation Australia
Telephone: 08 8556 4423

The following detail is taken from the Wheelchair Consensus Symposium website:

For people with a mobility disability, provision of a wheelchair which meets their physical, lifestyle and environmental needs can enable vastly improved health, social and economic well being.

However, an estimated 20 million people living in low income countries require a wheelchair and do not have one.

Recognising the important role Australian organisations can play in working to address this need, Motivation Australia, the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the National Committee on Rehabilitation Engineering are co-presenting the Wheelchair Consensus Symposium. The Symposium will draw together stakeholders in disability and development in less resourced settings in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, to:

  • Introduce the WHO Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings
  • Increase awareness of the need for appropriate mobility equipment for people with physical disabilities
  • Share information and programme approaches to the provision of appropriate wheelchairs
  • Increase collaboration between stakeholders in order to increase effectiveness
  • Develop consensus on future approaches to wheelchair provision in the region

This event will be held over two days, with day one as plenary sessions, and day two break-out sessions for stakeholders, to discuss key issues and suggest strategies.

Themes of the Symposium will be:

  • wheelchair design and production
  • wheelchair services
  • training of local staff
  • roles of Australian stakeholders

The Wheelchair Consensus Symposium is supported by AusAID through the International Seminar Support Scheme.

We Can Do readers who are interested in wheelchair provision in low-income countries may also wish to learn more about the organization Whirlwind Wheelchair International, which helps train local people to build, repair and sell their own wheelchairs designed to meet local conditions, with all local materials.

Thank you to Ghulam Nabi Nizamani for circulating a notice about this conference; I gathered additional information and some of the text at the conference website.

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WHO Disability and Rehabilitation Newsletter July 2008 Issue

Posted on 25 August 2008. Filed under: Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, News, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Text-only version of the WHO/DAR Newsletter
July 2008 Issue

The World Health Organization (WHO) disability and rehabilitation newsletter is produced three times a year and distributed via e-mail. Subscription/unsubscription requests should be sent to WHO’s Disability and Rehabilitation Team (DAR) at the following e-mail address:


* WHO Task Force on Disability
* WRDR Regional Consultations
* RI World Congress
* Wheelchair Guidelines
* CBR Congress
* New faces at DAR

This month sees the halfway stage of development of the World Report, a moment to celebrate and take stock of how far we have come and how much more there is to do before we launch the document in eighteen months time. Another milestone has been the first meeting of the WHO Task Force on Disability, part of the Organizations’ response to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These are exciting times for WHO’s work in disability and rehabilitation, and we have an expanded and enthusiastic team of staff working to deliver change. We are particularly grateful to all our collaborators and funders who have worked with us to help us achieve our ambitions to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Alana Officer,
Disability and Rehabilitation

Task Force on Disability
WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, has set up a Task Force on Disability, chaired by Assistant Director-General Dr Ala Alwan, with representation from each regional office and from each cluster within HQ. This exciting initiative comes in the wake of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and will work to raise the profile of disability at WHO. Key tasks will include: conducting audits of WHO premises and making access improvements; reviewing websites and printed information to improve their accessibility; promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and providing disability equality training for staff.

The Task Force will also work with the Technical Programmes of WHO to assist them to make their programs inclusive of and accessible to people with disabilities. For example, what about the needs of people with disabilities in disaster and emergencies? What about the needs of women with disabilities during pregnancy and childbirth?

Task Force focus: Information
So, what is WHO doing to ensure better access to all the information it produces? Ian Coltart of WHO Press, responsible for publishing guidelines and standards across WHO, writes…

“With a global audience and a mission to disseminate WHO’s information as widely as possible, WHO needs to ensure that it’s published information is accessible in appropriate formats for different audiences, including partially sighted and blind people, as well as people with learning difficulties.

WHO Press has developed and published a large print version of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The book is produced in A4 size with a clear page layout designed for partially sighted people. The book is available from the WHO online bookshop, at: WHO Press also plans to develop a Braille version of ICF for the blind.

WHO Press is working with WHO’s Disability and Rehabilitation Team (DAR) to develop publishing guidelines for WHO staff on producing specific formats such as large print and Braille, but also to improve the general design and layout of WHO’s mainstream printed products to accommodate partially sighted audiences.

World Report on Disability and Rehabilitation Regional Consultations
In May and June 2008, regional consultations on the preliminary draft of the World Report on Disability and Rehabilitation were held in San José, Costa Rica for the Americas Region; Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania for the African and Eastern Mediterranean Regions; Rome, Italy for the European Region; and Manila, the Philippines for the South-east Asian and Western Pacific Regions. Each consultation brought together a diverse group of experts with complementary knowledge and experience, including people with disabilities. Participants included editors of the Report, chapter authors, academics, service providers, policymakers, government officials, NGO representatives, and disability advocates.

Claudia Sánchez, a Columbian architect and participant in the consultation in San José, felt that the process was vital because “it brings into the report experiences from around the world that come from the real people”, i.e. those who have direct knowledge of the issues. While it was most helpful to gather constructive criticisms of the preliminary draft, it was also encouraging to witness how many participants were excited by the potential of the Report to advance work in disability and rehabilitation. As Kudakwashe Dube, CEO of the Secretariat of the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities remarked at the Dar-Es-Salaam event, “the report challenges countries to take serious steps to mainstream disability and capacitate all actors in order to achieve an improvement in the quality of life of persons with disabilities”.

The participants’ feedback, cultural perspectives on the draft and the sources of regional information they identified, will help ensure that the final document is relevant in diverse global contexts. They also proposed recommendations for action and generated ideas for regional dissemination of the Report and related events. The comments and suggestions from the four consultations will be collated and reviewed by the Editorial Committee. Lead authors will then use the input to help guide development of the next draft.

Wheelchair Guidelines
The wheelchair is one of the most commonly used assistive devices for enhancing personal mobility. For many people, an appropriate, well-designed and well-fitted wheelchair can be the first step towards inclusion and participation in society.

The United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and World Health Assembly Resolution WHA58.23 all point to the importance of wheelchairs and other assistive devices for the developing world, where few of those who need wheelchairs have them, insufficient production facilities exist, and all too often wheelchairs are donated without the necessary related services.

When the need is not met, people with disabilities are isolated and do not have access to the same opportunities as others within their own communities. Providing wheelchairs with related services not only enhances mobility but begins a process of opening up a world of education, work and social life. The development of national policies and increased training opportunities in the design, production and supply of wheelchairs are essential next steps.

In the light of the realities of the developing world and the immediate need to develop functioning systems of wheelchair provision in less-resourced parts of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) and Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), in partnership with the Centre for International Rehabilitation, the Motivation Charitable Trust and Whirlwind Wheelchair International, have developed the Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less-resourced settings. These will assist WHO Member States to develop a local wheelchair provision system and thereby implement Articles 4, 20 and 26 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Update from the WHO Ghana Country Office
As part of measures to strengthen the capacity of the Rehabilitation Services in Ghana, a joint WHO and International Society of Prosthesis and Orthotics (ISPO) mission was carried out. Details of the mission were provided in the fourth Newsletter ( In response to the mission’s recommendations, the Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Health and the WHO Ghana Country office selected two candidates for certificate level training in prosthetics and two candidates for certificate level training in orthotics. The training will be carried out in the WHO collaborating Centre: Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologies (TATCOT), Moshi, Tanzania. The certificate courses, each of one year duration, comprise theoretical, laboratory and clinical practice to prescribe and deliver the appropriate lower limb prosthesis or orthotic in consultation with the intended user. This is an important step towards developing prosthetics and orthotics service provision in Ghana. The training has been made possible through support from ISPO and full scholarships from the Leahy War Victim Fund of USAID .

RI World Congress
Rehabilitation International (RI), a partner of WHO, is a global organization bringing together expertise from all sectors in the disability field advancing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is organizing its 21st World Congress in Quebec City from 25 -28 August 2008, attended by more than 1000 participants, including people with disabilities and their organizations, human rights activists, experts, rehabilitation professionals, government representatives, service providers and leaders of civil society. The vision statement of the Congress is “Disability Rights and Social Participation: Ensuring a Society for all” and the key areas of discussion are: Human Rights, Independent Living and Social Participation and Implementation of the UN Convention.

WHO will be launching the new Wheelchair Guidelines during the plenary session of the first day of the Congress. Additionally, WHO is hosting three sessions during the event and will be supporting the ICF conference, a dedicated two-day track, within the RI conference:

1. CBR Guidelines — 25 August (Block 63 – 2:10 pm) with Barbara Murray (ILO), Karen H. Motsch (CBM), Venus Ilagan (RI), Tomas Lagerwall (RI), Alana Officer (WHO) and Chapal Khasnabis (WHO).

2. World Report on Disability and Rehabilitation — 25 August (Bloc 62 – 4:20 pm) with Anne Hawker (RI); Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo (World Bank); Sebenzile Matsebula (RI); Kicki Nordstrom (WBU) and Alana Officer (WHO).

3. 3. Wheelchair Guidelines — 27 August
(Bloc 72 – 10:30 am) with David Constantine (Motivation); Dan Blocka (ISPO); Rob Horvath (USAID); Anna Lindstrom (Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology – SIAT); Venus Ilagan (RI) and Chapal Khasnabis (WHO).

4. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) — August 26 and 27.
The 14th annual North American Collaborating Center (NACC) Conference on the ICF will be hosted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Statistics Canada and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in collaboration with Rehabilitation International. The theme is Evaluating Social Participation: Applications of the ICF and ICF-CY.

Conference website:

1st CBR Asia-Pacific Congress
This event, taking place on 9-11 December 2008 at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand, will be the first meeting of CBR practitioners from countries in Asia and the Pacific. The Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, promoted by ESCAP, has given an impetus for Governments and NGOs to create an inclusive, barrier free and rights-based society. A regional policy guideline, the Biwako Millennium Framework (BMF) for Action and its supplement, the BMF +5, promoted a paradigm shift from charity to a rights-based approach to disability. Meanwhile, the CRPD heralds a new era of state recognition of the human rights of people with disabilities.

The Congress will bring together key stakeholders to share resources and to be updated on CBR as an effective multi-sectoral strategy for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunity, poverty reduction and social inclusion of people with disabilities. It will promote research and evidence based practice related to CBR, and facilitate the development of an alliance and resource base for the Asia-Pacific region – comprising UN, Governments, NGOs, DPOs and others.

Satellite workshops pre- and post-conference will be held on CBR and mental health; CBR, human rights and the CPRD; CBR and Leprosy for up to 45 participants each.

The Congress is jointly organized by WHO, UNESCAP and the Government of Thailand and supported by ILO, UNESCO, JICA, CBM, HI, AIFO, NAD, ILEP and others.

Conference Website:

New faces at DAR

Three short term staff have brought their wit and wisdom to bear on WHO’s projects on disability and rehabilitation. Bliss Temple is a trainee physician from North Carolina, USA, and she has been supporting the development of the World Report. Tom Shakespeare is a disability studies academic from Newcastle, UK, and has been working for the Task Force on Disability. Veronica Umeasiegbu is a physical therapist from Nigeria, currently studying Rehabilitation Counselling at the University of Pittsburgh, USA and has been working on CBR. As well as their solid academic and professional credentials, as people with disabilities they bring personal experience of the issues.

We Can Do discovered this newsletter when it was forwarded to the AsiaPacificDisability email discussion group and the AdHoc_IDC email discussion group, both of which can be subscribed to for free.

If you wish to receive future issues of the WHO Rehabilitation Newsletter directly via email, then please inquire with You may also download past issues of the newsletter in PDF format at

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CONFERENCE: 1st Asia-Pacific CBR Congress, 9-11 Dec. 2008, Bangkok

Posted on 23 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Events and Conferences, Opportunities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The 1st Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Congress is being held 9 to 11 December 2008 at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand. It is being sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Royal Thai Government.

This conference offers CBR implementers, policy-makers, government organizations and agencies, parents groups, and representatives of disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) from all over the Asia-Pacific region to exchange experiences, to form a network, and learn about new trends in CBR. These topics will be examined within the context of the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) and the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Objectives include: bringing stakeholders together to share resources; developing an alliance and resource base for the Asia-Pacific region among the United Nations, Government Organizations (GO), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Disabled People Organizations, and others; promoting CBR as a strategy for reducing poverty and enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities and their families; promoting the importance of implementing the CRPD, the Biwako Millennium Framework (BMF) and BMF+5; andpromoting community-based inclusive development for people with disabilities and their families.

According to the conference web site, the official language of the congress will be English. Efforts will be made for simultaneous translation in Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Thai for all plenary sessions subject to level of participation from these regions. Congress proceedings also will be available in accessible format as much as possible.

Learn more about the 1st Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabiltation Congress at their web site at:

Any inquiries should please be directed to the conference organizers, not to We Can Do. Interested parties should please follow the above links to the conference web site.

We Can Do learned about the 1st Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabiltation Congress via the Disabled People International electronic newsletter. Further detail was gathered at the conference web site.

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NEWS: United Nations Launches Disability Newsletter

Posted on 2 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (CRPD) has launched the Enable Newsletter. The newsletter is meant to keep readers informed about the work being done on disability issues within the United Nations system.

The first issue, for January 2008, leads with a feature story on the CRPD, the international disability rights treaty. It reports briefly on several recent events within the United Nations system including a meeting on “Making it work – Civil Society Participation in the Implementation of the Convention,” in Madrid, Spain, held in November 2007; events associated with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities held on December 3 and Human Rights Day on December 10; the first meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on the CRPD; and others.

The January Enable Newsletter also reports on disability-related activities by various United Nations agencies around the world. These include a seminar that was held on freedom from torture; UNICEF’s efforts to develop a child-friendly version of the CRPD; the work that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been doing in developing reports and guidelines on disability and rehabilitation; and others.

Toward the end of the newsletter is a list of links to various helpful publications, such as a digest on the rights of children with disabilities; a report on the sexual and reproductive rights of people with disabilities; a report on people with disabilities in India; a report on measuring disability prevalence; and a report on making World Bank projects more disability-inclusive; and others. It also lists a few up-coming events being held within the United Nations system.

Learn more about the UN’s new Enable Newsletter at

Read the first issue (January 2008) at:

People may also receive future issues of the newsletter via email for free by subscribing

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RESOURCE: Atlas on Country Resources in Intellectual Disabilities

Posted on 27 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Education, Employment, Families, Health, Human Rights, News, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health have released an atlas that presents global data on intellectual disabilities. The Atlas: Global Resources for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: 2007 (PDF format, 5.6 Mb) was launched during the Second International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities held in November 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.

WHO initiated the Atlas in recognition that “global data collection in the field of intellectual disabilities has long been neglected” (Preface, p. 11). The Atlas gives an overview of the extent to which resources and services for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disabilities are available throughout all the member states of WHO. This includes information on health services; education; services specific to intellectual disabilities; work-related services such as sheltered or supported employment and vocational training; services to families; and other types of services such as leisure activities, transportation, assistive technology, rights or advocacy support, or food/meal supplies. Data is also given for how these resources and services are distributed by region and by income level.

This information was gathered in the hope that it can be used to help stimulate advocacy and planning efforts in support of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Specifically, it helps identify specific gaps and needs in the resources and services available for people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout the world. This information could be used to advocate with governments or foundations for the resources needed to fill these gaps. The Atlas also has developed two instruments that can be used at the country or the regional level to help map where intellectual disability services are available (in Appendix III and IV of the Atlas). Furthermore, the Atlas has helped produce a network of contacts in the intellectual disability field (in Appendix II of the Atlas).

The Atlas also was developed in acknowledgment that disability is increasingly recognized as a human rights issue. Health and other public services for people with intellectual disabilities are a human right, as recognized by the new international disabilities rights treaty. The Atlas was enabled by a new linkage between WHO and the intellectual disability field, via the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research in Mental Health and its associated partners, the Lisette-Dupras and the West Montreal Readaptation centres for persons with intellectual disabilities.

This new resource is primarily targeted at individuals and agencies responsible for planning health and social policy and services within countries. However, it also is meant for those who provide services to people with intellectual disabilities; for international and national NGOs active in the intellectual disability field; human rights advocates and activists; public health professionals and students; and for civil society in general.

The entire Atlas is available for free in PDF format (5.6 Mb). You can download it by clicking on the link to:

You can also read more background information on the Atlas, including the contact person at WHO, at:

We Can Do first learned of this resource through the web site for the International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation. The information in this blog post was gathered partly from

What other resources are available via We Can Do that you might have overlooked? See the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some) for an overview.

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JOB POST, WHO: Technical Officer: Injuries, Violence Prevention, Disabilities, Rehabilitation

Posted on 13 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities, Rehabilitation, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) is recruiting candidates for a one-year fixed-term appointment as a Technical Officer. The person chosen to serve will work to develop normative guidelines and capacity building material to strengthen rehabilitation policies and services. Interested parties should apply following the standard channels at WHO. We Can Do is not associated with WHO and cannot assist job applicants. The job description can be accessed at:

The home website for WHO employment is

Vacancy Notice No: HQ/07/VIP/FT1136
Title: Technical Officer
Grade: P4
Contract type: Fixed-term appointment
Duration of contract: 1 year (time-limited duration)

Date: 30 October 2007
Deadline for application : 27 November 2007
Duty Station: GENEVA Switzerland
Organization unit: Injuries and Violence Prevention and Disabilities (VIP) / Disability and Rehabilitation (DAR)

The Department’s objective is to spearhead global action to address disability and to prevent violence and injury using advocacy, datacollection, training, monitoring evaluation and dissemination of best practices.

The aims of the Disability and Rehabilitation Team (DAR) are to:
(1) Promote strategies to improve living conditions and equalizations of opportunities for persons with disabilities;
(2) Support policy development in disability and rehabilitation;
(3) Strengthen rehabilitation services; and
(4) Integrate rehabilitation into primary health care through CBR services.

Description of duties:
– Prepare normative guidelines on rehabilitation in collaboration with other UN organizations/ Specialized Agencies/ International Nongovernmental Organizations and Disabled People’s Organizations.
– Develop capacity building materials for health and rehabilitation service providers.
– Support Member States to develop, implement and monitor rehabilitation programmes.
– Develop a network of implementers and promoters of rehabilitation and habilitation.
– Assist in fundraising for the promotion of rehabilitation services.
– Other duties as may be assigned.

Masters degree in Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Physiotherapy, Community Based Rehabilitation, Public Health, other related allied health disciplines or an equivalent level of experience.

– Excellent skills in design, management and evaluation of rehabilitation programmes.
– Extensive knowledge and experience of rehabilitation (community based and institutional).
– Good knowledge of science and technology in the field of rehabilitation including assistive/ mobility devices.
– Experience in developing technical documents and capacity building materials.
– Excellent writing skills.
– Ability to work in multicultural and multidisciplinary settings and excellent inter-personal skills.

Minimum 7 years of experience in the design and management of programmes focused on rehabilitation including at least 3 years at the international level. Practical experience in the development of such programmes in developing countries.

Experience of working with disabled peoples organizations and various professional bodies in the field of disability and rehabilitation.
Experience of working with a UN organization.
Persons with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Excellent knowledge of English with working knowledge of French.
Knowledge of other UN languages would be an asset.

Additional Information:
Other posts may be filled from this vacancy.

Annual salary: (Net of tax)
US$ 61834 at single rate
US$ 66401 with primary dependants
Post Adjustment: 72.5 % of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.

A written test and interviews may be used as a form of screening

Online applications are strongly encouraged to enable WHO to store your profile in a permanent database.

Please visit WHO’s e-Recruitment website at: The system provides instructions for online application procedures. All applicants are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement.

Applications from women and from nationals of non- and under-represented member states are particularly encouraged.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
Currently accepting applications
WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or other tobacco users.

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The WHO MIND Project: Psychosocial, Psychiatric Disabilities

Posted on 6 October 2007. Filed under: News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unvieled a project meant to improve the access to, and quality of, treatments available for psychosocial (psychiatric) disabilities such as depression or schizophrenia and neurological disorders such as epilepsy in developing nations.

Psychosocial disabilities and neurological disorders can make it harder for people living in poverty to earn a living and create better futures for themselves and their families.  In addition to the challenges presented by their differences, people with psychosocial or neurological disabilities must also face stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations.   The new WHO Mental Health Improvements for Nations Development (MIND) project is meant to help people overcome these barriers so that people with psychiatric and neurological disabilities can participate more fully in society.  The new web site is at:

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