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
Email: kmines@motivation.org.uk

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: pedersenr@who.int


* 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: http://bookorders.who.int/bookorders/anglais/detart1.jsp?sesslan=1&codlan=1&codcol=15&codcch=4088. 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 (http://www.who.int/disabilities/publications/newsletter/en/index.html). 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: www.riquebec2008.org/

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: www.cbr-asiapacific.org/
E-mail: secretariat@cbr-asiapacific.org

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 pedersenr@who.int. You may also download past issues of the newsletter in PDF format at http://www.who.int/disabilities/publications/newsletter/en/index.html

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Child Injuries, Violence, Disability

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Children, Cross-Disability, Health, Opportunities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Dear colleagues,

The World Health Organization Bulletin will publish a special issue on
Child Injuries, Violence and Disability in May 2009.

A call has gone out for related articles, see

Authors are encouraged to submit papers by 1 September 2008.

Please forward this call to groups or individuals that you think may be interested.


Disability and Rehabilitation (DAR)
Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability
World Health Organization

Interested authors should please follow the link to the official webpage on the call the papers in order to obtain all details, including guidelines for authors and instructions on how to submit your papers. We Can Do is unable to answer your inquiries. Thank you.

This announcement was circulated by Alana Officer at the World Health Organization. I found this announcement via the AsiaPacificDisability email discussion group.

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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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This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. Other sites are most likely stealing this post without permission.

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4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report Available Online

Posted on 14 May 2008. Filed under: Assistive Devices, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Reports, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In low-income countries, the overwhelming majority people who need wheelchairs don’t have one. This has a profound impact on their ability to lead independent lives–or even leave their own homes. Participants in a recent conference in Africa exchanged ideas and knowledge on how to address this challenge.

The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report (PDF format, 446 Kb) can now be downloaded for free on-line. The report summarizes a series of remarks, panel discussions, and other conference sessions on how to promote appropriate wheelchair services across the African continent. The report also presents a list of resolutions made on the last day of the Congress. The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress was held in September 2007 in Tanzania.

The Pan Africa Wheelchair Builders Association (PAWBA) and the Tanzanian Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) facilitated the congress. Co-funders included the World Health Organisation, ABILIS, Motivation Africa, Christoffel Blindenmission (CBM), and SINTEF. The 116 participating members came from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, UK, Norway and USA.

The previous three All Africa Wheelchair Congresses were held in Zambia (2003); Kenya (1998); and Zimbabwe (1995). Each congress was a landmark in developing appropriate and affordable wheelchair products and services in Africa in allowing participants to exchange knowledge across the continent. PAWBA was formed at the 2003 Congress.

You can download the full, 47-page 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress report in PDF format (446 Kb) at:


We Can Do learned about this report by browsing the AskSource.info database on health, disability, and development. I gathered further detail by skimming the report itself.

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We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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TRAINING: International Diploma in Mental Health Law, Human Rights

Posted on 8 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced the first ever one-year International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights. The new academic program will launch in October 2008 in Pune, India, and is the result of a collaborative effort between the Indian Law Society Law College and WHO Mental Health Improvements for Nations Development (MIND). Based on WHO materials and tools, the program is meant to enhance student understanding of international human rights standards and mechanisms to protect the rights of people with mental disabilities and provide them with the skills to apply this knowledge in their own national contexts.

This program is particularly relevant in light of the new international disability rights treaty–the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–that will be entering into force on May 3, 2008.

To be eligible for the new International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights, students should have a degree from any recognized university in any of the following subjects: law, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, other social sciences, or other natural sciences.

Alternately, people who use mental health services, and caretakers, are also encouraged to pursue the diploma program so they can become effective advocates for change. These candidates can be eligible with graduate qualification in any discipline from a recognized university.

The application deadline is June 15, 2008 in order to be considered for entering with the first class of students in October 2008.

UPDATE, July 2, 2008: it has been confirmed that another course will be offered in the year 2009. People who have missed the deadline to apply for the 2008 course should monitor the website for the International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights directly for updates, deadlines, and other details relating to subsequent courses.

Students may apply on line. Tuition for international students will be $7000 in US dollars. Prospective students should follow the link to the website for the diploma program for information on the availability of scholarship options. As of July 2008, their website indicates that limited scholarships are available primarily for people in India.

Learn more about the program via their web site at:


Inquiries about the program should please be directed to the Indian Law Society College, not to We Can Do.

We Can Do first learned about this program via the Disabled Peoples International e-newsletter. Further details was collected at the web site for the Diploma program.

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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 http://www.who.int/employment

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: www.who.int/employment. 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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