Disability and rehabilitation

Updates from the WHO Task Force on Disability, July 2008

The WHO Task Force on Disability works to ensure that WHO buildings, information products, employment opportunities and technical programmes are inclusive of and accessible to people with disabilities, in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Task Force, chaired by Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Assistant Director-General, held its first meeting on 3 July 2008, bringing together representatives from regional offices and the different clusters within headquarters. Progress has already been made on improving access and raising awareness:

  • WHO website has been audited for disability access and measures taken to comply with W3 accessibility guidelines (developed by the World Wide Web Consortium [WC3]);
  • The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) has been made available in large print format and a Braille version is to follow;
  • WHO Press is promoting the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) clear print guidelines to colleagues generating WHO publications;
  • The buildings of WHO headquarters are being audited for access to people with physical and sensory disability;
  • WHO is participating in a UN-wide initiative to develop a policy outline on persons with disabilities in the UN workplace.

As the Secretariat of the Task Force, the WHO Disability and Rehabilitation Team, has been delighted at the positive response to the initiative, and looks forward to reporting further progress.