Livability submits evidence to Disability and Development Inquiry

In early December Livability submitted evidence to the UK’s International Development Committee Inquiry into Disability and Development.

The Inquiry, launched last month, comes as the UK Department for International Development (DfID) recently asserted its commitment to disabled people in developing countries; this includes ensuring all new DfID funded schools will be accessible for disabled children, calling for improvements in global data collection on disability and increased emphasis on disabled people in future development targets.

According to statistics over one billion people-15% of the world’s population-are disabled- with less than 4% benefiting from international development assistance. Similarly, over 50% of disabled people in low income countries are unable to afford healthcare.

Livability has been working overseas in low resourced countries across Asia for over 20 years, with the aim of increasing the quality and delivery of essential healthcare, rehabilitation and community inclusion services for disabled people.

Commenting on the importance of the Inquiry, Stephen Muldoon, Head of Overseas Development at Livability, said:

‘Whilst progress has been made to improve the lives of disabled people in developing countries, it is accepted that many still face huge barriers in realising their basic human rights and are, therefore, unable to live full, meaningful and inclusive lives.

DfID has a real opportunity to effect even greater change for disabled people overseas through this Inquiry; not only by learning from the failures of the Millennium Development Goals (which failed to specify disabled people) but by embedding a disability approach into all its existing programmes and by promoting a disability specific policy.’

Livability has also recently contributed to major World Health Organisation publication, International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury. Over the past 2 decades Livability have developed a high impact, low cost disability and international development model that is impacting positively on the lives of thousands of disabled people in developing countries. Our experience and opinions are valued by others, particularly in the field ofSpinal Cord Injury work (SCI) in Asia.

In the recently launched International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury-(IPSCI), a joint publication of the World Health Organisation and the International Spinal Cord Society, Livability’s Stephen Muldoon, was credited in the publication as a contributor, peer reviewer and regional consultant.

The Report aims to gather information on SCI and the range of services, interventions and policies from across the globe together with lived experiences of people with SCI throughout their lives.

‘Unfortunately it is still the case that in many of the low income countries where Livability works,  people with SCI have reduced life expectancy due to the limited availability of assistive devices i.e. wheelchairs and medical and rehabilitation services. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute to such an important publication. IPSCI will in turn support us in our efforts to increase the quality and coverage of services and opportunities for people with disabilities in developing countries. These people are often the poorest of the poor.’ said Stephen Muldoon.

You can find out more about Livability’s overseas work here.