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PRESS RELEASE

Unlock the potential of people with disabilities

February 9, 2012



Istanbul, February 9, 2012--- The World Disability Report, prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, was launched today at an event organized jointly by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy of Turkey, WHO and the World Bank.

Fatma Şahin, Minister of Family and Social Policy, was present at the launch event in Istanbul of the first ever World report on disability. The Minister delivered opening remarks emphasizing the importance Turkey gives to addressing the rights and needs of its citizens with disability, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Martin Raiser, Country Director of the World Bank, and Maria Cristina Profili, Representative of the WHO in Turkey made welcoming remarks on the occasion: “Addressing the health, education, employment needs of people living with disabilities is fundamental and is indeed a development issue. We need to help people with disabilities to gain equitable access to opportunities to participate and contribute to their communities” said Raiser.

At the intersection of public health, human rights and development, the report provides an overview of the status of disability in the world. The report estimates that 15% of the world population or more than one billion people are disabled. It also provides the best available evidence about what works to overcome barriers to health care, rehabilitation, education, employment, and support services, and to create the environments which will enable people with disabilities to flourish. The report ends with a concrete set of recommended actions for governments and their partners.

"The World Disability Report tells us that people with disabilities make up one in seven of the population. Every family has a member with disabilities. This means that all our efforts— in health, but also in education, employment and other areas—should be inclusive of people with disabilities. Any one of us could become disabled at any time. So we must to do more to remove disabling barriers" said Dr Profili.

The details of the World Disability Report were presented to the audience by Aleksandra Posarac, Author and Editor from the World Bank, and by Tom Shakespeare, Author and Editor from WHO. At a follow-up Panel discussion representatives from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Education, as well as the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the President of the Turkish Confederation for Disabled People discussed options to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities.

The Launch event will be followed by a World Good Practices Workshop tomorrow which will focus on “Improving the Measurement of Disability and Ensuring an Enabling Environment,” where options for improving the measurement of disability and the physical access of the disabled in Turkey will be discussed, building on what Turkey is doing and learning from good practices in other countries such as Brazil, Italy and South Africa.



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