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World Blind Union Statement on World Health Day, 7 April 2019

The World Blind Union joins the World Health Organization to celebrate the World Health Day, 7 April 2019. 
The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other related organizations.

The campaign theme this year is "Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere." According to WHO​ Universal Health Care means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

In keeping with Sustainable development goal 3: "ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all", we the World Blind Union, in our quest for universal access to essential health care services, urge public and private health care institutions to provide information in accessible formats such as braille, large print and audio to ensure that blind and partially sighted persons have equal opportunity to access those essential health services.

This basic human right to proper access to health care and information is in line with article 25 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) which requires that "States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability".

The World Blind Union therefore calls upon governments to ensure that essential health services are accessible and affordable to all. In particular, we call for accessible visual health care services, free eye screenings, subsidized visual aids and rehabilitation services for our community.

The WBU continues to collaborate with the World Health organization in ensuring that the health needs of blind and partially sighted persons are fully mainstreamed in their universal health programmes.

Key facts (WHO)
  • At least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services.
  • About 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on 1.90 USD or less a day) because they have to pay for health care.
  • Over 800 million people (almost 12% of the world’s population) spent at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care.
  • All UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
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The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization that represents the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations of blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment. Visit our website at www.worldblindunion.org

For further information, please contact:

Terry Mutuku
Communications Officer, World Blind Union