International days serve as great opportunities to educate the public on issues of interest, mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and also celebrate and enhance humanity’s achievements.

This 2019, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated under the motto: Promoting the Participation of People with Disabilities and Their Leadership: Taking Action for the 2030 Development Agenda.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities focuses on empowering these people for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development, as outlined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which pledges to “leave no one behind” and recognizes disability as an issue to consider when implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Disability is emphasized in different parts of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the areas of education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility to settlements, as well as in the collection and monitoring of Goal data.

Today, the world’s population is over 7 billion people. More than one billion people, or approximately 15% of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. 80% live in developing countries, while 50% of people with disabilities cannot afford health care.

People with disabilities, the “largest minority in the world”, generally have poorer health, lower education, fewer economic opportunities and higher poverty rates than people without a disability. This is largely due to the lack of services available to them (such as information and communication technology (ICT), justice or transport) and the many obstacles they face in their daily lives. These obstacles can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment, or those arising from legislation or policy, from societal attitudes or discrimination.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first international legal and binding instrument to set minimum standards for the rights of persons with disabilities. Of the eight priority areas of this Convention, No. 7 is Health and refers to equal access to health services and related health facilities for persons with disabilities.

Thus, the right to comprehensive and equal health care to persons with disabilities is guaranteed and the right to the highest standard of care available without discrimination on the basis of disability is regulated. Our state signed this Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on March 30, 2007, and ratified it on December 5, 2011.

The Republic of North Macedonia creates measures and solutions for easier inclusion in the environment and easier execution of all activities of persons with disabilities. The areas of concern are education, employment, housing, social protection of people with disabilities, but health care should be emphasized in particular because it is most needed for these people in overcoming health difficulties.