Changing the disability inclusion landscape

2021 is set to be a productive and exciting year for our Disability Inclusion in Health and Development team amidst a changing disability inclusion landscape.

Dr Alex Robinson,
Head of Unit
Disability Inclusion for Health and Development
+61 3 8344 3582

Since key commitments to disability inclusion in 2015, including in the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, there is greater awareness of the need for disability inclusion in efforts to reduce poverty, ensure equality of opportunities and deliver universal health coverage. This progress does not always translate into real, positive outcomes for people with disability in global health and development. As applied researchers and advisors, this urges us to reflect and consider new solutions and pathways for change.

One concern is the type of disability inclusion guidance that has been produced in recent years. While the content is often sound, guidance is generic and has focused more on advocacy than meeting the needs of increasingly professionalised sectors within health and development.

We are working with Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund, the Australian Red Cross and Life Haven Centre for Independent Living, Philippines to understand what disability data is needed by shelter professionals responding to disasters. This work will provide sector specific solutions towards realising the full potential of shelter to contribute to dignity, health and well-being following a disaster.

We are also responding to the need to better consider disability inclusive and disability specific interventions across systems, sectors and institutions. Our work with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, CBM and the Frank Hilton Organisation, Fiji on the identification of young children at risk of disability is one example of how we are seeking solutions to complex service delivery problems across health, social services, and education.

We are particularly excited at the opportunity to be co-leading an international project on the integration of rehabilitation into health systems. We look forward to sharing details soon .

Looking ahead, we will continue to reflect on what is needed to bring about positive lasting change. One thing is clear, the solutions that are needed will increasingly need to respond to complexity and be delivered across systems.

Read more about Disability Inclusion in Health and Development Unit projects