Persons with disabilities (PWDs), according to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
     The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) refer to disability as “an umbrella term covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations”. The ICF’s definition of disability denotes a negative interaction between a person (with a health condition) and his or her contextual factors (environmental and personal factors). A comprehensive approach in interventions is then necessary for persons with disabilities (PWDs) as it entails actions beyond the context of health, but more on helping them to overcome difficulties by removing environmental and social barriers (WHO, 2013).
    The mandate of the DOH to come up with a national health program for PWD was based on Republic Act No. 7277, “An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation and Self-Reliance of Disabled Persons and Their Integration into the Mainstream of Society and for Other Purposes” or otherwise known as “The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons” and the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 7277. This document stipulated that the DOH is required to:  
1. institute a national health program for PWDs
2. establish medical rehabilitation centers in provincial hospitals, and
3. adopt an integrated and comprehensive program to the Health Development of PWD, which shall make essential health services available to them at affordable cost. In response to this, the DOH issued Administrative Order No. 2006-0003, which specifically provides the strategic framework and operational guidelines for the implementation of Health Programs for PWDs
     In 2013, a Medium Term Strategic Plan (2013-2017) was developed to strengthen the existing health program for PWDs. However, in the review done for the purpose, it was noted that in the implementation of the program in the past years, there were operational issues and gaps identified that need to be addressed. These include among others, the need to strengthen multi-sectoral action to harmonize efforts of stakeholders; clarify delineation of roles and responsibilities of concerned government agencies working for PWDs; strengthen national capacity, both facilities and manpower, to provide rehabilitation services for PWDs from primary to tertiary level of care; provide access to health facilities and services for PWDs; and, strengthen registration database for PWDs. 
     Recently, the World Health Organization released the Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021.  This document intends to help countries direct their efforts towards specific actions in order to address health concerns of persons with disabilities
A country where all persons with disability, including children and their families, have full access to inclusive health and rehabilitation services.
A program designed to promote the highest attainable standards of health and wellness for PWDs by fostering a multi-sectoral approach towards a disability inclusive health agenda.
  1. To address barriers and improve access and reasonable accommodations of PWDs to health care services and programs.
  2. To enhance capacity of health providers and stakeholders in improving the health status of PWDs.
  3. To strengthen collaboration and synergy with and among stakeholders and sectors of society to improve response to a disability inclusive health agenda through regular dialogues and interactions
  4. To provide the mechanism in facilitating the collection, analysis and dissemination of reliable, timely and complete data and researches on health-related issues of PWDs in order to develop and implement evidence-based policies and interventions.
  5. To ensure the accessibility, availability, appropriateness and affordability of habilitation and rehabilitation services for PWDs, including children with disabilities.
  6. To ensure the development and implementation of policies and guidelines, health service packages, including financing and provider payment schemes for health services of PWDs.