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Persons with a disability not sharing in increased prosperity as focus shifts to social protection

Persons with a disability are losing ground and not sharing in the increased prosperity of many developing countries. This is according to the findings of a new report that come at a time the UK says social protection can help to tackle discrimination.

Research across Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia, by international disability charity Leonard Cheshire, reveals wide gaps in vital opportunities and support. Increased access to healthcare, education, livelihoods and social protection for people with disabilities can be slower than for their non-disabled peers.

The study reveals that despite poverty reduction from economic growth, disabled people are being left behind.   

Initial findings from three years of research funded by ESRC/DFID, ‘Bridging the Gap:  Examining Disability and Development in Four African Countries’ was today presented to international delegates at a conference in London. 

This comes after the UK's Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt said disability must be put at the heart and centre of development efforts. She stressed at an international development and disability event in London last week that some DFID social protection programmes have proven a good example in tackling discrimination and the invisibility of persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries.

Given the importance of the inclusion of persons with disability in the international development agenda, DFID is organising the 2018 Global Disability Summit in London, and is looking forward to concrete commitments to come out of the gathering.

At the event, Development Pathways posed a question around the inclusion of social protection in the thematic agenda of the Global Summit. There is growing evidence around the importance of social protection for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and DFID has been an important development partner in promoting and supporting the social protection agenda. Penny Innes, Head of Disability Inclusion Team, Department for International Development (UK), responding, said that social protection will be included in the Economic empowerment theme for the Global Summit.

Another key point that was discussed during the event was the relevance of having access to good information and data, and what works in promoting the inclusion of persons with disability; as these would be key in leaving no one behind.