Persons with Disabilities


I.     Profile / Rationale of the Health Program

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,” and otherwise known as “The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.”  was passed in July 19, 1991. This specifically required the Department of Health (DOH) to. (1) Institute a national health program for PWDs, (2) establish medical rehabilitation centers in provincial hospitals, and (3) adopt an integrated and comprehensive to the Health Development of PWD which shall make essential health services available to them at affordable cost.

Rule IV, Section 4. Paragraph B of the implementing rules and regulations (IRRI) of this act required the Department of Health to address the health concerns of seven (7) different categories of this ability, which includes the following: (1) Psychosocial and behavioral disabilities, (2) Chronic illnesses with disabilities, (3) Learning (cognitive or intellectual) disabilities, (4) Mental disabilities, (5) Visual/ seeing disabilities, (6) Orthopedic/ moving, and; (7) Communications deficits.

In compliance thereof, the DOH piloted in 1995 a community based rehabilitation program in 112 (7.5%) out of 1,492 towns nationwide. Between 1992 and 2004 it had upgraded DOH hospital facilities to include rehabilitation and allied medical services for PWDs.  Today there are about 21 DOH hospitals that have rehabilitation program/units/centers representing 22% of all DOH hospitals. It had registered 508,270 PWDs in 2004 or about 12% of the target PWD population. (Source: DOH report 2004). The turnout was influenced by the presence, absence or inadequacy of health services for PWDs at the local regional level and in DOH health facilities. A Social Weather (SWS) survey commissioned by DOH last 2004 revealed that around 7% of the households under the study have at least one family member who is disabled. (Source SWS Survey 2004). With the frontline services of the Department of Health developed to the local government units, the final implementation of this Act now rests with the Local Government Units (LGUs). This Order prescribes the guidelines in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of health programs for PWDs.

Vision:                   Improve the total well-being of Person with Disabilities (PWD)

Mission:              The Department of Health, as the focal organization, shall ensure the development, implementation, and monitoring of relevant and efficient health programs and systems for PWDs that are available, affordable, and acceptable.

Goals and Objectives:  

This Order defines and establishes the strategic and operational framework for the development, implementation and monitoring of an effective, and efficient,  promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services from conception, birth, growth, maturity and in terminal phase in the life of PWD’s


Strategic Goals: International Development Organizations (INGOs)

  • American Leprosy Missions
  • World Health Organization
  • Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)
  • Christoffel Blindenmission  (CBM)
  • JICA Expert
  • Unicef



Global Situation

Key facts

  •          Over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.
  •          Between 110 million and 190 million people have significant difficulties in functioning.
  •          Rates of disability are increasing due to population ageing and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.
  •          People with disabilities have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.


             People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to deficiencies in health care services. Depending on the group and setting, persons with disabilities may experience greater vulnerability to secondary conditions, co-morbid conditions, age-related conditions, engaging in health risk behaviors and higher rates of premature death.

  • Secondary conditions
  • Co-morbid conditions
  • Age-related conditions
  • Engaging in health risk behaviors
  • Higher rates of premature death



        People with disabilities encounter a range of barriers when they attempt to access health care including the following.


  • Prohibitive costs
  • Limited availability of service
  • Physical barriers
  • Inadequate skills and knowledge of health workers



         Governments can improve health outcomes for people with disabilities by improving access to quality, affordable health care services, which make the best use of available resources. As several factors interact to inhibit access to health care, reforms in all the interacting components of the health care system are required.

  • Policy and legislation
  • Financing
  • Service delivery
  • Human resources
  • Data and research


Local Situation

         The results of the 1995 Census showed that the total population of persons with various disabilities was 919,332. Considering that the total population of the country at that time was 68,617,000, the disabled population was 1.3%. The male population was comprised of 0.6% while female, also, 0.6%. The low vision had the highest prevalence rate of 4.0%.

          The recently conducted 2000 National Census of Population is expected to provide a better and reliable statistics of persons with disability in as much as its preparation for the conduct gave much consideration to observe limitations, weaknesses and errors of the previous censuses and surveys as well as the criticisms and recommendations of experts and users. However, the result of the Census only registered 1.23 percent PWDs which is way below the prevalence rate estimated by the World health Organization.          


III.         Interventions/ Strategies employed or implemented by DOH

The program goals are:

1.       Reduce the prevalence of all types of disabilities; and

2.       Promote, and protect the human rights and dignity of PWDs and their caregivers.


Strategic Objectives:

The strategic objectives of the program are as follows:

1.       Develop an integrated national health and human rights program and local models to serve the special health needs;

2.       Pursue the implementation and monitoring of laws and policies for PWD such as the accessibility law, human rights, and other related laws;

3.       Ensure that the health facilities and services are equitable, available, accessible, acceptable, and affordable to PWD through the development and implementation of essential health package that is suitable to their special needs and enrollment of into the National Health Insurance Program;

4.       Initiate and strengthen collaboration and partnership among stakeholders to improve the facilities devoted to the management and rehabilitation of PWD and upgrade the capabilities of health professional and frontline workers to cater to their special needs; and

5.       Continue and fast-track the registration of PWD in order to generate data for accurate planning and implementation of programs. The Philippine Registry for Persons with Disability will be continued, monitored, and evaluated and developed into an information system that will be incorporated into currently used health service information system.


Program Strategies/Program Components:

A Health program shall be developed for each type of disability and special population which must contain all of the following essential components:

1.       Health Promotion

This concept shall include patient and caregiver information and education, public information and education and intersectoral collaboration on disability health promotion on the nature and extent of impairments particularly its risk factors, complications and the need/urgency of early diagnosis and management.

This component shall ensure the advocacy for then following promulgated observances on the following specified time each year as per issuances from the Office of the President:

Celebration Time
Autism Every 3rd week of January
National Down’s Syndrome Every February
Retarded Children’s Week February 14 to 19

Leprosy Week

Women with disabilities Day

Last week of February

Last Monday of March 

National disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week Every 3rd week of July 
NDPR Week to Culminate on the Birthdate of the Sublime Paralytic: Apolinario Mabini   July 23
White Cane Safety Day in the Philippines August 1
Brain attack awareness  3rd Week of August
Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week  September 16 to 22
National  Epilepsy  Awareness Week 1st Week of September 
National Mental Health Week 2nd Week of October
Bone and Joint (Musculo-Skeletal) Awareness  Week 3rd Week of October
National  Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Week 3rd week of October
National Skin Disease Detection and Prevention Week 2nd Week of November
Deaf Awareness Week November 10 to 16
Drug Abuse Prevention and Control 3rd Week of November


Future related observances promulgated by the office of the President shall also become part of this component.

2.    Capability  Building

3. Philippine Registry  for Persons with Disabilities (PRPWD)

4. Networking, Inter-organizational linkages, and Resource Mobilization

5. Monitoring and Evaluation

6. Accreditations and Equitable Health Financing Packages

7. Research and Development

8. Service Delivery

The following areas for services to be developed for implementing facilities, localities or organizations:

  1.        Community based and institution-based rehabilitation program
  2.        Clinical assessment of functioning, health and disability
  3.        Medical assistive devices


IV.      Status of Implementation/ Accomplishment

        -          Capability Building on Community Rehabilitation of Barangay Health Workers in Pilot areas-Done.

        -          Web enabled online Registration implemented.

        -          Expansion of coverage of Newborn Screening.

        -          Implementation of PWD Health Benefits as provided for RA 3994(20% discount). 

        -          Support to activities of PWD groups given.


V.    Future/ Action

        -          Conduct Sensitivity training to Health workers at all levels.

        -          Formulate PWD Health service packages.

        -          Formulate mechanism to provide specialty society services on detection diagnosis and care of non-apparent PWDs in all region.


Program Managers:

Dr. Frank Diza

Department of Health-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (DOH-NCDPC)

Contact Number: 651-78-00 local 1750-1752


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