3.4 Explain how public health services, governmental programs, and non-governmental/ community-based organizations interact with disability.

Public health professionals should have an understanding of the responsibilities, services and resources government and non-governmental agencies provide, as well as what community based organizations are responsible for providing for people with disabilities.  A basic understanding of national and local services for people with disabilities, as well as the agencies and organizations that provide those services, and where to receive more information is needed to be able to provide information to people with disabilities in their communities on what programs and services they may be eligible for, services they are entitled to by law, and where to receive these services.

Example: The Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) defined the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF) which are the fundamental set of actions that should be performed in order to achieve public health’s central objective: improving the health of populations.  State and/or local health departments have the responsibility to provide services to all community members including people with disabilities since they have a higher incidence of chronic health problems. State and/or local health department professionals need to be aware of this responsibility and be involved in activities to ensure people with disabilities are included in programs, including:

  • The promotion of equitable access to necessary health services for all citizens
  • The development of actions geared toward overcoming access barriers to public health interventions and toward linking vulnerable groups to health services
  • The monitoring and evaluation of access to necessary public and private health services, adopting a multi-sectoral, multi-technical and multicultural approach in conjunction with various agencies and institutions to resolve the injustices and inequalities in the utilization of services.
  •  The close collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote equitable access to necessary health services.