Persons with deafblindness and inequalities: What the data say, what the reality is, and the road ahead

Tuesday 12, 4:45 PM in Conference Room C, UNHQ.

The side event co-hosted by the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB), Sense international, Norway(MFA), Britain (DFID) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) aims to share some of the key findings of the first global report of persons with deafblindness.
Representing between 0.2% to 2% of the population, persons with deafblindness are a diverse group and are overall more likely to be poor and unemployed, and with lower educational outcomes than other people with disabilities. They face multiple barriers such as severe lack of access to support services and accessible information, which ultimately make it very difficult to voice their issues. Moreover, the fact that persons with deafblindness are rarely recognised as distinct disability group has contributed to persistent statistical invisibility even when governments seek to collect disability related data. Combining the largest population-based analysis of persons with deafblindness conducted to date (disaggregation of more than 20 population-based surveys from low, middle and high-income countries), a review of academic literature, two surveys conducted among members and partners of WFDB and Sense International, as well as case studies, the report covers the diversity of persons with deafblindness, their lived experiences, the barriers and inequalities they face. It also seeks to propose very concrete recommendations to Members States, development agencies and civil society organizations. The findings will be presented prior to the 2018 Hellen Keller World Conference to women and men with deafblindness from all regions of the world who will contribute to finalise the global report with their lived experience and recommendations. Side event program: • Opening remarks: Tom Erlend Skaug, State Secretary, Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality.

• The importance of data disaggregation for persons with deafblindness.
o Geir Jensen, President WFDB, Norway.
• Lessons learned from disaggregating 20 national data sets including persons with deafblindness. o Morgon Banks, ICED, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.
• What does inclusion mean for persons with Deafblindness? o Agnes Abukito, WFDB, Uganda (TBC).
• Service provisions in resource constrained settings. o Alison Marshall, Director Sense International, UK.
• Key recommendations to include persons with Deafblindness in disability rights and inclusive development programs. o Rune Jensen, Editing Consultant WFDB, Norway.