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Journal of Water and Health In Press, Uncorrected Proof © IWA Publishing 2011  |  doi:10.2166/wh.2011.198

Water and sanitation issues for persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries: a literature review and discussion of implications for global health and international development

N. Groce, N. Bailey, R. Lang, J. F. Trani and M. Kett

Leonard Cheshire Centre for Disability and Inclusive Development, University College London, London, UK. E-mail: nora.groce@ucl.ac.uk

First received 11 December 2010; accepted in revised form 15 March 2011. Available online 2 June 2011


The critical importance of unrestricted access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation for all is highlighted in Millennium Development Goal 7, which calls for the reduction by half of the proportion of people without such access by 2015. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the needs of such access for the 690 million people living with a disability worldwide, despite the fact that the right to equal access for all international development initiatives is guaranteed in the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this paper, we review what is currently known about access to water and sanitation for persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries from the perspective of both international development and global health, and identify existing gaps in research, practice and policy that are of pressing concern if the water and sanitation needs of this large – and largely overlooked – population are to be addressed.

Keywords: disability; health; hygiene; poverty; sanitation; water

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