International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (2)

11 January, 2019

Liesbeth Siderius (Netherlands) notes the WHO's 'International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF, a classification of health and health-related domains'.

'The ICF is a useful tool:

- For individuals with a chronic and or disabling condition

- For practitioners to measure decline/ improvement in body functions

- For researchers to measure daily life effect of innovative treatment

- For public health to benchmark health systems, document health inequities and improve the equity health system.'

I am unfamiliar with the ICF so I have been trying to find out more about it, but am left a bit confused. I would be interested to hear from HIFA members about how they interpret and use the ICF.

The relevant part of the WHO website [] notes:

'ICF is the WHO framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. ICF was officially endorsed by all 191 WHO Member States in the Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly on 22 May 2001(resolution WHA 54.21) as the international standard to describe and measure health and disability.'

The ICF Practical Manual is available here (2013, draft):

but the website states: 'This version is not yet considered final and is not yet published and available for official use. Please use this document for information purposes, only.' So I hesitate to quote from this.

There is also an ICF e-Learning tool (in English and Danish) here:

I went through this but was none the wiser.

There is also a very brief FAQ section which notes that 'the World Health Organization does not have any data on the numbers of people who have disabilities':

I think perhaps I may be missing something?

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: