Abu Dhabi: An urgent call for global action including for financial resources was launched in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday at the Special Olympics Global Inclusive Health Forum so that 11 million people with intellectual disabilities can get the healthcare they need by 2020.

At present, the lack of training among healthcare workers means that millions of people with intellectual disabilities still suffer from unequal access to treatment and medical care, said Javier Vasquez, vice-president of Special Olympics health programmes.

“More than $9 million (Dh33 million) is needed to train 10,000 community health workers in 20 developing countries so that people with intellectual disabilities are not left invisible within the health system,” Vasquez said, calling for donations from international organisations, national governments and the private sector.

According to statistics revealed at the Forum, there are currently 200 million people around the world living with intellectual disability, including conditions like Down Syndrome and autism. Insufficient healthcare and data means that they suffer from a greater rate of illness and mortality than people without disability.

The Forum was held ahead of the Special Olympics Abu Dhabi 2019, which will begin in the capital tomorrow. The international sporting event for People with Determination will see 7,500 athletes from 197 countriea participate in 24 categories.