2001 Observance of the
International Day of Disabled Persons
United Nations expert group meeting on disability-sensitive policy and
programme monitoring and evaluation
UNHQ, New York, 3-5 December 2001
Country Paper: Ecuador*
By Julio Mantilla Arias, December 2001
The attention to people with disabilities in Ecuador has been characterized to be of
low coverage and faulty quality, based mainly on the actions of the private sector and in
some institutions of the public sector that have assumed they responsibility since two
In the field of laws Ecuador is one of the first countries in America that has a group
of norms and legal dispositions that guide to almost all the activities regarding
The constitution mentions disabilities expressly in several articles but, especially in
the 53rd where the State guarantees the attention to people with disabilities in all the
There is also a specific law, the Law 180 of Disabilities that was reformed through the
Law No. 2000 - 25, sent September 26, 2000.
The country has subscribed several international agreements on disabilities that also
become norms for Ecuador.
DIMENSION OF THE PROBLEM
A 1996 investigation of the Central University points out that in the country, 48.9% of
people have some type of deficiency, 13.2% some disability, and 4.4% some impairment.
This means that in Ecuador there are one million six hundred thousand people with some
disability, in comparison with the figures given by the WHO (10% of the population), we
have 3.2% above this; and considering the conditions the country is developing are
negative, probably this percentage should have increased.
By regions: in the East, of the population's total, 15.2% have some disability, in the
Coast, 15.4% and in the Andean Region 11.42%.
People with disabilities are distributed by gender with a slight difference, not
significant between men and women, same situation happens in relation to the urban and
In the investigation it was found that 40% of children younger than 5 years have some
deficiency that could originate disabilities. The most frequent deficiencies found in
these children refer to psychological deficiencies, of the language, skeletal muscle,
deformity, organic, of sight and auditory, in that order.
The most frequent causes in these deficiencies are due to hereditary and congenital
problems, accidents, illnesses and problems from birth.
The most frequent deficiencies that cause disabilities, in older than 5 years, are the
- Intellectual and psychological deficiency
- Muscle - skeletal deficiency
- Language and speech
- Sight deficiency
- Auditory deficiency
- Deformity deficiency
The investigation indicates that the most frequent disabilities are related to
locomotion, communication, behavior, body control and dexterity.
Of 13.2% of population (1.600.000 people with disabilities) they distribute as follows:
- 592.000 people with physical deficiencies;
- 432.000 people for mental and psychological deficiencies;
- 363.000 for visual deficiencies
- 213.000 for auditory and language deficiency
In older than 5 years the investigation determines, as main causes: illnesses,
inheritance, problems from birth, rapes and accidents.
Among the most important characteristics that evidence the situation of people with
disabilities, we can indicate down the following:
37.9% of disabled people doesn't have any instruction level. 42% has studied the
primary school at some time; 10.5% has studied the secondary; 1.8% has attended
university. Of the corresponding data, 6.1% attended schools of special education and the
0.5% of population with disabilities went to schools with integration programs.
18.2% of people with disabilities have a job. 29.1 % of the unemployed population is
not integrated to the work due to the level of its disability. Women are more
discriminated against getting a job and the problem is more complicated in the urban
sector that in the rural.
According to the type of attention received, the investigation points out that they
have received medical care ( visits at least once to the medical doctor, not necessarily
by an specialist) 89%, of these 18.4% has received functional rehabilitation of medical
kind, and especially for people with physical and sensorial deficiencies, 6.6% said that
have received early stimulation, 12% language therapy and 14% psychiatric and
psychological support, 89.9% of the population with disabilities doesn't use technical
In the analysis of the disabilities situation e the following weaknesses and strengths
- The disabilities in the Ecuador affects approximately 13.2% of the population,(
1'600.000 people), only 2% of these group receive some attention.
- The incidence of the problem becomes worse mainly in the urban marginal and rural, due
to poverty, that doesn't allow them .
- Discrimination in the attention for type of disability.
- Deficiency in prevention programs.
- The actions of opportune detection and of early intervention are scarce.
- Faulty quality and covering of attention to the population with disabilities due to the
centralization of the services in the main cities.
- In spite of efforts for social and labor integration isolated actions continue to be
given in a few cities.
- There is not a good level of coordination of actions among the different sectors
involved in the process of integral rehabilitation. Not this considered a true National
System of Prevention, Attention and Integration of People with Disabilities.
- Human, materials and economic resources are insufficient for the attention in health,
education, work, technical aid for people with disabilities are not available
- The levels of knowledge and sensitization in the community have not been extended to all
the social segments.
- One of the weakest aspects are occupational training and labor insertion.
- There is a better level of knowledge and sensitization in certain sectors of the
community on the disabilities and disabled people rights.
- To have normative rules: Constitution of the Republic, Special Law for Disabilities,
Regulations Policies and dispositions.
- There is a National Council that has achieved several advances in aspects like policies,
coordination, coordination, rationalization of activities, canalization of resources,
- It has been achieved the organization and invigoration of the organisms of people with
- The topic of the disabilities has taken a position in the national environment, it is
part of the problem that demands solutions and resources.
- There is a new paradigm in the field of the disabilities based on the personal autonomy
and human rights, overcoming the conceptions of the paternalism and charity.
- It has been possible to concert the interest from the authorities to level of
Presidency, National Congress and Government's high organisms.
- The conscience has grown in people with disabilities and their families.
- It has been possible to make aware in the public and private organisms the necessity of
coordinated actions and efforts.
- An important number of disabled people exist in the country, professionals and
representatives of institutions that have been trained in several topics on disabilities.
- At the present time there are several special programs of direct help to disabled people
by entities of the public and private sector: for training, technical aids, scholarships,
credits for small business, labor insertion, organization.
- A process of decentralization has begun through the Provincial Commissions of
Disabilities and the strengthening of these with the incorporation of the Municipalities
so that they assume their responsibilities.
- An important infrastructure and human resources have been formed for the attention of
people with disabilities.
* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the United Nations Secretariat. This document has not been formally
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POLITICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ECUADOR
of the civil rights
3. The equality before the law. All the people will be considered
equal and they will enjoy the same rights, freedoms and opportunities, without
discrimination in reason from birth, age, sex, ethno, color, social origin, language;
religion, political affiliation, economic position, sexual orientation; state of health,
disability, or difference of any other nature.
Art. 47. - In the public and private environment they will receive
high-priority, preferable and specialized attention: the children and adolescents, the
pregnant women, people with disabilities, those that suffer of catastrophic illnesses of
high complexity and those of the third age. In the same way, they will be assisted: people
in situation of risk and victims of domestic violence, infantile abuse, natural or
Art. 50. - The State will adopt the measures that assure the children
and adolescents the following guarantees:
3. Preferable attention for their full social integration, to those
that have disabilities.
Art. 53. - The State will guarantee the prevention of disabilities and
the attention and integral rehabilitation of people with disabilities, especially in cases
of poverty. Jointly with the society and the family, it will assume the responsibility of
their social integration and equality of opportunities.
The State will establish measures that guarantee to people with disabilities, the use
of goods and services, especially in the areas of health, education, training, labor
insert and recreation; and measures that eliminate the communication barriers, as well as
the urbane, architectural and of accessibility to the transport that hinder their
mobilization. The municipalities will have the obligation of adopting these measures in
the environment of their attributions and districts.
People with disabilities will have preferable treatment in the obtaining of credits,
exemption and tributary discounts, of conformity with the law.
The right of people with disability is recognized, to the communication by means of
alternative forms, as the Ecuadorian sign language for deaf, verbalism, the Braille
system, and others.
Art. 57. - The obligatory general social security will cover the
illness contingencies, maternity, risks of the work, cessation, age, impairment,
disability and death.
Art. 66. - The education is people's unrenounceable right, inexcusable
duty of the State, the society and the family; high-priority area of the public
investment, requirement of the national development and guarantee of the social justness.
It is responsibility of the State to define and to execute policies that allow reaching
The State will guarantee the education for people with disabilities.
Art. 82. - The State will protect, stimulate, promote, and coordinate
the physical culture, the sport and the recreation, as activities for the integral
formation of people. It will provide of resources and infrastructure that allow the
propagation of this activities.
It will favor the preparation and the participation of high yield sportsmen in national
and international competitions, and it will foment the participation of people with
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