Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, has signed the deal with the IPC ©Getty Images

An agreement between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has been confirmed here in Tokyo.

The partnership - similar to the one which the WHO signed with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in May - has the aim of promoting sport and healthy lifestyles.

Both organisations will work to improve access to rehabilitation and assistive technology around the world.

They will hope to overcome existing inequalities in access to life-changing services, in a bid to ensure equal opportunities and access to sport for people with disabilities. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, is in the Japanese capital after delivering a keynote address at the IOC Session which preceded the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games yesterday.

He revealed that the deal with the IPC would be signed during his address.

"This new partnership is one that will greatly benefit society, as sport is a tremendous tool for ensuring persons lead active and healthy lifestyles," said IPC President Andrew Parsons. 

"The IPC's partnership with the WHO goes beyond promoting physical and healthy lifestyles and will also focus on highlighting the role assistive technology plays in the creation of an inclusive world, especially for the over one billion persons with disabilities."

The WHO has estimated that 15 per cent of the world's population live with a disability, with this number growing.

But only one in two people with a disability can afford healthcare, and only one in 10 can access technology to improve their lives.

These risks have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sport and health are natural allies, with mutually reinforcing benefits," said Dr Tedros.

"More than that, the Paralympic Games are an inspiring statement of what persons with disabilities can achieve. 

"We hope this partnership between WHO and IPC will provide a platform for more persons with disabilities to participate in sport, but also for demonstrating why universal health coverage is so important, by ensuring all persons have the care and technologies they need to fulfil their potential."

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are due to run here between August 24 and September 5.

In his address at the IOC Session, Dr Tedros said Tokyo 2020 could "ignite the solidarity and determination" of the world to end the pandemic.

He predicted that more than 100,000 people would die from COVID-19 by the time the Olympics close on August 8, but claimed the Games could be a "celebration of hope".