Sexual and Reproductive Health for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Uganda

Project Summary:

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guarantees them the right to access the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care. However, available evidence shows that Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) still face numerous challenges in accessing and utilizing essential Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services.

An accessibility and utilization audit of SRH services for women and girls with disabilities conducted by the Iganga district accessibility audit committee revealed disability-unfriendly infrastructure at health facilities including lack of access ramps, lack of adjustable labour and examination beds among others. The audit was conducted in selected health centres in Iganga District.

Cultural belief still regards people with disabilities especially women as not sexually active which makes them excluded from sexuality talks and Education campaigns. Other challenges involved negative perceptions of health personnel towards women and girls with disabilities, and absence of trained personnel for people with disabilities for example, sign language for the deaf and not speaking. Women and girls with disabilities are sexually abused by even their relatives, hence making them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. In many cases they are subjected to forced sterilization and unwanted and unsafe abortion all of which pose enormous risk to their well-being.

The project will therefore seeks to accelerate access to disability friendly sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls with disabilities in Iganga

Project Description:

The project will start with holding consultative meetings with young women and girls with disabilities and identify key issues, gaps and challenges in SRH and set the agenda for advocacy. This will be followed by conducting SRH camp to provide a range of services including HIV/AIDS Counseling, Cancer screening, sexuality education Family Planning, Post exposure prophylaxis -PEP, legal advisory, district SRH services, and financial services. The project will carryout extensive community sensitization and awareness meetings on the SRH rights and needs of women and girls with disabilities plus advocacy engagement meetings with duty bearers on providing disability friendly SRH services for WGDs in Iganga through inclusive planning and budgeting

Community Impact:

The project will add a building block on the IDIWA health and reproductive health rights program. IDIWA is working to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services for PWDs and other vulnerable groups. The organization is promoting advocacy for access to health services that include and not limited to: appropriate individualized birth control methods, family planning, prevention and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), individualized education and information on reproduction, marriage and family life, abstinence, safe sexual practices, sexual orientation, sexual abuse and making their own decision about using birth control methods as a way of supporting them to make informed decisions

Skills Required

Students and professionals in Medical sciences, nursing or public health, social work or equivalent qualifications with knowledge in coordination and implementation of Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health. Technical expertise in Advocacy/Advancing a policy-oriented agenda is needed. You will be required to submit a CV as well as go through a phone interview for the vetting process before your placement is confirmed.

Community Description:

The Integrated Disabled Women Activities- IDIWA is an indigenous, voluntary not for profit non-governmental Organization established in 2000 by women of different disability categories including physical and sensory disabilities together with parents of children with disabilities from Iganga District. IDIWA mission is to empower Women, People with Disabilities, and other vulnerable groups to maximize their potential and improve their standard of living through the core thematic areas of; Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods, Human Rights and Good Governance, Community Based Rehabilitation, Health and Reproductive Rights and Education

IDIWA is located on Plot 10, Jalum Road, Northern Division, Iganga Municipal Council, Iganga District, Eastern Uganda.