Marie Stopes International Australia

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International Day of People with Disability

3 December 2014

Today is International Day of People with Disability and it aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.

People with disabilities have the same sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs as everyone, yet they often face significant barriers which limit their access to information and services. Roughly 15 per cent of the world lives with a disability, therefore this represents a significant population who don’t have reasonable access to essential services[1]. Some of the common barriers limiting access include a lack of physical access, information and communication materials, stigma from health-care providers, lack of provider capacity, lack of coordination and funding, all of which often stem from discriminatory societal attitudes.

The majority of people with disabilities also live in resource constrained countries where their needs are less likely to be met. According to the World Health Organisation and United Nations Population Fund in such countries people with disabilities are more likely to be living in poverty due to stigma, prejudice, and denial of access to health services, education, jobs, and full participation in society.

Marie Stopes International recognises the importance of addressing these gaps and the rights of people with disabilities to get access to SRH information and services. We work in various settings to include disability in our work. For instance in China we engage and partner with disability groups and organisations to support and promote inclusive sexuality education. And as part of the Australia Africa Community Engagement Scheme (AACES) project and in conjunction with the Tanzanian Government, Marie Stopes Tanzania has developed a job aid manual to guide health service providers in outreach settings to ensure that people with disabilities can easily access SRH services.

You can find further information about AACES at the page, AACES Annual Report.

[1] WHO/UNFPA 2009

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