From Jude Chinedu, Enugu

An NGO, Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) has made case for improved healthcare facilities for women and girls with disabilities in Enugu State.

The Executive Director of VDI, Barr. Catherine Edeh made this call during a 1-day workshop for healthcare workers and other stakeholders in Enugu at the weekend.

She regretted that women and girls with disabilities are the least to enjoy their sexual and reproductive health rights.

While calling for inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in societal benefits, Edeh decried the level of discriminatory and abuse those with disabilities face in the society as they are put at a greater risk of exclusion.

“The barriers that women and girls with disabilities face to fulfiling their sexual and reproductive health and rights are further compounded by the variety and intensity of their disabilities; the more severe the disability, the greater the risk of exclusion and abuse.

“Each type of disability creates specific needs around which SRHR services and information must be tailored, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to guaranteeing the realisation of their SRHR. However, attention to these particular needs is rare, rendering the entire spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services inaccessible to women and girls with disabilities.

“From evidence gathering carried out by VDI on women and girls with disabilities and their access to healthcare services in the state, it was discovered that about 80% of them complained of attitudinal and discriminatory practices meted to them by healthcare providers.

“It is even worse to those accessing public health facilities. Most of them
complained that when they experience such attitudes and discrimination, they tend to seek for alternative healthcare by going to chemists or using traditional methods, which in most times endanger their lives.

“The challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in accessing healthcare facilities in the state cannot be mitigated without the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders coming together to lend their support and voices by prioritising women and girls with disabilities accessing health facilities in the state,” she said.

Also speaking during the workshop, the founder, Heroine Women Foundation, Mrs Onyinye Mama, reminded the participants that the purpose of the training was to help improve the attitude and behavior of health workers to persons with disabilities, especially women and girls.

She commended the State Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his efforts in ensuring the domestication of the Disability Act in the state, adding that it would facilitate the promotion and protection of the right of persons with disabilities.

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Source: news