Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) has been overlooked by both the disability community and those working on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (SRHS). This leaves PWDs among the most marginalized groups when it comes to SRHS, they have the same needs for SRHS as everyone else. In fact, PWDs may actually have greater needs for SRH education and care than persons without disabilities due to their increased vulnerability to abuse.
The challenges to SRH faced by PWDs are not necessarily part of having a disability, but instead often reflect lack of social attention, legal protection, understanding and support. PWDs often cannot obtain even the most basic information about SRH thus remain ignorant of basic facts about their bodies, rights and available services. PWDs may be denied the right to establish relationships, or they may be subjected to sexual abuse where they may be treated as objects than members of the family. As a group, PWDs fit the common pattern of structural risks for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections due to high rates of poverty and illiteracy, lack of access to health resources and power to negotiate for safer sex.
Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) with funding from VOICE is implementing the advocacy for inclusive implementation of the National Policy and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Uganda. UNAPD is working in partnership with Mbale Action on Physical Disability (MAPD) and Pallisa District Action on Physical Disability (PDAPD) to implement the project activities in the two districts. The project period is 18 months from December 2018 to May 2020. The project is focusing on access to SRH services by Persons with Disabilities and its goals is “PWDs have equal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights”.
The project targets 1200 beneficiaries. The 500 beneficiaries are from Pallisa district and the 700 from Mbale district.