Investing in Champions to Ensure Health for All

  • By: Kate Wilson, Sarah Bittman, Meredith Schlussel, Lourdes de la Peza, and Margaret Lamiell
  • Published Date: September 2017
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Traditional power structures contribute to lack of access, participation, and accountability related to the availability of information, resources, and services for persons with disabilities. Some of the barriers posed by health systems are physical, such as inaccessible buildings and public transportation; some are institutional, such as inadequate policies and the lack of health information, materials, and forms in universally accessible formats; others are attitudinal, such as health providers often discussing health issues with caregivers rather than with the person with a disability herself (even if her impairment has nothing to do with intellectual functioning) and not asking for consent before medical procedures. Health promotion and disease prevention activities seldom target persons with disabilities. Women with disabilities receive fewer cancer screenings and are less likely to be offered family planning than women without disabilities. Additionally, many health facilities lack sign language interpreters so patients with limited hearing.

For the last six years the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project has worked closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) Physical Rehabilitation Programme and the ICRC Moveability Foundation, Mobility International (MIUSA), the Center for Victims of Torture, local wheelchair service organizations, and a variety of other partners. During this time we have witnessed a variety of obstacles faced by persons with disabilities, their representative organizations, and organizations that provide health and rehabilitation services.