OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

How to ensure that girls and women with disabilities in Rwanda have equal access to the SRH services and becoming healthy & aware mothers.

We aim to strengthen the capacity of HCPs and DPOs to remove barriers and making SRH, child and mother health services inclusive in Rwanda

Photo of Karangwa Francois Xavier
5 1

Written by

According to the Fourth Rwanda Population and Housing Census (RPHC4) in 2012,  there are 446,453 persons with disabilities aged 5 and above living in Rwanda, out of which 221,150 are male and 225,303 are female.

Children under five were excluded from the Census as their identification is too problematic in Rwandan context. For this reason, the exact prevalence of disability in Rwandan is not known (officially it is 5%).

In an assessment (done by Handicap International in 2012) of the risk factors and vulnerability levels experienced by persons with disabilities, women with disabilities are much more  often than men with disabilities become victims of sexual and gender-based violence in Rwanda, and are very often excluded from sexual health education and family planning programmes. Next to common perception of women with disabilities as ‘asexual’ and not ‘worthy’ persons, a lot of barriers that women with disabilities experience relate to the lack of inclusive awareness raising materials and inclusive processes that would allow those women to benefit from sexual education and services.  the lack of  It all leads to high rates of mortality among women with disabilities, risk of a delivering a sick child, risk of not being able to have children, and risk of developing additional disability. Our organization believes that women and men with disabilities must have access to inclusive sexual health education which shall be integrated in other programmes addressing the needs of persons with disabilities, among which are accessible communication formats, inclusive rehabilitation services, respectful attitudes.

In Rwanda health care services are provided by the community health workers in the village, which are not aware about inclusive practices and particular needs of women with disabilities

The Umbrella of Organizations of Persons with disabilities in the fight against HIV and for Health Promotion (UPHLS) which is recognized for its contributions to awareness raising on the rights of PWDs, inclusive governmental policies and implementation, in particular in the areas of HIV&AIDS and Health, and lately also in Employability.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Empowerment and mobilization of health care providers and Persons with Disabilities has been make disability inclusion in Sexual Reproductive Health services and becoming healthy & aware mothers after making a strong linkage between Disability People Organizations and Health centers.

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

This initiative aims to improve SRH experiences of women with disabilities making them aware about their bodies, rights, children care etc. At the same time, the initiative aims to bring the system change for the female generations to come capacitating health care providers in becoming more disability inclusive.

Tell us about yourself:

UPHLS is Rwandan Umbrella NGO with a vision an inclusive society where persons with disabilities are empowered an enjoy dignity and mission to streignthen the capacity of members organizations.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Samantha Merrill

If you live long enough, you'll find yourself in the category called "disabled" eventually. It's just basic entropy at work. It happens to some people sooner than later, while other people are born into that category.

If you're okay with taking away the rights of disabled people, (besides deserving to go to hell for being a fundamentally cruel person) you're taking away rights that you may well need to rely on someday. If you're not in the category called "disabled," then you're in the only other possible category called "temporarily abled."

If you have a human body, you can become disabled easily---it could happen to you today. Think about that.

Samantha Merrill
social studies writer

View all comments