Around 12.5% of the total population of Uganda are living with one form of disability. Maternal and newborn mortality remains unacceptably high.
Most efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health in Uganda have focused on access and quality of care for women in general, paying no attention to special populations like women with physical disabilities with a high likelihood of poor outcomes.
Like elsewhere in Uganda, physically disabled mothers in Kibuku district find unique barriers in accessing maternal and newborn health services due to; mobility problems, unfriendly physical infrastructure, unresponsive midwives, and low awareness of the needs of women with physical disabilities. One woman explained,
“Our health facility does not have separate places of convenience for the disabled people. I used to go to those
available but I would often find them dirty…but I had nothing to do. I would still crawl in that messed up place like that.”
This brief explores the challenges that are being faced and suggests:
- All health facilities assign at least one latrine for physically disabled people and budget for handrails to make the latrine disabled user-friendly.
- Health facility in-charges have climbing supports for existing beds to enhance access and use by physically disabled mothers.
- The need to identify and train one focal midwife at each facility on physically disabled friendly maternal and newborn services.
- Health facilities advocate for the budgeting of the construction of ramps at all health facilities.
By Rebecca Racheal Apolot