In my country, the disabled, and especially
disabled women, are seen as children, and
you don’t give children any responsibility.
So women with disabilities get excluded
from almost everything: education, health
care, land ownership, etcetera.
We need information for women with disabilities
so that they can learn how to take better
care of their health themselves, to learn what
they can do as a community to get doctors
and nurses and hospital administrators to
change their attitudes and make health care
more accessible and available for women with
National Council of Disabled
Persons of Zimbabwe
Barriers tO GOOD HEALTH CARE
Like most women, women with disabilities often find it difficult to get the health
care they need, when they need it.
Even if a woman lives near a health center and has enough money to pay for
services, most clinics, health centers and hospitals have not been designed to make
it easy for everyone to use them. Disabled women find barriers to care when health
facilities do not have ramps for wheelchair users, do not have information in
Braille or on audio cassettes for blind or vision-impaired people, do not have sign
language interpreters for women who are deaf, and do not have people who can
assist women who have trouble learning or understanding.
Another problem is that doctors and other health workers are not usually trained
to understand the health needs disabled women may have. Because of this, health
workers may have ideas about disability that make it uncomfortable and hard for
disabled women to get good health care.
When women with disabilities do not have access to resources, education,
and other opportunities, they are more vulnerable to poverty, exploitation, and
abuse. Without confidence in and awareness of their rights, they are often socially
marginalized. This creates even more barriers to their access to health care.
Who this book is for
This book is written for the millions of women with disabilities around the world
who suffer and die needlessly because they lack access to respectful and appropriate
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007