Access to quality, affordable health care is the foundation of an independent, productive life. For people with disabilities, who often have significant health care needs, health care access is crucial. People with disabilities report seeking more health care than people without disabilities and have greater unmet needs Health promotion and prevention activities seldom target people with disabilities. For example women with disabilities receive less screening for breast and cervical cancer than women without disabilities. People with intellectual impairments and diabetes are less likely to have their weight checked. Adolescents and adults with disabilities are more likely to be excluded from sex education programmes.
FHI supports quality physical and mental health care that is accessible, affordable, community-based, self-determined, and responsive to individual needs.
Disabling diseases are the scourges of many developing countries, especially in Ghana. Diseases like HIV/AIDS, lymphatic filariasis, epilepsy, poliomyelitis, diabetes and leprosy all leave their sufferers severely disabled and often socially excluded. However, with health precautions, information, vaccination and screening campaigns, populations can be protected from these diseases and early detection can reduce or delay the onset of the most seriously disabling consequences.
Children with disabilities are unable to access HIV prevention information on an equal basis with other children. Discrimination within the family, admission barriers, and lack of physical accessibility keep many children with disabilities out of school, where they might receive HIV prevention information. Even when children are able to attend school, children with disabilities are often excluded from programs providing HIV information, or do not get materials that are accessible to them. Similarly, adults with disabilities often cannot access general HIV information disseminated through print and mass media because of the lack of materials produced in simplified formats, braille, large print, or with sign language symbols
Women and girls with disabilities have high rates of sexual and intimate-partner violence, which increases their risk for HIV infection. The vulnerability of women and girls with disabilities is compounded because they lack equal access to information about gender-based violence, HIV prevention, and social protection services. People with disabilities in areas where we operate are often are unable to get effective pre- and post-HIV testing counseling because of inadequate training of healthcare workers on how to communicate with and address the concerns of people with disabilities. Once they are on antiretroviral treatment, people with disabilities often depend on the availability of a family member or friend for mobility or communication assistance to keep up with scheduled appointments. We work to avert this