By Regina Namuloki Muhasa
Every human being has a right to access medical care and the Government of Uganda is fighting hard to ensure that there is a health centre in every sub county hence bringing the services nearer to people.
I believe it is within this spirit that the Government of Uganda has funded the construction of a child care facility for the Parliament to enable the child bearing female Members of Parliament (MPs) to continue with their child bearing role uninterrupted while serving as MPs.
The Government that has incurred a major cost to provide such a facility for the female MPs who constitute less than 1% of all the women in Uganda, can afford to provide special health and maternity facilities for the disabled women who I believe constitute even a bigger percentage.
Unless a deliberative effort is made, women with disabilities may never get the opportunity to enjoy health services especially maternity services like other women in Uganda and yet one disabled woman who is now a retired senior citizen rightly said that the “best social security for disabled women in Uganda is to have children who will take care of them at their old age. Disability becomes a challenge at old age and it is worse for those who did not have children.
It is more difficult for other people who are not the biological children to take care of the disabled at their old age in a country like Uganda, where we do not have nursing homes for the elderly”.
Last year, I was expecting and went to more than three health facilities in this country, some privately owned and others government aided but they all have one thing in common, they do not make provision for disabled mothers in the maternity ward.
For example the checkup beds used during antenatal are so high and often require use of stairs to climb which makes it difficult for a woman with multiple disabilities to climb.
The same is true of delivery beds in the labour suites. So I keep asking myself if all this kind of situation is coincidental. Or is it a deliberate move to make it difficult or to exclude women with disabilities from their God-given right of being mothers.
I visited different facilities in search for one where I would receive a service that fits my unique needs but I did not find any and in the end my baby died before birth and yet I had just visited a government health facility and was turned away without a service because I arrived late for registration, without consideration for my physical challenges.
I do believe my experience may not be different from so many disabled women, especially those in the rural areas where transport to health facilities is a challenge.
I appeal to the Ministry of Health to make provision for women with disabilities in every health facility. I suggest that our Parliament passes a law to enforce that provision and make sure that even privately owned health facilities adhere to it.
In making such a provision, the different types of disability should be taken into consideration, i.e. the blind, deaf, mentally and physically challenged.
Troubles women with disabilities encounter to control birth
Plan for people with disabilities
Challenges faced by children with disabilities