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What improves greater access to health and rehabilitation in your life: personal perspectives

Provides an introduction to access to health and rehabilitation in the context of disability through personal perspectives of people with disabilities
YETNEBERSH: The ability of the health services– the medical services and facilities to respond or to cater for all the needs of all persons who come to those centres or who seek the services. This accessibility should be understood broadly, not only in the manner to explain physical accessibility, but also it talks about financial accessibility. It talks about information accessibility. And it talks about also communication accessibility. So for me it would go beyond the physical accessibility or the building, it’s about the attitude of medical professionals. It’s about the financial affordability. It’s about also the quality.
EMMA: Accessibility would definitely mean– able to access health facilities. Where I don’t have a problem accessing in terms of physical access, for me it’s more communication that is quite challenging. So for me it would be signage. If I’m trying to find a doctor’s room, I need to have signage because often I– if I can’t find where I’m going, I need to ask people. And depending on where it is, and the lighting, and the acoustics– that can be a challenge to me.
BENEDICT: Right to me would be getting relevant information at the right accessible format for me. For instance, getting information in Braille or in audio format and also receiving a normal treatment or acceptable treatment at the health – at the health institutions. For instance, if I had to go to the doctor, like I said, the best treatment that one would receive would make me to think twice before I could attend any health institution or sometimes there are issues which I would prefer not to be told, but just to read them somewhere.
But unfortunately, they’re not in Braille or they’re not even accessible in an audio format or even if one could refer me to the website it sometimes does not really correlate with our assistive devices. So if everything that is related to health could be more equitable to accommodate the needs of visually impaired persons that to me would mean accessible health.
HILARY: When it comes to therapies, I’ve had very good ones. However, we’ve had one very bad experience, but that comes to a doctor, medical profession. Hannah had a fall and she cut her chin open, and she had to have it stitched up. But she won’t sit in a chair and have it stitched up– you’ve got to do it under general anaesthetic. And the plastic surgeon had absolutely no understanding of what it means to have a disabled child. The l– the wait, put us in a room, and we had to wait for seven hours before anybody came to us
and said, oh, no, she’s not going into theatre at 4:00,
she’s only going into theatre at 7:00. Just– that was shocking. But, yeah, so you live and learn and– but then another plastic surgeon, after that she had another fall and also cut it open– different place, was absolutely brilliant. So it’s just some people understand, some people don’t.
RIDA: What the health service providers – what you need to understand is that you need to get the service provider that best suits you. Not everyone is going to be equipped to understand what you’re going through and what you need. So if they have experience in the field– who are handling people with your type of disability, it makes everything easier. So you cannot go to anybody, but you need to go to the service providers that work best for you. And I think that is something I’ve– I needed to learn as my time living with my disability has gone on– that I understood that I needed to actually look out there for what best would suit me.
Because you could not take it for granted that everybody understands you and your disability and your illness. Because it’s just not like that.
RICHARD: I am very privileged. I come from a very privileged background and I’m– I acknowledge that from the very beginning– that I had the financial resources to go privately. But having said that, even going privately it took me 16 years to find the right psychologist and the right psychiatrist for the medication.
DEUS: Health services basically in our country, Uganda, are not the best that you can rely on. Yeah. Those that have money will find they will go private. Those people– those that do not have money, they suffer in the public hospitals.
So when it comes to a person with a disability, me, it is worse. Because sometimes though you cannot even reach the place. Yeah. The doctor cannot come and find me– where I am, so I have to suffer.
MYROSLAVA: I think that accessibility of health services has the physical aspect of that, so a physical and– the infrastructure of a health service provider needs to be such that somebody with limited mobility or somebody that requires to move with somebody else can get physically inside or into the space where the health services are provided. But there’s so much more to accessibility than that. The communication needs to be accessible and that can– that can apply to people who are perceived as disabled, but also in many contexts it means making communication available in different formats and in different languages. And then possibly in a more complicated sense– but it needs to be financially and geographically accessible.
When I was doing some research on this issue a few years ago, I was surprised that when I was speaking with women with disabilities both in Uganda and in Canada, the challenges they face– the majority of the challenges that they expressed were not at the point of service provision, it was getting to those services. And sometimes it was because of the availability of transport, but sometimes it was just the cost. And it was– if you have enough money you could hire somebody to take you, but when you don’t, it can just be too hard to get there.

In this step, listen to people with disabilities and a parent of a child with a disability share their perspectives about what improves greater access to health and rehabilitation in their lives.

Yetnebersh, Emma, Benedict, Hilary, Rida, Richard, Deus and Myroslava discuss health and rehabilitation and what can be done to improve access to these services through sharing their personal experiences and perspectives.

Enjoy hearing their reflections and you can respond in the comments section below if you want to share your thoughts.

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Global Health and Disability

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