Sunday, July 14, 2024

National Disability Indaba commences in Lusaka

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Government says it is committed to ensuring that basic health care services reaches everyone including persons living with disabilities.

Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo said persons living with disabilities are faced with a number of challenges such as limitations in accessing equitable and quality health care services.

Ms Masebo observed that the situation is worse for women and girls with disabilities who are more likely to be exposed to sexual abuse and forms of physical and mental violence.

The minister said this today in a speech read on her behalf by Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Donor Coordination, George Sinyangwe during the two days National Disability Indaba in Lusaka today.

She said government continues to prioritize disability inclusion in service provision towards achieving universal health coverage hence the hosting of the Indaba.

Ms Masebo noted that protracted isolation and disruption in routine outreach services due to COVID-19 have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities among persons with disabilities.

“Government recognizes the fact that good health is a means for development. Therefore access to basic health services including the persons with disability should be a human right. This approach is also enriched in the UPND manifesto whose guiding principle is a people centered, pro poor development strategy that guarantees basic needs for Zambians,” Ms Masebo said.

She has urged the participants to take advantage of the Indaba and ensure that they come up with solutions on how best the government and stakeholders can effectively address their concerns and challenges.

Speaking at the same event, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative Seth Broekman says the institution will continue supporting the Ministry of Health in the successful implementation of the strategies towards reducing illness among persons with disabilities.

Mr Broekman who was represented by UNFPA Sexual Reproductive Health Specialist, Wezy Kaonga said it is imperative for people living with disabilities to also have access to sexual reproductive health and Gender Based Violence (GBV) services in order to increase community participation in health.

“As UNFPA, we will continue supporting the Zambian government through the Ministry of Health in ensuring that the vision 2030 is achieved and no one will be left behind including addressing health inequalities and vulnerabilities among adolescent girls, young people and persons with disabilities,” he said

The two days Indaba is being held under the theme: ‘Ensuring health for all towards Universal Health Coverage.”

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