Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

Flagship Program 4: SA-PIAHCARE

The Southern Africa Program on Inclusive Access to Health Care Services (SA-PAIHCARE)

Under this program, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) seeks to mainstream disability into health programs to ensure that many of the barriers experienced by Persons with a Disability (PWD) are removed and their right to health is achieved.

Our overarching goal is to contribute towards the improvement of access to comprehensive, quality health care services by PWDs.

This is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in particular, Article 25 and 26, which confirm the importance of health for all and reinforces the need for PWDs to have full access to health services.
Furthermore, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 5 and 6, with a focus on health, will not be reached without the inclusion of PWDs in mainstream health programs.

In our programme approach, SAFOD shall adopt the key principles, which adhere to a human-rights approach to disability, as enshrined in the "Inclusion Made Easy: A Quick Program Guide to Disability in Development" developed by CBM, as follows:

  • Awareness of disability and its implications
  • Participation and active involvement of PWDs
  • Comprehensive accessibility through addressing physical, communication, policy and attitudinal barriers
  • Twin track identifying disability specific actions combined with mainstream approaches

The Guide acknowledges that PWDs have a greater need to access health services and experience higher levels of unmet health needs than people without a disability. In fact, it is more common for PWDs to report an inability to afford health services than people without. They tend to report multiple barriers to accessing health services. Furthermore, only 5–15% of people in low and middle-income countries who require assistive devices/technologies receive relevant equipment.

SAFOD has therefore, identified the following key actions and programmatic interventions in order to address some of the challenges:

  1. Initiate quantitative and qualitative research into Inclusive health programs in the Southern Africa in collaboration with SAFOD’s national affiliates, Governments, academic institutions and/or research institutions
  2. Build capacities of DPOs and the communities to advocate for increased access of health services by Persons with Disabilities.
  3. Initiate documentation of models and/or case studies on Inclusive health practices in the region through the production of publications, newsletter/journals, video documentaries and online tools (e.g. website, databanks, etc.).
  4. Promote innovative and appropriate technology development and assistive devices, including promotion of standardized wheelchairs.
  5. Promote the mainstreaming of disability in disaster response and management within the region
  6. Strengthen the expansion of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programs throughout the region to be used as the key service delivery model for Persons with Disabilities, including in health delivery.
  7. Build the capacity of National Affiliates to advocate for the creation of registries of children with disabilities to ensure early identification of disability and to ensure that birth registration must be free and accessible.
  8. Advocate for mandatory screening of pregnant mothers and children for disability-causing diseases and impairments in order to be able to provide appropriate medical care on time.
  9.  Advocate for increased access in both quality and quantity of HIV and AIDS information, and other essential health packages, by people with disabilities
  10. Promote sensitisation and education of health professionals on inclusive health delivery for Persons with Disabilities
  11. Advocate for policies and systems that enhance sexual and reproductive health and rights for girls and women with disabilities.