Wednesday, 20 October, 2021


Delivering disability inclusive reproductive health services through UHFWCs

Globally, around a billion people are living with some form of disability. People with disabilities (PWDs) are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than people without disabilities, and are more likely to be women. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Bangladesh is committed to meeting the needs of all PWDs.

The country has gone some way towards strengthening the legal and policy environment for disability inclusive care. Bangladesh promulgated the Disability Acts of 2011 and 2013, setting out detailed services that should be provided to PWDs at each level of the health system. The Bangladesh National Building Code, 2020 created an obligation to equip every health facility with necessary provisions for PWDs.

Union Health and Family Welfare Centers (UHFWCs) can play a key role here. UHFWCs are community health hubs, not only for family planning (FP) but for a range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for villagers in Bangladesh. With over 4,000 such centers, each serving around 25,000 people, they make a critical contribution to the country’s progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

In this situation, upgrading the physical infrastructure of the UHFWCs and training and orientation of public health staff on disability inclusive care are needed.

Strengthening information systems to monitor progress will make an important contribution towards increasing the contraceptive prevalence in Bangladesh, improving overall quality of life and bringing Universal Health Coverage one step closer.

(Dr Nazmul Huda & Corinne Grainger of WISH2Action project)