On 12 September, business incubator in the High Technologies Park hosted a press-conference dedicated to the official start of Byazmezhnaya project initiated by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Project partners are the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, Dobra social fund, the Republican Association of Wheelchair Users, and private companies Flo Health and EVACLINIC.

The project aims to remind women about the importance of reproductive health maintenance and provide equal opportunities of care to all including women with disabilities.

According to UNFPA Communications and Advocacy Specialist Anna Levdanskaya-Witt, the project is aimed at overcoming the stereotypes and barriers by women and girls on the way to their health regardless of their social status, age, and special needs.

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“Women with disabilities often face the problems of accessibility in various spheres, in particular, in the sphere of reproductive and sexual health. Among the reasons there are absence of equipment, information, or lack of skills of medical workers who contact with this category of patients,” - underlined head of the reproductive health laboratory of Mother and Child Republican Scientific and Practical Centre Tatsiana Vashchilina.edIMG 9381 min

To emphasize the importance of successful implementation of this project chairperson of the Republican Association of Wheelchair Users Evgeny Shevko noted that in Belarus every seventeenth person lives with some form of disability.  He also expressed his hope that the project would provide people with disabilities with a wider access to medical services and realization of their civil rights.

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The project will include several stages.  The first one will be a broad-scale crowdfunding campaign aimed at fundraising for purchase of a special gynecological examination chair for women with disabilities. Buying this chair is an opportunity to draw attention of the public to the problem of access to healthcare for women with disabilities.

To learn more about the project activities and to contribute please visit:  http://byazmezhnaya.by/.

According to the World Report on Disability prepared together by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in 2011, the prevalence of disabilities among the impoverished population and also among women and elderly people are much higher.

They also face problems with the provision of services. Poorly coordinated services, insufficient staffing, and low proficiency of medical staff may impact quality, accessibility, and adequacy of services for people with disabilities.

Data collected in 51 countries for the World Review of Healthcare Systems show that the possibility of gaps between knowledge and skills of healthcare providers and patient’s needs are twice as high in cases of people with disabilities compared to other patients, neglect of patients is four times as high, and a possibility of refusal to provide healthcare services is approximately three times higher for the disabled.