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To enhance access to sexual and reproductive health services for persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Health, with support from UNFPA Zambia and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office undertook a training on disability inclusion, targeting health care providers from Central and Western Provinces.

In Zambia, current national data estimates that 7.2% of Zambia’s population are living with a disability, who, among other socio-economic challenges, face limitations in access to equitable and quality health care. The situation is worse for women and girls with disabilities, who are more likely to be exposed to sexual abuse and other forms of physical and mental violence. Evidence shows that women with disabilities are up to 10 times more likely to experience sexual violence; while young people with disability are up to 4 times more likely to experience violence.

Further, protracted isolation and disruptions in routine outreach services due to COVID-19 have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities among persons with disabilities.

Speaking at the official opening of the training, Director  of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, underscored the various barriers faced by persons with disabilities, particularly in the health sectors.

“The Government of Zambia is committed to the principle of leaving no one behind, including addressing health inequalities and vulnerabilities among adolescent girls, young people, people with disabilities and key populations. In this regard, the Ministry of Health continues to prioritize disability inclusion in service provision, towards achieving Universal Health Coverage” he said.

In a message delivered on her behalf, UNFPA Zambia Representative Ms. Gift Malunga, re-affirmed UNFPA’s commitment to support the Government of the Republic of Zambia and partners, as well as persons with disability across the country, in fostering broad-based actions to protect and promote the rights of perosns with disability.

“Addressing development inequalities among persons with disability is an urgent task. We will not reduce poverty, unless and until we act upon the promise of the ICPD Pillar 1 - Dignity and Equality; as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aimed at leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first” she said.

On 3 December 2020, Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On this day, UNFPA launched its global Disability Inclusion Strategy 2022 to 2025, themed:  “We Matter. We Belong. We Decide”. The strategy is aligned with the UNFPA Strategic Plan, 2022–2025, the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy, and puts persons with disabilities at the very centre of UNFPA’s work.