The Umbrella of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in the Fight against HIV and AIDS and for Health Promotion in Rwanda (UPHLS) is implementing a 3 year project entitled “Local Nongovernmental Partnerships for Sustained Country Leadership in Rwanda”. The project is sponsored by CDC Rwanda with the support of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The project is rolled out around five model health centers. These health centers are made inclusive and capacitated to provide HIV services especially in care and treatment to persons with disabilities, to achieve more impact and scale. UPHLS wants to build strong partnerships/coalitions with other stakeholders for Persons with disabilities inclusive health care.

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Gasabo regional partnership and networking workshop

The event lines with the second objective of the project which is to Support and increase equitable access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services for PWDs in Rwanda. The workshop was organized by UPHLS and brought together 19 stakeholders working in Health, HIV and AIDS, disability and social protection from International NGOs, local NGOs and DPOs and officials from Gasabo District.
The purpose of the workshop was to develop and share vision of inclusive health service and the seek for everyone’s commitment and contribution in advancing the inclusion of persons with disabilities in health services, HIV&AIDS services in particular.The workshop was held at Hotel Hilltop and & Country club on 19th May 2016.

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Partcipant in regional partnership and networking workshop

The district counselor in charge of disabilities Mr. Musollini Eugene officially opened the workshop and appreciated the work UPHLS is doing. In his speech, he thanked participants for dedicating their time to such a wonderful workshop and highlighted on some of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in health services due to their vulnerability HIV&AIDS.
In his speech, the Executive Director of UPHLS briefly explained the mission and vision of the organization and the current projects implemented which includes the LCI Project.
Through group discussions, identified major challenges faced by persons with disabilities in accessing health services as follows :
1. Accessibility
2. Communication
3. Joint collaboration between stakeholders and DPOs
4. Poverty
5. Stigma and discrimination
6. Ignorance
After the plenary discussions and presentations from the groups, participants generated recommendations that could be implemented in order to remove barriers and increase accessibility of health services for persons with disabilities in Gasabo district and in the region in general.
The recommendations are as follows.
 Training for services providers on disability and the specific needs in health
 Multiplication of campaigns on disability and barriers PWDs encounter in everyday life
 Advocacy on sign language in order to be admitted into the languages spoken in Rwanda on this, it will be taught in schools.
 Strengthen the capacities of schools for inclusive education by giving them the necessary material for teaching children with disabilities in their different categories
 Training for different partners and stakeholders on disability and how to resolve challenges according to specific needs.
 Advocate for the capacity development of PWDs in order to improve their standard of living
 Include people with disabilities in activities planned by partners for Gasabo District.
 Advocate for the establishment of a disability mainstreaming office at the national level that collaborates with District Disability Mainstreaming Officers.