On October 19th, 2016 in Villa Portofino Hotel, UPHLS organized a STAKEHOLDERS CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP ON DISABILITY AND HIV POLICIES AND SERVICES.
The key activities was to organize a “Desk review to assess the gaps in guidelines and policies on HIV services for PWDs” and then after proceed with the dissemination of the results by “Hosting HIV stakeholders workshops on disability friendly tools and policies” to share found gaps and other information on disability.
The main objective of the workshop was to bring together the Ministry of Health, Rwanda Bio Medical Centre and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities, Rwanda Housing Authority, with HIV&AIDS and disability stakeholders to assess and share progress of the implementation of developed strategies to make existing HIV&AIDS and health tools, policies and legislation disability friendly.
In his opening remarks,DUSHIME Theophile, the General Director of Clinical services in MOH has reminded that the Government of Rwanda has put in place different policies and is putting too many efforts in ensuring that no one is left behind while establishing those policies. They monitor that all laws, policies and regulations are taking into consideration all categories of persons, people with disabilities included.
He said that in the past years, the Government conducted a categorization process of all persons with disabilities which have shown the numbers of all persons with disabilities by type of disability, age, data which will help in defining special needs according to each type of disability and services that are specific to them. To provide equitable service to PWDs is everyone’s’ responsibility, MOH included.
He reminded the participants that they requested all Health facilities in Rwanda including even those built in the past years to review their physical accessibility. He asks also UPHLS and NCPD that once they discover things which have been forgotten, that MOH is waiting for them to insert and revise their rules. Nowadays, every new building is approved after looking on its accessibility and that before building ; they consult the specialists in construction matters such as RHA, to orient them with the standards required.
During the workshop and participation, participants have got information about the gaps found in health policies to help persons with disabilities have equal access to HIV services.
The closing remarks were given by Mr. Romalis NIYOMUGABO, the UPHLS Legal Representative, who once again thanked the participants for their interests, courage and commitment in joining efforts with UPHLS in improving access to HIV&AIDS and Health services for persons with disabilities. He thanked also the UPHLS staff for their hard work in improving and increasing PWDs well being. He also mentioned that journalists are very important in the advocacy process and thank them too and invited them in the celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities which will take place on 03/12/2016.