Original Research

Challenges faced by women with disabilities in accessing sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe: The case of Chitungwiza town

Tafadzwa Rugoho, France Maphosa
African Journal of Disability | Vol 6 | a252 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.252 | © 2017 Tafadzwa Rugoho, France Maphosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2015 | Published: 26 May 2017

About the author(s)

Tafadzwa Rugoho, Livelihoods Programme, Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
France Maphosa, Department of Sociology, University of Botswana, Botswana


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Abstract

Background: Women with disabilities in Zimbabwe face numerous challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health. Cultural belief still regards them as not sexually active. The government has also failed to promote policies that facilitate access to sexual and reproductive services by women with disabilities.
Objectives: The reseach objectives were to explore the challenges faced by women with disabilities in accessing sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe.
Method: The data were gathered using in-depth interviews with 23 purposively selected respondents. Thirteen women had physical disabilities, five were visually impaired, three were deaf and two were stammering. The respondents with physical disabilities were using wheelchairs, walking frames, prosthesis, crutches and caliper shoes. The participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 45 years. All interviews were transcribed and translated verbatim into English, and passages were extracted from the transcripts. Key themes and concepts were identified and coded to offer a rich framework for analysis, comparisons and presentation of the data.
Results: Negative perceptions of health personnel towards people with disabilities, disability-unfriendly infrastructure at health facilities and absence of trained personnel for people with disabilities (sign language) are some of the challenges involved.
Conclusion: The government, in partnership with other stakeholders, should address challenges faced by women with disabilities when accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Non-government, private hospitals and profit-making organisations should join hands with government in funding health requirements for women with disabilities.

Keywords

sabilities; women with disabilities; sexual; reproductive health; access

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