Disability & sexual and reproductive health

Karuna’s Best Wishes programme was selected as a good practice in the book Everybody Matters, about inclusive sexual and reproductive health and rights. The book is initiated by the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD) and Share-Net International, the knowledge platform on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Images by De Beeldvormers

People with a disability have the same rights, sexual needs and desires, and possibly family dreams as anybody else. But throughout the world, the rights of people with a disabilities are not being met when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Especially in countries where sexuality in general is a sensitive and unmentionable topic, like in Nepal, the topic of SRHR and people with  disabilities receives little to no attention.

The book Everybody Matters puts this topic on the agenda and inspires all stakeholders – policy makers, NGO’s, health workers, service providers and people with a disability and their families themselves – to take action and to set up collaborations. The book provides eleven good practices of organisations that do work on the topic of sexuality and disability, and describes their lessons learnt and recommendations.

Karuna’s approach: towards inclusive mother and child care

Samridhi Rana Thapa of Karuna Nepal describes in her contribution the importance of adequate mother and child care and the way that Karuna works towards that: by registering and tracking pregnant women (with and without a disability) with mobile devices, to help them to get adequate care.

Karuna has been improving the existing mother and child care in Nepal for years in the villages of Nepal, especially with the aim of preventing avoidable disabilities. We have the ambition to put even more focus on other aspects around sexuality and reproduction of people with a disability, or their ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’.

Inspired during the writing process for Everybody Matters, Karuna Nepal has organised a SRHR training for the Community Based Rehabilitation facilitators from the Ilam district. External SRHR experts have provided information about the different aspects within SRHR: among other things comprehensive sexuality education, a positive body image, contraceptive methods, safe pregnancy and care for young children, and sexual violence.

This way the book, already in the process before publication, inspired us to work on inclusion, also in the area around sexuality.

See the book here, with on page 19 the contribution of Karuna Nepal:

‘Everybody Matters: good practices for inclusion of people with disabilities in sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes’

The contribution of Karuna was also mentioned in a research of Plan International about discrimination and exclusion of girls with a disability worldwide.

Read the research report of Plan International here, with on page 12 the reference to Karuna:

‘Let me decide and thrive: global discrimination and exclusion of girls and young women with disabilities’