People with disabilities are not a homogenous group, and characteristics such as gender, age and impairment type are likely to impact on access to healthcare services especially Person with Short Stature met various issues in accessing these services while it’s their right.

Access to healthcare services is a development issue, as well as a question of realization of rights. A key focus of Sustainable Development Goal 3 “Good Health and Well-being” is to improve access to healthcare services for all through achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship

So, from Tuesday 28th to 29th September 2021 at Olympic Hotel, Rwanda Union of Little People in partnership with DRF/DRAF trained 27 persons with short stature in Kicukiro and Gasabo Districts on Dwarfism and rights to health services in a project of Promoting the inclusion of health care Services and COVID-19 response and recovery to persons with Short Stature in Rwanda.

Honorine TUYISHIMIRE, RULP Executive Director introduced the training on September 28th 2021 saying that it is the best that everyone knows to differentiate a person with Short Stature and other disabilities and even illness because not all person with low height is with Short Stature. It is moreover important that all person with Short Stature know about their right in accessing health care services and get COVID-19 response and recovery as one of marginalized group that have too many issues before, during and after the pandemic introduction. so, if you do not know yourself, you cannot even know and fight for your right

Esther MUKAMPOGAZI, the facilitator in this training started by introducing a person with dwarfism. She said that is a medical or genetic condition that causes someone to be considerably shorter than an average-sized man or woman. The average height of an adult with dwarfism is 1,22 meters. However, dwarfism could apply to an adult who is 1,47 meters or shorter.

” The term “little person” or “little people” is often used, too. Persons with short Stature encounter several challenges in daily life. Many have serious medical problems, and their short and often disproportionate Stature makes life strenuous in an average-sized society

“Dwarfism is moreover a condition of growth retardation. It produces an abnormally short adult stature. Dwarfism arises due to several factors. A variety of hereditary and metabolic disorders can cause dwarfism. Not only that, insufficient nutrition during crucial phases of growth and development, as well as growth-hormone deficiency, also causes dwarfism” She added.

She also talked about healthcare services where many people with Short Stature are seriously challenged but she explained them their right. “The World Health Organization defines health as “a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It has been said that, while health is not everything, everything is nothing without health. This is because good health is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of and participation in many fundamental aspects of life, including education, work and society” She explained.

“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reinforces and strengthens protection for persons with disabilities in relation to health and rehabilitation. It recognizes that persons with disabilities have the right to the highest attainable standard of health and that State parties must recognize that right without discrimination on the basis of disability (Art. 25) and further guarantees the right of persons with disabilities to access rehabilitation services of all kinds (Art. 26). Moreover, the Convention recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to access, within their communities, a range of in home, residential and other support services (Art. 19.)” She added.

Bazrisse UWISHYAKA, who attended these trainings said that she knew fewer things on her right to accessing healthcare services because she met serious challenges. “Accessing health care services is not easy to any person with Short Stature but it is worse when you do not know your right. First of all, you met physical inaccessibility, material inaccessibility but the worst of them is limited knowledge to the service providers who sometimes talk to you with negative sayings. So, we are very grateful for having this kind of training about our right to accessing healthcare services particularly, as women with Short Stature.”. She insisted

David GACAMUMAKUBA, one of the participants added that many persons even some with Short Statue do not know that it’s a kind of disability.” Sometimes, people do not consider a person with Short Stature as a person with disability. They do not even know that it can be cured when it is not hereditary reasons. Moreover, there are those who think that every one with low height is with Short Stature, but for us, we really know who is a person with Short Stature and all the physical characteritics from this training. We really thank RULP, DRF/DRAF”. He said.

Persons with Short Stature with health problems cannot visit hospitals or health clinics if buildings are physically inaccessible to them. To ensure enjoyment of their right to health services, accessibility must therefore be addressed broadly, for example in relation to entrances to buildings and healthcare facilities, appropriate equipment, restroom facilities, and to transportation to the health care facility. Accessibility should be focused mainly on the difficulties of orientation to the health care setting, including completion of registration forms.

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