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Inclusive health

Health programmes are Sightsavers’ area of particular expertise, where we have the opportunity to make the most impact for people with disabilities. By making sure disability and gender considerations are planned into all of our eye health and NTD programmes, we can deliver more effective services and reach the most marginalised people. 

Making inclusion an integral part of all our work can also help ensure that infrastructures are accessible, that quality services are provided and that effective systems are in place to enable referrals to other services (eg rehabilitation). 

Sightsavers is currently piloting an inclusive eye health initiative in Bhopal, India, aimed at developing a model that will eventually inform all our eye health programmes.

Related blogs

Higher profile for IEH pilot in Bhopal
A person with an intellectual disability cannot get a job? True or False? That’s one of the questions Sightsavers’ social inclusion and disability adviser, Andrea Pregel, put to the art students in Bhopal who’d volunteered for our Inclusive Art Project to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

Two women sit facing each other. One holds a brochure and the other has a swollen leg as a result of lymphatic filariasis.Bridging eye health and inclusion

We have committed to making our eye health and NTD programmes inclusive of people with disabilities with gender mainstreamed throughout – but with existing projects in over 30 countries and new initiatives being developed all the time, we had to figure out how to manage this organisational shift so that we knew how to do it.

 Close-up of an older woman holding a cane.Leading the way to inclusive eye health programmes

Earlier this year, Sightsavers has been working on a very successful data disaggregation by disability pilot in Bhopal, India. One of the unintended positive consequences of this project was the appetite for both our organisation and local partners – Sewa Sedan Eye Hospital and AARAMBH – to further understand how to best achieve inclusion within eye health programmes.

Sightsavers’ approach to inclusive eye health

At Sightsavers we define inclusive eye health as eye health services that are sustainable, planned with gender and disability considerations in mind, and provided within a barrier-free environment.

While our priority focus is to address the barriers experienced by people with disabilities, and women/girls, other marginalised groups of individuals (eg people with HIV/AIDS and transgender people) are also reached by our programmes.

A man points at a screen as a woman reads letters off it during an eye examination. ©Graeme Robertson

Our inclusive eye health approach is informed by a rights-based approach to inclusive development. This means that we aim to strengthen local systems by supporting governments and local stakeholders in the provision of inclusive and sustainable services, as well as enabling people with disabilities and other marginalised groups to claim their rights to health and other services.

Ultimately, we aim to empower people with disabilities and women to make informed decisions and prioritise their health, and to support governments and other decision-makers in the provision of more inclusive and sustainable services.

Health as a human right

The fundamental right to health for all individuals is proclaimed in several international treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to the World Health Organisation, around one billion people worldwide live with disability: that is one in seven people. Eighty per cent of people with disabilities live in developing countries,  often experiencing multiple barriers in accessing healthcare.

On 25 September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the new development framework: ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The 2030 Agenda is composed of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets aimed at eradicating poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change over the next 15 years.

The agenda is based on the principle of ‘leave no one behind’, and contains many references to people with disabilities and women/girls. Goal 3 –  Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages – aims to achieve universal health coverage, ensuring access for every individual to quality, accessible and affordable healthcare services.

Videos, presentations and strategy documents relating to Sightsavers’ inclusive eye health work.

For more information contact Andrea Pregel, Sightsavers’ Programme Advisor, Social Inclusion (apregel@sightsavers.org), or Sandeep Buttan, Sightsavers’ Global Technical Lead, Eye Health, Asia (sbuttan@sightsavers.org).

Case studies

Amarchand lives with his wife Phullobai in the Piriya slum, located in Bhopal District, Madhya Pradesh, India. A few years ago an accident caused his vision in both eyes to be damaged. Amarchand has hearing problems and age-related mobility issues that mean he can’t walk; and although he and his wife have a BPL (below poverty line) card, they barely have enough money to sustain themselves. All of these factors meant that accessing services at a hospital wasn’t an option for Amarchand.

A woman and a man with solemn expressions sitting next to each other outside a building.

An outreach camp conducted through Anand Nagar vision centre, near where Amarchand and Phullobai live, gave Amarchand a way to access treatment. The camp is part of the inclusive eye health project run by Sightsavers in partnership with AARAMBH and Sewa Sadan Eye Hospital, which has seen sight-saving treatments and surgeries provided to people living in urban slum areas. Following an eye screening at the camp, Amarchand was referred and given transport to the hospital for a cataract operation, which has restored the sight in his left eye.

 

Blogs

 

Higher profile for IEH pilot in Bhopal
A person with an intellectual disability cannot get a job? True or False? That’s one of the questions Sightsavers’ social inclusion and disability adviser, Andrea Pregel, put to the art students in Bhopal who’d volunteered for our Inclusive Art Project to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

 Close-up of an older woman holding a cane.Leading the way to inclusive eye health programmes

Earlier this year, Sightsavers has been working on a very successful data disaggregation by disability pilot in Bhopal, India. One of the unintended positive consequences of this project was the appetite for both our organisation and local partners – Sewa Sedan Eye Hospital and AARAMBH – to further understand how to best achieve inclusion within eye health programmes.


Close up of a woman with an orange headscarf sitting in a wheelchair.NTDs and inclusion – the importance of community participation

Sightsavers is committed to ensuring all our health programmes reach the most marginalised people. In Uganda, the team decided to find out how inclusive our NTD projects are already, and to identify key gender and disability issues that might need to be a

Two women sit facing each other. One holds a brochure and the other has a swollen leg as a result of lymphatic filariasis.Bridging eye health and inclusion

We have committed to making our eye health and NTD programmes inclusive of people with disabilities with gender mainstreamed throughout – but with existing projects in over 30 countries and new initiatives being developed all the time, we had to figure out how to manage this organisational shift so that we knew how to do it.

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