Universal and comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health is part of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for young people. Impoverished women suffer disproportionately from unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted infections and maternal death and disability1. While women living with a disability can have a healthy pregnancy with a good outcome, adverse outcomes are more common among women with disabilities2.
Marie Stopes International Australia, a not-for-profit social business, is working to address the high unmet need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP) services among young people living with a disability in Nepal. Marie Stopes Nepal (MSN) delivers important SRH and FP information to young Nepalese men and women through a team of young volunteers. Ms. Chinta Kumari Yadav is one such individual, who was recruited as a volunteer in Birgunj.
Chinta states that she was initially hesitant to speak out about sexual health in her conservative community, especially due to her vulnerable status as a person living with a disability.
“Gradually with the support of my team, I gained confidence and enhanced my knowledge on SRH issues. This has been a life changing experience for me”.
Making SRH services more accessible and inclusive has boosted her enthusiasm to work for the welfare of her community. She has also encouraged other people living with a disability to seek SRH information and services, such as her friend whose family had dissuaded her for using family planning due to prevailing myths and misconceptions. However, thanks to Chinta’s advocacy and support, she visited one of MSN’s youth centres.
“The friendly service and the maintenance of privacy impressed her the most and she was thankful to Marie Stopes for their service”.
Chinta’s story is an example of how the Australian government, under the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), is providing much-needed SRH services to young people with a disability in Nepal. Research carried out by MSN under the project has provided valuable information about the needs of young people with a disability, which has been used to inform appropriate approaches and ways to make SRH services more effective and inclusive.