In the context of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health on 28 May, the Reproductive Health Training Center organized the First National Conference on the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women with Disabilities in Moldova on 29 May in Chisinau.
The estimated number of persons with disabilities in Moldova as of 2017 is 187,000 according to the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, 50% of whom are women. Girls and women with disabilities face many obstacles when they try to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. Very often they are stigmatized, discriminated, and forced to make decisions about their private life, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, their relationship with their partners and childbirth.
On 21 March 2017, the government reported to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on its achievements in this field. On 12 April 2017, the UN Committee came up with a series of recommendations, among which was the recommendation to take measures to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of people with disabilities, especially women.
The purpose of this national conference was to discuss the problems faced by women and girls with disabilities in the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights, to raise awareness among key actors about the need to improve the situation, and to establish the next steps for making necessary changes.
The event brought together participants from among women with disabilities; representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, as well as from the Ministry of Health; representatives of UN agencies; representatives of organizations working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health, rights and disability; and people from the media.
The Conference resolution recommending the following:
- the Ministry of Health to ensure access of disabled women to sexual and reproductive health services and commodities, including the psychical access in medical institutions, provision with adapted medical equipment/gynecological chairs, provision of free contraception and well-trained primary care providers on sexual and reproductive health and rights of people with disabilities –including competencies in providing reproductive health services, including on contraception;
- the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family to ensure that social services providers are trained in sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities, are respectful of these rights, and support persons with disabilities to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights in Moldova;
- the Government and National Council on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to revise the national legal framework in line with international instruments to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities are respected.
The conference resolution reflects the recommendations to the Republic of Moldova of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 12 April 2017 and those from the Reproductive Health Training Center situation analysis on problems faced by women and girls with locomotor disabilities in Moldova in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights
SOURCES: Reproductive Health Training Center in: Astra CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, No.6 (165), 2017 ; PHOTO