Our work on inclusive health

We’re working to make all health systems accessible so people with disabilities can get access to the health care they need, when and where they need it.

A woman in a wheelchair waiting in the doorway of a health centre in Nigeria.

People with disabilities use health services more than people without disabilities – yet they experience disproportionate access to the help they need.

People with disabilities face a wide range of barriers in society, such as stigma and discrimination in the community and within the health sector, inaccessible health facilities and services, and higher out-of-pocket health expenses.

Access to inclusive health care is an integral human right, as well as a prerequisite to enjoy many other fundamental rights, including the rights to life, information and freedom from discrimination. We’re using what we’ve learned from our projects in Nepal and Nigeria, to create evidence on how to include people with disabilities – particularly women and girls with disabilities – with a targeted and mainstreaming approach in health programming.

Our approach to inclusive health

We ensure health care is available to all

Universal health coverage (UHC) is only possible within strong and integrated health systems. For UHC to be realised, health care services must be made available to everyone so they can be accessed without the risk of financial hardship.

We help to develop sustainable systems

We work closely with governments and other global health stakeholders to ensure that everyone has access to free or affordable health care and strengthen the development of more inclusive and sustainable health systems.

We engage with local organisations

We believe people with disabilities and their representative organisations should be able to influence decision-making processes that have an impact on their lives. A pillar of our work is engaging with organisations of people with disabilities in our project steering committees and activities.

We produce research and evidence

Other examples of our work include making COVID-19 treatment facilities more accessible, training sexual health workers on disability inclusion and gender equity, and running accessible, inclusive media campaigns. We aim to generate evidence on what works to promote equitable access to healthcare.

Our health projects

Julius and Najiba stand outside their home in Uganda with their two young children. Julius is holding a white cane.
© Sightsavers

Promoting access to inclusive family planning for people with disabilities in Nigeria

Duration: January 2022 – July 2024
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Sightsavers, BBC Media Action

Our family planning project in northern Nigeria aims to improve access to and use of family planning services for women with disabilities through social behaviour change activities such as mass media broadcasts and working with health facilities and communities. By collaborating with the nationwide Lafiya programme, we’re ensuring disability inclusion is built into and prioritised in health outcomes.
Project snapshot | Read how the project is transforming lives

An eye doctor is pointing to a list of letters as a man in a wheelchair reads them out as part of an eye test.
© Sightsavers

Improving access to eye care services for people with disabilities in Nigeria

Duration: December 2019 – September 2022
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Sightsavers

This project piloted an inclusive health approach that focused on improving the quality of and equity in access to eye care services for people with disabilities in Kogi state, Nigeria. Working closely with the Kogi state government and local organisations of people with disabilities, we helped to establish a comprehensive and inclusive eye care programme, improving the local eye health system and access to eye care in the state. Project snapshot

A woman and girl smile together while sitting inside.
© Humanity and Inclusion

Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people with disabilities in Nepal

Duration: September 2019 – September 2022
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Humanity & Inclusion, BRAC, Light for the World, Sense International

In Nepal, we used a range of approaches to improve the wellbeing of young people with disabilities through equitable access to inclusive sexual reproductive health services and livelihood opportunities. Working closely with local and national organisations of people with disabilities, we used innovative activities such as peer-to-peer clubs, networks and mentors alongside improving accessibility and improving capacity in health facilities. Project snapshot

A man gives a woman soap to wash her hands.
© Sightsavers/Emmanuel Udoh Ebong

Improving the accessibility of COVID-19 treatment centres in Nigeria

Duration: Five months
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Sightsavers

Soon after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and during the first lockdown in Nigeria, we implemented a rapid response project to assess the level of accessibility of COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities. Following the assessments, we helped to renovate two public hospitals in the capital city, Abuja, which ensured more equitable access for people with disabilities to life-saving services.

Research and resources

Accessibility standards and audit pack for health facilities

Guidance for governments and healthcare providers on how to improve accessibility of healthcare facilities.

A disability-inclusive response to COVID-19

Four lessons learned about including people with disabilities in humanitarian aid.

Evidence digest, focus issue: Health

Evidence digest focus issue looking at health and disability inclusion.

Evidence digest on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Information on SRHR and disability inclusion, covering recent evidence, guidance and learning from programmes.

Mental health, maternal health and SRHR

Overview of evidence of the relationship between mental health, maternal health and sexual health.