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Access to health care, reproductive health and disability: A large scale survey in Sierra Leone

GROCE, Nora
TRANI, Jean-Francois
BROWN, Joyce Brown
KETT, Maria
BAH, Osman
MORLAI, Teddy
BAILEY, Nicki
2011

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This is the first study to compare health status and access to health care services between disabled and non-disabled men and women in urban and peri-urban areas of Sierra Leone. It pays particular attention to access to reproductive health care services and maternal health care for disabled women. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2009 in 5 districts of Sierra Leone, randomly selecting 17 clusters for a total sample of 425 households. All adults who were identified as being disabled, as well as a control group of randomly selected non-disabled adults, were interviewed about health and reproductive health. As expected, we showed that people with severe disabilities had less access to public health care services than non-disabled people after adjustment for other socioeconomic characteristics (bivariate modelling). However, there were no significant differences in reporting use of contraception between disabled and non-disabled people; contrary to expectations, women with disabilities were as likely to report access to maternal health care services as did non-disabled women. Rather than disability, it is socioeconomic inequality that governs access to such services. We also found that disabled women were as likely as non-disabled women to report having children and to desiring another child: they are not only sexually active, but also need access to reproductive health services.

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