Medical Services . Attitudes and awareness
There are 195 925 people with disabilities living in the Republic of Armenia (RA), 93 134 of which are women. In all over the world women and girls with disabilities face different types of discrimination. In contrast to men, who have the same problems, women are twice more vulnerable first because of their sex and then because of their disability.
Nevertheless Armenian clinics and hospitals are enriched with new equipments, programs which do not pay special attention to the special needs of women with disabilities particularly when it comes to to the reproductive and sexual health care. Women having different problems do not have the opportunity to attend medical institution closer to their home where they would be treated appropriately and would be provided with services adjusted to their needs.
“The nurse reaches out her hand and tells to lean and raise, not thinking and knowing that her hand cannot be a firm support for me. I need low table or chair or a firm handle so that I can lean on it”. Marine / girl with physical disability, Spitak city
“When my examination was over on medical table, the doctor left me alone on the table and I didn’t know what to do. My interpreted told me to get up. I felt tensed because I was left without attention and in uncomfortable position for a long time. Besides, I felt uncomfortable that the interpreted had to interfere”. Anna / girl with hearing impairment, Yerevan city
Moreover not all women and girls with disabilities have noted positive treatment among workers of the medical institution.
The problem is especially actual in regional medical institutions. Let us represent some citations from the observers’ reports.
“In response to my friend’s concern about receptionist’s negligent treatment, the latter’s reponse was following, “It makes me angry that she does not speak as a human”. Elmira / girl with hearing impairment, Vanadzor city
As I have problem with speaking and with correct pronunciation, they interrupt me and don’t let me finish my thought. I expect short yes or no answers. Tamara / girl with physical disability and with speech disorder, Spitak city
There is a common opinion in the society that woman or girl with disabilities can’t have the same problems, troubles and happiness as “normal” women and girls. In medical institutions, our observers also faced this opinion. For example, one of the receptionists, because of her unawareness began to ask not proper questions to the observing woman.
The person with disabilities is expected to visit the medical institution with an accompanying person who will not only help to overcome physical and sensual inaccessibility, but will also be that “full” whom the doctor will be able to speak to. This is a common phenomenon about which the observers reported both in the framework of the observation and from their previous experience.
“I went to make a pregnancy card, the worker stared at me and said, “Are you pregnant? /very surprised/. Will you be able to bear? Aren’t you afraid?” Mary / girl with mobility impairment, Vanadzor city
“In local clinics after searching for a long time, the medical staff turned out who is the community doctor of our district. Then it turned out that the doctor works from 09.00 to 12.00 or from 15.00 to 18.00, but they said that they don’t know at what time she’ll come to work and whether she’ll come or not. I had to visit other day”. Mariam / girl with mobility impairment, Yerevan city.
READ: “Inclusiveness and Accessibility of Reproductive Medical Services for Women and Girls with Disabilities in Armenia” reasearch by Zaruhi Batoyan