United nations population fund together with efc ict training centre developes a mobile application on reproductive health for vision impaired and hearing impaired persons
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency that expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. They are on the ground improving lives in more than 140 countries, delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Since the establishment of UNFPA Sri Lanka in 1969, the agency has been working with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure rights of men, women and young people to sexual and reproductive health information and services to live healthy lives.
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities assists developers, researchers and all manufacturing assistive devices for persons with disabilities with knowledge, experiences, technical and accessibility support.
Sexual and reproductive health remains a big challenge for today’s young people in Sri Lanka. Most of these young people lack accurate information about reproductive health and contraception putting them at risk from unwanted pregnancies, STIs and HIV and AIDS.
People with disabilities are marginalized from society due to their inability to access sensitive information regarding their sexual and reproductive wellbeing easily and discreetly. Of the total population aged five years and over (18.6 million) in Sri Lanka, 1,617,924 persons were those with at least one of the six disability domains defined by the Census (disabilities in seeing, disabilities in hearing/speaking, disabilities in hands, disabilities in legs, other physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities). This represented 8.7 per cent of the total of whom 43 per cent were males and 57 per cent were females (DCS, 2014). Sri Lanka’s highest proportion of disability is related to vision impairment. In this category there were slightly more females than males As Sri Lanka’s population ages, it is also experiencing an increase in disabilities, especially among the adult and older population.
There are virtually no special facilities in schools/other education centers for people with disabilities children/adults in many parts of Sri Lanka. As a part of comprehensive reproductive health education programs in Sri Lanka, UNFPA wants to enables young people with disabilities to make informed decision about their reproductive health. Sexual and reproductive health and rights information accessibility creation for persons with disabilities using specially designed mobile application that caters to adolescents and youth who are unable to see and who are unable to hear. The main goal of this mobile application is to improve the accessibility of knowledge and awareness of marginalized, adolescents with disabilities and youth in sexual and reproductive health and rights in Sri Lanka and beyond. The app runs on any iOS and Android phone, and it is free. In addition, it is available in all three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil) while the content will be edited to suit the Sri Lankan sensitivities. This mobile application contains voice a guild for blind or visually impaired people that will help them get through mobile app content.
ABLE – App, the mobile application was launched in December 2015 at Golden Pond – TajSamudra, Colombo. ‘ABLE’ therefore, tries to create a space where person with disability, especially young people, can obtain the information they need to lead healthier and fuller lives through their personal mobile phone or tablets. The app is made of two sections; the first is titled ‘LEARN’, wherein users can learn about a range of topics, from sexuality and family planning to gender based violence and sexually transmitted diseases. The second is ‘FIND SUPPORT,’ which consists of a comprehensive catalogue of clinics in every city and district of Sri Lanka. Persons with disabilities have the same sexual and reproductive health and rights needs as other people. Yet they often face barriers to information and services. There are virtually no special facilities in schools/other education centers or education materials for people with disabilities children/adults especially for vision impairment in many parts of Sri Lanka /Globally.
So, as a part of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) comprehensive reproductive health education programs in Sri Lanka, they want to enable young people with disabilities to make informed decision about their reproductive health. Sexual and reproductive health and rights information accessibility creation for persons with disabilities using specially designed mobile application that caters to adolescents and youth who are unable to see. UNFPA started this ‘ABLE,’ app concept to address the fact that the person with disability individuals are marginalized from society and often they do not receive proper information about their sexual and reproductive well-being, putting them at risk of unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
People with disabilities are a part of society. UNFPA wants to work towards a future where they are independent and living in a better environment with dignity and justice.”
To download the app and receive updates, search for ‘ABLE UNFPA’ at your mobile store, available on Android and iOS phones.
At the launch of this mobile application for vision impaired and hearing impaired persons the welcome note was delivered by JeyanAbeywickrama, National Programme Analyst of UNFPA. Dr. NadikaChandraratne from Family Health Bureau spoke on Importance of sexual reproductive health. The Usage and the accessibility of the mobile application for persons with disabilities was done by ManiqueGunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Arun Jentrick is the Co-ordinator of the Comprehensive and Reproductive Health Education of UNFPA.
1 Launch of the mobile application.
2 EFC Vision impaired and hearing impaired ICT trainees.
3 EFC trainees at the launch.
4 Manique making a speech.
5 Group of persons with disabilities.
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,
385 J3 Old Kotte Road,