MMS Health for All Podcast

MMS Health for All Podcast

Ending Inequalities will Beat AIDS

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Around 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV, which can cause AIDS. Since the start of the pandemic in 1981, 36.3 million have died as a result of AIDS. Division, disparity and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.
This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world. Now, COVID-19 is exacerbating inequities and disruptions to services, making the lives of many people living with HIV more challenging. Without bold action against inequalities, the world risks missing the targets to end AIDS by 2030.
In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to Carolyn Gomes about the theme of today’s World Aids Day “END INEQUALITIES. END AIDS. END PANDEMICS.” We talk about what inequalities are and how they drive the HIV pandemic and about essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

Making Telehealth Services Inclusive for All

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Telehealth is the delivery of health care services, where patients and providers are separated by distance. Telehealth platforms provide both opportunities and barriers for persons with disabilities. If designed with accessibility standards in mind, telehealth can have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of persons with disabilities by improving access to quality and cost-effective health services for all regardless of where they live. However, if the barriers to accessing these platforms are not removed, telehealth can further the digital divide and exclusion of persons with disabilities.

In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to Andrea Pregel about how the area of digital health, or ‘telehealth’ has been evolving in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and what this has meant for persons with disabilities. We talk about the barriers and benefits for persons with disabilities to access telehealth and the steps that need to be taken to make digital health accessible and barrier free for all users.

From disability exclusion to inclusion in humanitarian response

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Persons with disabilities and persons with psychosocial disabilities more specifically, are already a vulnerable group before any disaster or crisis happens. During a humanitarian crisis, they are more likely to experience direct physical impact, but also increased distress, violence, exploitation and discrimination. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by humanitarian situations, but often overlooked in emergency response programmes and services across sectors. Disability inclusive humanitarian action is needed to ensure that the barriers faced by persons with disabilities are identified and removed, and that their participation and inclusion is ensured.

In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to Ben Adams about his passion for mental health and about what we mean by disability inclusive humanitarian action. We talk about the risks that persons with disabilities face in humanitarian emergencies and the impact of crises like COVID-19 on persons with disabilities, including on mental health.

Ben Adams is a Senior Mental Health Advisor with CBM Global Disability Inclusion. He has experience as a mental health clinician in Ireland, and globally as a mental health advisor and researcher. Ben currently leads on CBM Global MHPSS (The Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Network) work and is the Senior Advisor of their Community Mental Health Team where he focusses on both Asia and Africa regions. He has a passion for human rights, equity, and inclusion.

“They think women and girls with disabilities aren’t sexual”

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Women and girls with disabilities have the same sexual and reproductive health and rights needs as other people. Yet they often face barriers to accessing information and services. In addition, there are a number of pervasive stereotypes that exist in most cultures in the world about the sexuality of women with disabilities. They are predominantly negative and either serve to deny their sexuality or create fear about it. Their voices are often shut out and they are not empowered to speak out about their needs because of stigma and discrimination. Persons with disability are commonly assumed to be unable to learn about sexuality, have relationships, to be a sexual partner or an effective parent. During COVID-19 lockdowns, women with disabilities faced real hardship as we estimate that they are two to four times more likely to experience physical and sexual violence than women without a disability.

In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to Gertrude Fefoame from Ghana about her passion and work advocating for the rights of women and girls with disabilities. We talk about sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls with disabilities, as well as violence, what kind of barriers they are facing when accessing health care services and what kind of stereotypes they are facing around sexuality.

Let’s stop discrimination and recognize diversity

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Persons with disabilities have the same general healthcare needs as everyone else. They have the right to equal access to quality healthcare services; however, this is not the case in most countries. In many cases, health services may exist but be of very poor quality. Persons with disabilities may face particular barriers in accessing needed healthcare including stigma and discrimination by healthcare staff. Access to information is another key a barrier in the healthcare system, particularly for blind and partially sighted persons.
In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to José Viera about the stigma and social taboos against persons with disabilities, and their impact on healthcare

Nothing about us, without us!

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In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to the Head of Advocacy at CBM Switzerland, Mirjam Gasser, and Chris Heer, self-advocate on the rights of persons with disabilities and head of Equality and Social Policy from the organization of persons with disabilities AGILE.CH. They talk about what it means to live with a disability in Switzerland and about the historical background to the Swiss disability movement. We talk about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), what a human rights-based approach to disability means, and the implementation of the CRPD in and by Switzerland. Lastly, we discuss why equal participation is so essential for the inclusion of persons with disabilities and how this can and should look like both nationally and within Swiss international cooperation.

Why is data and research on disability so important?

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In this episode, Carine Weiss talks to Hannah Kuper about the current gaps in data and research on disability, and the evidence of the link between health and disability. We talk about COVID-19 mortality and disability and about the link between poverty, disability and adverse health outcomes. We also talk about why Hannah got involved in this area of work and how the International Centre for Evidence in Disability came about.

Hannah Kuper is the Director of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability, a research group at LSHTM that works to expand the research and teaching activities of LSHTM in the field of global disability. She is also the co-research director of the FCDO-funded PENDA grant, which will undertake 10 impact evaluation of disability inclusive development programmes in resource poor settings.

This podcast season has been developed by CBM Switzerland in collaboration with Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

About this podcast

The MMS “Health for All” podcast brings you stories of people who are fighting for gender equality, health for all and a world of justice and hope. It features strong-minded people who stand up for their beliefs and are seeking to make this world a better place, demonstrating how dedication can lead to “health for all”. The podcast is produced by Medicus Mundi Switzerland and is hosted by Carine Weiss.

by Carine Weiss, Medicus Mundi Switzerland


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