Investing in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) so that every person has access to quality, affordable health services is a critical step towards building a country’s human capital. And as part of UHC, every woman and child should be able to access quality health services at a price they can afford, and are able to use them when needed. This includes access to comprehensive reproductive, maternal, newborn child and adolescent health services, including family planning.
When the door closed behind her, Maria’s world seemed to collapse. The mother of a girl and two boys had just learned that her eldest son, the teenager who became the pillar of the family after their father died, was not only in a deep depression and increasingly using alcohol but he was gay. She had noticed him becoming moodier and even heard he received a warning at his job for not showing up, something totally unlike him at all. She felt helpless but knew his depression had to stay hidden from the rest of the family and the neighbors as mental health problems brought with them social stigma. But she was most afraid someone would find out he was gay, causing the family to be ostracized and endangering the future of the other children.
March 15, 2017. She looked at me curiously, sipping on her juice box. Her pink sweater in contrast to her anemic pallor. If it had not been for the drip in her right arm, she could be any five year old child. Except she was not. She was a refugee, one of the more than 650,000 Syrians that Jordan has been hosting since the start of the war. Exactly six years ago, the civil war in Syria had started a couple of miles away. Six years later the war continued. It was all this girl had seen in her lifetime.
This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed December 3, takes as its theme: “Inclusion matters: Access and Empowerment for People of all Abilities.” Under this umbrella, the U.N. and other international agencies urge inclusion of persons with “invisible disabilities” in society and in development efforts.