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Bridging the Gap organises in Burkina Faso a learning space on access to health and the certification of disability

participants of the training held in Burkina Faso

From November 21st to 23rd the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, hosted a 3-day reflection on the topic of disability and its certification. Two separate but intertwined events were organised by Bridging the Gap in collaboration with the Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas (FIIAPP) and the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso to increase awareness on mainstreaming of disability in development cooperation initiatives and present on-going best practices.

The first part of this activity took place on the 21st of November and it was organised by FIIAPP and addressed to 50 representatives of international organisations, national institutions, NGOs, practitioners and DPOs operating in Burkina Faso in the field of inclusion of persons with disabilities. This day’s sessions were led by Mr. Andre Breugger, a senior practitioner in the field of Disability and a registered trainer for the Human Development Model-Disability Creation Process (HDM-DCP), and Dr. Sene Top Arame, Head of the Social Department the Ministry of Health of Senegal, a country which is a reference in terms of policies and services for persons with disabilities in West Africa.

On the other hand, the activity held on 22nd and 23rd was organised by the Ministry of Health and concerned a restricted number of thirty participants, including experts and practitioners working with institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the National Intersectoral Council for the Rights of Persons with Disability, the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity, Family and Humanitarian Action, the Ministry of Education and representatives of the Organisations of Persons with Disability.

The three days were meant to support the commitment to the human rights of persons with disabilities of the Government of Burkina Faso, which was one of the first countries in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Three years after ratification, in 2012, the country adopted a national law for the inclusion of persons with disabilities; foresaw a disability card and identified benefits for those in vulnerable economic conditions. Also, a commitment to universal health care was recently adopted, but limited human resources due to the country’s economic situation mean that the production of disability certification remains strictly medical.

The possibility to exchange their experience with the representative of Senegal was particularly significant since this country has an articulated system which associates the International Classification of Health and Disability (ICF) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its biopsychosocial model to the Human Development Model-Disability Creation Process (HDM-DCP), which most reflects the Human Rights approach, highlighting environmental, individual, social spheres and capabilities for the inclusion of persons with disability.

Difficulty of access, distances, the need to reinforce the service to provide the benefits to which people are entitled need to be addressed in both countries. Senegal with its decentralized system, access to services through the web page of the Ministry of Health, the mixed commissions established at provincial level, was a great experience to look forward.

The outcome of these three days of exercise, meetings and exchanges took place in a collaborative environment in which all stakeholders committed themselves to develop a path for the production of a certification system that could facilitate access to the disability card and the rights recognised by law for all persons with disabilities.