People with disabilities and service providers’ experiences of community based rehabilitation in Rwanda
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Background: Globally the number of people with disabilities (PWDs) is escalating especially in developing countries. Different approaches and strategies have been used to care for PWDs but could not meet their expectations. Community Based Rehabilitation(CBR) is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the strategy to address their needs using both the medical and social model. CBR was established and implemented in two areas of Rwanda ten years ago with overall objectives that aim to facilitate accessibility to CBR service and full participation of PWDs in the community.However, the number of PWDs accessing rehabilitation services in Rwanda is still limited.Since the CBR programme started in Rwanda, there has been a lack of information on whether the CBR services provided by these two programmes are meeting the needs of PWDs and whether they facilitated the service providers to deliver the services more easily as intended. The aim of this study was to determine the experiences of PWDs and service providers of the Inkurunziza and Gahini CBR programmes in Rwanda.A qualitative method of data collection used in the study included focus group discussions with the selected PWDs. In-depth interviews were conducted with a purposively selected sample of service providers. This study was carried out at two day centers one from the Inkurunziza CBR programme and the other from Gahini CBR programme. The results revealed that the CBR programmes have increased the number of PWDs accessing CBR services. Services provided at these centres addressed some of the needs of PWDs, which included provision of assistive devices, and rehabilitation services, which were accessible. Most of the participants claimed that the programme is not doing anything to help them with activities that can assist to generate income and facilitate accessibility to schools or vocational training. The study findings indicated that services delivered in both CBR programmes only addressed some of the needs of the PWDs accessing the two CBR programmes. The service providers reported that they found it difficult to reach certain areas to provide CBR services to PWD due to geographical constraints. It is recommended that the CBR services provided by the two programmes need to focus more on education, training and employment of PWDs.