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The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) ICT Training Centre has jointly launched a specially designed mobile application – ‘ABLE- App’, for persons with disabilities. Especially targeted at the youth with disabilities, the new application gives access to information pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and is an extension of their comprehensive reproductive health education programme in the country.

The app runs on any iOS and Android phone and it is free. The facility is available in all three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil) while the content will be edited to suit the Lankan sensitivities. This mobile application contains voice a guild for the visually impaired that will help them get through mobile app content.

The mobile application was launched a few weeks ago at the Taj Samudra, Colombo. The welcome note was delivered by Jeyan Abeywickrama, National Programme Analyst of UNFPA. Dr. Nadika Chandraratne from Family Health Bureau spoke on importance of sexual and reproductive health. The usage and the accessibility of the mobile application for persons with disabilities was done by Ms. Manique Gunaratne from EFC’s ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Arun Jentrick is the Coordinator of the Comprehensive and Reproductive Health Education of UNFPA.

The app consists of two sections; the first is titled ‘LEARN’, where users can learn about a range of topics, from sexuality and family planning to gender-based violence and STDs. The second is ‘FIND SUPPORT,’ which contains a comprehensive catalogue of clinics in every city and district of the country. To download the app and receive updates, search for ‘ABLE UNFPA’ available on Android and iOS phones.

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, 1.6 million 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 percent of the total of whom 43 percent were males and 57 percent were females (DCS, 2014). The country’s highest proportion of disability is related to vision impairment.