Barriers to Healthcare Services for People with Disabilities in Developing Countries: A Literature Review

Judith Baart, Florence Taaka


Purpose: This literature review aimed to identify the main barriers in access to mainstream healthcare services for people with disabilities.

Method: Online databases were searched for relevant articles published after 2006.  Preference was given to articles pertaining to developing countries. On the basis of pre-determined inclusion and exclusion criteria, 16 articles were selected for the review. Barriers noted in the articles were grouped thematically.

Results: There appeared to be 7 main barriers - 4 related to the demand side i.e., pertaining to the individual seeking healthcare services, and 3 barriers on the supply side i.e., pertaining to healthcare provision. These are: 1) Lack of information; 2) Additional costs of healthcare; 3) Limited mobility; and, on the demand side, 4) Stigmatisation; while on the supply side, 5) Staff attitude; 6) Communication barriers; and, 7) Inaccessible facilities.

Conclusion: To ensure that people with disabilities can successfully access the necessary health services, the barriers on the demand side (the individuals requiring healthcare) as well as the barriers that are part of the healthcare system, should be attended to.


Disability; eye care; sexual and reproductive health; health

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