Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu is hosting a three-day series of dialogues on sexual and reproductive health and rights for short statured South Africans in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The dialogue sessions which take place in Pretoria, get underway today and will run until Friday.

The sessions follow the inaugural session in December 2019, where the Deputy Minister held a session with short statured people to deliberate on issues affecting their everyday lives.

The prevalence of short statured persons in South Africa has not been accurately documented and is estimated to be around 3 to 5% and for the prevalence of growth hormone deficiency being around one in 4,000 persons.

Currently no data exist around sexual and reproductive health and rights for short statured people.

“There is currently no data existing around sexual and reproductive health and rights for short statured people. The impact of and services on HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence and femicide is the reason for continuous engagements and dialogue with short statured South Africans. [This is] to begin to build an information hub for the sector, which will inform government’s programmes, policies and services for short statured people,” said the Department of Social Development (DSD) ahead of the start of the sessions.

South Africa has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been domesticated through the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WPRPD).

The DSD is responsible for developing policies, services and programmes to promote the rights of vulnerable people and persons with disabilities.

“Persons of short stature still experience discrimination, exclusion and compounded marginalisation, as part of an under-represented disability group.”

South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) annually between 3 November and 3 December and the Deputy Minister has chosen to focus on short statured people.

This year the month is commemorated under the theme: ‘The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – Create and Realise an Inclusive Society Upholding Rights of Persons with Disabilities.’

Source: South African Government News Agency