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New Brunswick Coalition of Persons with Disabilities

Making Mammograms Accessible

Making Mammograms Accessible

Last May, after being contacted by several members of the NBCPD, we embarked on a mission to make mammograms, a service that should be easily accessible to all in New Brunswick, just that-accessible. When a woman with any form of mobility disability, or a woman who is unsteady on her feet is placed at risk of serious harm and injury for simply undergoing a test to help identify cancer, when such an easy solution exists, is just unacceptable! Why it took until 2022 for this to even be an issue is yet another question.
The process started quite seamlessly. The NB Medical Society was simply fantastic. 2 minutes into the pitch, they stopped us said “we agree, and we will be seeking a source of funding so that these are purchased, now how else can we help make life easier for persons with disabilities in NB?”. This meeting made us feel heard and validated. Within a few weeks we received a follow up stating Dr Dornan would be procuring these for Horizon Health. After he was ceremoniously let go as a scapegoat for a failing health system, we were notified, not officially or on the record, that Mrs. Melanson was not as convinced of the necessity. Our previous joy and elation were gone!
In August, we met with Minister Dorothy Shepherd, who was no longer Health Minister but Minister of Social development. We pitched the chairs to her as persons with disabilities fall under her portfolio, and this was a definite health need of persons with disabilities. We also felt it was necessary to pitch these to her and her department as it is almost impossible to receiving anything but form letters from Minister Fitch, regardless of which department he is running.
We are so pleased to announce that we have received confirmation that Horizon will be purchasing 9 accessible mammogram chairs, Vitalité 1 by the end of the fiscal year. This is a life-changing as well as a life-saving measure. We want to thank Minister Shepherd for her support on the measure.
When women with disabilities cannot safely access the same care as able-bodied women in NB, that is systemic ableism. There is no room for systemic ableism anywhere in New Brunswick, especially not in healthcare!
What accessibility measure should we fight for next? The options are endless, but what do you feel is the most achievable prior to the next election? Please let us know

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