By Glory Ohagwu
A non governmental organisation known as Deaf women Aloud initiative, DWAI, that is championing the inclusion of the Deaf, has called for the introduction of sign language as a compulsory course in the schools of nursing and midwifery in Nigeria.
Making sign language a compulsory course would ensure that nurses who are the first point of contact during hospital visits are equipped with the requisite knowledge to aid doctors in communication and treatment of Deaf patients.
They stated their position at an interactive session held in Abuja by She Forum Africa, a pan African organisation and Pathfinder International, a development partner to strengthen inclusion of all voices in #Icommit Voices for Women’s Health initiative to strengthen inclusion of all voices and solicit multi-sectoral commitments for advancing women’s health and rights.
President of Deaf Women Aloud Initiative, Hellen Beyioku-Alase decried the inhumane treatments melted out on deaf female patients who are not given room to discuss and agree on treatment choices available to all.
She is asking for inclusion, awareness, treatment and inclusion, for HIV/Aids, diabetes, fibroid, malaria and other diseases for deaf people who are being daily exploited.
Sharing their experiences, members expressed disappointment at the unjust treatments metted out on deaf patients who subscribe to the National Health Insurance subscription at various health facilities which has resulted in many deaths.
While making a case for the need to employ sign Language interpreters who must subscribe to oaths of confidentiality to protect the information so disclosed, they stated that lack of financal inclusion has also led to the exclusion of indigent deaf citizens.
They appealed for the establishment of focal Non Governmental organisations to support indigent deaf people.
They pointed out that the specialised, continious and sustained advocacy and the inclusion for deaf women would save their lives and empower them to save the lives of deaf women who have resorted to learning medical interventions on YouTube to avoid the denigrating attitude and treatment melted out on them at various Hospitals by medical personnel who are not accommodating.
The Founder of She Forum Africa, Ms Inimfon Etuk, responding on behalf of the convening partners, commended DWAI for pushing the inclusion agenda for Deaf Women in Nigeria.
She committed to partner with other development partners to push for inclusive solutions to some of the challenges which had been enunciated towards achieving gender equality and advacing women’s health and rights.
The interaction is part of efforts to galvanize inclusive action for the voices of all stakeholders to be heard in the quest to advance the health and rights of women in Nigeria.