Home Deaf News Group Calls For Employment Of Sign Language Interpreters In Nigerian Hospitals

Group Calls For Employment Of Sign Language Interpreters In Nigerian Hospitals

by Inclusive News Network

A group, Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI), has called on the Federal and State governments to employ sign language interpreters in all public/private hospitals across the country.

They say the move will help curb the stigmatisation, harassment and discrimination suffered by deaf women and girls in their effort to access health facilities. And also to enable the deaf to feel a sense of belonging during their antenatal and other health issues in the hospitals.

The group made the call during the official launching of Deaf Inclusive Sexual Health ( DISH), programme in Awka, Anambra State Capital, on Thursday.

The Executive Director of Deaf Women Initiative(DWAI), Mrs Helen Anulika Bayioku-Alase, who spoke further in sign language about the initiative, stated that Deaf women and girls in the society are faced with sensitive issues which include; sexual and reproductive Health Rights(SRHR), sexual abuse, gender-based violence, stigmatisation and discrimination.

According to her, all women have the right to Sexual Reproductive Health Services, deaf women are women too. As a mother of four, I never had the opportunity to attend antenatal or post natal care, I did not know it was important to TT vaccine or immunise my children against diseases, it is saddening to note that deaf women all over Nigeria including Anambra state suffer the same fate. We are excluded from sexual and reproductive health services even though in Nigeria this is a right for all women.

“The Universal Health Law, states clearly that everyone irrespective of who they are, has to access healthcare services, especially, women without any form of barriers, unfortunately, deaf women do not enjoy such access due to communication barriers, lack of sign language interpreters in hospitals, stigma, discrimination and attitudinal barriers of health care providers.

“Imagine a health facility where doctors, nurses and midwives do not understand sign language when trying to communicate with deaf women, this issue of communication barriers between health practitioners and deaf women brings about misdiagnoses, mistreatment and poor health care. Health providers find it more difficult to understand deaf women’s complaints, obtain informed consent and explain treatment procedures, this, in turn, increases the rate of maternal mortality and morbidity among deaf women.

“In view of the above complaints, on behalf of DWAI, I call on the government of Anambra state, non-governmental organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Disabled People Organisations and philanthropists to join hands in helping deaf women and girls access health care services without any form of barriers,” the DWAI boss appealed.

Flagging off the DISH programme, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, assure the group that the state government under the watch of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo will train and employ sign language interpreters in all the general hospitals across the state, to effects their demands.

The State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon Ify Obinabo, on her part, promised to help amplify the voices of Deaf Women in Anambra through constant advocacy and grass-root sensitisation.

She also noted that part of the vision of governor Soludo is to run an inclusive government where everyone is treated equally especially the vulnerable.

Tribune Online gathered that the programme was sponsored by HIVOS People Unlimited and WE LEAD.

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