Non Governmental Organisation, Ipas Nigeria in collaboration with the Australian government has tasked the Federal Government on the need to provide sign language interpreters in major health facilities across the country to help deaf women access quality reproductive health services.
The Country Director of Ipas, Nigeria, Hauwa Shekarau at a One- Day sensitisation programme with Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, DWAN, in Abuja Thursday said that the objective of the meeting was to provide aid that seeks to increase access to reproductive health care service to deaf women.
Shekarau said, ‘’the objective of the intervention which is funded with grant from the Australian government is to increase the capacity of sign language interpreters to provide accurate and rights based information on reproductive health for deaf women.
She said, ‘’the meeting is to sensitize stakeholders and members of the public on the commencement of the project that we have with the Australian aid that seeks to increase access to reproductive health care service to deaf women.
‘’In the course of our engagement with them we have realised the barriers that they have encountered in trying to access healthcare. So this project seeks to provide sign language interpreters to selected Healthcare facilities where deaf women can access care. The presence of a sign language interpreter helps bridge the gap for deaf women accessing care. ‘’
Shekarau told Nigerian Pilot that Ipas has hired sign language interpreters and posted them to select healthcare facilities and they will be there any time a deaf women that requires health care service is coming to the hospital.
She disclosed that Ipas has kick-started the Pilot project in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in selected hospitals namely University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Nyanya General Hospital, Kubwa General Hospital, Bwari General Hospital, Kuje General HOSPITAL, Wuse District Hospital, Maitama District Hospital, Lafiya Kyari Clinic and Maternity, Mararaba, adding that beneficiaries of the project are deaf women in the FCT seeking reproductive health or other health services.
She hinted that government is set to include the project in the 2017 health budget that will facilitate the availability of sign language interpreters within the nation’s health system.
Ipas Advisor, Policy and Advocacy, Mr Edosa Oviawe in a presentation said that the project is aimed at improving the health status of deaf women seeking reproductive health services.
Oviawe noted that at hospitals, deaf women are cut off communications so they are discouraged and they stop going to hospitals but deliver their babies at home.
Chairperson of the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, Abuja Chapter, Helen Beyioku , applauded the initiative and urged that more hospitals and other vital public institutions be made accessible for members of the Association through the engagement of sign language interpreters, adding that the pilot project has exposed her and other members of the association on the benefits of some key health related interventions presently offered in government owned health facilities.

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