Home Human Rights Group Calls for Inclusion of women, Girls to Access Proper Sexual, Reproductive Service

Group Calls for Inclusion of women, Girls to Access Proper Sexual, Reproductive Service

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Grace Egila

A non- governmental organization in Nigeria, Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI), laments over the challenges deaf women and girls face when trying to access sexual and health reproductive services in the country.

 The Executive Director (ED), Hellen Anurika Beyioku Alase made the disclosure recently during one of their functions on ‘Advocacy and awareness creation’ ahead of the international week of deaf people.

 She stated that many deaf women who are pregnant are not motivated to go to the hospital for antennal care, simply because of communication barriers.

 “For many of them, there is no point going to the hospital for antennal care because the health institutions are not accessible making them feel missed out.

 “How about we change the narrative by making health service accessible and engaging the service of competent sign language interpreters in the health field to accommodate the sexual and reproductive rights of deaf women and girls.

“Two things we keep emphasizing when communicating with deaf people are: ‘body language and facial expressions.

“Deaf people, women, and girls need these most specifically in hospitals.

“They need the health practitioners to be expressive when interacting with deaf patients in such a way their life-saving information would be accurately passed in hospitals where health is a priority.

 “We are going to keep raising continued awareness this September and beyond about deaf people and their culture and we urge you to do the same, she averred.

 Aligning to what the ED said, a medical doctor at Dalla Orthopedic hospital in Kano state who preferred to be mentioned on anonymity said provisions need to be made for pregnant women with disability in hospitals to ease the emotional and psychological trauma they encounter.

According to her:” when the situation of attending to a pregnant disabled woman arises, I look for a translator to bridge the communication gap, she said.

Responding to whether there is provision for deaf pregnant women or those with visual impairment during antennal in the hospital, she revealed that:” I really don’t have an idea concerning that”.

A doctor from Aminu Kano teaching (AKTH) hospital who did not want his name mentioned also stated that as a hearing doctor, he only attends to normal pregnant women who are suffers from hearing issues, especially during pregnancy.

 Commenting, he said “When I have any pregnant women with either hearing challenge or a visual impairment, I refer them to an Obstetrician or Gynecologist.

While speaking, the Vice Chairperson and Gender officer of Kanawa Education for disabled foundation, Hajiya Husaina Umar said a lot of disabled pregnant women suffer various form of hardship during antennal in the state.

 “Visually impaired pregnant women as well as those with hearing disability settle for home delivery due to communication barriers at the hospital.

“Some of them do not have knowledge of what to do when they are pregnant.

“Because of the stigmatization that they suffer, some even battle with depression”.

 Hajiya Husaina appealed to the Ministry of Health in Kano to make sign interpreters available for pregnant women living with disabilities to end the communication barrier, as most women lost their lives not knowing how to express how they feel during pregnancy.

However, she also advised husbands of disabled pregnant women to give them the emotional support they need.

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