News

December 14, 2022

Investment in deaf education ‘ll improve access to healthcare, FG told

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

The Healthcare Access Project Manager, World Federation of the Deaf, WFD, Dr Jolene Ogunjirin, has urged the Federal Government to invest in deaf education in order to lessen the difficulties and burden deaf people encounter when trying to access healthcare.

She made the appeal on Monday in Abuja while speaking virtually at the unveiling of her Research Report on ‘Barriers to Healthcare Access for Deaf Nigerian Women and Girls in Emergencies’, organised by WFD in collaboration with CBM Global Divisibility inInclusion.

According to Ogunjirin, deaf women and girls experience disparity in the quality of healthcare, reproductive health and resources due to inadequate education and sign language personnel.

“Based on the survey we collected and interviews conducted, we made some recommendations to decision makers and government authorities.

“The Nigerian government officials are required to recognise the Nigerian Sign Language (NSL) into law and include staff professional and accredited sign language interpreters in medical facilities,” she said.

On her part, the Country Director, CBM Global Disability Inclusion, Ms. Ekaete Umoh expressed dissatisfaction over discrimination and lack of access to information by deaf women and girls to access basic healthcare services in Nigeria.

She said that despite Nigeria’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, deaf women and girls are still largely discriminated against in terms of access to information before and during emergencies.

Umoh also called on all critical stakeholders to join in the implementation of the research recommendation.

“This report presents preliminary research on the experiences faced in healthcare by deaf women and girls in Nigeria, highlighting the most recent emergency and disaster situation, the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) seeks to address the intersection of being deaf and being a woman when facing emergency and disaster situations and requesting healthcare services.

“This report presents preliminary research on the experiences faced in healthcare by deaf women and girls in Nigeria, highlighting the most recent emergency and disaster situation, the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the Nigeria ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 24 September 2010, the Sendai Framework and their extant legal protocols which recognizes full and equal access and participation in societies and communities for persons with disabilities as a fundamental right, including in times of crisis, deaf women and girls are still largely discriminated in terms of access to information before and during emergencies.

Lawrence Idemudia, Acting Director of Social Integration, National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD), promised to continue to partner with the organizations on issues of disability especially deaf women and girls.

Uche Andrew from Joint Association of Persons with Disability, appealed to relevant government authorities to make provision for sign language interpreters as well as adequate education for the deaf to enhance their inclusiveness in the areas of communication.