Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has announced plans to introduce sign-language interpretation in the curriculum of Nursing Schools to facilitate deaf patient’s access to healthcare services.
The FCDA Secretary of Health, Musa Abdulraheem, made the disclosure at a healthcare stakeholders workshop organised by Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI) and Voice Initiative in Abuja.
The theme of the workshop was “Increasing Access to Health Service and Information for Deaf Women Through Sign-Language Glossary.”
Represented by Bukola Azeez, the organisation’s Assistant Director of Policy, Health and Human Services, Abdulraheem said it was important for nurses to understand sign language so they could attend to deaf patients accordingly.
Abdulraheem said the deaf must also be made to access quality healthcare through professional interpreters to facilitate diagnoses and treatment.
The Country Director of IPAS, Hauwa Shekarau, said that the importance of sign language could not be overemphasised, adding that it would be helpful in engaging with deaf women.
She said the glossary will be relevant for families, friends and relations. The project is very important aspect of development work.
“This is an epoc making event that will change the barriers of communication with the deaf in our society.’’
The Coordinator of VOICE Nigeria, an NGO, Ijeoma Okwor, said the organisation was committed to ensuring that deaf women were not left behind in healthcare services.
Okwor also disclosed the organisation’s plan to embark on a 12-month project to
increase deaf women’s access on sexual and reproductive healthcare through sign-language glossary.
The Executive Director of DWAI, Helen Beyioku-Alase, said that the workshop was meant to provide documentary outline structure for sexual reproductive health related sign-language glossary for adaption.
Beyioku-Alase said that the project was aimed at minimising the communication gaps between deaf community, especially deaf women and health providers in health facilities.
“The situation is aggravated by non-availability of disability-friendly health and specific sign language information, low sensitisation and awareness creation on the issue of sexual reproductive health rights of deaf women and their children.
By the end of this project, we expect you to contribute your quota in the development of sign-language glossary and empower deaf women enough to be able to make informed decisions about their health,” she said.