Charity Simon, Abuja
Federal government has agreed to make provision in the 2017 health budget that will facilitate availability of sign language interpretation within the nation’s health system.
Country Director of IPAS, Hauwa Shekarau , disclosed this at a one day sensitization meeting with Deaf Women Association of Nigeria (DWAN) in Abuja.
She said, the initiative is targeted at building the capacity of sign language interpreters to provide accurate and rights based information on reproductive health for deaf women.
The Federal government intervention according to the Country Director will complement the IPAS Australia Aid project aimed at increasing access to sign language interpretation within the health system for the targeted population.
“Through a wide ranging stakeholders meeting in March 2015, the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria identified key communication challenges faced by their members in accessing information and care regarding their reproductive health”.
“IPAS then entered into partnership with the Australian Aid to facilitate the availability of sign language interpretation within the health system to increase access to reproductive health and other health information and services for deaf women”, she said.
Shekarau further expressed, the commitment of IPAS to continue to work in line with its mandate of ensuring every woman irrespective of status and class, have access to quality reproductive health care services.
Taking participants through a brief on the project, Mr Edosa Oviawe, Advisor,Policy and Advocacy IPAS, said it is to actualise an improved health status for deaf women.
He stated that,the pilot phase of the project is already in place in some selected health facilities in the Federal Capital Territory FCT , with key emphasis on deaf women seeking reproductive health services.
Some of the selected health institutions includes, University of Abuja teaching hospital, Gwagwalada, Nyanya General hospital, Kuja General hospital, Kubwa General hospital, just to mention a few.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, Abuja chapter; Helen Beyioku, applauded the initiative and also advocated for hospital and other vital public institutions to be made accessible for members of the Association through the engagement of sign language interpreters.
She added that, the pilot phase of the project in the FCT through the assistance of sign language interpreters 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.
Assistant inspector General of Police Zone 7,Alkali Usman ,who was represented by SP Ebun Dada Moses , commended IPAS for the initiative saying the Non-governmental Organisation has trained over 648 police officers on protecting the health rights of women.
The meeting was attended by representatives of various women groups, civil society organisations among others.