The Executive Director of Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Mr. Juventus Duorinaah, has called on the government of Ghana not to watch on as people gamble with the lives of Deaf people but rather to take proactive steps to ensure that people purported to be working with deaf people rather around healthcare have the required knowledge and capacity to do so. He says the awareness and knowledge gap in healthcare coupled with poor targeting of the deaf community in public policy interventions have resulted in the emergence of individuals and mushroom and miracles seeking organizations that claim to be teaching sign language but rather exhorting monies from healthcare persons, individuals and corporate institutions for services they lack capacity to perform.
The Executive Director made the calls in at the opening ceremony of three day awareness training on Sexual Reproductive Health and Safe Clinical Abortion for 100 out-of-school adolescents and adults of reproductive age drawn from the Savelugu District and Tamale Metropolitan in the Northern Region of Ghana with financial support from SAAF.
He observed that though the past few years have seen significant interventions by the government through the Ministry of Health & GHS, NGOs and civil society organizations to address the Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) needs of Ghanaians population, it is sad to observe that almost all these interventions rarely target the deaf brothers and sisters. Media campaigns via TV/internet still exclude the deaf. None of the Reproductive Health documentaries or IEC materials have been adopted into deaf friendly format.
‘The Adolescent Health Services Policy and Strategy, 2016-2020, that comprehensive policy document holds promises for the future of adolescent SRH in Ghana. Sadly, it is general with no clear targeting for deaf adolescents’.
The Director lauds the efforts of the MOH/GHS through the introduction of basic sign language teaching in all nurses’ schools. He however underscores the need for reassessment of those doing the teaching the inclusion of ‘native signers’. Such move, the Director observed would lead to value for money.
He acknowledged the immense support of Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF) who sponsored the project in Savelugu, Tamale Metro, Sunyani Municipal, Bechem Municipal, Accra Metro and Ashaiman Municipal Assemblies.