HEALTH service providers in Rukwa region have appealed to the government to consider possibilities of establishing a college that will help them to learn sign language to facilitate communication between them and patients with speech and hearing disorders.
Equally, they appealed to the Rukwa regional authorities to ensure that construction of health facilities also consider access of people with disabilities.
They further noted that most of the public health facilities in the region were built without considering needs of special groups such as those with physical disabilities.
They made the plea while attending training meant to build capacity to health services providers working in public dispensaries and health centres in the region.
The training was held here yesterday and coordinated by an association of people with disabilities SHIVYAWATA in Rukwa region under the funding of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).
One of the participants, who is a nurse from Majengo Dispensary here in the municipality Ms Noelia Sambwe, said during her 36 years experience as a health service provider the big challenge she has been encountering is to attend an expectant mothers with speech and hearing disorders.
“As a health personnel it is distressing when you fail to attend a pregnant woman who cannot hear because I’m not conversant in sign language knowledge,” she said.
She said sometimes they are forced to seek assistance from people who can communicate with such patients although it is unethical because the patients’ information are confidential.
Other health service providers, Ms Devota Kasikila and Mr Salimba Enos echoed similar sentiments, saying it was regrettable that nearly all public health facilities lacked friendly infrastructure for people with disabilities.
“It is very difficult for PLWDs to access buildings’ stairs, denying PLWDs to access services and products offered, said Mr Ayoub Wison from Dr Atman Memorial Hospital at Christ the King area.
The training facilitator, Ms Eva William urged the participants to champion for change at their place of work to ensure that PLWDs are not stigmatised while seeking medical attention at health facilities in the region.
On her part the SHIVYAWATA Rukwa Region Project Coordinator ,Ms Elina John said that the objective of the training was to empower health personnel to ensure that PLWDs are fairly attended when they seek medical attention.
The latest available statistics show that in Rukwa Region there are 1,138 PLWDs out of whom 677 are based