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Deaf people face communication barriers in accessing SRH services in Zimbabwe

Teenage Boy And Girl Have Conversation Using Sign Language

People with hearing disabilities are facing challenges to access Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services in Zimbabwe.

“The failure to assign sign language interpreters by most health institutions has qualified language barriers as a chief impediment to health access,” said Agness Chindimba, Director of Deaf Women Included (DWI).

“Communication barriers at clinics continue to inhibit access to better health care to people with disabilities, as very few steps are being done to address this issue. As DWI, we translated the constitution recently as we saw that access to information was being inhibited,”

“Some people ask stupid questions, for example, if they see a person with disabilities pregnant, they ask if they had sex when it’s obvious. It’s not the Holy Spirit. People tend to see the disability before reflecting that we are also human beings,” she said.

According to ZIMSTAT Intercensal Demographic (2017), people with disabilities make up an estimated 9% population representing more than 1.2 million.

Chindimba urged the Zimbabwe government to train health workers on sign language or at least have a translator in all health institutions.

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