IM this article to a friend!

June 18, 2004

The Deaf Call for Services

From:, Africa - Jun 18, 2004

New Era (Windhoek)
June 18, 2004
Posted to the web June 18, 2004

By Toivo T. Mvula

PEOPLE with disabilities in the Oshana Region are unhappy with the lack of services to satisfy their needs.

According to the rehabilitation instructor in the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation in Oshakati Rauna Hashiyana the office receives a considerable number of complaints from disabled people, especially the hearing-impaired.

Hashiyana, whose office works with all organisations for the disabled, said when it comes to hospital services, especially counselling for HIV/AIDS and instructions on how to use prescription drugs, deaf people are not properly attended to.

Her office has trained two social workers from the Ministry of Health and Social Services as sign language interpreters, after requests by deaf people themselves, but she says that two social workers are not enough for a big hospital like the Oshakati State Hospital.

She said her office requested for more social workers, but the health ministry could only afford two.

According to her, there are also no sign language interpreters at the many clinics in the region.

Hashiyana herself is sometimes called upon by the Oshakati State Hospital to interpret for the deaf.

She says that the majority of the deaf pregnant women have to be operated on because there is no one who can assist them and inform them on what to do during labour.

Although her office visits rural communities together with HIV/AIDS organisations and the NBC-TV has a sign language interpreter during its main news bulletins, more needs to be done; deaf people are equipped with little knowledge on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, she said.

She said there has to be sign language interpreters in the HIV/AIDS educational programmes on NBC-TV.

Her office also receives complaints from some family members of people with disabilities that they are conned by some relatives who steal their meagre disability grants of N$250.

Hashiyana said that since some of them cannot walk and are mentally ill, some family members take their money and use it for their own benefit.

The Namibian National Association for the Deaf (NNAD) said that they have trained six interpreters and sent them to the North, but many of the interpreters do not want to volunteer their services.

The association however, does send interpreters to accompany deaf people whenever they go for medical services at clinics and hospitals.

The NNAD travels around the country and informs deaf people about HIV/AIDS, their rights in society and how to get employment. They also try to search for employment on behalf of the deaf who are discriminated against by employers.

Copyright © 2004 New Era. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (