Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association (Vihema), a body advocating for the rights of the deafblind, special needs persons, has expressed concern over continued lack of special needs communication experts in various public institutions such as hospitals.
Vihema project coordinator Martha Momba raised the concern in Salima on Tuesday during a stakeholder consultation meeting ahead of the inception of a project aimed at enhancing inclusive sexual and reproductive health services targeting deafblind females in Salima.
She said such a group of people depend on a special communication method, including sign language and braile, but are denied timely and effective access to medical aid besides being subjected to situations that violate their right to privacy.
Momba said deafbindness is a form of disability that have been sidelined for a long time.
She said: “Deafblind people face many difficulties when accessing basic social services. There is need to build capacity of service providers in special needs.”
Momba recommended integration of special needs education in all tertiary institutions.
In her comment, Rose Kameza, a resident, said due to the lack of special needs experts in her area, her daughter and other girls have been victims of sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, the country is yet to come up with its own vernacular sign language dictionary.