UNICEF empowers 180 health workers

THE United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with government to empower 180 health workers with sign language knowledge as part of the broader initiative to accelerate health services access for persons with disabilities.

In its latest report, Unicef said they have since trained primary health counsellors from selected health facilities across the country.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care, with support from UNICEF, has trained around 180 primary counsellors from selected health facilities nationwide on understanding the needs and rights of persons with disabilities and in effective communication with persons with hearing impairments.

“The Ministry of Health standardised HIV and Covid-19 key messages and counselling tools for sign language interpreters,” said UNICEF.

The organisation further highlighted that persons with disabilities face difficulties when seeking health services.

“People who are deaf usually find it difficult to express themselves and show fear, mistrust and frustration when using healthcare services.
“After UNICEF Zimbabwe supported the Sunrise Sign Language Academy to teach primary health care counsellors to communicate in sign language, members of the deaf community can now more easily access health care services,” said UNICEF.

UNICEF however said more work needs to be done to ensure all persons with disabilities have access to health care services equally.

“With support from donors and partners, UNICEF Zimbabwe is continuing efforts to strengthen the health care system to ensure primary health care is accessible, affordable and available to all. Implementing the Disability Policy launched by the government of Zimbabwe in June 2021 will be an important piece of this work.”

This comes at a time there has been growing calls for health facilities to equip its staff with sign language to accommodate those with that form of diasability.

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