My Bitter Experience As A Disabled Person –Adedoyin | Independent Newspapers Limited
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My Bitter Experience As A Disabled Person –Adedoyin

Posted: May 29, 2015 at 2:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Unless she is engaged in a discussion no one would know she has any form of disability. Deaconess Beyioku Alase Adedoyin is the National President of the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria (DWAN). In this interview with Health Editor, YINKA SHOKUNBI, Adedoyin who led some of her members to the just concluded healthcare providers’ stakeholders meeting organised by Ipas, Nigeria in Abeokuta, Ogun State,through an interpreter, lamented how the country’s health system fails to accord dignity to women with disabilities: Excerpt:

Beyioku Alase Adedoyin

Beyioku Alase Adedoyin

My experience in hospitals as a person living with disability has never been palatable at all. Whenever I go to the hospital, the problem I encounter often begins from the card section. To register, I would have to write down my name or if it is to submit my small card, do so and then go to sit down. They will then call my name severally but won’t know because I can’t hear. I would only see other patients go in and come out of doctor’s room not knowing I have been called. It is so sad.

Accidentally, I was not born deaf and when I became deaf at my teenage years, I thought to myself it was better to die because anytime I have health challenges and visit the General Hospital; it was always another challenge on its own.

You find me just sitting in one spot and nobody would alert or help me when it’s my turn to see the doctor. Even if I tell the record people I am deaf, no matter how much I try to convince that I could only speak but cannot hear they find it difficult to believe. A lot times, people believe that if someone is speaking, he or she cannot be deaf or hard of hearing. I can’t stop speaking and cannot pretend that I can hear because if I am called, I cannot answer.

In the hospital, those of us with hard of hearing do not enjoy and you can imagine if I who can talk is not enjoying it, what of the person who cannot speak and cannot hear, it is always very sad. Even getting the doctor or nurse to interpreter your condition is difficult because most of them do not understand the sign language and a deaf would need to engage an interpreter to go along with her to the hospital.


Setting an agenda for the new government over the shortcoming in the health system:

As we speak, Lagos State has already passed a bill into law on the rights of the disabled and this is being implemented and it is our belief that we are moving in the right direction in the State. As the chairman of the joint Association of persons with Disabilities in Lagos State, we have supported the national body to sponsor a bill at the National Assembly and it is still waiting on the table of President Goodluck Jonathan for his signature. We still believe that before he leaves on May 29, he would sign it. But if he doesn’t sign it, we believe we shall continue to push for our rights with the new government and would not stop until women with disabilities get the right attention in Nigeria.

During the last electioneering campaigns, people with special needs were obviously left out of the various messages by the Politicians. We could not follow most of the campaigns because we were excluded as there were no sign interpreters to communicate what was going on to us.

We want to challenge the incoming government at all tiers from the National, State and Local levels to ensure everything changes for the better of all. Our association is on it and would not stop until we are being included in everything in Nigeria because we are part and parcel of the society. We have no other place to go; we are part and parcel of Nigeria and the society must include us in everything we are supposed to enjoy.


Including people with disabilities in access to health:

Let me tell you, when a provider cannot communicate effectively with a disable on even the basic needs on health, such a disabled is automatically denied access. In our hospitals, you find signs indicating access to health but we forget there are different ways of accessing health. A deaf needs a communicator because the problem has to do with communication and once there is an interpreter, he is fine. For those on wheel chairs, their needs go beyond signs, it involves having people to move them to and from the chair to the bed and around wherever they need to be.

If a pregnant deaf or a physically challenged woman needs to deliver, she needs more attention than her counterparts who are able bodied but our care providers are never gentle or caring enough to give the attention required. How on earth for instance do a nurse shout at a deaf to push when she can’t hear or scolds a physically challenged for getting pregnant at all as if it’s her emotional or sexual feeling that is disabled?