By Yunus S Saliu
Members of Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) have expressed heartfelt gratitude to Comprehensive Health Education team under the Curriculum Research Evaluation and Development Directorate (CREDD) unit of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE).
The members’ appreciation came after a well participated sensitization and training workshop organized for the association on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) and production of reusable sanitary pad program held at the NaNA and the association premises on 17th through 20th October 2022.
Twenty-five male and female were selected for the sensitization while another eight female and two male were selected for the production of the reusable sanitary pad training respectively.
Isatou Sanyang, president of the Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) described the CHE program as a unique sensitization and training programs that the members ever had.
According to her “this type of sensitization program on Comprehensive Health Education which teaches about our health, especially on how to protect take good care of our body and health in term of menstruation and hygiene, STDs, teenage and unplanned pregnancy, prevention of pregnancy, abstinence, among other sexual and reproductive health issues and how to produce reusable sanitary pad, is a special package to us and it is the first time we are having it.”
She noted that information gathered during the course of the sensitization and training is meant to be shared with other members whom are not opportune to participate, while disclosed that “our registered members are over 3000 and most of these members have no opportunity to participate in this special training package.”
Outlining the GAHDOH constraints, she appealed to the CHE team to help organize more of this sensitization and training for their members that are at the regional level “because we are having 12 branches countrywide and all these members at the regional levels are all vulnerable. So if they have opportunity to learn about their sexual reproductive health it will go a long way for them.”
Madam Sanyang went on to disclose that most of the female members does not know much when it comes to period calculation and menstruation hygiene or taking care of their body in general due to their condition thus they can only communicate through interpreter or sign language.
Commenting on the reusable sanitary pad, she expressed joy for training them on how to make it especially that the CHE team provided all the required materials for the training.
She noted that the readymade sanitary pad is very expensive to buy for the members or people of heard hearing as it cost at between D75/D100 upward, “so the training is very vital and it will save us some money because it is cost effective and durable.”
She, therefore, appealed to CHE team’s partner to organize more of this training to her members, again, “We are greatful and thank to the CHE team through the chief investigator for this unique opportunity which I will call double in one, sensitization and training.
Lamin Sonko, a sign language interpreter commended the CHE team for having the GAHDOH members in their plan.
He affirmed that the registered member of the GAHDOH is over 3000 and “it doesn’t mean it is the total number of deaf and hard hearing people in the Gambia hence there is no comprehensive survey to know the total.”
Other members of the association who had spoken through the aid of interpreter all commended the CHE team and requested for more.
The principal investigator of the project for Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescents in Region I, Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnia led the presentation and training team.
She disclosed that they need more attention and sensitization because they are vulnerable taking into consideration that not many people have the opportunity to interact with them simply because they are hard to hearing people.
Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education in The Gambia is an implementation research project conducted by Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education funded by International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada.