Rise of HIV on Copperbelt Hasn’t Spared The Deaf – Rev Sikwela.
Copperbelt permanent secretary Howard Sikwela says persons with disabilities have not been spared by increased HIV/AIDS.
And Zambia Deaf Youth and women chairperson Yvonne Mulenga says sign language should be birthright for persons with disabilities.
Speaking during commemoration of international week of the Deaf on 27 September, Rev Sikwela said the deaf needed to be adequately sensitized on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
“Therefore, as we respond to the spread of HIV infections, and work to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in our society, we must involve the deaf. We have to ensure that the deaf have access to sufficient information to enable them to make informed decisions of their lives concerning HIV/AIDS. The increase in infection rate on the Copperbelt has not spared the deaf,” Rev Sikwela said.
He said cultural, legal and institutional barriers had continued to make the deaf victims of discrimination.
Rev Sikwela also called for the promotion of sign language in schools to enhance the welfare of persons with disability.
“Sign language does not hinder the learning of a spoken language. This is the same rationale that was used to introduce local languages in our schools. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for children to be able to use sign language at an early age in life,” he said.