Monday, March 27, 2006.
Officials from the Malawi Union for the Blind (MUB) have appealed to the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organisations in the country to help persons who are visual impaired with information on sexual reproductive health.
Cassim Gama, the executive director for the Malawi Union for the Blind said this recently when he officially opened a seminar on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health awareness training in Lilongwe.
Gama said for the past years, most of non-governmental organisations have been sidelining the visually impaired persons on issues of sexual reproductive health.
He said it is high time that the NGOs should realise the importance of including people of the blind in their activities including the issue of sexually transmitted diseases. "Non-governmental organisations have been sidelining us in most of the activities and we wonder why it is so to the people of the blind. We are also human beings and we sometimes also involve ourselves in immoral behaviour, and we need information about sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS so that we are protected as well," he said.
He further said that a lot of the visually impaired persons are lack information on sexually reproductive health which, he says, is one of the problems that contribute to the high increase of the death of the blind people. "Many of the blind people in Malawi do not know much about sexual reproductive health issues and sexually transmitted diseases because most of the NGOs have their own target groups. We would be very grateful to see non-governmental organisation or governmental officials from the ministry of health teaching the blind people on issues of sexual and reproductive health including on how the blind people can wear the condoms.
He said time has come for some non-governmental organisations in the country to open their doors and work together with the visually impaired persons.
He also appealed to the NGOs to make sure that they should try their best to put some of the sexually transmitted infections and sexual reproductive information on tapes so that the visual impaired persons can listen to the messages. "We would like to ask all the non-governmental organisations in the country that when ever they are discussing issues of sexual infections and reproductive health, they should at least record every thing and share us the tapes so that we can distribute the tapes to the blind people so that they can have a chance to listen to the message. "Let me also appeal to the members of the media, more especially those that are working with the electronic media that you should have special programmes on your radio stations, which will be focusing on issues of sexual reproductive health that would only target the visually impaired persons," he said.
Commenting on the same issue, Sally Nduta, project co-ordinator for HIV/AIDS and Training Awareness for African Union of the Blind said government and non-governmental organisation should work hand in hand in disseminating information about sexually transmitted diseases.
Nduta also said it is now high time that non-governmental organisations in the country should realise the importance of having special programmes that would be addressing issue of sexually reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.
She said NGOs should try their best to produce braille news letters and magazines as one way of assisting visually impaired persons to have a chance of reading different issues including information about sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health. "With the introduction of new technology, more especially the use of internet, it is always difficult for the visually impaired people to get information on the internet because they cannot read using their eyes. "So it is my appeal for the Ministry of Health and some non-governmental organisations in Malawi to make sure that information about sexually reproductive health issue is being transferred into tapes or braille so that the blind can have access of getting information and make use of it," said Nduta.
She also said it is the role of the Ministry of Health and non-governmental organisations in each country to make sure that information about sexual reproductive health or HIV/AIDS is reaching to all the people including the visually impaired people.
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