An Example of Applying Good Practices
These good practices should be applied across different areas of health and may require further tailoring of interventions to ensure that persons with deafblindness are able to access services. For example, good practices in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for persons with deafblindness include:
– Training of health care workers on how to communicate with persons with deafblindness, including tips on communication methods, how to treat persons with deafblindness on an equal basis with others in SRH services, how to handle and respond to situations of abuse, prevention and awareness of fertility sterilisation, etc. SRH of persons with deafblindness should not exclude any SRH information available to the public, and steps should be taken to address the stigma that results in omitting persons from deafblindness from receiving full information on SRH
– Training of local government officials to raise awareness and ensure that persons with deafblindness are included in local level programmes
– Training of family members on how to support persons with deafblindness in their SRH decisions and coordination with families and teachers on a common understanding of SRH, especially where cultural barriers exist
– Integrating SRH education into education programmes at an early stage and improving and updating knowledge as children with deafblindness get older. Content should cover the full range of SRH issues, such as anatomy, menstruation, sex and sexual health, contraception, pregnancy, sexual health risks, safe access to SRH services, safeguarding, violence, abuse, and harmful traditional practices (e.g., forced marriage). Learning should be routine and repeated to reinforce the content , included in individualised learning plans, and adapted to meet the learning needs of each person, including the communication requirements of individuals. For example, use anatomically correct dolls with tactile information to help children with deafblindness understand the material
– Putting persons with deafblindness at the heart of all actions and decisions about their SRH needs
– Financial support on livelihoods, as resolving economic issues are essential for well-being and helps with financial independence, especially if abuse is in the family or community
– Media outreach to raise awareness in the community so that key factors linked to SRH are identified (e.g., safe access to water, mobility and getting around safely) and access to communication and orientation support[i].
[i] Handicap International, Good Practice documentation: VIHEMA, Malawi, December 2017, p. 6-7; Steele, Isabel. Time to Talk: Addressing the challenges of delivering sexual and reproductive health education to young people with deafblindness, November 2018, p. 3-7; World Health Organisation, Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, https://www.who.int/teams/sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-research-(srh)/areas-of-work/adolescent-and-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights, accessed Jun 2022.