Hearing impaired achieves dream of becoming nurse "Thanks Daily Graphic, others for assistance"
HER dream of becoming a professional nurse to be able to serve the hearing impaired community nearly got shattered due to her inability to fund her education at the Community Health Nursing Training College (CHNTC) in Tamale in 2021.
Undaunted, Issahaku Zakia, a 25-year-old young lady with hearing impairment defied all odds and enrolled at the nursing training school which is affiliated to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to become a professional nurse.
However, her predicament started after gaining admission to the school, as she continuously struggled with her studies because she couldn’t pay her fees and also pay an interpreter to regularly guide her in class during lessons.
The school had no sign language interpreter to help students with hearing impairment during lessons, and the hearing-impaired student was unable to afford the services of a permanent interpreter to assist her.
Ms Zakia hails from Kintampo in the Bono East Region but lives with her parents in Tamale.
She is the first born of four siblings and the only hearing-impaired in the family.
She aspires to be a certified public health nurse to serve the deaf community and champion their interest.
Following a report in the Daily Graphic on March 24, 2021, which highlighted the plight of Ms Zakia, who found it difficult to cope with the Diploma in Nursing programme, a number of institutions swiftly responded to enable her to continue with her education.
The Alexandra Miriam Foundation, Under The Sun Foundation, Moon Touch Travels and Tours and a number of philanthropists donated laptops and funded her tuition fees throughout the programme.
One of the laptops was installed with a conversation software that transcribed voices into texts to enable her to read.
After the long and tough journey, the hearing-impaired student has now completed the three-year programme and has since graduated.
She is currently awaiting posting for her national service.
She told the Daily Graphic that “it has been a tough journey; at a point I nearly gave up on my dream”.
She thanked the Daily Graphic for highlighting her plight which caught the attention of some benevolent organisations and philanthropists to come to her aid, saying “I remain indebted to the Daily Graphic and all those who supported me in one way or the other to enable me to complete the programme”.
On her next plans, Ms Zakia said she intended to serve the hearing impaired persons and advocate for their health rights when she was fully posted and started working.
Although many persons with disabilities are often marginalised or discriminated against at almost all levels of national development, especially in the education sector, she has defied the odds to make herself relevant to society.
Checks by the Daily Graphic revealed that since independence, Ghana has not produced any hearing-impaired person as a medical doctor or a nurse due to the barrier of communication in sign language and mode of teaching in the schools.
Since the introduction of the sign language curricula into the nursing and midwifery training schools by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2014, not a single hearing-impaired person has been trained as a nurse, though the idea was to help deal with the challenges faced by the deaf community when they visited health facilities and to make professional medical training accessible to them.
The Ghana Persons with Disability Act, 2006, Act 715, provides for all Ghanaians living with any form of disability the right to health care and medical treatment. However, access to quality health care continues to be a major challenge.
The Act states that “The Ministry of Health shall include the study of disability and disability related issues in the curricula of training institutions for health professionals, to develop appropriate human resources to provide general and specialised rehabilitation services.
The Ministry of Health shall include education on disability and disability issues in healthcare programmes”.
Writer’s email: mohammed.fugu