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Majority of deaf mums miscarry because of misdiagnosis

By Beldeen Waliaula | October 14th 2021

New mothers with hearing disabilities go through postpartum depression without them being aware of it.  
“Most deaf women have miscarriages because of misdiagnosis,” says Judy Kihumba, a sign language interpreter and an aadvocate on maternal mental health for deaf mothers. “When the pregnancy is still young, it shows in different ways and most go to the hospital saying they are unwell. Then due to communication challenges they get misdiagnosed with drugs that affect their pregnancy.”

Some doctors are not patient when explaining test results and Kihumba has taken the initiative to form a WhatsApp group of interpreters if a deaf mother needs an interpreter. “I have shared my contacts with few hospitals. Sometimes, I do video calls with doctors who have deaf patients.”

Kihumba says curfews occasioned by Covid-19 caught most deaf people unawares as there was no interpreter during the briefings and she argues that all government updates should have an interpreter in their briefings and hospitals too should be intentional and have interpreters stationed at the facilities whose main role is to help those with hearing disability.

Dr Patrick Amoth, acting Director-General for Health, says the Ministry has incorporated sign language in Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) training curriculum to equip nurses with sign language skills.

Luke Muleka and his team invented “assistALL”, an App which “has sign language interpreters working 24 hours. When someone wants an interpreter they will just book the time and the interpreter will be available.”
The App even helps out with classes as it has “interpreters from different backgrounds and fields so that those with hearing disability can have a variety to choose from.”

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