Ghana National Association for the Deaf (GNAD) is a civil society organisation working to improve the rights of deaf and hearing-impaired people to ensure they can freely access opportunities in their lives. In the field of SRHR, they provide technical support to key stakeholders; develop accessible information and materials on SRHR for the deaf community; strengthen the capacity of medical personnel working with deaf and hearing-impaired people; and build evidence through research to influence national policies on inclusive SRHR.
Deaf women and girls face numerous barriers to accessing comprehensive SRHR services. Menstrual health is one area in which they are often left behind. Stigma, a lack of inclusive resources about menstruation, and the high cost of menstrual products, prevent deaf and hearing-impaired young women and girls from managing their menstrual cycles with dignity.
In their project, GNAD trained 45 peer educators at three deaf schools to share information about SRHR, including menstrual health, with their peers; to date, they have reached over 200 students. Through stakeholders’ engagement, three Municipal Assemblies agreed to provide menstrual health products to students to ensure that they could access products during the school day and engage more fully in schoolwork. Additionally, over 600 out-of-school adolescents received training on SRHR.
GNAD used their experience in evidence-based advocacy to push even further for improved rights for women and girls with disabilities in Ghana. In 2019, they conducted research on menstrual health among deaf and hearing-impaired adolescents and used this research to engage the Special Education Division of Ghana Education Services, which has since developed a document on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Development (ARHD) for schools for young people with disabilities. GNAD is also contributing to the development of a new Ghana Health Services Disability Inclusion Health Promotion Policy promoting access to healthcare for people with disabilities.