More needs to be done by Government officials, health-care providers and civil society to help expand the access to primary ear and hearing care in Barbados, the Founder and Chairman of the The Deaf Heart Project said Saturday.
Che’ Greenidge said even though World Hearing Day is an international day celebrated every year, the lack of attention it has received so far in Barbados is worrying, considering the critical need to expand ear and hearing care on the island.
“That to me is just testament of the fact of how much we neglect our ears and neglect our hearing, whatever our varying degree of our hearing ability may be or what hearing loss we may be experiencing,” Greenidge said as she addressed attendees of Saturday’s World Hearing Day Barbados 2023 event, held at Solidarity House.
She stated: “These are the types of partnerships that are needed to make sure that we are promoting healthy ears [and] ear care because once we have more persons involved in the community and more persons aware of it, then we would be able to make sure that this is a [continuous] event.
“We understand the fact that our deaf community, our deaf colleagues, their ears need taking care of too, and this is something that persons may not have thought about.”
Meanwhile, John Hollingsworth, Director of the National Disabilities Unit, said the event organised was an important one, stating: “This exercise this morning, apart from addressing the whole issue of hearing treatment, speaks to the need for significant work as it relates to issues affecting persons with disabilities.”
The director also reiterated government’s commitment to assisting members of the deaf community, stating that an expansion of the Deaf Empowerment Project, which is an initiative used to help the deaf and hearing impaired better communicate with persons when conducting business in both the public and private sectors, would soon be expanded into government offices at the beginning of the new financial year.
“We have on the cards a project called the Video Relay project, which basically assists persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to communicate with the essential services in Barbados. This project is set to begin sometime in the new financial year — after April — where a deaf person who wants to access the services of the hospital, police, immigration department, [etc],” Hollingsworth said.