In commemoration of International Week for the Deaf, we had a Q & A session with Wayupe, a social enterprise that intends to manufacture the PokerCard, a card book that promotes inclusiveness by helping deaf women and youths to acquire primary Health care knowledge on HIV/AIDs through graphics, illustrations and images that can be understood by the deaf.
What problems are being faced by deaf communities in relation to SRHR information?
Deaf people have the same Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and needs as other people in the community. However, they often face challenges to information and services in regards to SRHR.
This has created marginalization among deaf people and made them more vulnerable to abuses or consequences that arise from this lack of information.
In fact, deaf people are still not able to obtain even the most basic information about SRHR, thus have remained ignorant of the basic facts about themselves, their bodies and their sexual and reproductive health rights where progress has been made with other people.
Deaf persons are often more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse than fellow peers in the communities and often they do not know where to get help in an event of such situations.
In addition, lack of physical access to healthcare information is also a very big problem among deaf people since they do not have direct communication abilities to interact with healthcare providers.
This communication barrier among healthcare providers and deaf people has broken the confidentiality code that in turn has impeded SRHR access.
The failure of the different SRHR service stakeholders to adapt and innovate SRHR programs tailored to meet the SRHR special needs in simple and understandable formats rather than “one size fits all approach” which further widens the information and communication gap.
How has PokerCard solved this challenge in a sustainable and low-cost manner?
Wayupe Ltd is a social enterprise that intends to manufacture the PokerCard, a card book that promotes inclusiveness by helping deaf women and youths to acquire primary Health care knowledge on HIV/AIDs through graphics, illustrations and images that can be understood by the deaf.
The graphical descriptions (captions) are further translated into Uganda Sign Language.
PokerCard development is ongoing and at the product testing stage but the preliminary results have shown great acceptance among the deaf communities because of its easy to use design.
Wayupe Ltd has also collaborated with deaf graphic designers called Open Sign Ltd to help design and iterate on a more comprehensive approach to meet the needs of deaf people in a wide array of topics ranging from young adolescents to adult groups.
Wayupe Ltd is an innovative and dynamic team of healthcare providers, information and technology experts, and biomedical engineers.
How did Up Accelerate help you in the process?
The Up Accelerate WAY edition program gave us an incredible opportunity to incubate and nurture our idea. The program offered us business incubation training, mentorship and seed funding.
It has tremendously empowered us to address the challenges faced by vulnerable communities while also managing a social enterprise using skills and knowledge gained from the incubation training.