Zakia Issahaku, 25, is defying her hearing impairment challenges to study nursing with the ultimate goal of becoming a professional nurse.
She is currently the only deaf student in the Community Health Nursing Training College (CHNTC) in Tamale in the Northern Region.
Although many of the people with disabilities are often marginalised or discriminated against, she said she would defy the odds to become relevant to society.
Issahaku Zakia is currently in her second year pursuing a diploma in nursing.
The school offered Zakia Issahaku admission to study nursing in the school in 2019 following her impressive performance in the pre-interview session after Senior High School.
Her results in the past year were average but could improve if she secures the services of a permanent interpreter.
“The lack of an interpreter is making learning very difficult for me even though I am brilliant and have an interest in becoming a professional nurse,” she said.
Many educational institutions in the country are currently not disability friendly, and the Community Health Nursing Training College situation in Tamale sympathizes the frustration many hearing impaired students go through in other institutions across the country.
This is making it very difficult if not impossible for people with disabilities to study some of the courses in Ghana even if they have an interest in doing so.
The 25-year-old has been struggling with classes because of the lack of an interpreter to permanently and constantly guide her in class.
“She always has to pay for the services of a private interpreter to come to her class whenever class is in session,” a classmate said.
Zakia Issahaku and her parents who are traders however procured the services of an interpreter for the first year.
Unfortunately, they have not been able to sustain the financial commitment to the interpreter for the rest of the three-year programme.
She has, however, been receiving some support from the Moontouch Foundation.
The Executive Director of Moontouch Foundation, Zambaga Rufai Saminu, who led a team of media personnel to the Community Health Nursing Training College in Tamale to assess her situation, called on the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other organizations to recognize the challenges confronting the hearing impaired students.
He said they must come to the aid of the people with disabilities especially those who have struggled to make it into tertiary institutions.
He said such institutions must provide “facilities that would make our educational structure more friendly for both physically challenged and those who are fit to study under decent circumstances with equal opportunities to acquire knowledge, experience and skills for them to contribute their quota to national development.”
He said there was the need for all public educational institutions and if possible, private educational institutions, to be disability-friendly in order to attract the best of human resource materials for nation-building.
Speaking to Citi News, Comfort Kona, Principal of the Community Health Nursing Training College, said that it would be good for the government to provide the necessary facilities, human resources which includes interpreters, not only for the Community Health Nursing Training College, but all other institutions across the country.
She believes doing that would aid Zakia Issahaku and students with similar needs, who are brilliant but having to struggle to compete.