In Nepal, “basic reproductive health information is usually not shared or even spoken about in our communities,” says Radhika Nayaju, program officer for Ipas Nepal. And visually impaired people face additional barriers to accessing information. So Ipas Nepal has been working with the Nepal Health Education, Information and Communication Centre, the Ministry of Health and Population, and the Nepal Association of the Blind to produce booklets on contraception for visually impaired young people. The messages are in Braille and cover topics like myths and misconceptions about contraceptive use among adolescents, different methods, and the availability of adolescent-friendly services in public health facilities.
To ensure the booklets were user-friendly, Ipas Nepal tested the messages with a blind teacher who teaches visually impaired students. After they incorporated her suggestions, Braille booklets were printed by the Nepal Association of the Blind and distributed to networks for visually impaired people in nine Nepal Family Planning Project districts. Using the booklets, Ipas Nepal staff have begun facilitating educational sessions for young people.
Students had never had an opportunity to acquire information on reproductive health in Braille, says Ipas Nepal Research and Program Officer Sanjeev Kumar Sahani, who facilitated a session. While many had heard of family planning methods before, comprehensive information had not been available to them. They appreciated being able to take the booklets home, read at their own pace, and then share the knowledge with others.
After the sessions, members of the Blind Youth Association Nepal visited Ipas Nepal’s office to follow up on what they had learned and seek additional advice on specific reproductive health-related issues. So far, the project has reached nearly 200 blind students.
Inclusivity is important to Ipas Nepal. Through reaching people in harder-to-reach communities, we can help “create a just society and help foster people to their full potential,” says Ipas Nepal Senior Advisor Dr. Lhamo Yangchen Sherpa.
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