Deafness can stop new mothers from getting the right help, leading to distress and increased risks from childbirth. Also, self-isolation is prevalent among new mums and elderly people with hearing impairments.
To tackle this, Latvia’s ‘Together Beyond Silence’ project has created specialised services for women during and after childbirth. It trained:
- 5 hearing specialists with knowledge of sign language to help women during childbirth
- 5 specialists with hearing impairments to assist after birth
These specialists started work with Riga maternity hospital, supporting 19 new mothers and being present at the delivery of 6 babies.
Expansion thanks to high demand
The project has been expanded to include the whole of Riga municipality. A club has also been set up where 39 mothers meet each month to discuss parenting.
The second part of the project entailed creating a community centre for around 100 elderly people. The centre continues to operate after the end of the project and provides support for more than 250 people with hearing disabilities. There is also an expanded range of people eligible for support: it is now available to anyone 18 years and older.