iStammer web app for PWS launched in Accra

A web-based application – iStammer web app – that connects Persons Who Stammer (PWS) to Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) was on Friday launched in Accra.

The web app which sought to ease the efforts of PWS to improve their speech was developed by the Ghana Stammering Association (GSA) with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The virtual platform is accessible on app.istammergh.org.

It allows PWS to book virtual appointments with SLTs irrespective of their location, provides information on the condition, and grants access to live chats and various social media platforms

The App launch held virtually was the highlight of the Association’s commemoration of this years’ International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) on the theme “Speak the change you wish to see.”

The day has been set aside by the World Health Organisation to educate the public on stuttering, highlight its impacts on the lives of PWS and underscore the need for people to support them.

The GSA Executive Director, Elias Apreko, said the App was necessitated by the heightened anxiety and disruption of the forward flow and timing of speech levels of PWS occasioned by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said due to the restrictions to break the spread of the virus, including the lockdown, PWS struggled to engage with their SLTs and also had to work through virtual platforms despite the discomfort that came with it.

He said GSA got the funding through the UNDP Accelerator Lab challenge that sought to support innovative ideas and thanked the organisation for its support.

“The App would now bridge the gap between PWS and SLTs. It will also help us to observe COVID-19 safety protocols without losing out on therapy and our efforts to improve our speech,” he said.

MrApreko rallied society to support them, saying “We do not want you to complete our sentences for us. Have patience and allow us to finish and try to maintain good eye contact when we are talking to you.”

The lead for the UNDP Accelerator Lab, Dr Allen Anie, said the App idea was one of the 22 concepts selected out of about 200 entries for the 2020 edition of the challenge.

 He said the idea leveraged technology to create an opportunity for PWS to find a solution to their challenge was in line with the UN sustainable development goal of not leaving anyone behind.

He commended the Association for looking out for the progress of its members.

Two PWS,  Fatima Issahaka and  Isaac Mensah, who were involved in the piloting of the App, said it had helped them improve their speech and recommended it to all PWS.

 BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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