todaySeptember 16, 2023

By Sabir Musa


In a bid to close communication gap between health workers and persons with hearing impairment, Sign Health Uganda has initiated a training on Basic Sign Language Interpretation for health workers in Arua Regional Referral Hospital.

The 3-months programs aims at empowering health workers as a strategy to ensuring people with hearing impairment are catered for while accessing health service.

The Instructor, Maxwell Asiku explains that, inadequate number of Sign Language Interpreters in West remains a major challenge for persons with hearing impairment in accessing services. “This particular training is actually a design for health workers who are working at Out Patients Department (OPD) because we believe that one person as an Interpreter may not really serve the whole department. We know that one we build the capacity more health workers definitely aspect of communication will be rectified because the biggest challenge that deaf community are facing is the aspect of communication” he explained.

Maxwell Asiku speakign to Radio Pacis Journalist in the interview

A midwife at Koboko General Hospital, Sally Ayikoru draws her inspiration to join the Sign Language program from challenges she faced while attending to mothers with hearing impairment. “In our work we talk a lot; any small thing you do on a mother, we need to explain so that she can be able to understand and expect.

And also in our work, people come to deliver but life ends like a baby or mother may die and if these things are not explained to the mother or their attendants before, it is usually a challenge especially when death occurs and tin those two experiences there was no person who would be able to interpret or explain to the mother whatever was happening to them, even one lost a child” she shared.

Although the program mainly targets health workers, more than ten people from different sectors have enrolled in this free training to gain the knowledge.
A Teacher at Cornerstone Primary School, Leonora Abaru said, “I picked the interest long time ago because normally we receive deaf pupils in our school but because we don’t have the teachers, we normally send them to Eruba Primary School. So I just had a feeling in myself that if I knew how to sign, it would be of advantage to help them”

Monday Zamzam who also enrolled for the program hopes to use the knowledge gained to close communication gap in service delivery. “The deaf people come around for treatment but it is very difficult for them to express themselves to health personnel, so you find that they are not given exact treatment, it difficult for them” Zamzam said.

In Uganda, Persons With Disability accounts to 14% of the country’s total population. Of these, one million are people with hearing impairment, according to Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UNBS) 2014 report.

COVER PHOTO: Ongoing session of Basic Sign Language at Arua Regional Referral Hospital By Sabir Musa

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