Ghana: Medical Institutions Urged to Engage Sign Language Interpreters

Medical institutions across the country to have been urged to engage sign language interpreters to promote effective communication between hearing impaired patients and health practitioners.

This would give confidence to the hearing impaired and also prevent wrong prescriptions of medicines due to the inability of healthcare providers to understand the real needs of those who visit the hospitals.

A Senior Pastor of the Nsawam Road Church of Christ, Sam Williams, made the call when the church held its hearing impaired week celebration in Accra on Sunday.

The programme saw the ministry taking over the service to the understanding of the whole congregation, including the hearing impaired, due to the availability of sign language interpreters.

It was held on the theme: 'Misconceptions about the deaf and deafness'.

Describing discrimination against the hearing impaired community, especially when it comes to employment as disheartening, Pastor Williams urged the public to see the hearing impaired as highly capable because when given the opportunity, they could excel in anything they were tasked to do.

"The hearing impaired are also capable, let us treat everybody we come across as family just as Jesus Christ teaches us. Whether hearing impaired or hearing, as long as the person is capable, let us not deny them of any opportunity," he advised.

Delivering the sermon, an assistant Pastor of the church, Eric Sapey, admonished members of the public to desist from seeing the hearing impaired as disabled since impairment, according to him, had nothing to do with disability.

The assistant Pastor said the only barrier was the inability to hear, but that did not limit them in any way since they understood the sign language.

He said ignorance about hearing impaired or hearing loss was a major problem, adding that if members of the public were able to have enough information about the hearing impaired, many misconceptions would be cleared.

Pastor Sapey noted that, while some people were born with hearing impairment, others lost their hearing ability due to sickness, accident, physical assault among other unfortunate incidences.

He, therefore, urged pregnant women to desist from activities that could harm their unborn children and put them at the risk of being born with hearing impairment.

Some people, he revealed could speak, depending on when they lost their hearing and educational background.

According to Pastor Sapey, it was unfortunate for some hearing individuals to think the hearing people were not intelligent, adding that many of them were living very successful and fulfilled lives.

"We all have roles to play, whether you can hear or not. Let us stop the discrimination and promote love and peaceful co-existence among ourselves," he advised.

Mr Godwin Amenumey, a member of the hearing impaired ministry, thanked the church for setting a day aside to honour the hearing impaired members, saying such initiatives promotes love.

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