Kenya: Nakuru MCAs Pass Motion to Hire Sign Language Interpreters

Nakuru County Assembly has passed a motion that compels the devolved unit to recruit sign language interpreters to be deployed in all sub-county hospitals.

The motion was moved by nominated MCA Rose Karugi Njoroge. Should the Governor Lee Kinyanjui administration pass it into law, the recruitment of sign language interpreters will be done in the next financial year 2021/2022.

Nominated MCA Rachel Chepkorir Maru said many deaf people were disadvantaged during the public participation meetings.

DEPLOYED IN SCHOOLS

"The sign language interpreters should also be deployed in schools to ease the flow of communication," said Ms Maru.

Another nominated MCA Joyce Anyiso said the recruitment should be treated as a matter of urgency.

"At this time when the country is facing coronavirus pandemic, the recruitment should be given top priority as many of the deaf are unable to communicate or receive ministry of health guidelines when they seek medical attention in county hospitals," said Ms Anyiso.

Kihingo MCA George Kiere said the motion would help a huge population that requires information.

"All public entities in the county should hire sign language interpreters as many deaf people visit the offices seeking services," said Mr Kiere.

Another nominated MCA Rose Gathoni said many deaf people in the county miss out on employment opportunities.

"They are unable to attend interviews as the county Public Board Service has no sign language interpreters," said Ms Gathoni.

According to Ms Karugi, lack of sign language interpreters is a violation of the deaf persons' constitutional rights.

MEDICAL ATTENTION

"The Constitution gives rights and entitlements to persons with disabilities including access to use of sign language, braille or other appropriate means of communication," said Ms Karugi.

She said the employment of sign language interpreters is not a favour as there is an Act of Parliament which provides mechanism for ensuring the rights of such persons are upheld and respected.

"Section 20 of the persons with Disability Act of 2003 stipulates that field medical personnel should be deployed in local health institutions to interpret for the deaf persons seeking medical attention," said the nominated ward rep from Dundori.

She said that despite the Disability Act being operational for the last 17 years, deaf people have been neglected while seeking medical services in public hospitals.

"Failure to put in place such measures are against the provisions of the Constitution and a violation of the rights of persons with disabilities and that is why it is now critical to hire sign language interpreters to be deployed in all the 11 Nakuru sub- county hospitals," said Ms Karugi on Tuesday.

She said during the Covid-19 pandemic period, many deaf persons were not seeking medical services from local public hospitals due to lack of interpreters.

"They are suffering in silence while others are doing self-medication which is dangerous to their health," she explained.

Other MCAs who supported the motion include nominated MCAs Isabella Makori, Grace Wambui Mwathi and Zaituni Ibrahim Zainab, Timothy Kabutu (Kwa Rhonda), Wahome Jambo Kenya (Kiamaina) and Peter Njuguna Mwaura (Elburgon).

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