Regional News of 2014-05-14

Provide sign interpreters at hospitals – Deaf Association

The Executive Director for the Ghana National Association of the Deaf is calling on the National Health Insurance Authority to provide Sign Language Interpreters at the various health centers to see to the needs of Deaf patients. James Sambian believes this will go a long way to prevent casualties caused by a wrong diagnosis of ailment.

Speaking at the Deaf Awareness Day of the Nsawam Road Church of Christ here in Accra, Mr. Sambian said “we have a challenge of Deaf people accessing healthcare in Ghana largely because of the communication barrier. That is because there are no sign language interpreters in the hospitals to provide services to them when they attend hospitals.”

He added “we want to make an appeal to the National Health Insurance Authority to include sign language services to the scheme benefits.”

James Sambian also spoke about the possibility of wrong diagnosis of patients. “If the healthcare personnel does not understand what the deaf person is saying, he will not be able to give proper diagnosis and that may lead to some casualties. We have had cases of casualties as a result of the lack of proper diagnosis.”

Mr. Sambian further advised the deaf not to resort to self-medication anytime they fall ill.

“Because of the communication barrier, most deaf people do not want to go to the hospital because they feel frustrated and they resort to self-medication or herbal medicine”.

He advised that “self-medication is dangerous and should not be encouraged. In the first place, it leads to complications in your system. When you use a drug for a long time, it loses its potency to cure you.” The program was themed: “what about the deaf”.