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Hospitals to be provided with sign language interpreters to address concerns of deaf and dumb patients

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, said the move would enable health professionals to communicate well with the deaf and dumb to be able to provide adequate and appropriate treatment for them.

She also hinted that sign language studies would be introduced in the curriculum of all health institutions in Accra on a pilot basis and later extend it to secondary and tertiary educational institutions.

Nana Lithur made this known when she received a delegation from the House of Grace School for the Deaf (HGSD) in her office in Accra last Thursday. 

She said that knowledge would help health professionals appreciate the health concerns of the visually and the hearing impaired who visited hospitals for treatment.

Accordingly, she said the ministry had met with the Ghana Federation for the Disabled to discuss the issue and they had agreed on the need for health professionals to acquire basic communication skills in sign language.

The HGSD is a non-governmental organisation established in 2008 to provide quality basic education for hearing challenged children and build their capacities for attaining employable skills in the future.

The school has a current population of 48 pupils who are at various levels in basic school.

The minister said the objective of the ministry was to ensure gender balance, the rights of children and social protection for the physically challenged.

In response to an appeal by the school for support, Nana Lithur pledged to help it acquire some facilities for its smooth operations.

The Headmistress of the HGSD, Mrs Hanna Boateng, appealed to the minister to assist the school to build more classrooms and acquire a bus.

She also appealed to corporate organisations to adopt the children in the school.

She said the school was established with the vision to provide quality education for deaf children.

She said the school meticulously followed the Ghana Education Service (GES) recommended curriculum for primary and basic education.

“All the teachers in the school are deaf, which inspires the children,” she said.

Mrs Boateng said the school depended mainly on contributions from individuals and organisations and also worked in cooperation with several training institutions in Finland which had been sending teachers over for practice and internship.

Story: Jennifer Ansah