Hospitals lack sign language interpreters

HARARE - The safety of deaf patients is being put at risk due to a lack of  hospital staff who know sign language and problems in accessing anti-retroviral drugs.

The families of patients and staff not trained in sign language are being left to pass on health information, raising concerns of people with hearing impairment. 

Babra Nyangairi from the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust told the Health and Child Care parliamentary portfolio committee there are no sign language practitioners in medical institutions.

“Those with hearing impairment have a lot of challenges because sign language is not available in most institutions like hospitals.

“It actually starts at the entrance of the centre, where there is no such people.

“In the end, we have lost a number of people with hearing impairment as many stopped taking HIV tablets the moment they started feeling better, owing to lack of communication with medical practitioners,” Nyangairi said.

She also said there is no privacy when it comes to these people with hearing impairments, which results in them seeking medical assistance when they fall “very sick”.

Nyangairi said it is imperative for nurses to be taught sign language, to enable them to communicate with patients with such challenges.

Other officials that made presentations were Tafadzwa Mazera from the Disability and HIV Trust and Tinashe Zimondi from Mashambanzou Trust.

They all spoke about the need to improve the welfare of those with disabilities so that they live a normal life and that they must be given free medication and counselling.

Binga North MDC MP Prince Sibanda, who was chairing the committee, said the committee will sit down, deliberate and make recommendations on the issues presented before it.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.