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Health News of Friday, 23 September 2022


International Day of Sign language: The communication challenges of the hearing-impaired

Richmond Baidoo is a sign language interpreter play videoRichmond Baidoo is a sign language interpreter

Correspondence from Western Region

Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a standard system of symbols, signs, or behaviour.

But when it happens that one party is unable to decode the symbols or signs used by the other then communication cannot take place because there will be no proper feedback.

This is what is happening between the deaf and those who can hear.

Because the deaf cannot hear, sign language was first introduced in France in 1755 and in Ghana in 1957 by Dr. Andrew Foster, a deaf American.

The United Nations in its 2017 General Assembly proclaimed 23rd September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign languages.

Speaking to GhanaWeb through an interpreter, the Western Regional President of the Deaf Association, Ussher Kakra noted that because people do not understand sign language, anytime two deaf people are speaking through sign language, people think they are fighting.

According to him, the deaf community faces many challenges that need to be addressed.

Kakra mentioned that the deaf is unable to enter into any meaningful business because as soon as people get to know their status (deaf) they stop buying from the person.

“Because of that, we can’t work in public places and most of us are poor in society, while others have resorted to begging,” he said.

He called on the government to include sign language in the educational curriculum to help children to start learning sign language from the basic schools.

Speaking to a sign language interpreter Richmond Baidoo, noted that society has not seen the need to break the communication barrier in various aspects.

“Imagine a deaf person visiting the hospital, how will they communicate with the doctor to know his or her problem; imagine a deaf person who wants to enroll in educational courses, how will he access quality education when there is no sign language? Let’s look at the content on the internet, how many of them contain sign language interpretation for the deaf to understand the content?” he asked.

Richmond Baidoo said, "it is about time we understand the culture of the deaf so that certain misconceptions about the deaf community will be dealt with."

He called on health workers to acquaint themselves with sign language in order to administer proper health care to the deaf adding that all health institutions should employ sign language interpreters who will interpret whatever health challenge the deaf has to the health worker.