Promoting Inclusive Health Services for Patients with Hearing Impairment
By Fru Rita Ngum
Patients with hearing impairment will henceforth gain access to quality health care delivery in some CBC Health Services facilities more than ever before. This measure has been taken by the CBC Health Services after realizing that persons with hearing impairment are sometimes left out of health care delivery due to the absence of sign language interpreters.
It is to this effect that a three-month training course was recently organized at the Inclusive School and Sign Language Center (ISLC) Mbingo for finance clerks and social workers selected from Mbingo, Banso Baptist Hospitals, Baptist Health Center Kumba, and some pastors.
The trainer and Head Teacher of ISLC, Mr. Che Manasseh, says the purpose of the training project was to equip sign language practitioners to assist persons with hearing impairment gain full access to public information, health care services, and social services in three CBC Health Services facilities.
“As part of measures to make health care inclusive, the CBC Health Services besides training the clerks, has designed a job description for the trainees to enable them function well in their different stations,” added Mr. Che.
He explained that the initiative of inclusive health care delivery is a ‘mustard seed’ planted by the CBC Health Services and is expected to grow in the coming years.
Mr. Che is hopeful that going forward, the trainees will be included in annual seminars organized by the Inclusive School and Sign Language Center to further strengthen their capacities so they can continue to effectively sensitize communities on the availability of sign language interpreters in the health facilities.
One of the trainees, Silvia Vebemghomo, says after the training they were introduced to physicians by the hospital administrators to enable the physicians make use of their services during consultation of persons with hearing impairment. She cited some patients with hearing impairment who have already benefited from their services with sign language interpreters helping them to express their health challenges to the doctors.
On a personal note, Silvia attested to how the training has helped her. “The training has helped me to also communicate with my child who has a hearing impairment. The ease with which I communicate with my daughter has made her very fulfilled,” testified Silvia.
On her part Victor Benla Nyakela, a trainee, called on patients with hearing impairment to make use of the sign language services whenever they are sick given that health education is also being interpreted for them.
In a society where persons with hearing impairment face communication barriers that limit their access to information, it is hoped that the measures by the CBC Health Services will break these barriers and put smiles on their faces as they become more and more aware of prevailing health issues.