Association wants integration of sign language in medical curriculum

The Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN), Kwara Chapter, has advocated integration of sign language into medical curriculum and engaging sign interpreters across Nigeria’s hospitals.

Malam Ibrahim Owolabi, the President of ASLIN-Kwara, made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ilorin.

Owolabi explained that the deaf community are at a disadvantage when it comes to health issues.

According to him, communication barriers has always been bane of people with hearing impairment as they are unable to effectively relate with medical practitioners.

He added that there is need for sign language interpreters across hospitals in the country at both primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare system.

“The hearing impaired are unique unlike other people living with disabilities. They have the challenge of communication and this is a great challenge to their health.

“We must ensure we begin to do something about this by ensuring our medical professionals are able to communicate with them, and this can be through sign language,” he said.

Also speaking with NAN, Mr Julius Olaolu, of the Centre for Supportive Services for the Deaf, University of Ilorin, added that there are issues of great condition where a patient who has hearing impairment cannot communicate with their care givers.

Olaolu alleged cases of misdiagnosis that has led to death of hearing impaired people, adding that as Nigerians, people with special needs also have rights to medical facilities.

He therefore adovacated for integration of sign language into medical curriculum too, adding that these will also help medical practitioners in their line of duty.

Dr Oluwayemisi Adegboye, the Care Coordinator/Case Manager, Kwara State Health Insurance Agency, observed the need to help the hearing impaired in Nigeria especially pertaining to their health issues.

She underscored the need and importance of health practitioners ability to communicate with the deaf.

Adegboye added that such ability should cut across the entire health services such as from the gate of health centre to where records are kept, the labouratories to the doctors, among others. (NAN)

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