40 health personnel have completed a course in Sign Language Proficiency, organized by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in collaboration with the Supreme Sign Language Institute.
The four-week course, which was the second to be organized by the Institute, had participants from various health facilities in the Greater Accra Region including the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Polyclinic, Lekma, Usher Clinic, Adabraka Policlinic, La General Hospital, Abokobi and the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Ridge.
The graduates were presented with certificates.
Mr. Gabriel Amoah, who represented the Director General of the GHS during the graduation ceremony on Friday, congratulated the participants for their commitment and urged them to use the knowledge and skills acquired to improve on their engagements with their clients.
He said the objective of the training was to give equal opportunity to all Ghanaians, including persons with speech and hearing disabilities, to access quality healthcare to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He thanked the Supreme Sign Language Institute for its support, pledging the GHS’s continued commitment to the partnership to ensuring that all healthcare facilities had at least a stationed sign language interpreter for effective service delivery.
Dr. Esi Turkson Cofie, the Director of Metropolitan Health Service, GHS, who chaired the programme, said the move was a great step in Ghana’s Health Sector, as it would contribute to ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality care for all as envisioned in the pursuit towards Universal Health Coverage.
Mrs. Sarah Amissah Bamfo, who represented the Greater Accra Regional Director for Health Services, explained that the present batch was the second cohort of trainees to benefit from the collaboration.
She said lack of effective communication with persons with speech and hearing disabilities at the hospital settings often led to miscommunication and delayed care adding that the current intervention would guarantee quality diagnosis and drug dispensation for those vulnerable groups.
Mr. Newell Agbe, the Executive Director of the Supreme Sign Language Institute, pledged the Institute’s continued commitment and partnership with the GHS to provide quality sign language training for all who would require such specialized teachings to support persons with speech and hearing disabilities through effective communication.
The course, he said, involved Basic Interpersonal Skills, Sign Language Vocabulary Usage and their application in dialogues in the hospital setting.
The first batch of 22 trainees graduated last year and are currently assisting in their respective healthcare facilities with their knowledge and skills in the Sign Language.
“However, this number is still very low, and we intend to expand the training to other regions, districts and zones across the country over the next five years to ensure that at least all healthcare facilities had sign language interpreters for effective communication with clients, and to guarantee quality service delivery,” Mr Agbe said.
He encouraged health facilities to sponsor more of their personnel from the various units and departments with their Internally Generated Funds for the training.
Mr. Agbe said individuals could also self-finance their training at a highly subsidized cost of GH¢1,000.00 for the period, which included tuition fee, field trips, and course materials.