The Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) has organised a sensitisation workshop for health care providers at the Eastern Regional Hospital to improve quality health care delivery for persons with disability especially the hearing- impaired.
The workshop also sought to bring to the fore the frustrations the hearing-impaired, especially women and girls go through while seeking health care services.
The President of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), Mr Matthew Kubachua, indicated that the hearing-impaired were the most vulnerable when it comes to seeking medical treatment in Ghana.
Mr Kubachua explained that almost all health facilities in the country did not have interpreters to assist the hearing-impaired to communicate their message to health workers, adding that the situation had resulted in many of them losing their lives in the country.
“Most doctors do not give the required prescription to hearing-impaired patients because they were unable to communicate with them to know their problem,” he said.
Mr Kubachua noted that in 2015, the GNAD recorded 38 deaths in seven regions in the country as a result of improper medication.
According to him, the hearing-impaired were the last to get services at hospitals because they would not hear their names as it was mentioned at the Out Patient Department (OPD) and would sit down till the unexpected happens.
Mr Kubachua encouraged the health workers to exhibit professionalism when dealing with persons with disabilities who had hearing impairment.
“You will understand the deaf person better if you get close and face the person as he tries to come out with his problem,” he said.
He urged the government to train more interpreters in hospitals and other institutions that might need the services of interpreters to boost the service of customers.
For his part, a physiotherapist technician at the Eastern Regional Hospital, Mr Peter Yiripae Gumouh, the only interpreter trained by the hospital in an interview with the Ghanaian Times appealed to the government to get sign language interpreter screen to every hospital to facilitate the health care delivery for the hearing-impaired.
He noted that Koforidua municipality alone had more than 10,000 people with hearing-impairment, according to the population census, but only few access health care services at the hospital.
“Even when I have closed and left for the house, the deaf patients will message me on phone which I have to come back to interpret,” he said, adding that when he was on leave they would look elsewhere for medical treatment.
Mr Gumouh noted that doctors failed to give the required prescription even for emergency cases, revealing that a lady who was about to travel abroad died as a result.
According to him, most of them come to the hospital alone without the company of any interpreter or a family member because they wanted their health status to be kept confidential.
FROM ALBERTA SARPONG, KOFORIDUA