Mbeya hospital employs sign language interpreter

MBEYA Zonal Referral Hospital has become the first institution in the country to launch sign language service with an Interpreter to help deaf patients seeking medical assistance here.

Inaugurating the launch yesterday at the Mbeya Referral Meeting Hall in the city, presided over by its Hospital Director, Dr. Godlove Mbwanji, who is also the Chief Nurse, he said such people also deserve the assistance just like any other patient.

Being also accompanied by some medics and members of the Association of Deaf people in Tanzania (Chavita) from Mbeya Region, Dr Mbwanji said he believes that health service they deliver together with the campaign of health issues in different places, is reaching the public without segregations.

He further pointed out that they have realized that there is a group of people who are normally left behind in considerations, citing them as the deaf, hence it was important to acquire them a permanent interpreter.

Dr. Mbwanji said in Mbeya City, there about 300 deaf people, out of 9,000 of them who reside in the whole region, adding: “All of them will be reached by the health service and eliminate the communication barrier that is barring us from meeting our targeted goals.”

He hinted again saying that: “After realizing the challenges, we have set up the circumcisions department…to reach them and educate them on the health benefit of circumcision, through the interpreter, where 16 of them have been circumcised.”

He said Mbeya Referral Hospital is the first hospital in the country to have acquired the services of the Interpreter for the deaf, where they will now have relief while consulting doctors, nurses and other workers to assist them.

Dr. Mbwanji told the participants that one being deaf should not be the reason to deny him/her his/her rights including good health.

On her side, Chavita Mbeya Chairperson, Ms. Tuse Mwalyega said they face many challenges in the society as a result of their disability and spoiled to the public not to stigmatise them.

She said the presence of the interpreter at the institution would help and educate also the public to ‘accommodate them’ as they also try to secure assistance on ailments like cervical cancer on girls and women and Health Insurance for them all.

Author: MERALI CHAWE in Mbeya

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