ABS-CBN News

Health workers in Manila to learn sign language

Posted at | Updated as of 06/22/12 1:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Health workers in Metro Manila are set to get sign language training as part of the government’s effort to effectively address the needs of patients with disabilities.

In a statement released Thursday, the Department of Health’s Center for Health in the National Capital Region said it will conduct training on basic sign language to be able to communicate properly with people who have difficulty hearing or speaking.

“Communication is essential to convey directions and provide harmonization to carry out the thoughts and visions of an organization to the people. Thus, it is essential for a health worker to be equipped with the basic sign language to be able to communicate accurately and avoid errors,” regional director Eduardo Janairo said.

He added that errors in communication can pose health risks to patients and liability to health care providers.

According to Janairo, most Filipinos who are deaf grow up without learning any language, whether spoken or signed, because there is no one to teach them.

A total of 508,270 persons with disabilities were recorded in the Philippines in 2004. Today, there are an estimated 8.4 million of them in the country, with 17.28% having hearing and speech impairments.

“Communication is a vital component of ensuring effective delivery of health care services, and health care providers must be equipped with the basic forms of sign language for them to render an effective and quality care for patients with communication impairment,” Janairo explained.

Sign language is considered the fourth most-used language worldwide.