By Fadzai Ndangana
Zhombe communities have bemoaned lack of trained nurses on sign language saying it hampers communication which in the end subject patients to wrong prescriptions particularly when dealing with patients with disabilities.
Speaking on the sidelines of the National Women Rural Convention in the capital yesterday, Zhombe women bemoaned the unavailability of sign language services saying given that Zimbabwe has been the first country in Africa to come up with sign language initiative by now it should be doing better.
One of the parents who identified herself as Mrs Mugari told 263Chat that she was disappointed by the reception she received recently at a local clinic where nurses failed to attend to her own daughter because they could not understand the sign communication language.
“The nurses there failed to attend to my child because of language barrier. I’m even scared to access the local health facilities because they might prescribe the wrong medication due to language barrier,” said Mrs Mugari.
Zhombe ward 11 Councillor Brave Samu also raised concern over the health service practitioners’ lack of sign language skill saying extra health curricula should equip nurses with all relevant communication skills to afford people nondiscriminatory services
“Sign language is not taught in school as other languages therefore the rural nurses should be given separate training on sign language to improve the health situation for the deaf community,” Samu said.
Zimbabwe’s health services rarely affords sign language services to people who live with disabilities the rural communities say it is critical to relay information particularly that to do with the conveying HIV and AIDS prevention.
Human rights activists have lately described the country’s hospitals as death trap institutions with the government senior officials condemned for seeking medication abroad while leaving ordinary citizens languishing in ill equipped and poorly functioning health facilities.