The University of Cape Coast (UCC) in partnership with the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) is slated to start a Diploma course in Sign Language Interpretation to provide essential support services to deaf people in various institutions.

Mr James Mokinyabit Sambian, the Executive Director of GNAD, who dropped the hint at an advocacy forum in Bolgatanga aimed at educating duty bearers and service providers on the provisions of the rights of persons with disability and the Disability Act which was passed in 2006.

He said there were many sign language interpreters in various communities who had no certificates to show for it, and therefore encouraged such persons to apply when sale of application commences.

Mr Sambian said the programme would start in the first week of July, adding that applicants must be Senior High School graduates with West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) or Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), must have intermediate knowledge in sign language, and a deaf person within the community must verify that the applicant was indeed a sign language interpreter.

He said as part of efforts to assist their members access quality health care, the GNAD had discussions with the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Nurses and Midwifery Council to include Sign Language course in the nursing programme, which was currently ongoing.

The Director added that to deepen the understanding and awareness among duty bearers, a survey was conducted in the three northern regions to find out the extent to which deaf people were aware of the disability law and the rights of persons with disability.

He said the findings would be shared with stakeholders to map out strategies to deal with the lack of awareness and how to handle people with hearing impairment.

Mr Sambian said based on the law and rights of persons with disability which was passed by the United Nations to which Ghana was a signatory, persons with hearing impairment could apply to various organizations for employment.

He conceded that there were no deaf people in the security services, especially the Ghana Armed Forces despite numerous advertisements for suitable applicants which some of their members qualified per the requirements usually put out.

The Director said the GNAD would soon meet with the military high command to look at areas in which deaf people would be capable of working within the Ghana Army.“Until that is done, I am sure that the people may not be considered because of the lack of hearing,” He added.

GNA