ASLIN Calls For The Integration Of Sign Language In Medical Curriculums


The Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN), Kwara Chapter, has advocated for the integration of sign language into medical curriculums and the engagement sign interpreters across hospitals in Nigeria.

Mallam Ibrahim Owolabi, the President of ASLIN-Kwara, made the decision. Owolabi explained that the deaf community is at a serious disadvantage when it came down to health issues. In his opinion, communication barriers has always been considered the bane of people with hearing impairment as they are unable to effectively relate their issues with medical practitioners.

He further adds that there is a significant need for sign language interpreters across hospitals in the country at the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems.

“The hearing impaired are unique unlike other people living with disabilities. They have the challenge of communication and this is a great challenge to their health. We must ensure we begin to do something about this by ensuring our medical professionals are able to communicate with them, and this can be through sign language.”

Mr. Julius Olaolu, of the Centre for Supportive Services for the Deaf, University of Ilorin, added that there are issues of great condition where a patient who has hearing impairment cannot communicate with their care givers. Olaolu alleged cases of misdiagnosis that has led to death of hearing impaired people, adding that as Nigerians, people with special needs also have rights to medical facilities. He therefore advocated for integration of sign language into medical curriculum too, adding that these will also help medical practitioners in their line of duty.

Dr. Oluwayemisi Adegboye, the Care Coordinator/Case Manager, Kwara State Health Insurance Agency, observed the need to help the hearing impaired in Nigeria especially pertaining to their health issues. She underscored the need and importance of health practitioners ability to communicate with the deaf. Adegboye added that such ability should cut across the entire health services such as from the gate of health centre to where records are kept, the laboratories to the doctors, among others.