12 health caregivers complete sign language courses |27 December 2023
For the first time in Seychelles, 12 healthcare providers have successfully completed sign language courses to enhance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of individuals with hearing impairments.
The 12 healthcare providers who undertook this challenge are Nathalie Mathiot, Lise Agricole, Dora Mousbe, Beryl Valentin, Josette Souffe, Elmanda Ernesta, Veronique Simeon, Vereine Louis Marie and Nicole Esther.
The training, facilitated by the Association of People with Hearing Impairment (Aphi) over a six-month period, enables these caregivers to break down communication barriers and improve access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services on a national scale.
Beryl Valentin, Sexual and Reproductive Health programme manager explained that “Communication barriers are a challenge experienced by people who are hearing impaired and therefore impact on their access to primary health care services such as SRH. As part of the global, continental, regional and national efforts to close equity gaps in regards to vulnerable groups and ensure inclusion in development efforts to achieve the 2030 agenda for global sustainable development, it is important to ensure that no one is left behind”.
The completion of the sign language courses equips these 12 health caregivers with the ability to effectively communicate with individuals experiencing hearing impairment, fostering a more inclusive and supportive healthcare environment.
Nathalie Mathiot, a nurse midwife at the English River health centre, shared that learning sign language was not an easy thing. “At the beginning our hands were heavy but with practice we got hold of it. It is important for us to know sign language as we will be able to communicate with people with hearing impairment and they can come alone to the clinic. We had lots of patience in order to complete the course but now we are happy with the completion of this course as it will allow for more comprehensive care and support for this specific group of individuals.”
The comprehensive training programme covered various topics, including basic sign language communication, cultural sensitivity, and healthcare terminology related to sexual and reproductive health. Rigorous practical sessions were conducted to ensure the caregivers could confidently apply their acquired skills in real-world scenarios.
This specific project was part of the United Nations Population Fund 2023 workplan and is in line with various international agreements and plans to promote the rights of people living with disability and is also in line with Strategic Direction 2 on Universal Health Coverage of the National Health Strategic plan 2022 – 2026.
Photo: Kurtrine Albert