Health workers train in Filipino Sign Language

The Department of Health in Calabarzon on Thursday started the three-day training for health workers on the “First Basic Filipino Sign Language” at Ciudad Christhia 9 Waves Resort in San Mateo, Rizal.

Basic FSL must be introduced and become an integral part of the health care system for the benefit of those who have difficulty hearing or speaking and health workers, DOH Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during his opening message.

This includes primary care providers such as barangay health workers, who must have the basic skills in communicating and understanding the needs and concerns of these patients in order to provide them the proper treatment and care, Janairo added.

“Now that we have the Universal Health Care Law and the Filipino Sign Language Law, we now have the legal mandate to mainstream FSL training in government agencies and especially among health workers in the health system,” he added.

The Health official said it will bridge the gap between the deaf and health education, and strengthen the primary health care network “because we now have the language to fully understand the needs of our deaf people.”

The FSL module will be used to facilitate proper communication and provide understanding of patients with hearing impairments, Janairo added.

All health workers in the region will be educated and trained on the proper gestures and body movements illustrated in the module, for them to be able to communicate properly with people who uses sign language, he said.

From the alphabet, numbers, greetings, time, days, months and common questions asked in the emergency room, and using simple gestures, the FSL module will provide them with the simple interaction and understanding of persons with hearing impairment.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11106 or the Filipino Sign Language Act, which officially recognizes FSL as the official sign language to be used by government, schools, and media when relating to the deaf in the Philippines.

It orders all government agencies, government corporations, and local government units to use FSL to communicate with the deaf for transactions and other services.

The deaf who are in the civil service or who work for the government in any capacity will also use it.

Speech disability and hearing impairment are among the social factors that affect the country’s population, including vision/visual impairment, orthopedic disability, learning disability, chronic illnesses and mental disability.

According to the 2010 Philippine Statistics Authority Census on Population and Housing of 92.1 million household populations, about 1.4 million PWDs or 1.57 percent of the total population has a hearing disability.

Calabarzon region recorded the highest number of PWDs with 193,000 followed by the National Capital Region with 167,000, Central Luzon with 139,000, Western Visayas with 138,000, and Central Visayas with 109,000.

Cordillera has the lowest recorded number with 26,000, as 50.9% of the PWDs noted were male, while 49.1% were females and with age ranging from five to 19 years old.

According to the 2000 Census on PWDs, the country has a total of 120,000 deaf persons.

The 2004 Philippine Registry on Persons with Disability showed a total of 571 registered PWDs at the National Capital Region with speech and hearing impairment.

The initiative for the development of the first FSL module began in 2004 at DOH - Region 1 during Janairo’s assignment as Regional Director.

It was finalized and formally launched on November 13, 2015 when he was assigned as the Director of the Center for Health Development-National Capital Region.

Topics: Department of Health , Calabarzon , health workers , “First Basic Filipino Sign Language”
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