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High hopes in Kenya as govt set to train sign language providers 

By Mitchell Jena, editorial@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – The national government of Kenya will train 300 service providers on sign language to help break communication barrier among persons living with disability.

According to the Alex Munyere, who is in charge of rehabilitation at the National Council of Persons with Disability, the training that will be done countrywide will kick off this month.

“We are training these service providers to help and break the communication barrier that has been here between PWDs and other people. The service providers will be trained on sign language in all the 47 counties,” said Munyere.

According to Munyere, the council is targeting trainees across all the major professions which include front office persons, the police, Nurses and social workers.

“We are aiming at those who serve the general public, PWDs included. Those who are targeted interact with the disabled on daily basis,” she said.

Seven service providers will be trained from each county during the training that will be done in Kenya Institute of Special Education centres across the country.

“Each county will be represented by seven service providers. We are targeting at least 300 from across the country,” added Munyere.

Early last year 250 service providers were trained across different professional fields.

Out of the registered 350,000 people living with disability, 7.03 per cent are deaf and dumb. Over five percent of the total number have hearing disability and depend on sign language interpreters to understand information.

“In every county, there are disabled people who depend on sign language interpreters to help them understand information. The service providers will help to interpret this information and make communication easier,” she said.

Shortage of staff has contributed major challenges for persons living with disability when having access to social services.

The Ministry of Health and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities have registered close to 350,000 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.

More than 50 per cent of those registered have physical disabilities, 16.9 per cent have mental disabilities, 10.02 per cent have visual disabilities and 7.03 per cent are deaf and dumb.

Over five per cent of the registered PWDs have hearing disabilities, 4.64 per cent have epilepsy, 1.62 per cent has cerebral palsy; 0.89 per cent autism, 0.551 per cent has albinism and 0.517 per cent are deaf but can talk.

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