The deaf persons are demanding that government mandates provision of sign language interpreters in key public offices to help them access relevant information. They say television stations should as well provide competent people to interpret news and other important information into sign language so that they are not left out.
Many deaf people from across the country converged in Mbale School for the Deaf to look into issues that affect them and how these can be resolved. The group claims that they find difficulties while seeking services from hospitals, television stations and public offices because of absence of skilled sign language interpreters.
Led by Imam Noor Guthiri, the Chairperson of Uganda Deaf Welfare Committee at Uganda National Association of the Deaf, (UNAD), the deaf asked government to deploy sign language interpreters to every public institution to bridge the existing communication gap.
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The group also expressed disappointment with television stations for marginalizing them by ignoring hiring of qualified sign language interpreters for both social and special programs like news. Joan Airo Angela, a teacher of the deaf from Wakiso district says government should mandate all TV stations in the country to hire sign language interpreters especially on sensitive programs, so that they are not left out.
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Responding to the call, Pamela Watuwa, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mbale told Uganda Radio Network that the issue was sensitive and needs immediate government intervention.
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A sign language interpreter is one who is qualified to interpret accurately, effectively, and impartially, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.