PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) says it is responding to the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society, the deaf community.
This is being done through the launch of a COVID-19 video series in American Sign Language.
“Persons who are deaf and hard of hearing may experience barriers to obtaining accurate and reliable COVID-19 information. So, we decided that it was important to provide answers to their concerns, in their language, and in a manner that was simple and easy for deaf persons to understand,” said CARPHA’s Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr Joy St John.
She explained that through a partnership with the Deaf Pioneers Life Centre in Trinidad and Tobago, CARPHA was able to produce a series of videos with prevention and protection COVID-19 messages in American Sign Language.
The videos also addressed some of the myths and misinformation surrounding the vaccines, and utilised narration, along with graphical images.
Executive Officer of the Caribbean Sign Language Centre, Nicole Paul, who is in full support of the initiative stated that — “In these times of a worldwide pandemic, the use of sign language to ensure that our deaf and hard of hearing brothers and sisters have equal access to information can literally mean the difference between life and death”.
In addition to the non-governmental organisations, CARPHA partnered with the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and received financial support from the European Union (EU) in the production of the sign language video series.