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Doctors, Nurses Get Sign-Language Training
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Fifteen doctors and nurses in east China's metropolis Shanghai yesterday got their special qualification certificates for providing medical services to deaf-and-dumb patients. They have received a month's intensified sign-language training, according to the Xinhua Community Health Care Center in Changning District.

There are around 175, 000 people in Shanghai with hearing deformity, but few hospitals in the city can provide full-time sign-language translators, according to Chen Jie, president of the Shanghai Association for Deaf-and-Dumb People. This is why deaf-and-dumb patients were worried about going to see doctors.

Liu Shuo, a doctor with Xinhua Community Health Care Center's Department of B-ultrasonic Diagnosis, is in charge of the training course. "In our hospital, I'm the only one who knows sign language," he said. "When there are too many patients at one time, the doctors would be puzzled and the patients worried. It's necessary to have more doctors and nurses knowing sign language." The 15 trainees are from various departments of the hospital.

At present, Shanghai has nearly 1,000 qualified sign language teachers working in the city's six sign language training schools. According to an Oriental Morning Post report on January 9, Xinhua Community Health Care Center plans to collaborate with these schools to promote and popularize the training in hospitals at different levels in Changning District, and hopefully spread to the whole city, but the hospital superintendents cannot be reached for immediate comment.

Some hospitals in other cities currently provide "sign language outpatient service" for deaf-and-dumb patients. The No.2 Hospital of Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province, is one such example. Guangzhou hospital has appointed three full time sign-language translators to serve deaf-and-dumb patients in the hospital, helping them register, see the doctor and buy drugs. The School of Nursing in Shandong University has opened a sign-language training course for its students.

( by Zhang Yunxing, January 12, 2006)

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