The KwaZulu-Natal health department’s effort to improve its service delivery has received much needed boost.

The Province welcomed over 1000 health practitioners who have been trained in sign language.

Thirty four-year-old Sister Nita Deepla, who has been a nurse for over 10 years, says language barriers between her and her deaf patients have always been a challenge.

Last year, with the assistance the Department of Health she enrolled for a course in sign Language.
She is one of over 400 health care workers who received certificates in sign Language

“I had no idea about sign language but I did have a lot of patients that came to our department, that were actually deaf. So I felt that it was important that we actually know it in order for us to better communicate and provide health care,” says Deepla.

The initiative will help ensure that Doctor-patient confidentiality is not compromised.

KZN Health MEC Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo says: “We have those who are in front line services, the clerks and other reception areas. Most of them are now trained in this process here and there. Some nurses, some doctors and some pharmacists have been trained. But one day we will drive this campaign to find that all our health care professionals in the province have got this training.”

The newly trained staff will be dispatched across the province, with nurses conveying a whole new meaning to their patients, in the form of sign language.