Government challenges media houses to have sign language interpreters

Deputy Minister of Gender, Community Development, Social welfare, Agness Nkusankhoma expressed her worry on the lack of sign language interpreters among media houses, especially Television Stations, saying deaf people are left behind in the development of the country.

Speaking during a press conference on a launch of International week of the deaf in Lilongwe on Monday, Nkusankhoma said it is pathetic to see the that the deaf community are left behind in taking part in all aspects of development, due to lack access to information, while the country is trying to implement the agenda 2063.

She further asked media houses to start including sign language interpreters in all programs, including news rooms.

Mkusankhoma (C): Television stations in the country must have sign language intepreters

"There is a need to start having sign language journalists and reporters in all media houses, in their programs and news so that the country should move forward in its development," she said.

She further said currently, government is making sure that there is an addition of sign language interpreters.

However, the Chairperson for Malawi National Association for the Deaf (MANAD) Stephano Maneya said people with hearing impairments face a lot of challenges in the country, such as lack of information, especially those who are in villages whom they are also part of the development.

He added that most of the Television stations in the country do not have sign language interpreters and the deaf community is left behind to the access to information.

"It is not only the Television that requires access to information, but also there are more children in villages who are hearing impaired, and they do not have access to education due to lack of sign language interpreters," he said

Maneya further added that public institutions such as Police are supposed to have sign language interpreters so that deaf community should follow what is happening.

He then expresses his worry on the document of the Agenda 2063.

"If we can work together and assist the lives of deaf community in the country, the development of the country would also be helped by the people with hearing impairment," he said.

Responding to the matter, the Director of Disability and Elderly Programs, Gideon Kachingwe, said government is about to train about 500 sign language interpreters, and they are expecting to receive some funding from different stake holders.

Meanwhile, the country has about 50 sign language interpreters.

The International Day of Deaf will be held on 23 September 2022 in Zomba under the theme; "Building inclusive Communities for All".