As a trusted source of public health and COVID-19 information, CARPHA is responding to the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society, the deaf community. This, through the launch of a COVID-19 video series in American Sign Language.
Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. Joy St. John said, “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.” Dr. St. John 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, fully supported this initiative and stated, “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.
The video series will be distributed to all CARPHA Member States through the Agency’s Regional Health Communication Network (RHCN) and national and regional associations for the deaf and hard of hearing. Persons may also access the videos via the CARPHA YouTube Channel here: https://bit.ly/3x9C15o