PL committed to breaking down barriers for deaf people

Deaf People Association tells Labour Party that Malta lacks communication streams for deaf people; PL pledges to break down barriers and create a more inclusive society if elected to office.

Not enough persons in Malta know sign language which causes a problem for deaf persons to communicate
Not enough persons in Malta know sign language which causes a problem for deaf persons to communicate

During a meeting with the Deaf People Association Malta, the Labour Party discussed the situation of deaf persons in Maltese society.

“It is a known fact that deaf people face barriers while trying to live as normal a life as possible,” Labour spokesperson on disability Justyne Caruana said.

Other topics of discussion included the need for increased accessibility to information to be fully aware of their surroundings and be able to follow current discussions, stories and news to feel more integrated in society.

“It is certain that for there to be this leap in their quality of life, we need to have broadcasts more oriented towards the needs of deaf people. The broadcast services of the state currently being provided is immensely limited and not adequate to address the basic needs of deaf people,” Caruana said in a statement this morning.

The DPA said there was a lack of communication, particularly in the health sector because doctors are not trained in sign language and so cannot communicate with deaf people.  

“When involved in dangerous situations, these persons do not have a way of accessing the 112 line and there is no way for them to be informed in case of possible danger they may be subjected to. Malta, unlike other European countries, does not have an alarm system for deaf people,” the PL said.  

The DPA said that should more resources be provided, training in sign language could be provided even offering to have courses conducted in government departments, schools and other entities to raise awareness of deaf people and their needs.

Another issue raised was that of hearing aids, other aid apparatus and ear moulds since those not offered by the department of health are not of the highest quality and it is considerably too expensive for persons to go into private health care.

Caruana added that the recurrent theme of the meeting was complete inclusion at all levels in all sectors, particularly in education and the labour force.

“The PL reiterated its commitment to this sector, while also listing the work done by the PL in parliament during debates, parliamentary questions as well as press releases on this particular subject,” Caruana said.

The PL announced that it was prepared, should it win the votes of the electorate, to truly create an inclusive society which understands the needs of deaf people and addresses them.

“In fact, over the last years, the party has been engaged in broad consultation to develop a plan toward social inclusion in the broadest sense of the word, toward a just society for everyone to have their rights respected and guaranteed,” Caruana concluded.