Health information videos in NZ Sign Language released

Published: Thu 12 May 2022 09:51 AM
A translation of this press release in NZ Sign Language is available here.
GPs and other health professionals now have a series of health information videos in New Zealand Sign Language to assist in their consultations with Deaf and hard of hearing people.
The series is launching today to enable the Deaf and hard of hearing community to access critical health information. The videos can be found, alongside English transcripts, on the Health Navigator NZ website.
This is the first time common health conditions have been explained in detail in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), which is one of three official languages in New Zealand alongside te reo Māori and English.
Released to coincide with New Zealand Sign Language Week, which runs from 9-15 May, the series reflects the week’s theme this year: NZSL is Essential.
The videos were made with funding from NZ Lotteries and spearheaded by Platform|Atamira Trust’s Deaf Mental Health and Addictions Programme Manager Jo Witko in partnership with Health Navigator and Deafradio, which undertook the translation process and development of the videos.
“Access to this critical health information has been a long time coming, considering NZSL has been an official language since 2006.
There is a lot more work to do in this area to ensure equity of access to health information and services for Deaf people,” Ms Witko says.
There are 42 new videos covering seven essential health topics and each is a few minutes long:chest painvaccinesheart diseasestrokediabetesasthmaosteoarthritis.
The health information in the videos has been translated from the Health Navigator NZ.Real need for health information in NZSL
Former Victoria University lecturer and Deaf Studies researcher David McKee, who is Deaf, was part of the project team that advised on this project.
He says there is a real and critical need to provide more health information in NZSL.
“For many Deaf people, English is their second language and there is a range of literacy and confidence when reading and writing. Their literacy is not always at a level where they can access information in English, and many Deaf people struggle with medical jargon,” Dr McKee says.
Deaf people also face many barriers when accessing healthcare.
“A lot of Deaf people go to the doctor, and they have to write notes in English because they can’t always get an interpreter, which can result in breakdowns in communication, a loss of confidence and poorer health outcomes.”
Dr McKee says he hopes the videos will enable Deaf people confidence and autonomy around managing their health, as well as easy access to important health information.
“It’s also helpful if healthcare workers direct their Deaf patients to watch the videos so they can access the health information and have background information to ask further questions and make informed decisions about managing their health.”
To view the videos, visit the Health Navigator New Zealand website.

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