Only 8 interpreters serving 750,000 hearing-impaired

Updated 01 July 2013

Only 8 interpreters serving 750,000 hearing-impaired

A mere eight sign-language interpreters are serving 750,000 people suffering from hearing disabilities in the Kingdom, which amounts to one translator for a staggering 93,000 deaf citizens, said Ahmad Al-Faheed member of the Arab Federation of Organizations Working with the Deaf (AFOWD).
Approximately 3 percent of the Saudi population suffers from hearing difficulties, which is equivalent to 750,000 individuals, Al-Faheed said, quoting a report released by the UNESCO organization.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Services said currently there are only eight accredited sign language translators serving hearing-impaired persons in Saudi Arabia, three of them are stationed at the technical training establishments and the remaining five work at King Saud University.
He explained that the obstacles facing people with hearing difficulties primarily stem from communication difficulties with the community in public places such as health care and recreational facilities. Another hurdle for deaf people arises in situations where they need to seek medical assistance in public or private hospitals, as they encounter great difficulties explaining their pathological condition, which could lead to a worsening of their health status, Al-Faheed explained.
He cited a personal situation he encountered in one of the local hospitals, whereby an operation for a deaf person was put on hold for one hour because they needed to wait for a translator to communicate and explain the deaf patient’s health condition to the doctor.
Al-Faheed stressed the need for interpreters to be present in important locations, such as hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to assist people with special needs, particularly those with hearing impairments.
He concluded by stressing the right of deaf people to participate fully within the community, and expressed hope that public and private establishments will provide better services for those with special needs.


Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

Updated 42 min 58 sec ago

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

  • Saudi Green Building Forum attended conference at UN headquarters
  • SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices

JEDDAH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF) has shown that its mission aligns with the UN Commission for Social Development. 

A SGBF delegation attended the 58th session of the commission at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday.

The SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices.

“The SGBF supports the integration of affordable housing within urban developments, architectural design and use of materials that support occupants’ wellbeing, and minimizing construction waste through efficient methods,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, SGBF chair representative to the UN.

Al-Fadl told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is addressing key messages on clean energy and is focusing on a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive circular economy and building systems addressing these core issues.

“The Kingdom is complying with the principle of sustainability and is helping to advance the resilience of our cities.”

The UN Commission for Social Development’s role is to monitor national and global socioeconomic trends, identify emerging issues and assess their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.

The session reviewed some of the social challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on issues relevant to the three core social development goals identified at the World Summit for Social Development. 

The goals are eradicating poverty, promoting productive employment and decent work and promoting social inclusion.

The SGBF’s mission focuses on the resilience of city development practices within affordable housing developments to minimize negative impacts on the planet and citizens.

The forum addressed the practices of green systems and sustainable development in the Arab world. It said it will continue to work with the commission to support new resolutions on social and development issues, including the first-ever text on homelessness to be approved by a UN intergovernmental body.