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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


MUNOZ-BAELL, Irma M. et al. Deaf communities: patients or citizens?. Gac Sanit [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.1, pp.72-78. ISSN 0213-9111.

The concept of disability is related to discrimination and social exclusion; that is, this issue is a socio-political question whose effects go well beyond the health of the individual. The social and human rights based model of disability points the way to fresh opportunities for action to promote the wellbeing and health of the seventy million Deaf people living in the world today. The key factors in preventing discrimination against the Deaf are recognition of their specific cultural and linguistic identity (including sign languages and Deaf culture), bilingual education, the availability of professional sign language interpreting, and access to information and communication. The present article aims to encourage greater understanding of the significance of adopting this new perspective on disability, its congruence with current national and international legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities in general and of Deaf persons in particular, and its implications in the policies and praxis due to be implemented in Spain over the next few years on enhancing the health of the Deaf community through significant examples of good practice. Examples of good practice for distinct Deaf communities include collaboration between these communities and the health sector, health training for sign language users, the inclusion of the language and culture of Deaf persons in training programs for healthcare professionals, training of Deaf specialists as future health researchers and workers, and health care services that are more accessible via different sign languages.

Keywords : Health promotion; Equity; Disability; Deaf people; Public policies; Community participation; Good practices; Bilingual education.

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