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Activate Talk: Speaking Out: Young Voices on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) UNICEF, 22nd Floor Conference Room, New York 23 September 2014, 2:00 – 3:30pm Presented at the panel by: Mr Braam Jordaan, Board Member of World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS) and Youth Council Member of Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (CPcwd) _______________________________________________________________________________________ Good afternoon speakers, delegates and representatives, The World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS) is a youth section under the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international organization which represents 70 million deaf people worldwide. From all the people with disabilities with different walks of life, deaf and deafblind are the only disabilities that strongly rely on Sign Language for effective language acquisition and communication. The GPcwd provides a platform for collective action and advocacy to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are included in and prioritized by both the disability and child rights agendas at the global, regional, and country levels. Healthcare is generally inaccessible to deaf people due to communication and linguistic barriers. The deaf community, mostly from the developing countries, struggle with significant health inequalities and is often excluded from health education, outreach programs and mass media healthcare messages. Deaf users of sign languages, through cultural and language barriers, are at high risk for poor health knowledge and inequitable access to medical care in the health system. Additionally, some members of the deaf community visit their health professionals less often or not at all, due to limited access to direct communication. This lack of cultural- and linguistic-competency on the part of the professional often results in higher rates of inaccurate evaluations, misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatments. The right to education in sign language for youth and children with disabilities is protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Under this treaty, governments and health care providers have an obligation to provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public (Art. 9). It is important to take note that the sign language interpreter service is mutually beneficial, enabling doctors and professionals to execute their task properly without any risk or barrier. In concrete terms, this means the governments needs to factor concerns of the deaf in healthcare delivery system by ensuring sign language interpretation through: employing sign language interpreters, and secondly, training healthcare personnel in sign language to be able to receive deaf patients. Effectively addressing the concerns of youth with disabilities requires listening to the voice of youth and medical professionals with disabilities and proactively involving them in development, including relevant policy and decisionmaking processes. The States Parties, its stakeholders and we need to increase action on non-communicable diseases. Thank you! New York, USA, 23 September 2014 About the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS) The main aim of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section is to advocate the human rights of deaf youth in the world. Our aims are in accordance with those of the WFD. About the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) The World Federation of the Deaf is an international non-governmental organisation representing and promoting approximately 70 million deaf people's human rights worldwide. The WFD is a federation of 133 nations; its mission is to promote the human rights of deaf people and full, quality and equal access to all spheres of life, including self-determination, sign language, education, employment and community life. WFD has a consultative status in the United Nations and is a member of International Disability Alliance (IDA). (www.wfdeaf.org) Email: [email protected] Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) The Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities's work on children with disabilities is guided by a human rights approach, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and other relevant treaties and frameworks.