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The Deaf and Sign Language
​​​Sign language refers to a set of hand gestures and symbols used by the deaf. It is also used by people of normal hearing to communicate with the deaf. Sign language depends on ideas more than words, as each gesture delivers a specific idea or concept; however, some words and names are not synonymous with sign language. Therefore, deaf people use the hand (finger) alphabet for such words. 

Out of its keen interest in materializing the Saudi Vision 2030, especially with regard to the deaf, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has prompted its staff to uphold ‘We Are with You’ Initiative, meant to support this group throughout the Kingdom. To that end, the Ministry has raised its staff’s awareness of the deaf community, as well as of the ways to deal with them, and trained them on sign language rules and basics. 

In doing so, the Ministry sought to overcome the barriers that may prevent the deaf beneficiaries from receiving high-quality services. Thereby, the Ministry supports the Unified National Platform, by means of converting the sign language into spoken Arabic language, and vice versa.

MOH has also introduced Priority (Awlawia) Card, which is an initiative launched by the Patient Experience Center, with the aim of facilitating and accelerating the procedures and services provided to some groups (including the deaf) inside health facilities, and removing any obstacles that might debar them from getting health services. 

Besides, MOH has created ‘Support Groups’, an initiative meant to develop primary healthcare, supervised by the Primary Healthcare Assistant Agency. It aims to link medical treatment to emotional support, by allowing members of these groups to share their disease- or disability-related experiences, and encouraging one another. Moreover, the deaf benefit from the e-services provided by MOH, including: Queries on Treatment Abroad Orders S​ervice, ‘Mawid’ (Appointment) Service, among many other e-services.

MOH has also launched the Online Registration initiative for the benefit of people with disabilities, including the deaf, through an e-system for registering and classifying disabled people across the Ministry. The ‘E-Health’ platform enables the competent MOH officials to follow up all registration and classification electronically, as well as the issuance of ‘Transportation Discount Cards’, and ‘Traffic Facilitations Cards’, among other services oriented to this group. 

These services can also be linked to other competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, and the Ministry of Education, by means of automating all procedures, to ensure speed and uniformity of service provision. In addition, the Ministry has launched «Eshara» App, providing direct services to the deaf and people with hearing impairment. This application allows them benefit from the services provided by the 937-Service Center​.

Sign language allows communication and conveys mutual feelings between the deaf and normal people. In addition, it helps them express their various needs, and promotes their mental development. It also develops their social, cognitive and cultural relationships, and helps them get rid of fear, depression and frustration. 

Moreover, it is distinguished by its richness of form. In other words, it includes 35 manual symbols, each of which represents a letter of the alphabet, in addition to five other symbols that represent diacritics. The Arabic language does not forget numbers in its sign language system. A system for Arabic sign language numbers has been created to include 53 manual symbols, each of which represents a number whether it consists of a single number or more.

Services provided:
  1. «Eshara» App:​ Sign Language «Eshara» App allows the deaf and people with hearing impairment to benefit from MOH’s services, including general queries service, appointment at healthcare centers service, medical consultation service, in addition to other services around the clock.
  2. «Mawid» Service: The Central Appointment System «Mawid» is an e-service provided by MOH, to enable patients to book, cancel or reschedule their appointments at primary health care centers, as well as managing their referral appointments.
  3. «Seha» App: It provides medical consultations remotely through video call, SMS, or voice messages.
  4. 937-Service​: It provides medical consultations via voice call.

Last Update : 01 April 2021 09:50 AM
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