MediSIGN: UP Med students turn project into lifesaving sign language handbook

UP medical students turned their project into the MediSIGN Handbook, a groundbreaking guide featuring Filipino sign language for healthcare, to bridge communication gaps between deaf patients and medical professionals.

Students usually do projects for grades, but the University of the Philippines-Medical Students for Social Responsibility (UP-MSSR) took it up a notch. Their project is now a real-life handbook.

MediSIGN Handbook is a must-have guide featuring Filipino sign language for health-related terms. It aims to improve healthcare for patients with hearing impairments, according to the University of the Philippines.

“The MediSIGN handbook intends to bridge communication gaps between patients with hearing impairments and medical professionals,” said UP-MSSR Commissioner Alex Nathaniel Gagalac.

“MediSIGN is meant as a quick reference material for healthcare professionals, medical students, and the public to establish a better rapport with deaf patients in healthcare settings,” he added.

The MediSIGN Handbook started as a project initiated by medical student applicants during the 2021-2022 term and was endorsed by the MSSR Standing Committee on Public Health. MSSR is the official student arm of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in the Philippines.

Finalized with the help of the Philippine Association of the Deaf, Inc., the handbook is now ready to make a difference.

Hearing loss affects about 15% of the population, with roughly 540,000 Filipinos relying on sign language as their primary means of communication. This handbook covers essential topics like the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) alphabet and numbers, building rapport, and history-taking, making it an indispensable tool for effective communication in healthcare settings.