The eGovernment Authority’s (eGA) National Contact Center (NCC) is planning to increase the delivery of video call services for hearing-impaired persons by launching new 15 new services by the end of 2014 to be added the current six available services which were launched last year. The NCC aims to further improve the video call services and add the translation of sign language for deaf. This move is part of the National Contact Center (8000 8001) commitment as one of the eGovernment service delivery channels to ensure that its services are perfectly aligned with eGA’s strategy aiming at improving the users’ experience and increasing service usability.
In order to realize the above goals, the authority organised a workshop for the Bahrain Deaf Society members to familiarize them with the new features of the video call service . The attendees were briefed about the national contact center, the package of services provided by NCC and technology relating video relay service . For their part, hearing-impaired individuals expressed their views about the service and how to further improve it in the future, and suggested services they wish to be provided through the National Contact Center and eGovernment Authority.
eGovernment Authority eService Delivery and Channel Enhancement Director Mr. Ahmed Buhazza confirmed eGA’s efforts in enhancing and launching more services for persons with special needs so as to merge them in all aspects of societal life. He also stressed deaf community right in independently gaining access to several government services and benefiting from the eGovernment effort to use new technology and engage all society segments.
Mr. Buhazza further stated that during the development stage, eGA takes into consideration the appropriate services for the hearing-impaired social needs and take their suggestions as well as feedback on the developed services; in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders.
Based on NCC ‘s report, the video call services received positive interactions. The service is delivered in cooperation with the Bahrain Deaf Society from 8am to 4pm – seven days a week. Sign language professionals are available to support six video call eServices delivered by the eGovernment.
The current services include Housing Services Eligibility Criteria, Smart Card Appointment, Unemployed Job Search, Immunization, Appointment for Driving Training Class and Financial Support. The hearing-impaired individuals can gain access to these services through the eGovernment Portal (Bahrain.bh) on two electronic methods – the free-of-charge Skype application available for downloading on certain computers, smartphones or via 3G video call available on smartphones such as Nokia and Galaxy.
The National Contact Center seeks to further enhance the video call services by adding translation services to allow hearing-impaired persons to contact the center to translate any situation the individual is facing difficulty with in terms of communicating with a third party.
The eGovernment Authority has organized and took part in several events related to the deaf such as the events of Ramadan Ghabga at the Bahrain Deaf Society and the 4th GCC Forum for the Deaf.