South Africa: Improved access to emergency services
New SMS service for the deaf, hearing and speech-impaired
For the first time, an emergency text service is available in South Africa for the deaf, hearing and speech-impaired. This new development addresses a serious need, improving the accessibility of emergency services and the safety of citizens.
Previously, deaf and hearing-impaired people were unable to contact emergency service centres as they could only be accessed via voice calls. Now, the SMS Emergency Service allows people who have registered in advance to connect with trained staff to assist in an emergency. The service is not available on all networks, but this step forward represents a great achievement for accessibility in South Africa.