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Western Cape Health Department Boosts Healthcare Accessibility with Multilingual Services

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, in a significant move towards improving healthcare, has extended their services to include a myriad of languages, providing an interpretation service that also involves sign language. This initiative is geared towards ensuring that patients can converse in their mother tongue, thereby enhancing clarity in conversations and improving overall healthcare outcomes.

This commendable initiative is poised to ease the difficulties encountered by patients who previously had to express complex health concerns and comprehension of medical advice in their non-primary languages. It captures the essence of inclusivity, making health services more accessible to the population.

Complementing this initiative is telephonic interpretation and sign language services that cater to a wide array of linguistic needs. This innovative move buttresses the department's commitment to patient satisfaction, empowering them to receive the best possible care.

This service has not only gained the trust of patients but also created a bridge of understanding between healthcare workers and interpreters. The introduction of telephonic interpretation was immensely appreciated by medical professionals, including Nurse Alfonso Swarts from the Plettenberg Bay Clinic. He stated that the service empowers him to communicate crucial medical information to patients effectively in a language they understand best.

Up till now, the cross-linguistic service has successfully processed 5309 tele-interpreting calls and coordinated 1456 sign language sessions. The inclusion of sign language interpreters has heightened service utilization, notably within the deaf community. Remarkably, this service is assisting deaf mothers through their pregnancy journey, ensuring they are fully involved during these significant moments.

Despite the immense linguistic diversity in the Western Cape province, patients visiting health facilities can now point to their preferred language on a poster or request assistance from the front desk to connect with an interpreter. This game-changing service is available during emergency situations and on public holidays.

The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness interpretation service covers a multitude of languages, catering to South Africa's linguistic diversity. The interpreters engaged in this service have national and international accreditation, providing an unequivocal guarantee for understandable, precise, and effective communication.

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