People are dying for lack of knowledge: how to quantify? (2) Multilingualism

10 February, 2019

Dear Neil,

While I may not be able to help ‘unpacking’, I think I know at least one of the reasons why locally available knowledge does not necessarily lead to life-saving interventions:

Inability to interpret such knowledge due to lack of understanding the language in which it is presented.

This touches on my favorite subject and I went to the HIFA websites - Projects - Multilingingualism to see if there are solutions or ideas being discussed, but could not find any.

Yet I think this project platform could have a major impact in improving the literacy of health workers in the field and help them acquire know-how and new skills that could even save lives (if no higher qualified professional can be reached).

Partial solutions to this dilemma exist already, but they may require some additional effort on the part of the providers of such content (e.g. textbooks and tutorial videos).

My guess is that each translation could save at least one life and possibly thousands, particularly in rural areas in LMICs. Thus we have to find ways to entice content providers to undertake that extra effort.

Best regards,

john m.

HIFA profile: John Miescher works with BizGraphic in Switzerland. miescher AT