Overcoming language and cultural barriers in public healthcare

Juntendo University students participate in community health promotion programme for families in Japan whose first language is not Japanese

Five students from Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine and one from the Faculty of International Liberal Arts studying to be a medical translator participated in a community health promotion programme for families living in Japan with members whose first language is not Japanese. The aim of this programme was to give medical doctors and medical translators of the future first hand experience of the challenges faced in healthcare by people living in Japan whose first language is not Japanese.

“This form of international outreach based on medical care is a rare and unusual case to support both parents and their young children,” said Midori Nii of NPO CINGA, who coordinated the event.

Furthermore, Naoko Ono, lecturer in intercultural communication in medical communication at the Faculty of International Liberal Arts, Juntendo University, also participated in the event and joined the students to interview families who had applied for health consultation as well as attending the health consultation sessions by Professor Yuko Takeda.

Japanese was not the mother tongue of the majority of members of the participating families, they requested health consultations using ‘easy to understand Japanese’. Through the interviews, the students realised that level of understanding and response of the participants depends on the manner of questioning.

The families also participated in games designed to teach the importance of good nutrition for a healthy life. The children particularly enjoyed collecting seals during the “stamp rally.”

 

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