Communication at the health care coalface : lessons from selected clinics in Port Elizabeth

Mbengo, Nomatshawe Josette (2012) Communication at the health care coalface : lessons from selected clinics in Port Elizabeth. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis analyses the state of health care in South Africa with particular reference to a clinic and the Provincial Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The complexities of health care provision in a diverse sociolinguistic environment where certain languages are emphasized over others, forms the cornerstone of the research. The research focuses on health care in a complex multi-cultural environment. The goal of the research is to present a coherent and robust translation framework for the development of suitable materials to enhance communication across language and cultural barriers in the health care sector. A model (based on research completed in the USA) is presented as a possible alternative in the final chapter of the thesis. The initial part of the thesis builds on the work of scholars in language planning and sociOlinguistics more generally in order to locate this research within an appropriate theoretical and methodological framework. The thesis emphasizes the need for developing a patient-centered approach to health care where language usage must be of crucial importance. The research suggests that the intercultural concept of "mindfulness' as developed by Gibson (2002) must also form part of such an approach. The initial phase of this thesis therefore presents a case for multilingualism within the health care sector and it suggests that an appropriate language planning framework is necessary for this objective to be achieved. The latter part of the thesis engages with translation strategies that can be used to enhance communication within the health care sector. Appropriate terminology development, for example in relation to diabetes terminology is required in order to allow patients to engage with material in their mother tongue. Challenges to effective translation are analysed and examples if inappropriate translation are presented. The link between language planning and translation is made. It is acknowledged in this thesis that developing appropriate translation strategies within the health care system is fundamental to enhancing communicative effectiveness at the health care coalface. The use of appropriately trained interpreters is also recommended in the thesis. The above research is undertaken with reference to two health care facilities: the Provincial Hospital and the KwaZakhele Heath Care Centre. An ethnographic study of these two facilities is also presented in order to assess issues such as overcrowding and how issues such as these can contribute to communicative ineffectiveness by placing undue pressure on both patient and health care provider. A comparative study of these health care facilities is presented. Finally, the thesis unpacks the challenges that face health care provIsion in South Africa and a model is suggested that could be used to improve the situation in all health care facilities in the country.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health care, State, South Africa, Port Elizabeth, Provincial Hospital, Diverse sociolinguistic environment, Language, Environment, Multi-cultural, Communication, Barriers, Multilingualism, Planning, KwaZakhele Heath Care Centre, Challenges
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Africa, Eastern Asia, Oceania > African languages and literature
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > School of Languages > African Languages
Supervisors:Kaschula, Russell H. and Maseko, Pamela
ID Code:3101
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:10 Jul 2012 06:51
Last Modified:10 Jul 2012 06:51
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