Indigenous Languages: A Challenge or an Opportunity in the Achievement of Universal Healthcare in Kenya
One of the development agenda for Kenya is the achievement of universal healthcare. An assessment of the level at which this has been implemented reveals that Kenya is facing challenges in implementing this endeavor. Health professionals communicate with patients to build trust for more effective practice. Failure to communicate strains the relationship, leading to ineffective practice. One of the main obstacles that may lead to failure in communication is differences in language and culture between the doctor and the patient. Majority of the people that universal healthcare targets in Kenya speak indigenous languages as opposed to English and Kiswahili, languages that the healthcare providers speak. Effective communication occurs through a language that the communicants understand best. Health care providers, in Kenya, understand English and Kiswahili best, while their patients understand Kenyan indigenous languages best. So, what language should be used in universal healthcare endeavors? Should it be English, Kiswahili or Indigenous languages? This shows that one of the main challenges facing the implementation of effective healthcare system and intervention in Kenya could be the language of discussions. Using a descriptive design, this paper takes a critical look at the role of Kenya’s indigenous languages in achieving universal healthcare goals. It argues that the achievement of effective and sustainable universal healthcare in Kenya can only become possible through the use of indigenous languages as languages of discussions. And that the use of indigenous languages in universal healthcare endeavors in Kenya should not be seen as a challenge but as an opportunity.
Emily Ayieta Ondondo,
Indigenous Languages: A Challenge or an Opportunity in the Achievement of Universal Healthcare in Kenya, Communication and Linguistics Studies.
Vol. 6, No. 2,
2020, pp. 34-39.
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