Reading Group #9

The Language in The Gambia Virtual Reading Group‘s ninth meeting will be on Tuesday 6 September 5.00-6.30pm Gambian Time/6.00-7.30pm UK Time. We will talk about the use of Gambian languages in the context of health. We suggest you read the four excerpts from the following article (they are pasted below).

ARTICLE: Kayode, O.S., Ibitoye, B. and Olanrewaju, M.K., Roles of Local Languages on Effective Public Healthcare Delivery in the Gambia: Implications for Psychological Assessment. [you can download at the top of this page]

From p. 2: “Local language communication is a core component, not simply an adjunct or facilitator of health care (Lion KC, Rafton SA, Shafii J, Brownstein D, Michel E, Tolman M, Ebel BE (2013). The importance of communication in the local language between health care provider and patients has long been established. Language has been described as medicine’s most essential technology and principal instrument for quality health service delivery (Arthur KC, MangioneSmith R, Meischke H, Zhou C, Strelitz B, Garcia MA, Brown JC. (2015). Three basic communication processes have been identified as associated with improved health outcomes which are: amount of information exchanged, patient’s control of the dialogue and rapport established (Hines A, Andrews R, Moy E, Barrett M, Coffey R (2014). All of these processes are jeopardized in local language discordant encounters. Patients who are not proficient in the local language of their provider are subject to the same risks of poor communication as all other patients”.

From p. 2: “The information, interpersonal sensitivity and partnership building of the physician in terms of local language communication skills determine the extent to which patients are satisfied with the service delivery (Goodacre S, Campbell M, Carter A. (2015). Although system aspects such as cost, access, availability and waiting times are also determinants of patient satisfaction however, local language communication is a fundamental and more important determinant of patient satisfaction (Fang DM, Baker DL. (2013) & Shah BR, Khan NA, O’Donnell MJ, Kapral MK. (2015)). Lion et al.1 found that local language communication and compliance of patients had a strong correlation. Local language communication has been identified as the most important factor in determining patients’ adherence to treatment. Low compliance with prescribed medical interventions is an important problem in medical practice and it is associated with substantial medical cost including increased hospital admissions and unnecessary expenditure on medication”.

From p. 3: “According to Riera A, Navas-Nazario A, Shabanova V, Vaca FE. (2014), language barriers are associated with less use of health promotion and health education resources, and lower participation in almost every form of preventive care. One study found that infants of parents whose primary language was not English were half as likely to receive all recommended preventive care visits compared with infants of parents whose primary language was English (Regalbuto R. (2015)). Language barriers have been demonstrated to result in lower participation in cancer screening programme of breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings (Bakullari A. (2016) & Squires A. (2014)). Recent research highlights providers’ perspectives on provision of care to patients who are not proficient in the local language of care delivery. A high proportion of providers identify language differences as barrier to quality healthcare (Arthur, Shah (2015) & Okrainec (2015)). This is a concern not only for hospital care and specialized services but primary health care providers also see local language barriers as a high risk. Thus, this study seeks to determine the roles of local languages on effective public healthcare delivery in the Gambia and its implications for psychological assessment. Particularly, this study sought to identify the impact of local language communication on the medication compliance and health improvements of the patients”.

From p. 5:Conclusions and recommendations: This study has shown the significance of local languages in healthcare delivery. Therefore, it is imperative that health workers are encouraged to use local languages when interacting with their patients. Stakeholders in the health sector should always work towards improving the quality of service delivery since it had a great influence on the patients’ health satisfaction. Experts in the curriculum development and implementation should always put into consideration the inclusion of courses that could enhance effective communication through local languages for health workers. This will help in enhancing job performance among health professionals in the Gambia. The hospital administration and other stakeholders in the health sector should intensify efforts to organise seminars and workshops for health professionals to find lasting solutions to communication skills and language usage in the health sectors. The capacity building needs of health professionals should be built around the use of local language and familiarization of cultural environment. This will help in improving the quality of service delivery, treatment compliance of patients as well as health improvements of patients”.

Meeting link and WhatsApp attendees

We will continue to use GOOGLE MEET. This is the link to join the call: If you’re already using Gmail, Google Photos, YouTube, or another Google product, just sign in to your existing Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account, you will need to sign up (free). If you’re using your laptop, any browser will work. If you’re using your phone or tablet, you will need to download the Google Meet mobile app from Google Play or Apple Store.

You can also participate through our WhatsApp group by sending your phone number to We encourage all members to join our WhatsApp group so they can follow the contributions of our reading group members who will be able to join us via WhatsApp only. If you have technical issues, please join through WhatsApp. We’ll monitor the WhatsApp group each meeting.


Tuesday 6 September @ 5.00-6.30pm Gambian time/6.007.30 UK time.


ALL welcome! This is not intended for an academic audience only.

Dates of future meetings

In October, we will work with our first pre-recorded talk instead of a reading. We will meet on Tuesday 4th October and the pre recorded talk will be released a couple of weeks before then.

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