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WHO information will be available in different languages

 
, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.05.2018
 
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08 July 2015, 09:00

To date, most public health information is available in English, but a number of specialists insist on providing information in other languages that are also widely used in the world.

One of the founders of the Association of Medical Informatics of Saudi Arabia said that when his relative was diagnosed with a rare diagnosis, it was impossible to find information about the disease in Arabic, the only place where one could learn something was the forums. However, information on a rare disease in English was more than enough.

According to statistics, about 700 million people in the world speak English well, and for 330 million this language is native.

It turns out that the remaining part of the world's population (and this is about 6 billion people) does not have access to a huge amount of information, including public health.

It should be noted that not knowing the language can be an obstacle to obtaining quality medical care.

The need for the release of information in various languages is not weakened, despite the fact that the most common language is English. In one of the publications of the WHO six official languages are noted - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, but even these languages are basic only for 2.4 billion people.

WHO will translate all its official reports and resolutions into all six official languages, but the remaining publications of the health organization (clinical guidelines, technical reports) remain in English.

10 years ago, WHO created its own website, where information can be accessed in the six official languages, however, most of the articles on the site are available only in one language - English.

In one study it was found that almost all scientists are eager to publish their work in English, in order to get a wider distribution.

One of the most popular medical websites - Wikipedia - collaborates with various organizations providing translation services to overcome the language barrier problem.

With the help of a global network of translators, the website has posted a huge number of articles in more than 100 languages.

The editor of Wikipedia noted that during the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, by joint efforts, it was possible to post information on this disease in about 115 languages.

In addition to Wikipedia, various US websites provide information in different languages, but despite this, the problem of lack of information in the field of public health remains acute.

Several years ago, WHO launched a program aimed at increasing access to medical information not only in official languages. The virtual library will allow everyone who has access to the Internet to obtain the necessary information in their native language.

WHO works closely with various centers that help translate publications into local languages.

According to statistics, more than 50 countries visited the WHO website. Currently, Russian-speaking and Portuguese-speaking users have access to medical information, and now WHO intends to translate its publications into Arabic as well.

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