Bridging the Gap celebrates training 37 new medical interpreters
May, 2016

To date, the CCCHC has trained 147 medical interpreters who are proficient in 20 languages.

To date, the CCCHC has trained 147 medical interpreters who are proficient in 20 languages.

Certificates have been presented to a new cohort of interpreters to mark their completion of the ‘Bridging the Gap’ medical interpreter training program.

The program, which is run by WCM-Q’s Center for Cultural Competence in Health-Care (CCCHC), equips multilingual graduates with the specialist skills needed to facilitate communication between patients and healthcare professionals.

In a diverse, multicultural and multilingual society like Qatar’s, medical interpretation is a vital tool for ensuring correct diagnosis and effective treatment for patients.

To recognize the importance of their contribution, certificates were presented to the 37 candidates who completed the program in April and November 2015 at a special ceremony held at WCM-Q by the CCCHC, which is part of WCM-Q’s Global & Public Health Division.

Maha Elnashar, director of the CCCHC, said: “We are extremely happy to present our candidates with certificates to recognize their dedication and hard work on the Bridging the Gap course. All of our interpreters generously give up their time to offer their skills to help people in our community communicate effectively to access the healthcare they need. This is so important in Qatar’s highly diverse community.”

The Bridging the Gap program is an intensive 40-hour course consisting of multiple interactive exercises delivered over five days by Ms. Elnashar and Huda Abdelrahim, senior specialist in cultural competence. The program teaches candidates specialist medical terminology, a medical interpreter’s code of ethics, special interpretive techniques for the medical setting, and the impact of cultural values on medical interpretation.

All candidates are bilingual or multilingual graduates who are selected based on specific criteria and have to pass assessment tests and a personal interview to participate in the course. To date, the CCCHC has trained 147 medical interpreters since 2012, of which 132 currently reside in Doha. Together, Bridging the Gap interpreters are proficient in 20 languages: Arabic, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Nepali, Urdu, Tagalog, Bengali, German, French, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Romanian, Amharic, Punjabi, Farsi, Sinhalese, Tigrinya and Telugu.

Certificate recipient Moustafa Khalifa is a professional Arabic-English translator who works for the Ministry of Finance. He completed the Bridging the Gap program in November 2015.

Moustafa said: “I have always been interested in medicine and I wanted to make a positive contribution to the community in Qatar, so the Bridging the Gap program was a wonderful opportunity for me to combine the two.

“I found the training extremely useful and effective, especially as it was interactive so that we had a chance to try out the new skills as we learned them. I have learned a great deal of new knowledge, multiple techniques and a wide range of protocols related to the medical field.”

Ms. Abdelrahim added: “We are very fortunate to have highly qualified team, forming a multi-professional collaborative paradigm which includes physicians, nurses, translators, legal advisors, IT professionals, business professionals, pharmacists, dieticians, lab technicians, teachers, administrators, accountants and more working with us as medical interpreters to help improve the health of the community here in Qatar, by bridging the language barriers.”

Dr. Shaqayeq Keyvan, who completed the course, said: “Bridging the Gap is vital because it takes trained medical interpreters to achieve medical accuracy and cultural sensitivity in interactions between doctors and patients, and these are prerequisites for the effective delivery and receipt of healthcare.

“I am very grateful to have received this important training in such a friendly environment from the Bridging the Gap team.”

Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, associate dean for global and public health, said: “In the healthcare environment, effective communication is essential for ensuring patients receive the correct treatment, so in a multicultural, multilingual country such as Qatar, medical interpreters are incredibly important.

“I am very happy to see so many new medical interpreters have completed the Bridging the Gap program and I offer my warmest congratulations to all 37 of them. I have no doubt that they will make a wonderful contribution to the health and wellbeing of patients from all over the world who receive treatment here in Qatar.”