Project background and objectives
Southwestern Uganda is home to 10 districts that make up the Ankole region. Banyankole speaking people are the main tribal group and the most populous in this region. However, in the recent past decade, other tribal groups have increased in the area due to employment demands, and also immigrants from other regions, and refugees from neighboring countries mainly Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Burundi.
Of public health importance is that many patients who present for healthcare at health facilities in the region hardly know English. Yet, many health workers are not natives of the region and use English language while interacting with patients. Ultimately, this creates a communication barrier. The doctor-patient interaction can be daunting, including causing under exploration, under or over estimation of patient’s issues due to wrong, inappropriate or inadequate interpretation of information, hence compromising the provider’s ability to make thorough assessment, informed decisions and appropriate plan management/treatment. It also undermines patient’s/client’s privacy and confidentiality when the care provider has to seek the assistance of a third party/the interpreter. This can negatively impact healthcare utilization especially in sensitive provider-patient interactions like in sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents, and other special vulnerable groups like the deaf.
This project therefore seeks to:
- Ease healthcare provider-patients’ interactions with the use of a communication App, Gamba Nanye (Talk to me) App.
- To improve the health seeking behaviors of the locals by eliminating the language barrier challenge using a translation app.
- To reduce, and /or eliminate violation of patients’ ‘rights to confidentiality and privacy caused by interpreters in patient-doctor interactions.
- To eliminate communication barrier and ease reporting of Gender-Based Violence (GBW) to authorities for appropriate action to be taken.
Gamba Nanye App has so far been piloted on 50 users (patients and health workers) at one hospital in Ibanda district in southwestern Uganda7. The App translates; voice to text, text to voice, text to text, and voice to voice inputs. It works as an offline dictionary, and currently uses both English and Runyankole languages as input languages. However, EPHWOR has future plans to upgrade the App so that all local languages in Uganda can be input, and also to scale up the App across the entire country with a target of reaching 25 million people by 2030