Author: Global Health

  • All
  • Advocacy Hub
  • Advocacy Update
  • Blog Posts
  • GHC Announcements
  • News Center
  • Statement
More Than Words – The Case for Cultural Sensitivity in Translation

This blog was written by Sandra Alboum, founder and CEO of Alboum Translation Services as part of Global Health Council’s Member Spotlight Series. Alboum Translation Services is a translation agency that serves nonprofits worldwide. Their clients include the World Health Organization, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Pathfinder International, and Planned Parenthood, as well as other organizations working in public health, education, the environment, human services, and arts and culture. For more information, visit www.alboum.com or contact Sandra at sandra@alboum.com. Alboum Translation Services is a Global Health Council 2018 member.

Tibetan nomadic women attend a maternal and child health education session © 2005 Aleksandr Dye, Courtesy of Photoshare

“Your auntie’s aunt.” Roughly translated from Mandarin to English, that’s how Chinese women refer to getting their period each month. Your auntie’s aunt arrives and then when she longer comes because of menopause, she goes on holiday. More than slang, this is how physicians also refer to women’s monthly cycles in conversations with patients.

Understanding this cultural nuance was critical to the success of one nonprofit’s recent global patient education campaign. The organization had embarked on an effort to educate women worldwide about early signs of ovarian cancer. US-based program managers felt strongly that all materials should use accurate medical terminology rather than colloquialisms, as the program sought to provide women with appropriate language to use when speaking with their doctors. Brochures and fact sheets were translated from English into six languages. When, as part of the quality control process, translations were back-translated into English, the less formal language of “your auntie’s aunt” and “holiday” were found. Program managers insisted these be changed – calling into question the overall quality of the translation. Translators and editors pushed back, however, citing the program’s goals as the reason for the non-medical terminology.

In the end, the translation team’s recommendations prevailed and the educational materials were published utilizing language that was truly understood by the intended audience. While not the terminology we’d use in the United States in English, it was the terminology that made the campaign the most effective and impactful in China.

Had translators used medical terminology in the ovarian cancer prevention campaign described, the materials would have been rendered useless before they were placed in a single patient’s hand. Terms like menstruation, menstrual cycle, and menopause would have not been understood as relevant to them – they would have been glossed over as something they’d never heard of and therefore never experienced. With this story in mind, and as you consider your own organization’s global campaigns, here are a few ways to ensure effective communications and materials.

1) Skip Google Translate (and other automated tools). You get what you pay for with a free tool. Professional translators bring the human element of communication – the understanding of context and cultural nuance that is essential to a quality translation. While fluency in both the original and target language is essential, translators who are familiar with the subject matter of the material being translated bring additional value to delivering an accurate, effective translation.

2) Know Your Audience. Spanish isn’t Spanish worldwide and even in the United States. Start by defining your audience – where will the material be used or where is your audience from? If you’re targeting European Spanish speakers, their dialect will be notably different from those hailing from Mexico or Ecuador. Also consider the reading level of your audience. If you’re talking to a population with lower (or no) education, their ability to understand complex material may be limited.

3) Consider Cultural Nuances. How one culture refers to a health condition is often notably different from another. Be flexible with both words and graphics to most effectively convey your message in another language or geography. In addition, review images to ensure they reflect the audience as well. There’s little value in a photograph of a white woman in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt on a tree-lined street in a communication being used in the Middle East where women traditionally cover their bodies and communities look markedly different that those in suburban America.

As with any marketing, advocacy, fundraising, or communications program, global campaigns and domestic programs targeting non-English speaking populations must consider the program goals, audience, materials, and budget for them to have maximum effectiveness.

A Check Up on U.S. Global Health Policy, After One Year of the Trump Administration

Image credit: Kaiser Family Foundation

ACCESS THE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION (KFF) BRIEF

On January 29, 2018, Jennifer Kates, Josh Michaud, Ashley Kirzinger, and Cailey Muñana of the Kaiser Family Foundation issued a brief, where the authors took “stock of the U.S. global health response on the occasion of one year of the Trump Presidency and look ahead to the global health policy issues that are likely to be front and center in the coming months and years.” The brief shows a range of problems facing the global health community, both pre-dating the presidency and after, but indicate that half of the public still believes the United States should maintain its leadership in global health and that global health programs still enjoy strong bipartisan support.

Four Ways Global Health Organizations Can Correct the Gender Imbalance in Their Own Leadership—and Beyond

This blog post was originally posted on the IntraHealth International website. The post is written by Constance Newman, senior team leader on gender equality and health at IntraHealth International; P.K. Chama of the Catholic Medical Mission Board in Lusaka, Zambia; M. Mugisha of QD Consult Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda; C.W. Matsiko of MATSLINE Consult Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda; and Vincent Oketcho, Uganda country director at IntraHealth.

Image credit: IntraHealth International

Women make up the vast majority of the workforce in healthcare worldwide and in the field of global health, but relatively few fill senior leadership roles in these sectors. A new article published in Global Health, Epidemiology, and Genomics offers guidance on how global health organizations can help change this.

Gender stereotyping, discrimination and cultural roles often prevent women from reaching positions of highest authority, according to the authors of “Reasons behind Current Gender Imbalances in Senior Global Health Roles and the Practice and Policy Changes that Can Catalyze Organizational Change”.

For instance, women make up 75% of the health workforce in many countries, but only 25% of leadership roles. Only 31% of the world’s ministers of health are women. And at the 2015 World Health Assembly, only 23% of chief delegates of member state delegations were led by women.

Global health organizations face the same imbalances. While women make up the vast majority of global health students (up to 84%), they hold only 24% of global health faculty positions among the top 50 US universities and a quarter of directorships in global health centers.

But global health organizations can become beacons of analysis and change. They can also play a key role in helping us reach Sustainable Development Goal 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The authors offer several key steps organizations can take to correct these imbalances, including:

Conduct participatory organizational gender analyses: These can help pinpoint the processes, mechanisms, and structures—such as glass ceilings and gender stereotypes related to reproductive roles—that keep women from rising to leadership roles. Governance leaders, human resources (HR) managers, and employees should all be involved and should share their findings widely.

Identify the harms of gender stereotyping and implement strategies to eradicate them. One example comes from a focus group response the authors received during a gender analysis in Zambia: “Men have a biological make-up that makes them vulnerable to appearance…” the male respondent said. “I think there are some cases where women are really suggestively dressed, and it is difficult because it creates an environment which is very hard…because men mostly, we go for what we see.”

Societal stereotypes like these make their way into the workplace and keep women from reaching leadership roles. Of course, changing such conceptions in society is a task beyond any one organization, the authors say, but the first step to organizational change is to challenge them. Organizations can raise awareness of the harmful effects of stereotypes at work and help build their employees’ capacity to challenge such stereotypes.

Use substantive equality principles in organizational governance and HR management. Setting targets, establishing quotas, taking steps toward affirmative mobilization and fairness can all mitigate the impact of discrimination and help correct gender imbalances.

Put special measures and enabling conditions in place. Consider the issue of paid family leave. Taking paternity leave, the authors write, “can put male employees who might opt for it at as much risk of being stigmatized as the female employees who, in leaving work early to work the ‘second shift’ at home, may be stigmatized as less productive and reliable. There are therefore built-in (organizational) cultural disincentives for both women and men to use these arrangements which must be addressed in communications and incentives for their use.”

Organizations should not design family leave on an individual basis, the authors say. Instead, they should create family-friendly policies for the long-term—and with a firm understanding of the gender dynamics at play.

Read the full article to learn more.

Global Health Council Statement on the Release of the Six-Month Review of Mexico City Policy

Washington, DC (February 8, 2018) —  Today Global Health Council responds to the Department of State’s recently released 6-month review of the expansion of the Mexico City Policy (renamed to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance). The State Department proposed the review to gauge the policy’s impact on U.S. global health programs. Specifically, this review focuses on implementation challenges since the reinstatement of the policy.

“While Global Health Council recognizes the Department of State conducted a review six months after the reinstatement of the policy, we believe that this initial analysis does not offer a complete picture,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “This review is only the first step to understanding the full impact of the expansion. Given the expanded policy has far-reaching effects across a number of programs and beneficiaries, we urge the State Department to prioritize and ensure the full participation of civil society and other stakeholders in the review to be completed in 2018.”

On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which requires foreign non-governmental organizations to certify that they will not use their own funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country as a condition of receiving U.S. global health assistance. In May, the State Department released guidance on the implementation of the expanded policy and at the time committed to conducting a six-month review of its impact on global health programs.

Last year, Global Health Council released a statement of principles endorsed by over 100 civil society organizations, which provided recommendations for a review that is meaningful and comprehensive, and proposed an annual review to understand how the policy affects U.S. programs and their outcomes long-term.

Global Health Council is concerned that the first review does not fully embrace the recommendations put forth in this statement. Of particular concern is that the policy does not affect programs until a foreign NGO receives new funding, therefore the current review, which covered the period May through September 2017, cannot provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact. Full implementation of the policy could come as late as September 30, 2018. As a result, while initial challenges to implementation were documented, the significant impacts of the policy will not be evident until much later.

Moreover, while the State Department did solicit feedback from civil society organizations, the comment period was less than two weeks and minimal guidance was offered to ensure comprehensive comments were provided.

“Global Health Council remains committed to ensuring that transparent and thorough reviews are conducted each year,” said Pace. “U.S. investments in global health have helped millions of people around the world, and it is critical that we understand the impact of this policy and how we can mitigate harm.”

###

About Global Health Council

Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.

Follow GHC on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook for more information.

Media Contacts

Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager
Global Health Council
dheiberg@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5286

 

 

GHC News Flash: Global Health Roundup – 01/29/2018

WHO and Partners Seek Feedback on First Draft of Nurturing Care Framework

WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), supported by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Action Network, and others, are now accepting online feedback for their “Nurturing Care Framework.” The Framework will act as a tool that will enable the health sector to advance its role in ECD (especially in the first 1000 days since conception), and make the case that investment in this development stage is integral to achieving other Global Goals targets, such as Goal 4: Quality Education. This two-stage consultation is open to stakeholders from across geographies and sectors. Responses from the first consultation will inform the next draft, and a second feedback session will be available in March. Submission deadline is February 6.

World’s First Rotavirus Vaccine is Prequalified by WHO

On January 24, Bharat Biotech, a company based in Genome Valley, India, announced the WHO prequalification of its vaccine ROTAVAC, a low-cost treatment option that could drastically reduce the global disease burden of rotavirus infections. The prequalification allows this vaccine to be used in national immunization programs globally. Core funding for the development of ROTAVAC was received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GHC member PATH, and BIRAC – Department of Biotechnology (Government of India). Read the company’s official press release, as well as PATH’s supportive statement and DefeatDD blog.

Nuclear Threat Initiative to Significantly Expand Biosecurity Work

The Open Philanthropy Project and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have offered grants to GHC member Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), making it possible to initiate new projects to curb global biological risks and continue to advocate for biosecurity commitments as an integral part of the Global Health Security Agenda. The initiatives will be led by Elizabeth Cameron, Ph.D., newly named Vice President of Global Biological Policy and Programs. View NTI’s press release. Also, NTI is seeking new applicants for their Biological Program. Deadline to apply for these positions is January 31.

NEWSBITES:

1) January 17: GHC member the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) requests proposals for symposiato be submitted for their 67th Annual Meeting. Deadline isFebruary 21.

2) January 18: The International AIDS Conference 2018 offers opportunities for persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS to participate in the event, including scholarships and submission of abstracts or youth program activities. View the options.

3) January 19: GHC member the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) announces a call for session proposals for the AIHM 2018 Annual Conference. Deadline is February 15.

4) January 23: The WHO EB elects Dr. Carissa Etienne for a second term as WHO Regional Director for the Americas. View the press release.

5) January 25: Last Mile Health and GHC member Living Goods launch an initiative at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting which will deploy 50,000 health workers to reach 35 million people with life-saving healthcare.