The Diyarbakır Chamber of Physicians has created a basic Kurdish guide for Turkish doctors sent on duty in the southeast of the country. The aim is to improve doctor-patient communication.
Tolga KORKUT, Bıa news centre - Diyarbakır (24/03/2009)
"Imagine that the only language you know is Turkish, and you are sitting opposite to a doctor who only speaks English. If that doctor knew Turkish, would you not develop a better doctor-patient relationship? For an effective examination, a relationship of trust between doctor and patient is vital.”
Dr. Selçuk Mızralı, president of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Physicians, thus summarises an issue faced by many doctors and patients in the southeast of Turkey, where the doctors can often only speak Turkish, and many patients speak only Kurdish.
Making communication more effective
The association has now produced a book of basic Kurdish phrases, aimed at helping doctors working in the region to communicate more effectively with their patients and to making more accurate diagnoses.
Mızraklı told bianet that the guide offered basic grammar and pronunciation rules, as well as basic vocabulary. The most important part of the guide is a Kurdish translation of a list of questions that doctors ask patients during the examination.
Early feedback by doctors has been that they would like possible answers by patients to be included as well, says Mızraklı.
"Quality of diagnosis depends on communication"
Mızraklı points out that women and children of the region and doctors who are sent to the area for an obligatory period face most communication problems, and that this affects the quality of a diagnosis.
“Asking the right questions is very important. A good diagnosis is to 90 percent dependent on the questions asked during examination. A common language will also reduce the time spent on each examination.”
Field study being carried out
A thousand copies of the booklet have been published. A second edition will take into account feedback from doctors and patients. The Chamber of Physicians is currently also doing a field study among 2,500 doctors in the southeast. The results of the study will shed more light on the qualitative and quantitative dimensions of the issue.
Two doctors and a linguist spent around six months working on the booklet. The Diyarbakır Chamber of Physicians is also planning to offer Kurdish language classes to interested doctors. (TK/AG)