Individuals in Alberta can now get online advice and health information in their own languages in real time, with Alberta Health Services (AHS) adding additional languages to increase access to health information.
AHS announced Wednesday the addition of eight more languages: Arabic, Traditional Chinese (Cantonese), Simplified Chinese (Mandarin), French, Punjabi, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese.
According to AHS, these languages have historically received the most requests for translation services, and more languages are expected to be added in the future.
“Translations give details on how to access 811, know your options, up-to-date emergency department wait times as well as a video providing a high level overview of services available,” said a release from AHS.
“We are here to help Albertans of all cultures and ethnicities get the care they need, when they need it. We are committed to creating a health system that is accessible to everyone living in Alberta,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS President and CEO, in a release.
Individuals can also print off and take a language card to their healthcare facility to request assistance from an interpreter.
According to the AHS, more information translated online will also allow staff to better serve Albertans.
“The challenge for the health sector is to cover and provide proper care to all Albertans, by breaking down the language barrier,” says Carlos Herrera, a procurement specialist with Addiction and Mental Health.
“Alberta Health Services’ intention to provide services in different languages will help Albertans of all cultures and ethnicities get the care they need, in their own language, when they need it.”
Over the past year, AHS provided 1.2 million minutes of telephone interpretation services — in 81 languages — to patients across Alberta.