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Fighting for Medical Translation: ‘The Whole World Looks Dark Because I Don’t Understand’

A group of City Heights refugees are sharing their experiences trying to navigate U.S. health care without consistent and effective translation. They’re asking their neighbors to sign a petition to get insurance companies to cover face-to-face translations.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

They say current phone lines set up to provide translations aren’t enough. Often, patients who don’t speak English rely on family and friends to relay complex medical information — putting the patients at risk of misinformation with possibly harrowing consequences.

Yesterday, Speak City Heights shared the story of a woman who suffered permanent damage during childbirth. She couldn’t explain to the doctor she was circumcised and needed a special procedure before the baby came.

One of the ways the women are raising awareness for their cause is with the photos below.

The women spent two weeks working with Speak City Heights partner The AjA Project. The program is based in City Heights and uses photography to help residents think critically about themselves and their communities. The photos were printed on human-sized vinyl banners and have become a traveling exhibit that follows the women to public speeches and meetings.

Photo credit: The AjA Project

Photo credit: The AjA Project

Photo credit: The AjA Project

Photo credit: The AjA Project

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