A regulatory framework for interpreting in health-care settings: implications for equitable access to healthcare in Lesotho and the Western Cape, South Africa
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Interpreting is an essential support service in multilingual health systems where language diversity dictates a need to facilitate communication between healthcare providers and patients. However, this service is neither institutionalised nor regulated in Lesotho or in South Africa, resulting in haphazard interpreting practices often decided by healthcare providers or by management of a healthcare facility. The result of these practices is an imbalanced system in which some patients' access health services in the language they understand best while others do not, and some obtain interpreting services while others do not. This policy brief presents a case for the formulation of policies that regulate interpreting services in healthcare facilities in both countries.