The Ontario Radiologists Association recently held a press conference aimed at the Canadian Ethnic Media Association. The subject matter was that members of the ethnic communities are hesitant in receiving early diagnoses as opposed to society at large. Present at the conference was Estonian, Dr. Ants Toi. An interview with him proved to most enlightening.
"There are many new developments which allow early diagnosis and diagnoses at a time when treatment can be very effective. Many people, not only English speaking but especially members of ethnic groups are not aware of opportunities for them to look after their own health," said Dr. Toi, adding,"there are many different tools and radiology is one. If people are not aware of them then they will not ask for assistance. If a person is not aware of what is out there and if you are an ethnic non-English speaker, you have no way of finding out. If there is an article in a newspaper or television, you will not understand what you are being told."
"If you do not know how to use this wonderful machine that is Canada, because your linguistic customs are different, you are really penalized. You don't know what the health care system can do to help, you don't know where to go for help and even if you do know where to go for help you don't know how to ask for help because you don't speak the language," said Dr. Toi.
"The job for the ethnic press is to educate their people in two directions. One, there are opportunities for you to look after yourself that you should be aware of and the ethnic press can put these to you in a language you can understand. Two, we should not create a tower of Babel. As a citizen of this country, you should be able to express yourself in the language of the country and you should be able to understand that language. The ethnic press should promote that when in Canada you should speak at least one of the two national languages," said Dr. Toi.
"When I have a patient who speaks no English and comes with a translator, it takes me twice as long to look after that patient. So if it takes me twice as long, where does that time come from? I have to tell another patient 'I can't see you today' . If you were the translator, whatever I tell you, you would need to tell the patient, " said Dr. Toi with considerable frustration.
"I find this to be much less of a problem with the Estonian community of all ages," said Dr. Toi.
Dr. Ants Toi gives advice on accessing the medical system