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  • The intersection of language, culture and healthcare in Maya Guatemala

    Peter Rohloff, MD PhD

    Medical Director

    Wuqu’ Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance

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    Z-score

    F re q u e n c y

  • www.abc.com

  • www.wikipedia.org

  • Patients

    No food

    No work

    No education Language barriers

    Services

    “Ignorant” “Lazy”

    “Unmotivated” “Backwards”

    “Roj öj mayab’ – oj mestan kan”

  • Why Mayan Languages?

    1) Ri jun chi ri jun yawa’ jeb’ël nutzijoj pe achike ri q’axomal ruchajin (The patient should be able to easily communicate with the doctor)

    2) Ri jun chïk chi ma nqamestaj ta ri qatzij (The active maintenance and recovery of speech)

    Tummons et al 2011

  • Language Loss and Health

    1) Language barriers = poor health

    2) Language loss = “glass ceiling” = poor health

  • Unintelligible Spanish

    Loan Word

    Neologism Gloss

    Diabetes Rujotolem rukab’il kik’ Height of the blood’s

    sugar

    Artritis Rusipojik baq’ The bone’s swelling

    Infección urinaria Itzel chuluj Bad urine

    Vagina Rub’ey ri ne’y The path of the baby

    Colesterol Ruq’anal kik’ The blood’s marrow

    Asma Rutzapatajik pospo’y Closing-off of the lungs

    “Behavior Change” is a Linguistic Problem

    Tummons et al 2008

  • Why Does Civil Society Matter?

  • Thanks! – Matyöx chiwe

    www.wuqukawoq.org www.mayahealth.org peter@wuqukawoq.org

    http://www.wuqukawoq.org http://www.mayahealth.org