Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondI think one of the main messages for health workers dealing with migrants and asylum seekers is, firstly, you have to provide a low level, you should not build up barriers. It should be easy for the patients to come to you, to trust you; they should not be confronted with a wall of legislations and regulations on one side. Secondly, we have to work as a team, we have to be complementary with what we do; we have to have a good exchange and communication among us. We have to learn from each other. And we have to, when many people come at the same time, we have to introduce a sort of triage system, a sort of filtering system.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsIt’s not the task of the specialist to sit at the forefront and deal with huge numbers of cases. We have to have people who try to filter this “stream” of patients, of sick people, who want something, and try to bring order into the system. And all this together makes it really possible to deal also with challenges we are facing at the current moment. We have a crisis of refugees, but one which can be overcome, one which can be solved, if there is the political will on one side and if there are enough people who are willing to contribute their share.

Interview: The role of the health system

Illustration: Sarah joining debriefing meeting with refugee health team

Sarah thinks: “What an intense week! But there are so many barriers to adequate health care for refugees! I would have never thought of most! I agree with the Head of Department on a number of the things he says. But are health systems reliable equipped for this?”

The refugee health team we have met this week was set up in response to the influx of refugees in Germany and other European countries in 2015 as the routine health system was not set up to handle the specific health care needs of the refugees. How is the current situation in your country? Is the ordinary health system equipped to also help refugees and asylum seekers, or are there special health services catering for them?

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