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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondOne of the major issues in refugee health care is the language. So it’s really important that patients and the doctor or nurse can talk to each other and can understand each other. In the next case which happened in the asylum seekers’ accommodation, it is really visible how important language is. A family was about to be deported and when the police officers arrived, the mother collapsed and had a panic attack and the father tried to commit suicide. Both were brought to the hospital and the children who witnessed this were really distressed.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsThe oldest daughter - due to the fact that she was worried about her parents and in fear of being deported and kind of in a responsible role for her younger siblings - got really distressed and had extreme behavior changes. So our team decided that she needed psychological care, and for that reason the children’s doctor and the psychologist filed an application with the authorities that she needed psychological treatment and also an interpreter. And the authorities granted psychological care but just half of the hours applied for and they didn´t grant the interpreter.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsEven though there is a right to health and a right to get the highest attainable standard of health care for every human being, they did not grant it, even though it’s impossible to have psychological care without a common language, without communication.

Overcoming language barriers (study group task)

After watching the video, please go to your study group and share your opinion on each of the questions provided below.

When refugees need health care in your country/state:

1) Is your impression that health care providers in your city/district make use of professional interpreters?

2) Are there any barriers that affect the use of professional interpreters?

3) What can be done to deal with these barriers?

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Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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