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Skip to 0 minutes and 15 secondsThis week we will meet the refugee health team of an urban European hospital, and learn about the health care needs of asylum seekers and refugees. Refugees and asylum seekers may be regarded by health care professionals as particularly complicated patients, because they may present with unfamiliar conditions, such as tropical infections, or with mental health problems because they may have experienced traumatic events, such as violent conflicts situations and torture. And they may be under high psychological stress because of uncertainty about the outcome of their asylum application. In addition, there may be communication barriers, between the patient and the health care professional due to language problems or cultural differences.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 secondsBy the end of this week, you will be able to identify some personal, structural and cultural barriers to health care for refugees and asylum seekers and get some ideas about how some of the barriers may be overcome. We will follow a young doctor in her first rotation in the refugee health team. You will meet experts in various medical and social fields, and learn about the challenges health care professionals’ encounter, with refugee patients, and how you can assist this vulnerable group. We will discuss the appropriateness of the health care that is available to refugees and asylum seekers, in different countries. Please join in!

Welcome to Week 3

Welcome to Week 3! Spend a few minutes watching the introductory video above before you proceed.

This week you will be taught by Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy, together with subject matter experts Eva-Maria Schwienhorst-Stich, Katharina Bögel, Basema Salman Spijkerman and Judith Lindert.

In weeks 1 and 2 we focused on different examples of direct violence. In week 3 we will focus on health care for refugees and asylum seekers. This vulnerable group of patients may have fled from direct violence. In addition, the health care that they are offered in the country where they arrive may be insufficient and worse than what the host population has access to - this is an example of “structural violence”.

This week we will follow Sarah, a fictional young doctor in training with prior experience from internal medicine and pediatrics. Today is her first day of her rotation with the Refugee Health team, a model project linked with the Department of Tropical Medicine of an urban German hospital.

This is what the schedule for her first week looks like.

Illustration showing Sarahs first week schedule: MONDAY: Briefing with head of department. 
Infectious disease outpatient clinic. TUESDAY: Infectious diseases ward. Meeting with mental health specialist. WEDNESDAY: Internal Medicine. THURSDAY: Pediatric outpatient clinic. Asylum seekers reception camp. FRIDAY: Debriefing with team.

During this week you’ll also meet real members of the Refugee Health team at the Medical Mission Hospital/Institute in Würzburg, Germany, who will tell real-life stories from their work with refugees.

Image showing 7 members of the Refugee Health team. From upper left to bottom right: 
1. Prof. August Stich, Head of Department of Tropical Medicine and the Refugee Health Team. 
2. Dr. Uwe Ziegler, Senior Consultant, Refugee Health Team. 3. Sandra Parisi, Medical Doctor, Refugee Health Team. 4. Dr. Gisela Penteker, Family Physician and Expert on Refugee Health. 5. Katharina Bögel, Consultant Humanitarian Assistance, Refugee Health Team. 6. Dr. Eva-Maria Schwienhorst, Medical Doctor (Pediatrics), Refugee Health Team. 7. Dr. Alexa Matuschek, Medical Doctor, Refugee Health Team.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  1. Describe barriers to health care for refugees and asylum seekers and suggest how they may be overcome.
  2. Describe how refugees’ and asylum seekers’ access to health care services may affect their health.

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This video is from the free online course:

Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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