In many African countries, patients must pay for almost all medical diagnoses and therapies. For this reason, some immigrants in Spain are quite skeptical when you suddenly free investigations are offered. You may ask, whether the doctor takes the blood to sell it on the black market. The doctor and the Patient do not speak the same language, such misunderstandings are difficult to dissolve and also all of the important medical issues can hardly be resolved.

The project “Salud Entre Culturas” makes interpreters an important help. In 2006 was established in the Department of tropical diseases of the Ramón y Cajal hospital in Madrid. “Salud Entre Culturas” to enable people with access to health care, have no knowledge of Spanish and only limited English and knowledge of French. The are in Spain, especially men, who come from African countries South of the Sahara. The program is accessible to all.

language barriers and cultural differences to overcome

It is a question of language barriers and cultural differences to overcome. “Many do not know, what is Hepatitis. Some think that Malaria is transmitted through water, or that Aids does not exist,” says Rogelio López-Vélez, head of the program.

In a Team of five professional staff and several assistants. Interpreters take part in studies with migrants who only speak African languages. Up to 30 different African languages, as well as Romanian, Russian, and Arabic were spoken in the facility.

most of The immigrants are from Cameroon, the ivory coast, Guinea, the Ukraine and, more recently, Syria.

The 25-year-old Suleiman from Guinea went together with two friends to his first doctor’s appointment in Spain. “We were Worried whether we would understand and a diagnosis could be made,” he recalls. “In retrospect, we are very grateful for the interpreters. Without you it would have been extremely difficult.” Soon they want to get along without an interpreter: Spanish is her top priority is to learn.

This Text is part of the project “Rethink Health”. Five editorial staff to publish in the world over a period of three weeks in October of texts on the topic of health. For example, to the question of how we can remain in the face of a rapidly changing world is healthy, how this new world but also offers new possibilities for health care. The participating media are “The mirror”, “El País”, “The Sunday Times”, “The Nation” and “The Hindu”.

“Salud Entre Culturas” was created during the Cayuco migration crisis in 2006, when the 39.180 people in the small fishing Ferry boats attempted in the direction of the Canary Islands. Since then, more than 5700 migrants were treated, and nearly 10,000 took part in the Workshops, which aim to raise awareness of issues such as tuberculosis, HIV, and sex education. In the year 2017, the health Council of Madrid made the program officially recognized the importance of culture and language mediators.

education works

the attitude of the people changes through the Workshops, has been analyzed already. Accordingly, only 47 percent of the participants recognized at the beginning of the existence of Aids, at the end of the workshop, the share was 95 percent.

Rethink Health interpreters for migrants “Doctors should have to paint any pictures” of health care were Finally trained someone to

hear the problem is quarter-time In the framework of the project, several Africans, in order to convey health-related topics. One of them is Serge Hoys from Cameroon. “In Cameroon there are more than 187 official dialects,” he explains. “Imagine to communicate with people who only speak these languages.”

The conditions under which people from sub-Saharan arrive Africa here, be hard. “Some of them have never been in a doctor’s office, a hospital, were vaccinated against the flu. We must never forget,” he says. “We are committed to ensuring that interpreters are part of the public health system. Doctors should have to paint for your patients, no pictures.”