By training people with migrant background as intercultural health mediators, the programme provides empowerment and equal opportunities in terms of prevention and promotion of healthy lifestyles. After a participatory process of capacity building, mediators assist migrants and refugees in navigating the national health system, promotes education for healthy lifestyles and connects migrants with statutory healthcare and education systems. Through increasing health literacy, the programme makes healthcare systems more accessible while providing new professional skills for mediators.
European Health Award (2015). Ramazan Salman was recognised as Germany’s Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation (2008) and as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year by Ashoka (2006).
- Since 2003, mediators have carried out more than 10,000 community group sessions in 38 languages. More than 120,000 people were reached and an additional 500,000 received Health Guides.
- More than 2,500 participants from over 40 nationalities completed their training as intercultural health mediators, the majority being women.
The programme uses key mechanisms:
- Health mediators. Multilingual, intercultural mediators are trained and certified through a 50-hour course. Local recruitment improves access to migrant communities and ensures sustainability (some mediators voluntarily continue their work after the programme has ended).
- Community group sessions, held by the mediators in easy-to-reach locations frequented by migrants. These provide opportunities for sharing information in their own language and in culturally sensitive ways. The topic ‘German health system’ is compulsory, and participants are asked to choose a second topic from the remaining 15 categories.
- Health Guides. Available in 15 languages, guides are produced and regularly updated by the EMZ in cooperation with 80 health-related organisations and experts. They provide information on a variety of topics in an easily understandable way.
- Partnership, networking and public relations. EMZ, Ministries, health insurance companies, private companies and further supporters jointly conduct public relations through media content. Networking aims to sensitize health and social institutions to better meet the needs of migrants. It includes annual programme review meetings to which policymakers, mediators and health and social workers are invited to exchange their experiences.