Intercultural healthcare services: Challenges and good practices


Intercultural healthcare services: Challenges and good practices

The importance of providing culturally sensitive healthcare services, though educating and raising awareness among health and social care professionals, was highlighted during the final conference of the I-CARE project, organised by KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre and the Laboratory of Hygiene and Epidimiology of Community and Public Health department of the University of West Attica, on the 15th of March, in Athens.

Almost 100 people participated in the event titled Inclusive health services: the role of intercultural healthcare provision in diverse settings”. The discussion focused on the different aspects of intercultural care in health, social care and education for people from different cultural backgrounds, while good practices, benefits and barriers to the provision of culturally sensitive services were presented.

Panellists included professionals from the health sector and CSO representatives: Areti Lagiou, President of Community and Public Health department, Director of Laboratory of Hygiene and Epidimiology, University of West Attica (UniWA), Evanthia Sakellari, Deputy Professor, Department of Community and Public Health, UniWA, Chrysovalantis Papathanasiou, Sociologist, Dr. of Social Psychology, Responsible of the “Community Psychosocial Workforce” Programme – EPAPSY (Association for Regional Development and Mental Healthcare)/ UNHCR, George Karapanagos, Consultant of Public Health, MSF & Coordinator of Health and Well-being Committee, Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee Issues (ACCMR), Vasiliki Dalla, Representative of the Hellenic Red Cross, Chryssa Sotiriou, Project Manager of PATTERN at KMOP, Bitten Salomonsen MR, Underviser, Sosu Ostylland (DK), Eva Salmatani, Project Manager of I-CARE in Greece, KMOP, and Savvoula Oikonomou, Coordinator of KMOP’s Health Promotion and Well-being Unit.

During the event, the Photovoice exhibition was presented with photographs of the refugee psychosocial carers that work at the “Community Psychosocial Workforce” project – EPAPSY/UNHCR.

The event was held in the context of the Erasmus+ I-CARE project, that is implemented by 7 European organisations (Apricot Training Management – UK, BUPNET – Germany, ENAIP Veneto – Italy, Sosu Ostjylland – Denmark, KMOP – Greece, blinc – Germany, die Berater – Austria) and aims to support the fundamental role played by Health and Social Care professionals in working with people of different national, ethnic, social and economic origins.

Specifically, the I-CARE project has developed: 1) Intercultural Competence Guidelines: for HR managers, trainers and decision makers on the benefits and importance of cultural competence  for health professionals working in cross-cultural situations, 2) Action Sheets for Intercultural Competence: for staff working in the social and healthcare sector, covering all issues of intercultural communication with clients with migrants, 3) The I-CARE Toolbox: a range of learning modules and training materials to support  the  development of Intercultural Competence in the Social and Healthcare sector, and 4) The I-CARE App: providing mobile access to a range of learning materials and helpful information designed to help people working in the sector to be more informed and to learn wherever and whenever.