Strategies to Address Communication Barriers

Strategies to Address Communication Barriers

 

 

 

 

What strategies to address communication barriers for refugees and migrants in healthcare settings have been implemented and evaluated across the WHO European Region?

Key Takeaways: The provision of effective health care to linguistically and culturally diverse migrant populations has been identified as a crucial public health issue. Between 2008-2018 in 14 different countries in the WHO European Region, four main strategies were in use to improve access to health care, support management of specific communicable and non-communicable diseases and promote health across a wide variety of health care settings:

  1. cultural mediation
  2. interpretation
  3. translation of health information, and
  4. guidance and training for health care providers.

Implementation of these strategies often relied on intersectoral collaborations between those working in statutory health care, community NGOs and academic settings. Most evaluations reported positive changes in health knowledge, health behavior and access and utilization of health care for refugees and migrants. This finding highlights the importance of intersectoral collaboration and development by regional and local authorities to develop and implement formal strategies to address communication barriers for refugees and migrants in health care settings across the Region.

Policy considerations include the development of national policies and the promotion of intersectoral dialogue to augment the knowledge base and resolve the common issues identified, such as provision of training and confusion regarding the roles of mediators/interpreters, that affect strategy implementation and evaluation.

The report doesn’t mention maternal health. However, the role of doulas in a cervical screening program in Sweden was featured as a case study.

A qualitative analysis of the role of community representatives (i.e. doulas) in a local community collaboration to increase the participation of foreign-born women in a cervical cancer screening program in Sweden found it beneficial to engage representatives who shared the cultural background and mother tongue of the target group. In a Swedish case study, after one year of collaboration with doulas, the number of Pap smears in the target community increased by 42%.

Source: McGarry O, Hannigan A, Manuela De Almeida M, Severoni S, Puthoopparambil SJ, MacFarlane A. What strategies to address communication barriers for refugees and migrants in health care settings have been implemented and evaluated across the WHO European Region? Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2018 (Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report 62)