Training on Migration Health for Cultural Mediators held on 5-7 December 2016 in Athens, Greece

15 December 2016 – Upon request by Médecins sans Frontiers Greece and following the previously organized trainings for cultural mediators in Ljubljana and Rome in September 2016, IOM MHD RO Brussels held a 3-days training course on Migration Health for Cultural Mediators on 5-7 December 2016 in Athens, Greece. 

The training had the objective to impart cultural mediators working with migrants with the necessary knowledge needed concerning migrant-related health care and cultural mediation. The sessions aimed at exploring the role and importance of a cultural mediator in facilitating the communication and understanding between diverse individuals and communities in Greece.

The 3 sessions allowed participants to explore several important concepts on health care and health mediation for migrants and refugees, including an overview of entitlements to health care and responsibilities of migrants, working with vulnerable groups, mental health, occupational health, medical terminology and records, as well as cultural diversities and conflict mediation. 

Hosted at the HIGGS centre - Higher Incubator Giving Growth & Sustainability, in Athens, the training was attended by more than 40 participants, most of them with migrant background residing in Greece, working as cultural mediators within different organizations such as Médecins sans Frontiers Greece, the Greek Forum of Refugees, Association for the Social Support of Youth, Asante, as well as KEELPNO – the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, participants also had the opportunity to learn and discuss further considerations concerning cultural mediation such as cultural competences and communication skills as well as other considerations covered during discussions with all the trainers and among all participants. Further activities and exercises carried out during the sessions helped participants to further engage into the discussions and improve interaction among the group. 

Comments from participants highlight how well perceived these training courses are as well as needed to improve the daily work of cultural mediators. Suggestions were also taken into account to further improve the training’s package materials and organization for future sessions to come.     

The training course is part of IOM’s Re-Health project’s efforts to facilitate the implementation of the Personal Health Record (PHR) through the recruitment and training of health and cultural mediators on working with refugees and migrants, particularly with vulnerable groups and children. The MH trained cultural mediators will support the services and assistance provided to migrants and explain the process and benefits of undergoing a health assessment. The course held in Athens comes as a result of a constructive collaboration between IOM MHD RO Brussels and Médecins sans Frontiers Greece, initiated within the Equi-Health project, where other trainings for Health Professionals and Law Enforcement Officers were also organized.