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Are there policies and/or good practices accomodating culture/ traditions' respect in health care

Key Area:
Health And Social Protection
Discrimination, Equality
15/12/2011 - 16:59
Short Answer
Qualitative Info

The National Action Plan for Integration, which was published by the Bundesministerium für Inneres (BMI) [Federal Ministry of the Interior (MoI)] in January 2010, includes a section on challenges, principles and objectives concerning matters of integration in the area of health care and social services. In this section, the following declarations of intent are listed: intercultural competences should be strengthened in the areas of health care and social services; the “health literacy”  of migrants should be improved; specific services and measures should especially target female migrants in order to protect their health more effectively; migrants should be offered more jobs and perspectives in the health care area and the social situation of people with a migrant background should be improved. 

In its Annual Report 2009, the Austrian Ombudsman welcomed that the 12. Ärztegesetz-Novelle [12th amendment of the medical law] eased the former strict regulation which required Austrian citizenship for persons who wanted to achieve the medical job-authorisation in Austria. According to sec. 4 and 5b of the amended medical law, the attainment of the medical job-authorisation is now also possible for persons from the EEA, Switzerland and for third-country nationals who have the right of long-term residence.

There are hardly any new good practice initiatives in the area of health care. Two health care initiatives which specifically target women with a migrant background are presented below. The two projects are conducted by the FEM Süd, a health centre for women based in Vienna:

1) The project “women in motion” started in April 2010. It is organised by the association “FEM-Institute for women’s and men’s health”. FEM is a non-profit association with three headquarters in three different Viennese hospitals. The project is targeting women with a migrant background in order to compensate for the lack of offers for female migrants in the area of the promotion of health and exercise. Women with a migrant background between 18 and 50 are invited to participate in weekly exercise courses for a fee of only one Euro. The exercise courses are supposed to sustain the women’s apperception of their own bodies and therefore contribute to a better health awareness of the women in general. Furthermore, the long-term objective of the project is to better institutionalise exercise and health courses for women with a migrant background in culture and sport institutions. Additionally, very talented and active participants can receive further instruction so that they are able to give exercise lessons themselves. This strengthens their self-confidence and can have a positive influence on their independence and integration.

2) Healthy working without borders 3-Gender sensitive and intercultural health promotion for cleaning staff in the Viennese Hospital Association: The project started in September 2009 and runs until August 2012 and is organised by FEM Süd. It is the first gender- and culture sensitive project of health promotion in businesses in Austria. The target group are low qualified women who work in hospitals respectively geriatric centres of the Viennese Hospital Association either as cleaning staff or in the laundry. Women with migrant background are especially addressed since they are overrepresented among the cleaning staff. The intercultural, socio-economically disadvantaged professional group of cleaning women is often restricted in the access to projects concerning the health promotion in businesses. Consequently, the project aims at enhancing the participation of cleaning women with and without a migrant background in health promotion measures in businesses. To achieve this, FEM Süd organises for example health groups in which the cleaning women can communicate in their mother tongue. This measure is meant to empower the women and strengthen their resources and competences. On the other hand, the businesses are supported in creating a health promoting work environment. The project is the successor of “Healthy working without borders 1&2”, which were carried out by the FEM Süd in the years before.         


Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Health and social protection
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