© 2021, ProLitteris, Zurich
midwife refugee kit
As our bachelor thesis we wrote a concept for an e-learning tool to train midwives working with refugees, as this is not adressed in the usual curriculum. Currently we are working at the realisation of this online course. The first part of the tool should be available in autumn 2021.
In a more and more globalized world in which people move more frequently, hospitals are confronted with an influx of people from all over the world, with all kinds of different backgrounds. Understanding and meeting the needs of every individual, in a setting where cost reduction and economics put enormous pressure on medical staff is a difficult task. Midwifery furthermore has a lot of inherent challenges - a variety of needs, guidelines, work processes as well as great social and emotional commitment. Work ethics demand a non judgmental treatment of all families. But how do midwives and medical stuff in general deal with situations in which their own values, images and stereotypes collide with those ethics? How does one tackle such issues, how to speak about ones won values, stereotypes and how to overcome them? Often those questions have no space in a regular work setting, midwifes are left alone with their feelings or complex issues are met with easy answers like "That's just their culture, they do it like this" or "The woman is simply tedious, lazy, complicated". All of this leads to frustration, burnouts and low work satisfaction.
The further education tool is intended to encourage midwives to think about their own pictures. It tries to find other, new ways of dealing with difficult situations, shows how to dive into research, how to find easy applicable answers and to learn about ones own upbringing, privileges and believe systems. It gives health professionals valuable insights on how the swiss asylum system works and rich practical tools to deal with transcultural interactions and trauma-sensitive treatment in everyday work.
The learning units deal with the following topics in a playful, interactive way: holistic and person-centred care, culture, transcultural competence, the most common immigration countries, prevailing power structures, individual background of the family members, the relationship between family and midwife, trauma-sensitive work and dealing with inequality and racism. All of this is not addressed in the usual curriculum of a midwife and that’s why we want to fill this gap.
Birth workers will benefit from the necessary skills to deal with the above mentioned issues. A greater benefit will be that it will have a positive long-term impact on outcomes of migrant families, especially asylum seekers. Today asylum-seekers have significantly worse peripartum and reproductive health outcomes than the native population of Switzerland. The reasons have already been identified in various studies, but concrete suggestions for improvement for health professionals have so far been poorly formulated. People seeking asylum who are pregnant or have just given birth are often affected by a lack of opportunities for withdrawal, by discrimination or even assaults and by sorrows about the uncertain future. Many suffer from experiences of violence on the run or in the home country. This in connection with pregnancy or the still young parenthood makes them a particularly vulnerable population group. A treatment that is better suited for this group will increase their health and satisfaction.