Blue Book of Migration Medicine

Pictogram-based translation book on medical history taking, diagnosis and therapy for hospitals and doctor’s surgeries.

In emergency care facilities in Germany, 25 million people are seen to, treated, hospitalized, relocated or transferred on an outpatient basis each year.

The hospital becomes the interface of medical care structures; but at the same time also a meeting place for people of different linguistic, social, cultural and ideological backgrounds. The specialist staff is required to provide the patient not only with professional competence, but also with intercultural competence – and this amidst an increasing shortage of human resources and time.

In Germany it is normality that people from many different cultures live here. Most who reside here are third and fourth generation and have grown up multi-lingual as well as bi-cultural. Yet, there still are people who even after years or decades have not learned the German language. Additionally, in view of the – mostly politically motivated – rapid and steadily rising migration movement of recent years, many new immigrants and refugees are often neither able to speak German nor English. Vice versa, many medical employees speak only German and not any of the world’s major languages. Thus, many hospitals and medical practices are increasingly confronted with the challenge of a language barrier between patients and staff. However, medical help without a minimum of communication is hardly conceivable. In addition, communication gaps carry the risk of under diagnosis (by not exploring what needs to be done) and over diagnosis (to compensate for existing knowledge deficits).

In this book, the ingenious idea was implemented to translate relevant questions not into Arabic, Icelandic, or Chinese for example, but into pictograms. This makes it possible to understand each other even in the absence of a translator.
Pictograms have long been used in safety regulations, user manuals or user interfaces of computers, to name only a few international applications. This imagery is understandable all over the planet, within a matter of minutes and efficiently.

The “Blue Book of Migration Medicine” of the EFVM is a professional as well as pragmatic communication aid and impresses through its clear structure.

Created by a team of authors with medical, psychological and sociological expertise, as well as in-depth practical knowledge in migration medicine, we hope that this book will be an effective aid in emergency rooms and medical practices.