Healthcare and Superdiversity – Presentation of UPWEB Findings in Gröpelingen, Bremen, Germany

by Silja Samerski, Florence Samkange-Zeeb, Michi Knecht and Tilman Brand (UPWEB)

How do inhabitants of Bremen’s superdiverse neighborhoods put together their healthcare? This was the question leading our discussion event in Gröpelingen, Bremen on the 20th of November, 2017. As researchers of the UPWEB project („UPWEB – Understanding the practice and developing the concept of welfare bricolage“), we  first interviewed residents and providers in two neighbourhoods, Gröpelingen and Neustadt, in order to examine their healthcare practices in health systems faced with a growing heterogeneity of patients and residents due to migration, and a widening gap between rich and poor. The interviews were followed by a questionnaire-based survey conducted in the same neighbourhoods. Superdiverse neighbourhoods are so-called arrival zones usually receiving and housing large numbers of new migrants, in addition to established minorities and alongside an often impoverished and/or elderly less-mobile majority group. We presented our preliminary results in the form of posters and short presentations, emphasizing the significance and serious effects of language barriers and of insufficient approachability of health services. Furthermore, the results of the survey showed the prevalence, the reasons given and the determinants of unmet healthcare needs.

Photos: Michi Knecht / Team UPWEB

Our aim was to discuss our results with local residents and providers – i.e. with those who had provided us with the valuable data we had. This is why our event took place in a neighbourhood education centre in Gröpelingen. Although the event was well attended, most of the participants were professionals working in the health fields. We had hoped to see a few of our former interviewees. The discussions were however rich and lively. During, and after the presentations, participants engaged in interesting debates on the challenges faced by superdiverse patients in a standardized and inflexible health care system on the one hand, and by health care providers dealing with a variety of languages, attitudes, needs and expectations on the other hand. A local GP, a community researcher who had been collaborating with the project and the chairperson of the Bremen commission for integration commented on the presented results and stressed the need of approachable health services and an improved collaboration between health care providers. Participants also agreed on the necessity of a closer interaction and collaboration between the health system and the social system. Thus, our research results as well as the ensuing discussions highlighted the predicaments of healthcare in superdiverse neighbourhoods and the urgent need for social and political improvements.