Training programme: Cultural Mediators in Health Care

Good Practices

Training programme: Cultural Mediators in Health Care

A group smiling at the camera, holding up certificates

The project in brief

The project is implemented by Primary HealthCare in Malta. It began in January 2010 and is currently ongoing. The training programme, 'Cultural Mediators in Healthcare' equips participants and health professionals on how to be aware of the refugee and migrant's  situation when visiting health care services during health education sessions. It involves overcoming language barriers and conveys the health behaviours of migrants and refugees to the health professional and it assists the patient on how to navigate the health system, entitlement to healthcare, and to ask any questions they may have in a confidential way.

Some of the main goals of the project are: 

  • To overcome cultural and linguistic problems.
  • To assist migrants to integrate in the health system.
  • To inform migrants of their rights.
  • To teach migrants on how to be responsible for their own health.
  • To assist health professionals to understand the situation of migrants and to reach the diagnosis.
  • To advocate of migrants.
  • To offer a confidential service.

Main activities of the Good Practice

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Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

  • Experience of working with migrants.
  • Participation in EU projects.
  • Listening to health professionals' problems when confronted with migrant patients.
  • Master's degree in Transcultural Health.
  • Experience in the development of teaching programmes.

Partners involved

  • Migrant Health Liaison Office, Primary HealthCare

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


  • Identifying participants who speak English and who are willing to participate in the project.
  • Encouraging migrants to attend the full programme.
  • Strict procedures in delivering the training programme in the detention centre.

How they were overcome

  • Training programme and certificate is free of charge.
  • Interactive/participatory learning style.
  • Participants enjoy the discussions and role plays.
  • Topics that inform about the migrant situation emerge,  these are tackled in health education sessions.
  • Training programme delivered in a central place.
  • Possibility of working in a health government entity.

Results of the Good Practice

Migrants know that when they visit a health centre they will find a trained cultural mediator who:  

  • will assist them during the clinical encounter;
  • will help them to make appointments;
  • will maintain confidentiality throughout.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

Through the project migrants do not present themselves to healthcare services at the end stages of disease and health professionals can come to reach a diagnosis and start treatment earlier than trying to communicate with a patients who does not speak English or Maltese.

This is also a cost-effective measure.

Through the health education sessions refugees are taught on how to be responsible for their own health. When they visit the health centres they know that they will be received by a trained cultural mediator.

Next steps

The project may be extended to Ukraine refugees in the near future.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

Funds to employ cultural mediators in the detention clinic.

Submitted by

Ms. Roseanne Camilleri, CEO-Primary HealthCare - [email protected]