Rehabilitation for children and youths from a migrant background.

The Institute of Social Medicine at the University of Lübeck and the Ethno-Medical Centre in Berlin and Hannover are launching a multilingual information campaign

Chronic health impairments can have a significant effect on the lives of children and youths in many different ways. Child and youth rehabilitation is one way of tackling these disadvantages. In cases where out-patient treatment is insufficient and does not achieve the desired effect, medical rehabilitation can offer children and youths with chronic health problems fresh drive and a new outlook.

Most recently, around 35,000 instances of medical rehabilitation for children and youths were carried out in Germany each year. The vast majority of these cases are for the treatment of psychological and behavioural disturbances, bronchial asthma, obesity, skin-related diseases, and deformities of the spine and back. Children and youths from a migrant background are significantly under-represented when it comes to such treatments, despite having a similar or even heightened risk of illness, and are far less likely to avail of rehabilitation opportunities than children and youths from a non-migrant background.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge (Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Lübeck) and Ramazan Salman (Ethno-Medical Centre, Berlin and Hannover) want to change that in the coming years with their project “MiMi-Reha-Kids” (implementation and evaluation of a multilingual information service focused on rehabilitation for children and youths from a migrant background). Together with the German pension authorities Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord and Deutsche Rentenversicherung Berlin-Brandenburg, they will create a multilingual publication offering guidance, and will train 120 mediators.

They aim to answer questions such as: What can rehabilitation do for children and youths? What do we know about its effectiveness? Who can apply for rehabilitation? What requirements have to be met? How must the forms be filled out?

Starting in the coming year in Hamburg and Berlin, the mediators will organise almost 250 events to provide information on child and youth rehabilitation to families from a migrant background and to improve the chances of receiving treatment for chronically ill children and youths.

. Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge The poster for the information campaign (Design: Ramazan Salman)