SGE (health care corporation Eindhoven) today officially opens its eleventh primary health care centre, SGE International in the Videolab at Strijp S, Eindhoven. The new health centre caters to the needs of the international audience. All caregivers are trained in dealing with people from various cultural backgrounds. Next to providing primary health care, SGE is working together with psychologists and psychiatrists specialized in working with this target group, such as PsyQ Mental Health Services.

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Read also: Accessible Health Care for Internationals

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The health care offered by SGE International abides by Dutch NHG Standards and Guidelines for Primary Health Care and acknowledges the contract opportunities of (health) insurers in the Netherlands.

A health care symposium specifically for internationals with the theme ‘Closing the Gap’ has been organized at the occasion of the opening of the new health centre. It will take place from 12:00-19:00 at Seats2Meet, Strijp S, Eindhoven.

An estimated 30,000 people with an international background reside in the Eindhoven region. A large part of these internationals do not feel at home when it comes to the Dutch health care system. “Confidence in doctors, especially the General Practitioner is very low”, Irene Martens of SGE International says. “Surveys have indicated that only 32 percent of Internationals trust their general practitioner, which is extremely low compared with the 85 percent amongst Dutch nationals. The symposium has been organized to create greater awareness of this health care gap amongst stakeholders, employers, administrators and health care providers.”

Internationals are used to health care systems where direct access to medical specialists is common, SGE found out. In addition they are more used to their doctors being more proactive through preventive diagnosis as well as more likely to provide medication and antibiotics than Dutch doctors. Even more important there are often cultural differences and there is almost always a language barrier.

Martens: “The lack of trust in their GP has a negative impact on the treatment relationship and hence the outcomes of their care. For the patient it leads to a sense of insecurity and sometimes stress. For many this means that they do not feel at home in the Netherlands and this hampers their social and economic integration. Because of their lack of trust in the Dutch health care system, internationals also look for help and medication outside the regular channels and outside guidelines. Self-diagnosis with treatment by medication sent from ‘home’ is a result from this lack of trust which poses a considerable health risk.”

Symposium ‘Closing the gap’
The intended audience for the symposium, which is organized in collaboration with the entire network of stakeholders – is not only the target group itself, but also the city of Eindhoven, health insurers, employers and other healthcare providers – and is organized with a target to maximise the exchange of knowledge on the needs of the target group and to provide possible solutions.

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Main picture: the entrance of the Health Care Centre at Strijp-S

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