01.09.2011 «Health Guide to Switzerland»: new edition of success story

Migration and health. The «Health Guide to Switzerland» publication helps migrants understand how to use the Swiss healthcare system. The third revised edition of the popular booklet has just been published. The website of the migesplus centre of excellence for migration-related information has also been relaunched.

Pictures «Health Guide to Switzerland»: new edition of success story


Where do I go if I fall ill or have an accident? Is medical treatment free in Switzerland or do I have to pay for it? What kinds of insurances do I need? How do I protect myself against illness? Many people in Switzerland, especially migrants, cannot always answer these questions without help. This makes it more difficult for them to gain access
to adequate healthcare provision. To remedy this, ten years ago the Federal Office of Public Health commissioned a «Health Guide to Switzerland», which was produced under the leadership of the Swiss Red Cross.

Multilingual and multipurpose
The new edition of «Health Guide to Switzerland» provides information in 18 different languages on prevention, medical insurance and medical care. It also discusses the rights and obligations of patients and the basic legal framework. It contains important contact addresses and details of healthcare for particularly at-risk groups such as asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants («sans-papiers»). Switzerland’s federal structure is taken into account: the new «Health Guide» includes a folder which the cantons, municipalities and specialist units can use to provide their own information material and addresses.

Best-known booklet in the health sector
With orders in excess of 50,000, the «Health Guide» is the most frequently ordered booklet on the www.migesplus.ch website of the migrant health advice organisation, migesplus. The guide is one of the best-known information booklets in the health sector among both migrants and healthcare professionals. The Health Monitoring Survey of Switzerland’s Migrant Population has shown that the «Health Guide» is known to a fifth of those interviewed. It is generally handed out to target group members at counselling sessions, courses or special events.

Relaunch of migesplus website
migesplus.ch, the centre of excellence for the development, production and distribution of migration-related information material, has revamped its website, making it optically more attractive, improving the ordering procedure and expanding the range of services. Now, for instance, users are able not only to order or download booklets but also to rate them and submit comments on them. As before, organisations operating in the health sector are invited to use the website as a platform for publicising and disseminating their multilingual information material on health-related topics.

Ordering «Health Guide to Switzerland»
The third edition is available in 18 languages from www.migesplus.ch, where it can also be downloaded as a PDF. In addition, users can download fact sheets on the individual chapters from the guide in 18 languages via http://www.migesplus.ch/en/signposts/health-guide/.


Martin Wälchli, project head, Health Promotion and Prevention, National Migration and Health Programme, martin.waelchli@bag.admin.ch

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