Breaking down Barriers to Health – Our Portuguese Project

IMG_0771Building on his interests in international medicine, Dr Sharma invited a GP – Dr Cristiano Figueiredo – from Portugal to the Grantham Practice in April 2015 to observe how doctors work in the community here.

Dr Figueiredo helped us set up an education day at the local Portuguese Community Speaking Centre. This now runs 6 weekly and covers topics from depression to diabetes. It has been fantastically received both by the community and also by gaining support from NHS Lambeth. This has developed into a much wider project now, where with a team of Portuguese doctors and nurses we have translated health materials, provided welcome packs and set up workshops for isolated and vulnerable groups.

The plan is to learn from this project and widen it to other groups of patients that experience inequality in healthcare due to linguistic and cultural barriers. Meanwhile Dr Cristiano has taken the idea back to Lisbon and is now supporting the Bangladeshi community in a similar way! This global health exchange has already started to be recognised in the Portuguese national press and by the World organisation of Family Medicine.

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