[ENG] Is The Swedish Healthcare System Seen Through a Cultural Lens ?

The health care system has been widely debated and criticized in Sweden. After working extensively to inform our readers about the health care system in Sweden we have tried to pinpoint the most common problem the Arabic-speaking community is facing in order to be able to improve their experiences and create a better health care system.

8 of 10 persons of our readers feel that the Swedish health care is insufficient. However, some of the Arabic community are aware of that problem within the healthcare system is temporary due to, for instance, lack of qualified nurses.

  1. There is a widespread opinion that the Swedish health care and caretakers are too conservative in their approach of diagnosing their patients. Many complain of lengthy periods of waiting and unwillingness to treat the disease and therefore avoiding to prescribe medications to their patients. Arabic speakers see this as a problem caused by the existence of many ‘inexperienced’ doctors who do not want to commit any mistake. However, it is important to highlight that their medical experience is heavily influenced by culture. The common healthcare system in the Levant is more unregulated in terms of diagnosis and prescriptions of medicines than that of Sweden. This has produced some problematic habits such as drinking antibiotics when not needed or importing medicines from abroad for self-medication.

  2. There is a communication gap caused by the existence of a language barrier,  which prevails within the Arabic-speaking community, that affect the understanding of their treatment. This results in a lack of understanding of their situation, thus frustration as patients do not receive what they may actually need.

In conclusion, the Swedish health care system has received criticism due to the long waiting periods and insufficiently qualified nurses, midwives, and doctors. The system is under a critical eye from the Arabic-speaking community as well. It is important to stress that most of the common critiques are solvable. We have seen in our previous insights that still there is still much information lacking regarding general health (from vitamin D to diabetes) in Sweden. Combining the lack of information of general health together with linguistic barriers is a recipe for frustration and unnecessary pain. Simultaneously, there is a need to educate Arabic-speakers about the Swedish health care system in comparison to their old system. This could break problematic habits such as drinking antibiotics when not needed or importing medicine from the Middle East for self-medication.

Kotada Yonus