[Discrimination of Blacks on account of their skin colour? Results of focus group discussions with victims in the German health-care system]

Gesundheitswesen. 2008 Jan;70(1):47-53. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1022524.
[Article in German]


Background: In spite of a number of researches on immigrants in the German Health System, there has hardly been any research on immigrant's experiences with General Practitioners or research on Black patients. As an example the experiences of Black People (1) with an immigration background from the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) with German White GPs was investigated.

Methods: Two focus groups with a total of 33 participants from the DRC were held and the discussions documented and transcribed. The authors performed a content analysis and developed inductively the categorical system on the basis of the transcription.

Results: The participants underlined their self-competences in health and diseases. Language was mentioned as a problem in communication, but had no priority except for the lack of documents in French. However, they underlined the hectic and unfriendliness of German medical staff as well as lack of respect towards them. They also criticised the insufficient medical competence of German medical doctors concerning diseases, which are common in Africa and the increasing social injustice, bureaucracy and economic efficiency. Experiences with discrimination and racism were clearly expressed and illustrated in its intermingled structure with other forms of discrimination.

Conclusions: The concept concerning health and diseases of the African immigrants was a Western medical concept, other concepts like, e.g., "African" formed medical concepts did not occur. The many-sided experienced discriminations of Black immigrants in White Surgeries and in the German Health System presumably also correspond to experiences in other areas of German society. A number of critical remarks of the participants corresponded with what we expect from White patients, especially when speaking about communicative abilities of doctors. Better communicative abilities and a better knowledge of the so-called "tropical diseases" are required. But to the same degree it is mandatory to develop the ability of reflecting on discrimination at all levels including racism and "intercultural" opening of the German Health System.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Blacks*
  • Crime Victims*
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Germany
  • Health Care Rationing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prejudice*