Refugee First Response Center

A Container speaks 50 languages, helping physicians and refugees alike.

In medical aid for refugees, language barriers are an obstacle – an emergency station with language interpretation function contributes overcoming it. Since November 2015, such a Refugee First Response Center (RFRC) is being operated at a refugee reception center in Hamburg.

From the outside, it’s just a container – from the inside, it’s high-tech: hospital lawns and medicine cabinets stand next to monitors that allow physicians to consult interpreters during the treatment. Thus, they can inquire about their patients’ symptoms and medical records – regardless if they speak Arabic, Farsi or Pashto.

The initiative by two employees of Cisco Systems found support by partners like the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the MLOVE innovation network. In February 2016, the Dorit and Alexander Otto Foundation donated 900.000 Euro for another ten RFRC containers in Hamburg.

The RFRCs greatly facilitate the appropriate medical treatment for refugees. The project, however, is only scalable to a certain degree as the installation of the containers and translation services are expensive.


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