UAF Care Day was again well attended

Healthcare Day 2024

The UAF organizes an annual Care Day for refugee healthcare professionals who are working on obtaining their BIG registration so that they can practice their profession (again). On Saturday, March 23, it became clear again that this meeting meets a great need. In Utrecht, at NSPOH, 74 participants met: refugee doctors, volunteers who serve as mentors and organizations from the healthcare sector.  

Goal meeting

The UAF Care Day contributes to the further development of refugee doctors, so that the realization of their plans and ambitions comes one step closer. The participants were able to inform themselves, practice skills, exchange experiences and make new contacts. It is also an interesting opportunity for organizations in the healthcare sector to make contact with these physicians. 

Simone Oskam, UAF program counselor and deputy chairman: 'It was very valuable that we were able to connect organizations and refugee medics with each other. Two hospitals, UMC Utrecht and UMC Groningen, talked about the initiatives they have started with status holders to fill the major shortages in healthcare. That was informative and inspiring. There was also plenty of networking. One of the students I guided through the medical assessment for nursing was very happy to meet other nurses with a refugee background. She has also met a mentor who wants to help her with practical questions in the near future.'  


One of the challenges that refugee physicians face is that they have to reshape their professional network. That is why the workshop was offered: 'Profiling yourself on LinkedIn: expand your digital network'. This was exciting for some participants, because: how do you present yourself to people and organizations you don't know yet?

The way in which doctors and patients interact here often takes some getting used to for doctors with a different cultural background. Think of Dutch directness, or patients who (think they) know what care they need after a search on the internet. This while a white coat is synonymous with other culturesmbool stands for authority. This was what the workshop 'Talking with patients: the culture in the consulting room' was about.

Initiatives for status holders 

Various organizations and stakeholders from the healthcare sector participated in the substantive programme. Thank you very much for that! We mention examples here:

  • The CIBG, represented by Avishka Kapoerchan-Niddha and Maartje van Vliet, informed the participants about the recognition procedure for foreign healthcare diplomas. This recognition is required for BIG registration (for protected healthcare professions).
  • Marga Witsenboer, teacher/mentor at OLVG, and Abrar Kiwam, trainee doctor supervised by UAF, talked about their experiences as a mentor couple. This showed how valuable mentoring can be.
  • Two medical students talked about their initiative: the Hechtstichting. They founded this because there is little opportunity to practice suturing during medical training. In their spare time they help fellow students (who may or may not have fled) with this by practicing suturing together. Not on a person, but on a sponge.


The UAF Care Day is a joint initiative of the UAF and the Medical Mentors Sounding Board Group and was made possible by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Thanks to everyone who contributed! 

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