For more than 100 years, the German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFÄM) has been promoting health care in economically poor countries and regions, especially for disadvantaged, vulnerable and poor people. In order to establish local health structures and to sustainably improve the health situation in project countries, DIFÄM cooperates with Christian partner organizations and health networks on site.
Health in One World means not only a worldwide commitment but also a local commitment in Tübingen. DIFÄM is in charge of the Paul-Lechler-Hospital, the Hospice Tübingen and the Academy for Health in One World. DIFÄM is a member of the Social Welfare Service of the Protestant Churches in Württemberg, Germany.
Committed church congregations as well as StuDIFÄM, an active group of medical students at the University of Tübingen, support our work.
DIFÄM currently employs 28 permanent staff members. They work in the area of Projects & Programs, in the DIFÄM Office for Pharmaceutical Development Cooperation, in the Education Team, in the Communications Team and in Administration. Five helpers support the daily work at DIFÄM on a voluntary basis with a wide range of commitment.
As Director, Dr. Gisela Schneider is responsible for global health work. The deputy director is Dr. Johannes-Martin Hahn, chief physician of the Paul-Lechler-Krankenhaus Tropical Clinic.
The supervisory bodies of the association are the general assembly and the administrative board. The currently more than 100 voting members as well as the administrative board are engaged on a voluntary basis. Membership is by invitation.
We are committed to a world where health is made real and God's healing work is made visible. This is a world where all people have access to the best possible health care, especially those who live in poverty and are disadvantaged. Health is promoted, diseases are prevented or healed, chronic diseases are alleviated. In this way, all people can live in dignity and be part of the community.
We accompany partners and partner organizations on their way to promote health sustainably. We act in solidarity with disadvantaged people and contribute to justice in the health sector. Christian values are the foundation of our work.
Strengthening health systems
All over the world, people die because the nearest health station is too far away, medical professionals and life-saving drugs are not available, or because there is not enough money for the necessary treatment. Women and children are particularly affected. With increasing life expectancy, however, people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes are also coming into focus, which are often not recognized or treated. Therefore, DIFÄM's work aims to build strong healthcare systems that are accessible and affordable for all. This includes the training of medical professionals, infrastructure measures and better equipment for healthcare facilities.
The focus is on education, prevention and treatment of corona, HIV and AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases, as well as non-communicable and chronic diseases. Special importance is accorded to the promotion of maternal and child health.
DIFÄM supports its partner facilities in improving their health documentation and in gaining access to important medicines and medical products. With our many years of experience and expertise, we support our partners in the planning, implementation and monitoring of health programs.
Promoting primary health care
In establishing primary health care, the active participation of local people is very important to us: the focus is on people and communities who use their own resources to improve health. DIFÄM promotes the establishment of village outpatient clinics in remote regions and the training of village health workers, as well as measures that have an impact on health, such as poverty reduction, sanitation, and access to water and education.
Supply of effective medicines
Millions of people still have no access to essential medicines. DIFÄM's specialist unit for pharmaceutical development cooperation supports the establishment of central pharmacies on site, so that even in remote areas the right medicines are available in sufficient quantities, on time, regularly and at low cost. DIFÄM promotes quality control of medicines and advises project partners and development cooperation organizations on setting up local supply structures.
Improving clinical care
Diagnosis, therapy and care for people with infectious diseases or non-communicable chronic diseases, as well as medical attendance during deliveries, are a major challenge in the global South. DIFÄM works with local health facilities to improve patient care.
Help in emergency situations
Around the world, the number of crises is increasing: Epidemics, natural disasters and wars threaten the livelihood and health of many people. Whether setting up infection control measures or caring for refugees in areas of crisis - together with its partner organizations, DIFÄM supports people in need, especially pregnant women, mothers and young children.
Knowledge for professionals - locally and worldwide
In our project countries, DIFÄM facilitates the qualified training and continuing education of local professionals. In this context, we increasingly rely on online training and the digital exchange of knowledge and expertise between project partners.
In Tübingen, we offer practical courses at our Academy for Health in One World and prepare doctors, midwives, and health and nursing staff, including those from Doctors Without Borders, for their assignments abroad. In the seminars on public health and tropical medicine, our instructors impart sound knowledge on the design of health care with limited resources.
We are also committed to more justice in the health sector at the political level. As an organization for global health work, we are a member and are involved in the following organizations, networks and alliances among others:
- Action against AIDS Germany
- Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW)
- ECPAT Germany (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)
- Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN)
- VENRO (Umbrella organisation of development and humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Germany)