Multicultural and refugee health

South Western Sydney is characterised by its cultural diversity. With such a diverse population brings a range of different health challenges and priorities which vary between each cultural community.

Priority health issues in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in South Western Sydney

Smoking

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. In 2003, it was estimated that tobacco use was responsible for more than 15,500 deaths. Find out more information on the damage smoking is doing to your body here.

Overweight/obese

Carrying extra weight, especially around the middle area can increase your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some types of cancer. For more information on how you can achieve a healthy weight click the links below:

Why Does Weight Matter?

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

Diabetes

Diabetes is the leading cause of early death, Coronary Heart Disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. To assess your risk of developing diabetes or to find out more information click here

Cardiovascular disease

Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being inactive and being overweight are all risk factors for developing heart disease.  For more information on heart disease click here

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

Hepatitis is an infection of the liver which can lead to liver damage and liver cancer. Many people who have the virus don’t know that they are infected. For more information on Hepatitis click the links below:

Hepatits - Health Translations

Hepatits Australia

A number of these health conditions and behaviours can be improved by changes in lifestyle.

Having a sedentary lifestyle, high accessibility to convenience foods and not being able to afford healthy foods and exercise are significant concerns, as are language barriers and lack of knowledge on healthy eating, which all contribute to these problems.

 

What is Multicultural HEALTM?

Multicultural HEALTM

South Western Sydney PHN (SWSPHN) offers the Healthy Eating Activity and Lifestyle (HEALTM) Program to various Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in the local area. The HEAL™ program is an established, nationally recognized program that has been run by Dietitians and Exercise Physiologists over the last 12 years.

SWSPHN is working closely with Multicultural Health Workers from Population Health to offer the HEALTM program (nutrition education groups) to various cultural communities over the next 12 months. In the past we have delivered programs to Vietnamese, Assyrian, Arabic and Khmer communities.

What is planned for the next 12 months?

SWSPHN are currently planning to deliver two HEAL programs this year, these will be catering for the Vietnamese speaking community in the Fairfield and Bankstown areas starting in October, 2015.

An Arabic HEAL group is proposed to commence early next year. Details for other community groups will be confirmed at a later date, please check back for updates on the program.

Education Topics

  1. What is healthy eating?
  2. Type 2 diabetes
  3. Physical Activity
  4. Fat in your diet and Cholesterol
  5. Blood Pressure and Salt
  6. Recipe Modification, healthy cooking and eating out
  7. Bone health, Vitamin D and Calcium and Quit Smoking
  8. Making and Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: Goal setting

Program Outline:

The program is a 10 week lifestyle program involving group education around diet and exercise.

The program involves:

  • Individual pre- and post program assessment
  • 1hour education session per week for 8 weeks
  • Individual goal setting
  • Cost: Free of charge

 

Resources:

For more information on health, diet and nutrition, exercise, and quitting smoking visit:

Multicultural Health Communication service

NSW Health Get Health Information and Coaching service: Offers free and confidential telephone-based advice from qualified health professionals on healthy eating, physical activity and achieving and maintain a healthy weight.

Website: http://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/program | Telephone: 1300 806 258

NSW Multilingual Quitline provides free, confidential and individually-tailored service telephone advice to assist smokers in the quitting process. The Multilingual Quitline is managed by Quitline NSW in partnership with the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service and funded by  the Cancer Institute NSW

South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) Population Health Service 

Immigrant Women’s Health Services works to address numerous issues affecting immigrant and refugee women including physical health and wellbeing, mental health and trauma, legal rights and justice, housing, welfare and entitlements, education and training, language and literacy, social inclusion, healthy parenting and drug and alcohol issues

NSW Refugee Health Programs provides a range of services aimed to protect and promote the health of refugees living in NSW:

NSW Refugee Health Service provide specific programs to meet the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and refugees

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) provides access to phone and on-site interpreting services in over 160 languages and dialects.

 

Who are refugees?

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defines a refugee as:

“A person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution” UNHCR, 1951, p.3.

 

Settlement Service International

Settlement Services International (SSI) is a leading community-based not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in the areas of refugee settlement, asylum seeker assistance, housing, multicultural foster care, disability support and employment services in NSW.

SSI is committed to ensuring that people in vulnerable communities in NSW are supported and resourced to fulfill their potential as members of the Australian community.

Contact Settlement Services

 

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

Since 1950, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of more than 9,300 people in 123 countries continues to help and protect millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people.

Resources:
Australian Refugee Data 

 

Refugee Health

The NSW Refugee Health Service was set up by the NSW Department of Health in 1999 to help meet some of these challenges. We aim to promote the health of people from a refugee background living in NSW by assisting refugees, and the health professionals who work with them. Services provided include:

  • early health assessments by refugee health nurses for newly arrived refugees
  • education for health service providers on refugee health and related issues;
  • a link between agencies working with refugees and health services;
  • targeted health promotion programs for refugees
  • medical assessments and referrals through GP clinics, particularly for recent arrivals;
  • research in refugee health; and
  • advocation for health policies and appropriate services for refugees.

General Resources

South Western Sydney Refugee Health GP Directory

Nurition
Factsheets
Information in other languages 
Refugee health networks 

Refugee e-News

Current issue
Archive
Oral health
Useful links

1/157-161 George St, Liverpool NSW 2170

Phone: (02) 8778 0770

Refugee Council of Australia 

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 200 organisational and over 900 individual members.

Formed in November 1981, RCOA is a non-profit, non-government organisation registered as an incorporated association in the Australian Capital Territory. It is funded through contributions from its members and by project grants from philanthropic bodies and government agencies. The priority activities for RCOA are set by its members, as represented by an elected Board.

Factsheets
Resource