November 29, 2022

Refugees: Your Community, Your Health

Northern Health recently participated in the Refugees: Your Community, Your Health event, hosted by the City of Whittlesea’s Program for Refugee Immunisation Monitoring and Education (PRIME) team.

The event brought the refugee and asylum seeker community, living in the City of Whittlesea and the City of Hume, together to learn about local services and the importance of immunisation against vaccine-preventable diseases, including COVID-19.

Julinah Mohd Shariff, HARP Team Leader, Mary Mickael, HARP Pharmacist and Health Coach and Stefania Zen, Education and Engagement Manager for Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) and Aboriginal Support Unit (ASU), represented Northern Health at the event.

Along with engaging with attendees, they also shared brochures and information on health education and community programs at a Northern Health booth.

“The event provided an opportunity for new residents to engage with, and learn about, service providers such as Northern Health. There were also various networking opportunities for service providers that engage with each other and the local community,” Stefania said.

“Service providers included Whittlesea Community Connections, Foundation House, Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, Cancer Council, Victoria Police, local libraries, local youth organisations and more.”

Julinah said the event was a rewarding experience to be able to engage with the refugee community outside a clinical setting.

“The atmosphere was lively and cheerful, and everyone was relaxed and happy. It also gave us the opportunity to chat with the community casually, whilst promoting health education,” Julinah said.

For Mary, the event was, “a festival of unity and love, integrating refugees into their new home while harnessing the unique potential of each individual paving their way to success.”

“Northern Health has always held the ethos of unity and fellowship in the community. Participating in this event has reinforced the bridges of trust and care in a patient-centred model,” she said.

“It was rewarding seeing everyone happy, particularly the children who thoroughly enjoyed learning about hand hygiene and healthy eating.”

Stefania also shared with event attendees how Northern Health has established the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED).

“This was very well received by both the local community, and other service providers who were not aware of this service,” she said.

“Since the majority of the attendees spoke another language and had limited English, it was also an opportunity to highlight that at Northern Health, all Medicare eligible patients also have free access to professional interpreter services.”

Featured image: Julinah Mohd Shariff, Stefania Zen, Mary Mickael and Julie Tran.