Now that 2013 is well underway, the Healthy Start refugee health project is gearing up for a fantastic year!
A collaboration by Griffith, Bond and UQ medical students, Healthy Start is a preventative health education project which works with newly arrived refugees in QLD to improve their health literacy. It was first developed in 2010 by a handful of Griffith students, but has since grown into a team of students comprising TIME (UQ), H4H (Griffith) and M.A.D. (BOND) and working with the Multicultural Development Association (MDA) in Brisbane. We have also had help from Refugee Health Queensland and the Mater hospital, as well as several independent general practitioners specialising in Refugee Health. The final product is a 4 hour health education course that uses medical and allied health students to teach newly arrived refugees about basic health issues using interpreters. The program is split into a number of modules including how to use emergency services, general health, nutrition, visiting the GP, and men’s and women’s health. These modules have been developed with the assistance of experts in the field so that they can provide better health outcomes for this newly arrived and vulnerable population. At each session there will be approximately 40 refugees working alongside 20 students.
There is no other program like this anywhere in Australia and it allows UQ students to work with students from Griffith and Bond, as well as with health professionals. We are currently looking for volunteers who are keen to get involved. If you want to gain experience in health promotion, to develop your cultural competency skills, and to make a difference, then this is the perfect opportunity.
If you would like to register you interest or if you would like any further information, please email the TIME representative, Katherine Wyld, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your:
- year level
- contact number
- email address
Check out our Facebook Page for further details and for pictures from our previous Healthy Start sessions: www.facebook.com/healthystartaustralia
First training workshop: 12th March
First Healthy Start refugee education session: 13th April
Head over to our project signup form to get involved in TIME’s efforts towards improving Refugee Health!
- As defined by the United Nations, a refugee is a person who: “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it”.
- An asylum-seeker is someone who says that he/she is a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been definitively evaluated. If they are not judged through proper procedures not to be refugees or in need of international protection, they can be sent back to their home countries.
- At the beginning of 2009, the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated there were 10.5 million refugees worldwide, down 8% from 2008. In addition to this, an estimated 4.7 million refugees are looked after under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which was set up to care for diplaced Palestinians. More than half the refugees under UNHCR are in Asia and 22% in Africa, living under conditions varying from well-established camps to living in the open.
- At January 2009, the UNHCR estimated that there were 20,919 refugees living in Australia.
- Refugees settling in Queensland come from a wide variety of countries but most recently have arrived from a range of African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
- Refugees present with a wide variety of health conditions related to their refugee experience (for example, torture and trauma issues) and related to their experience living in a refugee camp (for example, disease acquired due to lack of clean drinking water, malnourishment and chronic illness resulting from lack of access to quality health care service).
TIME’S Refugee Health Project
For several years now, TIME members have been involved in refugee health issues in Brisbane in several ways.
The long term objectives of the project are:
- To raise awareness about refugee health issues among the UQ community
- To build relationships with refugee communities in Queensland through volunteering with the Multicultural Development Association (MDA)
- To equip UQ medical students with skills to better address refugee health issues.
To become involved or to learn more, please contact our 2010 Refugee Health Coordinator, Eranthi Hettiarachchi.
You can head over to our project signup form if you’re ready to get involved, and we’ll get back to you soon!
Also, check out these resources:
- Brisbane Actionweb for Refugee Collaboration
- Multicultural Development Association
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Refugee Council of Australia
- Refugee Health Queensland
- AMSA’s Refugee & Asylum Seeker Health Policy