Life-saving multilingual COVID-19 health education program launches

The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and the Australian Red Cross have launched a life-saving multilingual COVID-19 health education program that will see health education sessions delivered in more than 25 languages in eight locations across Australia.  

For migrant and refugee communities, access to in-language and culturally tailored health information can be a matter of life or death.  

Recent data has found migrant, and refugee communities are among several population groups who are at greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 than the general population. 

During the pandemic, people who died of COVID-19 and were born overseas had an age-standardised death rate that was 2.5 times higher than people who were born in Australia.  

This disparity in COVID-19 deaths can be linked to existing health, and social inequalities migrant and refugee groups face, making it more difficult to access COVID-19 information. 

These barriers include language difficulties, cost of care, lack of culturally appropriate information and unfamiliarity with the Australian healthcare system. 

The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) is working to address this through their latest project, Health in My Language, which aims to improve vaccine literacy and decrease barriers to navigating the vaccination system. 

“We know from our long history of working with migrant communities that many of these deaths could have been prevented through culturally tailored, in-language information and education,” MCWH National Program Manager, Dr Regina Torres-Quiazon, said.

“The Health in My Language Project can break down many of the barriers overseas-born people face by providing in-language COVID-19 vaccination information and education – free of charge and inaccessible locations.” 

MCWH is upscaling their health education model to a national level for the first time, working with partner organisations across Australia to train and coordinate a team of 44 bilingual health educators to deliver the Health in My Language sessions. 

“In many ways, it’s a dream come true to establish a coordinated national network of bicultural educators,” MCWH Executive Director Dr Adele Murdolo said. 

“Since 1978, when our organisation began, we have seen the impact of health education delivered in a language and style that allows people to feel respected and able to ask questions and share their own experiences.” 

“To see that model now being rolled out nationally is amazing. We want migrant and refugee communities across the whole country to be able to have the same opportunity to access health information in their language.” 

The project was launched with partner organisation Red Cross Australia in Tasmania with The Hon Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care last week.  

“Health in My Language will empower members of the Tasmanian community to hear health information about COVID-19 vaccines and other health topics in an engaging, accessible and culturally safe way,” said Red Cross Australia State Lead, Migration Support Julie Groome.  

“This enables community members to make informed health choices for themselves and their family.” 

Health in My Language will run until December 2022, delivering in-language and culturally tailored sessions to migrant communities, including those who speak Greek, Italian, Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Burmese and Karen. 

“The Health in My Language Project, with its deployment of a trained bilingual COVID-19 vaccination health education workforce, can literally save lives,” Dr Torres-Quiazon said. 

close

LET’S KEEP

IN TOUCH!

We’re sorry!

We hate annoying pop-up windows too,

but before you hit the x button, please

take three seconds and subscribe to our

website for free. We’re a team of

dedicated volunteer journalists and

we’d really appreciate your support by

supporting us by subscribing below. 

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

LET’S KEEP

IN TOUCH!

We’re sorry!

We hate annoying pop-up windows too,

but before you hit the x button, please

take three seconds and subscribe to our

website for free. We’re a team of

dedicated volunteer journalists and

we’d really appreciate your support by

supporting us by subscribing below. 

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.