Women’s Health Week – reducing barriers to health care
Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week, held this year 4-8 September, is Australia’s largest event dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all women, girls and gender-diverse people.
Every September, over 200,000 people gather in the boardrooms, tearooms and community centres of Australia to share vital, up-to-date health information.
This year's Women's Health Week theme is ‘Grow your knowledge’. Which is about supporting women to make informed decisions about their health with information that's easy to understand.
As part of the ongoing partnership between the Barwon South West Public Health Unit and Cultura, a women’s health information session was presented to Cultura’s Afghan Women’s Group to provide vital health prevention and support information.
Delivered by members of Barwon Health’s Refugee Health team, the aim of the presentation was to minimise barriers to accessing health information and deliver important health information to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Whilst the presentation was delivered in the spoken language of the group, the presentations are also written in plain English and guided by health literacy principles, making them practical and easy to understand and use.
The content is specifically designed for women who don’t know the Australian healthcare system and may struggle to make informed decisions about their health.
Barwon Health’s Refugee Health Nurse Colet Hammond, says it’s important for women in all communities know what health services are available to them,
“When women migrate to Australia, it is important they understand what health care is available. This includes health checks and screening opportunities, along with general health prevention education. A session like this delivered in their language can minimise the barriers to accessing vital information,” she says.
Cultura CEO Joy Leggo OAM, believes empowering women with knowledge so they can access healthcare is vital for health and wellbeing,
“Our communities enjoy these regular groups, and providing information like this helps our group members gain confidence in making decisions about their health.”
The session was made possible due to an initiative to improve health outcomes for refugees which provided funding to Barwon Health to employ bicultural workers in the North Area Primary Care team.
The bicultural workers have delivered multiple education sessions like the one delivered today to community members from refugee backgrounds. Receiving information in language and from someone with similar cultural experiences has improved understanding of the information but also built trust and accessibility to all health services.