Reaching migrant women during COVID-19

Reaching migrant women during COVID-19

Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health’s (MCWH) has adapted its existing health education model to ensure migrant women still have access to accurate health information during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

One key issue that coronavirus (COVID-19) has highlighted is the importance of accessible and culturally meaningful health information for Victoria’s migrant and refugee communities, and particularly for women. MCWH core purpose is to share health information with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds to inform their decision making and maximise their opportunities for improved health outcomes.

Usually, we do this work through small group workshops in workplaces and community settings. Since the Victorian restrictions came into effect, we have rapidly and successfully adapted. Coronavirus (COVID-19) hasn’t stopped us. A key shift in our work has been moving to an online platform to deliver our health education sessions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve run more than 27 online health sessions in Arabic, Assyrian, Vietnamese and Mandarin. You can see an example of one of our Vietnamese sessions here.

We have also reached out to radio stations nation-wide to offer in-language segments on women’s health. As a result, our health educators have been interviewed in over 43 radio segments in eight languages and across a range of health topics.

In partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, MCWH has been proud to play a role in supporting migrant women in the public housing towers. In the first week of July alone, we made calls to 1337 residents in Melbourne’s public housing towers about COVID-19 in 19 languages. As a result of these calls, 83% of respondents agreed testing was important and decided to take the test.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to disproportionately impact migrant women, from unemployment to housing, social isolation to family violence. Our work this year shows more than ever that tailored, multilingual information communicated by trained peer educators makes a real difference.

MCWH will continue to explore new ways to reach migrant women and ensure they don’t miss out on accessing accurate and culturally appropriate health information.

Find out more about our online health education sessions on the website.

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