Mater promotes healthy living for migrants and refugees

10/Mar/2020     Health

Speakers from the Mater Refugee Health team were invited to the Inala TAFE Adult English Education Program presenting to nine classes with students from refugee and migrant backgrounds about healthy living and how to navigate the Queensland health system.

Mater Refugee Health Nurses who delivered these sessions regularly provide community outreach by co-locating at GP practices where they meet with new arrivals through established humanitarian programs.

Refugee Health Network Capacity Building and Resource Coordinator Ally Wakefield said her team work with these GP practices close to where people are being settled to conduct refugee health assessments.

“Many health needs are addressed at these appointments, however there is much more information about the health system that is complex and takes time for newly settled communities to learn,” Ally said.

“The request from the TAFE was a unique opportunity for the nurses to spend some time with these students by providing information in an interactive, safe and comfortable setting. 

“The students asked lots of questions and the interactive activities really helped them to think about how they would navigate the different health systems in Queensland, depending on their health needs.”

Some of the topics addressed in these sessions included:

  • What to do if you or a family member is sick (discussing the differences between pharmacy, seeing a GP and Emergency Department)
  • Safe use of medication
  • Requesting an interpreter if you need one at a hospital, pharmacy and GP
  • The importance of vaccinations
  • How to call an ambulance
  • Dental health and hygiene

English Language Techer for TAFE Queensland Steph Jamroz said both teachers and students responded positively to the sessions commenting Mater staff were informative, respectful and professional.  

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed the information talks which were pitched at their level and were easy for the students to comprehend,” Steph said.

“The feedback we received from students were the talks were essential especially to those who were newly arrived refugees and migrants who need help to understand our health system. 

“We would like to show the deepest thanks and respect to the staff and hope they can come back in the future.”

The nurses presented to approximately 250 students over 3 days and hope to continue their partnership with more sessions with TAFE Queensland in the future.

Mater Refugee Health Nurse Katherine Roddom will go to the TAFE classes this month, to deliver information about nutrition and healthy eating as a follow up to the same classes.

For more information about Mater Refugee Health service visit

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