Culturally Responsive Training, Research & Resources to communicate: VACCINES, COVID-19 & ‘CATCH UP’ CARE.
Since the onset of the pandemic and in response to the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, CEH has launched a number of initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of migrants, refugees and international students.
Targeted projects include culturally responsive training, research and resources to address the challenges of communicating COVID-related health advice to diverse ethnic and linguistic groups.
1. Speaking COVID-19 – Addressing concerns in CALD communities
This training program is supported by the Victorian Government Multicultural COVID-19 Taskforce and addresses questions and concerns within multicultural communities.
CEH is training Bicultural Workers, based in Victoria, until the end of March to understand the information about vaccines and the roll-out, including common concerns such as:
- What sort of side effects can I expect?
- How were the vaccines developed so quickly, and does it mean they have not been tested properly?
- Are the vaccines halal?
AstraZeneca (the vaccines available for the general population) will be administered from early March, with priority groups being determined based on age and vulnerability. As with the general community, there are many questions among CALD communities, about vaccine efficacy and safety.
Common concerns are sometimes amplified by previous experience, lived or reported, with Western pharmaceutical companies in countries of origin or to disadvantaged populations of colour elsewhere. Known instances, such as the “ethical unjustified” Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, conducted between 1932 and 1972 on African American men in the US, create a certain suspicion and mistrust which lasts for decades and contributes to ‘vaccine hesitancy’ around COVID-19.
“I must admit that this was the most informative workshop I’ve ever had. “ Arabic workshop
“Looking forward to ongoing forums like this to keep ourselves up to date with the ever-changing global circumstances. “ Punjabi/Hindi workshop participant
“The wealth of knowledge gained is so valuable and relevant to my current role. I appreciate the knowledge and the tips chosen to impart with us.” IPC Health Manager
Read more HERE.
2. COVID-19 vaccine information & consent forms in 64 language
Through the Health Translations online library, CEH is also ensuring that up-to-date translated information is available for health professionals and community workers in the one central location. Latest resources about COVID-19 vaccine including side effects, and consent forms in 64 languages are now available HERE.
3. THE ‘CATCH UP & GET TESTED’ CAMPAIGN – ‘CATCH UP & KEEP UP’ with your health care during the pandemic
The message of maintaining healthcare during COVID-19 is a timely and important one, with widely reported declines in the number of people accessing regular healthcare and check-ups due to the impact of the pandemic.
In order to improve the sexual and reproductive health of CALD communities, and also to reduce the harmful effects of drug use, CEH’s communication team is delivering a social media awareness campaign urging people from CALD communities to catch up and keep up with their STI/BBV testing and health checks, especially ones they’ve missed or put off since the beginning of the pandemic.
Catch Up Care – Related Resources:
Hepatitis – everything you need to know
What can I expect when testing for a blood borne virus or a sexually transmitted disease
A guide for spiritual leaders to prevent HIV transmission and eliminate HIV stigma/
Link to Catch Up Care images/landing page
4. The importance of hepatitis testing & treatment during COVID-19
CEH RESOURCES IN CHINESE & DINKA CEH’s M-CAN program have produced 3 videos for the Dinka speaking community and 3 for the Chinese speaking community.
M-CAN brings together members of refugee & migrant communities to help like-minded people work towards improving the sexual health of their own communities.
These online conversations between friends raise awareness of the importance of Hepatitis testing & treatment during. Watch the videos HERE.
5. Anti Viral – COVID safer comics for young people
In September 2020, with funding from DHHS, CEH’s Multicultural Health & Support Service (MHSS) developed co-designed visually engaging resources to engage young people and stimulate discussions about their lifestyles, the choices they make, and the best ways to stay healthy during the pandemic.
Audience, target groups and topics focus on queer People of Colour & First Peoples (QPoC), international students, STI testing, gay men and sex, relationships and sex, families and more. Each comic can be used as stand-alone, or as discussion tools.
View the comics HERE.
6. The Optimise Study – Research Project
Optimising Isolation, Quarantine & Distancing for COVID-19
The Optimise Study is a research project led by Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute that aims to find out how Victorians are experiencing COVID-19 and responding to the measures introduced to stop the spread of the virus. The information gathered will help guide Victoria’s approach to COVID-19, both to prevent new infections and to reduce the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 restriction and prevention measures.
CEH’s Multicultural Health & Support Service (MHSS) and Multicultural Drug & Alcohol Partnership (MDAP) led the capturing of voices from over 100 diverse community group, including people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and international students.
The findings will help guide decisions about how to manage COVID-19 in Victoria and understand what different groups of people may need to help them to follow the guidelines.
MHSS works with communities and health professionals to address the poorer health outcomes experienced by people from refugee & migrant backgrounds, asylum seekers and mobile populations. It aims to prevent HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections, and offer a multicultural approach to alcohol and other drug support.
7. Mental Health & COVID-19 – Resources
Despite the plethora of information about COVID-19 and its impact on physical and mental health wellbeing, the production and distribution of these messages is not reaching people from migrant and refugee backgrounds due to several reasons including language, literacy, and cultural barriers.
Indeed, accepted strategies to help cope and support mental health and wellbeing are often not culturally well understood or relevant.
As part of the mental health response to the pandemic, the Australian Government is providing funding to support access to services for vulnerable people in the community who may be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic including people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
In September 2020 CEH welcomed additional funding from the NWMPHN to address the mental health issues experienced by people from refugee and migrant backgrounds during COVID-19.
In partnership with the community, and to ensure that language and messages are culturally appropriate, NWMPHN and CEH are currently producing audio visual resources in the following 5 languages: Dinka, Hindi, Vietnamese, Mandarin & Cantonese.
Resources are set to be ready in early April 2021.
For any enquiries about these projects, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org