The wind beneath our mums’ wings

Athena Kandris and Nawal Nadar are maternity liaison officers at Blacktown Hospital.

This Multicultural Health Week, WSLHD is acknowledging the important work of our Maternity Liaison Officers (MLOs) and Billingual Health Workers (BHWs).

These committed ‘behind the scenes’ team members contribute and actively support women’s health, especially those from diverse backgrounds.

WSLHD Senior Multicultural Health Planning and Program Office Dipti Zachariah said these team members support women during their migration journey, which can be a challenging one for many women settling in a new country.

“Socioeconomic struggles, cultural expectations and language barriers add another layer of vulnerability to this group, which is further intensified by pregnancy and childbirth, making maternity an important area of focus.

“This is where our dedicated team of MLOs and BHWs come in. They promote culturally sensitive care for women as they access obstetric health services, deliver information, education support and assistance to women and their families attending antenatal care in our Auburn, Blacktown and Westmead hospitals.

“Our team members also help women understand how the public health care system works, provide information on procedures, explain what to expect while visiting clinics, take them on birth unit tours and educate them on concepts around pregnancy, labour,  birth and parenting through classes or one-on-one meetings.

“The support provided to these women results in building trust and empowering them to be confident patients and equal partners when accessing the health care system.”

Women are also linked to services or support networks that promote breast-feeding and support for the prevention and timely detection of postpartum depression.

MLOs and BHWs also help Western Sydney Local Health District in understanding needs and experiences of immigrant women from an antenatal care perspective. This key input supports the district in providing high quality and individualised care to communities from culturally diverse backgrounds.

“Let’s continue to support and celebrate the contribution of this fantastic team who truly are the “wind beneath the wings” for many vulnerable women who are taking their first flight into motherhood and a new life in this beautiful country of Australia,” said Dipti.

For more information and support on working with multicultural communities please contact the WSLHD Multicultural Health Services Manager:

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