Welcome to Australia: new migrants introduced to our health system

Registered nurse Kristine Datuin and patient Qurat Ul Ain.

Health services from the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) were recently showcased to new Australians at a one-day event held at the Mt Druitt Hub.

The community centre and library was abuzz with activity as people from a number of different ethnic backgrounds quizzed health staff and local doctors about issues ranging from mental health, cervical screening, dementia as well as drug and alcohol services.

It is all part of the Hello Doctor initiative, overseen by Dr Mohamed Keynan, who is the Team Leader of the Multicultural Health Service at Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals.

“Hello Doctor is a showcase for local health service providers to explain or show their services to newly arrived migrants or refugees who live here,” Dr Keynan told The Pulse.

“We had more than 130 clients, mainly from Arabic speaking communities.

 “We booked health care interpreters from the Western Sydney Local Health District who spoke Arabic, Dari and Farsi languages.”

Patient Salman Ahmed and multicultural health program officer Murad Hossain testing levels of carbon monoxide in order to provide advice around quitting smoking.

This year 16 service providers including many branches of the WSLHD as well as local bi-lingual GPs, took part in the expo, conveniently located in the Mt Druitt shopping precinct and close to public transport.

“At the end we had local GPs who talked about the specific health issues that they deal with and people asked questions to doctors as well,” Dr Keynan said.

“We had a health check up at the refugee health clinic up there and we had nurses doing blood pressure check ups and blood sugar check ups, and we also had a dental health clinic from Mt Druitt and Blacktown.”

Community health manager Jo Fuller in the centre with interpreters.

The popularity of the Hello Doctor expo is on the rise, according to Dr Keynan, who has noticed more and more new Australians reaching out for information and advice, particularly about services provided by the WSLHD.

“The numbers are growing because of the number of refugees settling in the area,” he said.

“Last year we had less than 100 and today we had more than 130 people attending.

“That shows the need is there.”