Migrant students say hello to health help

Ping Zhu, pictured at a Multicultural Health event, has been studying English at TAFE NSW Blacktown for four months.

Ping Zhu had a master’s degree and desirable job in China, but it came at the cost of her health.

The stress of working 12 hours a day, six days a week left her so run down that three years ago she uprooted her life and came to Australia.

Since then Ping’s physical and mental health has been improving, and yesterday she had access to more support thanks to a Western Sydney Local Health District initiative.

Despite the poor weather and first day of Eid, about 160 students came over the course of the day.

The Multicultural Health team joined forces with TAFE NSW Blacktown for the latest Hello Doctor event, which saw hundreds of English-language students gain access to important healthcare messages in key languages including Arabic, Persian, Dari and Tamil.

“This event is really useful for us and I’m really appreciative for that,” Ping said.

“We have the chance to know more about Australia and the services available. I hope we’ll have a lot of chances to do events like this.”

Ping has her blood pressure checked by WSLHD supportive care clinical nurse specialist Alex Rudnitsky.

Doctors, nurses, oral health and mental health experts were joined by representatives for organisations including SafeWork NSW, Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW and other government and community agencies.

The students appreciated learning more about topics ranging from dental hygiene to your rights at work, according to TAFE NSW Adult Migrant English Program regional coordinator Catherine Rose.

Ping said she was grateful to learn about health services such as diabetes testing and cervical cancer screening.

Ping chats with event organisers Pamela Bath (left) from Blacktown TAFE and Carly Copolov from WSLHD Multicultural Health.

“I’m in good condition now. I’m becoming healthier in Australia so that’s a gift for me,” she said.

“And I’m having a baby in September. That’s a gift I didn’t expect.”

WSLHD Multicultural Health program officer, Dr Carly Copolov, was one of the organisers of the day, and said the feedback from staff and students was excellent.

“I believe the success of the day is a reflection of the strength of the partnership between Multicultural Health, WSLHD and TAFE NSW Blacktown,” she said.

Multicultural Health will be running more Hello Doctor days in the coming months, including events for women’s health in Auburn, mental health in Parramatta, youth health in Parramatta, and a health careers expo in Auburn.