Colours of Africa fill health summit

NSW African Women’s Group representative Rosemary Kariuki. 

Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) first-ever African health summit held at Blacktown City Library has helped the African community get on top of their health.

Diabetes, blood pressure, stress, mental health and obesity are five of the main health issues affecting African residents.

More than 100 people from Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Liberia and Somali attended the event which included African entertainment and performances.

Mary Mamour plays African tunes. 

African women’s group and community leader Rosemary Kariuki-Fyfe said the event will help African communities think about their health more often.

“Many Africans don’t have a regular health check with a doctor. They wait until they get sick and then see a health professional. I hope to see more forums like this one for our communities,” Rosemary said.

WSLHD multicultural health program officer Abulla Agwa said the event allowed local Africans to connect and share experiences.

Mayor of Blacktown Stephen Bali MP attended the event to address the African community.

“The community really enjoyed being a part of this forum, be heard and given an opportunity to work with our health service,” Abulla said.   “

“We found that the language barriers is one of the key issues preventing some people accessing health services and the costs of medications for chronic relief, dental and costs for a private specialist.

“We conducted a survey and found that ninety-eight per cent of respondents believed the summit helped increase their awareness and knowledge about health services which was fantastic.”

More than 100 people attended the event at Blacktown City Library.

WSLHD integrated and community health acting executive director Luke Felicetti said the summit was an important opportunity for WSLHD to develop respectful and productive relationships with our African residents.

“This event will help us plan and develop actions to ensure community members are appropriately supported to engage and participate in health improvement activities.”

For further information about WSLHD’s multicultural health services call (02) 9840 3877.

Left to right: Cumberland Council capacity building officer Beatrice Sesay, WSLHD multicultural health program officers Dr Carly Copolov and Monika Latanik, priority population program lead Jo Fuller, African performer Mary Mamour, WSLHD multicultural health team leader Dipti Zachariah, NSW African women’s group representative Rosemary Kariuki, WSLHD multicultural health officers Mohamed Keynan and Abulla Agwa, WSLHD multicultural health officer Murad Hussain and WSLHD bilingual community education program coordinator Anoop Johar.