Supporting the hearts of local Afghan women

Noor Zia has joined the Heart Smart program.

A new and free program called Heart Smart is supporting non-English speaking women to protect their heart health.

The five-week program run by Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and Auburn Diversity Services provides women with important information about heart disease in their own language and in a group setting.

It also provides heart checks, advice on symptoms to look out for and how to engage a general practitioner.

The program has been developed for five different language groups, and the first session was for local Afghan women.

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in Australia, affecting one in five women.

Left to right: ADSi family worker Sher Banu Oomatia, WSLHD Multicultural health project officer Women’s Health Kaylene Poore, ADSi family worker Wahida Bahram, ADSi, WSLHD bilingual health worker Fouzia Hamdard and Dari bilingual community educators Shamiran Jajoo and Rabia Azizi.

WSLHD multicultural health program officer Kaylene Poore said non-English speaking women sometimes encounter obstacles when accessing important health information.

“Some of the barriers include language, illiteracy, health literacy, family responsibilities, lack of awareness of available services and confidence in knowing how to access these services,” Kaylene said.

“The program helps women understand the risks and symptoms of heart disease and encourages them to make the necessary changes to their lifestyles.”

Auburn resident of Afghan descent Noor Zia has lived with heart disease for two years and now sees a cardiologist, thanks to advice received from the program.

She has previously missed appointments and has had difficulty understanding the healthcare system.

Since joining the Heart Smart program, Noor attends all of her appointments and appreciates the important information available in her language.

Noor said she feels more confident and aware on how to maintain a healthy heart and has taken back control of her life.

Upcoming Heart Smart programs:

Heart Smart program for Urdu speaking women

1 and 8 August, 2019

10am – 12pm Auburn Diversity Services Inc.

17 Macquarie Road, Auburn

Heart Smart program for Arabic speaking women

2 and 9 August, 2019

9 – 11am Regents Park Public School

For further information about the Heart Smart program contact WSLHD Multicultural Health Services on 9840 3877.