Western Sydney scores three state honours for multicultural health

WSLHD bilingual community education program officer Anoop Johar (third from right) with the team from Cancer Institute NSW and their highly commended award.

Cancer screening, communication and healthy eating projects are reaping benefits for the multicultural patients of Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

The three projects all received recognition last week at the 2019 NSW Multicultural Health Communication Awards, which kicked off Multicultural Health Week.

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WSLHD worked with Cancer Institute NSW to make educational flipcharts for bowel and breast health, which were highly commended in the ‘keeping people healthy’ category.

These flipcharts features clear pictures and are currently available in languages including English, simplified and traditional Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Greek and Vietnamese.

The WSLHD Health Promotion team shows off their posters, with clear and simple health messages for kids.

WSLHD bilingual community education program officer Anoop Johar said it’s important to deliver information sessions to community groups in their first language.

“The programs are designed for people from non-English speaking backgrounds who, in some cases, may not have strong literacy even in their own language,” Anoop said.

The WSLHD Population Health team also scored a highly commended in the ‘keeping people healthy’ category for their family visual healthy lifestyle resources.

The team wanted to deliver simple health messages to parents of children under 12, such as choosing water and healthier snacks, and turning off screens in favour of getting active.

A bowel cancer screening information session run for Dari-speaking women.

They worked with parents to transform text-heavy fact sheets into visual resources, with key messages available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian and Tamil.

“The new and improved resources, with simple but distinct visual messages, enable parents and carers to access healthy lifestyle parenting information previously not available,” Health Promotion operations manager Michelle Nolan said.

“Most importantly, these improvements in health literacy will lead to a better understanding of health information and encourage behaviour change for families.”

The WSLHD Health Promotion accept their highly commended certificate from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant (right).

A project that WSLHD Multicultural Health, Social Work and Clinical Governance developed in partnership with South Western Sydney Local Health District was also a finalist in the ‘patient safety’ category.

This project focused on communication issues for older people from non-English speaking backgrounds. A fact sheet was developed for older people and their family and friends to inform them about the roles of different parties in communication in healthcare settings, such as when family can contribute information about a patient and when a professional interpreter must be used.

The fact sheets are available in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Assyrian.  There is also a fact sheet for health professionals on the same topic.

Multicultural Access program officer Sora Machida distributes the fact sheets when running sessions on topics such as elder abuse and the Australian Aged Care System. She said these sheets are a good reminder about the importance of interpreters as they are not used always.