Western Sydney African community leaders gather for summit to improve health access

An African Health Summit, attended by 30 African community members, leaders, elders and partners representing 10 African communities including: South Sudanese, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Somali, Ghanaian, Sierra Leon, Zimbabwean, Nigerian, Egyptian and Liberians, was hosted by the Western Sydney Local Health District’s multicultural health services team.

Held on 7 June 2022 at the Auburn Centre for Communities, the annual summit is hosted to improve access and understanding of district health services: mental health and wellbeing, vaccine awareness, diabetes awareness plus health concerns and needs that affect the African community in the lead into National Refugee Week.

The summit also helps to guide strategies within the community for health improvement, health promotion and health literacy initiatives.

The event was led by WSLHD in partnership with Accessible Diversity Services Initiative Limited, Boronia Multicultural Service, St Marys Ethiopian Women’s Association in Sydney, Sudanese Australasian Medical Professionals Association, Anglicare, Mental Health Community Living Support for Refugees, Diabetes NSW/ACT and STARTTS (Service for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors).

“The partnership we have with the African communities was strong before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was cemented during the last two years, and we hope it will continue to grow,” said WSLHD Multicultural Health Services Manager Monika Latanik.

“We very much appreciate and value the African community’s engagement with our services and support they offered to develop partnership initiatives with us to reach and encourage community members to be involved.”

The summit discussion identified needs for: health education and information focusing on mental health, diabetes, COVID-19, flu, cancer and obesity; a strengthening of the African Health Reference Group by getting more communities and leaders involved to help communities stay well and healthy; improved engagement with women, men and youth to support their health needs and wellbeing and general strengthening of partnerships with African community organisations.

The WSLHD multicultural health hospital and health promotion teams provide strategic direction, consultancy, workforce development, project development, health education and information, and liaison when providing health care for CALD communities in WSLHD. Find out more here.