Healthy Start is a preventative health education project, working with newly arrived refugees in order to increase their health literacy. The program has been fully off the ground for over a year now and is ever growing!
With assistance from the Multicultural Development Association (MDA), Refugee Health Queensland, the Mater Hospital and several independent GP’s around Brisbane, the project’s initial goal was to develop a one-day health information and education program for newly arrived refugees in the south Brisbane region.
Healthy Start in currently only running in Queensland, with joint efforts from a committee of medical and allied health students in HOPE4HEALTH (Griffith University), MAD - Making a Difference (BOND University) and TIME - Towards International Medical Equality (University of Queensland. It is now in the early stages of expansion to southern states of Australia.
Teaching modules include General Health, Nutrition, using GP’s and hospitals, Men’s Health and Women’s Health. These modules have been developed with the assistance of experts in the field.
Refugees arriving to Australia are more than likely fleeing war and persecution and have tackled many adversities to make it this far. Healthy Start hopes to give them the basic health knowledge they need to keep themselves and their families safe and well in their new life in Australia. We also hope the program will allow these new Australians to better share and integrate into their communities, beginning with GPs and health practitioners. By enhancing knowledge of the crucial aspects of health and the healthcare system whilst fostering a strong foundation for successful settlement in Australia, HS hopes to improve the future health outcomes for this at risk population.
For more information and reports from the inspired and enthusiastic volunteers, check out the website http://www.healthystart.org.au/