victorian refugee health network

~Victorian Refugee Health Network e-Bulletin Jan-Feb 2013~

Victorian Refugee Health Network

The Victorian Refugee Health Network brings together health, community and settlement services to build staff capacity to provide more accessible and appropriate health care for people of refugee backgrounds. The Network's core aims are to:

  • BUILD the capacity of the Victorian health sector to respond to health concerns experienced by people of refugee backgrounds and address health inequality though health promotion
  • SUPPORT services to be more accessible to people from refugee backgrounds particularly in regional and outer metropolitan areas and
  • IMPROVE service coordination for recent arrivals and those with more complex needs.



Consultation invitation: Cancer Council Victoria consultation to identify innovative and effective strategies to improve cancer screening participation in under-screened priority groups. The consultation focuses on bowel, breast and cervical screening programs. You can assist this project by either a) taking a brief survey, b) participating in an afternoon discussion forum on Monday Feb 11th or c) taking part in a phone interview. View this Consultation homepage for more details, and contact the Project Worker (03 9635 5697) if you have further questions.


Brendan O’Connnor becomes Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in February 2013. Read Minister O’Conner’s Statement on Appointment as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.


Commencement of Refugee Health Nurse Program in metropolitan Sydney. Refugee Health Nurses have started conducting health assessments for newly arrived refugees and some asylum seekers in a range of community based health sites in Metro Sydney. Translated information for refugee communities is available from the Refugee Health Service website.


The Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project (ASP) joined with Lentara UnitingCare on an interim basis effective 7 January 2013. This transfer to a larger UnitingCare agency will ensure that the Asylum Seeker Project has the continued capacity to deliver support, strengthen advocacy and enable synergies with existing services. Questions/queries: Helga Svendsen (03) 9326 8343.

Research and policy advocacy

Discussion paper from Eastern Access Community Health (EACH): ‘Factors that impact on access to immunisation in newly arrived refugee communities’. This paper identified a number of barriers to accessing immunisation for refugee communities, and puts forward four policy recommendations to improve client access to adequate and appropriate preventative health care through immunisation, namely: 1) analysis of state-wide data and of models of catch up immunisation provision, 2) research with people of refugee background regarding their experiences of accessing vita immunisations, 3) research to identify which of the barriers to health care identified in the literature are important to local and Victoria-wide contexts, 4) cost effectiveness studies into providing Hep B, Meningococcal C, Chick Pox and HPV vaccines free of charge as part of the immunisation catch-up schedule. Download the report from the EACH website.


Refugee Oral Health Capacity Building Project Report. This document summarises the outcomes and recommendations of the Refugee oral health sector capacity building project, a collaborative project undertaken by the Victorian Refugee Health Network in partnership with Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV). The project was funded by the Victorian Department of Health, with the aim of supporting Victorian public dental services to work effectively for and with clients of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Download the document, and the resources produced throughout the project, from the project page.

Refugee health resources

The Health Translations gateway site has been redesigned into a more user-friendly format. Improvements to the design, and introductory navigation of the site should improve your experience and help you find relevant information quickly. Check out the new look: Health Translations.


ECCV 3 year project: ‘Elder abuse prevention in ethnic communities’. This three year project aims to increase awareness of elder abuse in ethnic communities. Translated factsheets about elder abuse prevention are available from the ECCV Project website. Senior Right’s Victoria helpline: 1300 368 821.

Literature review: Effective interventions for working with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This resource may be valuable in the face of increasing risk of homelessness for some asylum seekers. Produced by and available from FaHCSIA.


Summer edition of ‘Hints for Health – strengthening refugee children’s resilience’ resource can be accessed from the website of the NSW Service for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors (STARTTS).

New factsheets from DIAC detailing new sponsorship visa arrangements:

AMES Asylum Seeker programs FAQs and service map resources. AMES is a relvatively new service provider for asylum seeker assistance, and this resource outlines the service delivery model that AMES is using. Available from the AMES website.

Forums and conferences

28 February, 8:45am – 1:30pm: Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) 'Curing the cultural barrier: health literacy forum' at the Fitzroy Town Hall. Featuring a panel of local and international experts, including Dr Georgia Paxton, Sharon Barret, Michal Morris, Dr Ruth McNair, Dr Nicola Dunbar and Corinne Rice, this forum will explore health literacy and reveal its importance to your workplace. There will also be a focus on health literacy’s relevance to current policy priorities, as well as strategies for implementing change to help your organisation become health literate. The event is free, registration is essential. Register online or via telephone 9418 9929 by Monday 25 Feb.

Funding opportunities for communities

ECCV grants program: funds for projects to help find isolated people and connect them to existing or new support networks and activities. Ethnic or multicultural clubs or groups may apply for up to $4,000 (metropolitan areas) or $5,000 (regional Victoria). Organisations can apply for up to $10,000 for larger or more complex projects. Applications must be received by 5pm, Friday, March 8, 2013 and projects must take place between June 2013 and May 2014. Information: or phone Kate Ling at ECCV on (03) 9349 4122.

Research roundup

Please note this is a round up of relevant Australian and international research. You may need access to a research database to access these articles in full:


  • Colleen A. McFarlane and Ida Kaplan (2012), Evidence-based psychological interventions for adult survivors of torture and trauma: A 30-year review, Transcultural Psychiatry 49: 539.
  • Lisa Hartley, Caroline Fleay  Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) (2012)  Released but not yet free: Refugees and asylum seekers in the community after long-term detention, Australian Policy Online, 31 December
  • K Zwi, G Chaney Refugee children: Rights and wrongs, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2013.
  • NK Jensen, M Norredam, S Priebe, A Krasnik (2013) How do general practitioners experience providing care to refugees with mental health problems? A qualitative study from Denmark , BMC Family Practice.
  • PR Ward, F Verity, P Carter, G Tsourtos, J Coveney (2013), Food Stress in Adelaide: The Relationship between Low Income and the Affordability of Healthy Food, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Volume 2013 (10 pages).
  • Mark Brough, Lyn Vromans, Jane Shakespeare-Finch (2013) Well-Being of Refugees from Burma: A Salutogenic Perspective, Summer Borwick, Robert D Schweitzer, International Migration, Jan 28th.