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HealthWISE extends a humanitarian hand with award winning program

A healthcare program tailored towards one of the world's most marginalised ethnic groups has taken out this year's Primary Care Leader Award for a Service Provider at the PHN's Primary Care Quality and Innovation Awards.

HealthWISE New England Northwest has established a Care Navigation program for humanitarian entrants with Ezidi ethnicity based in Armidale, NSW.

Founded on empowerment principles, the program aims to build capacity, autonomy, and health literacy among community members to achieve optimal health outcomes, timely access to healthcare, and a better understanding of the Australian healthcare system.

The Ezidi community are characterised as having high levels of trauma, complex medical issues, and multifaceted health concerns. They were persecuted by ISIS in their home country of Iraq in 2014, and subsequently have suffered horrific torture, trauma, and loss. Since 2018, more than 650 Ezidi humanitarian entrants have settled in Armidale, NSW, with more to arrive as international boarders reopen.

Care Navigation is a framework of care that seeks to eliminate barriers to accessing timely healthcare. This model of care is considered suitable for people with a refugee background, as they experience multiple difficulties such as a lack of knowledge of health services available, lack of understanding of the Australian healthcare system, and minimal English language skills to effectively communicate their needs.

This can often lead to lost referrals and missed appointments. Consequently, people are not receiving critical healthcare in a timely manner, adding to increasing pressure for treating GP’s and specialists.

The HealthWISE Care Navigation program is a free service that uses an empowerment approach to provide guidance and capacity building assistance. The program assists Ezidi families to identify their health goals, and to develop self-management strategies to solve problems that may be impacting their overall health.

The program is health literacy driven, and supports service users to identify and overcome barriers, allowing them to achieve optimal health outcomes.

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