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Bi-cultural health


This service is available in Tasmania.

Netty from Sierra Leone, Leonidas from Burundi, Ellie from Sudan, Tsige from Ethiopia, Najibeh from Afghanistan, Khadga from Bhutan and Ashley and Al from Australia work together to help improve the health of people from refugee backgrounds in Tasmania.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people who do not speak English or are born overseas have less ability to make informed decisions about their health. This leads to poorer health outcomes for this group, compared with other people living in Australia.

How we help

Red Cross believes all people made vulnerable through migration, irrespective of their legal status; deserve to have their health, dignity and wellbeing protected.

In Tasmania, Australian Red Cross works to improve the health of people from refugee backgrounds, and their communities. We do this by providing information, and supporting people to develop their skills and knowledge about the health care system and how to access it.

Red Cross support includes providing information and assistance to individuals, families and communities affected by female genital mutilation or cutting. Our aim is to help people make informed decisions about the practice in the context of Tasmanian society and law, and to refer them to relevant health services.

We also offer training to health providers in Tasmania to help them understand the health, access and equity issues migrants face, and make them aware of cultural sensitivities involved in providing care to this group.

How we work

The program is run by Red Cross staff, including a team of community health workers from refugee backgrounds who understand the health care challenges their communities face in Tasmania. The health workers provide information and support to the communities through one-on-one conversations, group information sessions and community forums.

We work in collaboration with local communities and services to provide the necessary health information and support.

We know that every community is different. That's why we tailor our information sessions to the needs identified in each community.

Some of the session topics are:

  • Nutrition: We Are What We Eat!
  • Surviving The Tasmanian Winter
  • I'm Safe … But Still Stressed! - helping people to understand and manage the impact of trauma and stress
  • Reproductive Health - providing information on sexual health, including female genital mutilation or cutting
  • How Our Health Choices Affect Others - providing education on addictions and their impact on individuals and families.

The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services launched the Bi-Cultural Health program in 2005, in response to an increasing number of people from refugee backgrounds arriving in Tasmania. Red Cross has managed the program for the department since March 2007.

To find out more

To refer yourself or someone you know to our service, or to request a Red Cross training session for healthcare professionals in Tasmania, contact the Red Cross office in Tasmania or email.

Learn more about Red Cross work with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and how you can volunteer.

If you suspect a person has experienced female genital cutting, contact:

Red Cross relies on committed donors. You can support Red Cross by making a donation online or calling 1800 811 700.



Photo: Australian Red Cross/Chelsea Parson


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