Objective: This paper explores the role of culture in shaping human experiences related to health. The analysis of interviews with refugee and asylum seekers in a regional area of Australia seeks to give voice to some of the experiences of these residents in resettling and accessing healthcare.
Methods: This paper analyses the stories of 31 refugee and asylum seeker residents about their experiences of health care in regional Australia. Community leaders from four groups were employed to assist with recruitment of participants. Participants were interviewed by researchers, sometimes with the assistance of interpreters, about living in the local area and using and accessing health services. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and coded to identify key issues. Findings were discussed among the researchers and with the community leaders.
Results: Four themes were identified. The first theme highlighted how participants were pleased to be in Australia and valued the safety and security of Australia. The second theme highlighted the importance of language and English literacy for participation in employment, education, social life and health care. Participants spoke about how a lack of English proficiency makes communication with health professionals difficult and the challenges of using interpreters. The third theme focused on social connection and the desire of participants to have friendships and social supports from across the local community. Social isolation and loneliness impacted wellbeing and was often connected with language. The final theme focused on cultural respect, highlighting examples of feeling judged or discriminated against because of cultural beliefs. Together, these themes illustrate how culture is embedded in access to, use of and negotiation of health services.
Conclusion: The analysis demonstrates how experiences of health systems are culturally contingent. Until this is acknowledged, refugees and asylum seekers will struggle to access health services and to settle into Australia with ease.
SOURCE: Bourke, L. Malatzky, C. and Terry, D. ” Experiences of Health Care among Refugee and Asylum Seeker Residents in Regional Victoria.” Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education, 9(3), Article number: 658 1-8.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
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