10 year anniversary of RHeaNA
Dr Christine Phillips, Chair of the Refugee Health Network of Australia (RHeaNA) has shared the following communiqué:
On the 29 March 2019, on the sidelines of the 2nd Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma and Resettlement Conference in Brisbane, a small group of dedicated clinicians, managers and policy officers, gathered to mark an important milestone, the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Refugee Health Network of Australia (RHeaNA).
RHeaNA evolved organically from informal collegiate and advocacy groups and communities to become the leading refugee health advisory network in Australia. Its members are drawn from across the refugees health space and include refugee nurses, GPs, Paediatricians, managers and policy officers.
Without formal funding or administrative infrastructure, RHeaNA has contributed to the creation of refugee health guidelines, provided formal input into many committees, working groups and research, as well as providing specialist refugee health advice to state and Commonwealth government, whilst continuing to be a community of practice for refugee health care providers.
Collectively, RHeaNA members have provided health and social care to thousands of people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in all states and territories of Australia. We have been witnesses to the challenges our patients and their families face as they build new lives in Australia.
While access to quality health care is a fundamental determinant to achieve equitable outcomes, we believe that the attitude of governments and ordinary Australians is also an important determinant for successful refugee resettlement and social cohesion. Sadly, over the past 20 years we have observed that our country has become a more closed society, fearful of the "other", actively excluding and marginalising particular emerging communities.
People from refugee backgrounds are survivors. They have a positive cultural, economic, and social impact on our country and add to the rich fabric of modern Australia. On this day, when our friends and colleagues in New Zealand gather to mourn the tragedy in Christchurch, we call on all Australians to extend a hand of welcome and friendship to people from refugee backgrounds. We believe that fostering a culture of hope, safety and inclusivity in Australia is fundamental to good health, integration and belonging; so that people from refugee backgrounds feel truly a part of us!
For more information: www.refugeehealthaustralia.org