News from The Refugee Health Network Queensland
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In this Issue...Ed #50 (March, 2021)


Good News! Medevac detainees in Brisbane released with others in Darwin and Sydney also expected to walk free

More than 20 medevac detainees have been recently released from Brisbane immigration detention, with dozens more around the country expected to follow after spending more than a year in a hotel or an alternative place of detention.

Read the full report here(Image: ABC News)

Language, country of birth to be recorded during COVID vaccination

 Languages you speak and country of birth will both be recorded when you get a COVID-19 vaccine. The information will help officials see where there might be gaps in the public health response, so they can target resources, adjust tracing strategies and better engage community leaders.

Overseas, data has revealed large differences in who is getting the jab — with ethnic minorities in the US and UK less likely to get the vaccine.

Read the full report here from ABC News.

Muslim Health Professionals Australia address concerns about COVID-19 vaccination

As part of our core aims to promote and improve the health of the muslim and wider community in Australia, Muslim Health Professionals Australia (MHPA) addresses the most common questions and concerns from religious scholars and the wider muslim community regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations which will likely become available in Australia in the coming months. This is in order to allow our scholars and the muslim community to make informed decisions regarding vaccination for themselves and their families. Read the full statement here.

New project brings together community and health  

A project has been launched to ensure all Queenslanders regardless of their background and language proficiency have equitable access to appropriate health information and services to maximise their health and wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The project known as the CALD COVID-19 Engagement Project is the collaboration of many partners and sits under the auspice of the Refugee Health Network Queensland.

Benine Muriithi (pictured left) is the Partnerships and Community Engagement Coordinator and Grace Edward (right) is the Youth Engagement Coordinator. The project utilises a partnership approach and focuses on providing advice, coordination, and connection between services, government and community. For more information or contact Benine or Grace or download the one page outline here.

Information sessions about community providing accommodation for asylum seekers

If you have a spare room in Brisbane or Gold Coast and would like to learn what it entails to offer it to someone in a need of accommodation for a minimum of three months then these information sessions run by the Romero Centre are for you.

Friday 19 March, 6pm (for 6.15pm start)
Saturday 20 March, 1pm (for 1.15pm start)
More information here.

Spotted Ghanaian Australian Doctor promotes COVID-19 vaccine

Healthcare workers face a higher risk of COVID infection and illness compared to the general population. They might also, unwittingly, be responsible for transmitting the virus to the vulnerable population in our care.
This is why healthcare workers have been prioritised to get a COVID vaccine when it becomes available in Australia. Health worker support and uptake of the vaccine, while vital to their own protection, will also support higher uptake in the community.
Translated/ Simple English Resources for community

COVID-19 Health Alert for Brisbane (14th March, 2021) - Translations

Queensland Health have translated this alert into 39 languages and can be accessed here: Information for multicultural communities – coronavirus (COVID-19) | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government (

English version: English-COVID19-Health-Alert-for-Brisbane-14-March-2021.pdf 

COVID-19 vaccine roll-out - Resources available

The Department of Health have released a number of translated resources about the COVID-19 vaccine.  To view the resources click here.

COVID-19 vaccination consent forms have been translated into multiple languages- COVID-19 vaccination – Consent form for COVID-19 vaccination (other languages) | Australian Government Department of Health.

Other links you may find useful:

COVID 19 resource - How are you feeling today?

The Department of Health has developed a stakeholder toolkit as part of its COVID-19 Mental Health awareness campaign for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. 

The toolkit contains a selection of downloadable translated resources and direct links to information on taking care of mental health and wellbeing such as social media tiles, factsheets, posters, and many more. To view the toolkit click here

Translated Resources on Hepatitis, HIV & other STIs

Click here to access multilingual resources relating to Hepatitis, HIV and sexually transmissible infections. You can either download or order copies free of charge. The hepatitis video in 13 languages are available on the website too.

Multilingual handbook on sexual violence and consent teaching women about rights in Australia

Multicultural Families Organisation have put together a sexual violence handbook to help culturally diverse women understand their rights. My Body = My Consent outlines, in 10 different languages, what sexual violence and consent is and how women can access support and legal protection. The languages are Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Read the full story via ABC here.

 Resources for Clinicians

Australian Government Department of Health resources for COVID-19 vaccination providers

These resources include patient information sheets, consent forms, vaccination training, site preparedness and specific advice for different types of providers.

Read more here.

Weekly vaccination webinars for GPs

The Commonwealth Department of Health is holding webinars weekly for GPs on the vaccination rollout.  Anyone who is interested can join. Click here to see upcoming webinars and also catch up on previous webinars.

Community Opportunities

Consumer Conversation: Magic bullet or bitter pill - What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for you? 

WhenMonday 22 March,12.30pm-1.45pm 
Where: Online via Zoom
Who: Health Consumers Queensland
  • Are you still self-isolating or is your lifestyle still severely restricted by the threat of COVID-19?  
  • Are you currently able to access your usual health care?  
  • Does the current government or departmental guidance on the vaccine work for you?  
  • Have you consulted your GP or specialist about the vaccine?  
  • How will the vaccine impact on your quality of life?   
If you have a pre-existing or underlying health condition or disability or care for someone who does, join Health Consumers Queensland and Queensland Health representatives to talk about what the COVID-19 vaccine means for you and the guidance you are seeking in order to make the right decision for your health and wellbeing.  

Register for this event HERE.

Videos of previous forums organized by Health Consumers Qld can be viewed here.

Feedback being being sought on the Disability Royal Commission Discussion paper

The Disability Royal Commission has recently released a discussion paper about issues for CALD people with disability. 

This issues paper is asking the public to share their views about the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability, and they are especially interested in the views of all people with disabilities and their family and supporters.

There are 13 questions to help people and organizations to provide responses.  Responses are required by 11 June 2021.  Information is also available in the following languages: Arabic, French, Hindi, Samoan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. 

Click here for more information and how to provide responses and feedback.

EOI for Online training to become Peace builder at your community (it will assist to become national accredited mediator)

This is an Expression of Interest (EOI) offer to CALD community and religious leaders, and active community members to attend a free on-line training program to shear and build skills and knowledge around family peacebuilding and managing conflict.

The training will start in March and all participant will get Certificate of attendance and substantial discount on further training from the Department of Justice - dispute resolution Centre towards becoming  a national accredited mediators. 

To access/fill  EOI form please follow this link Expression of Interest For Peace Building Training ( or complete this form and send to

Education, Training Opportunities and Webinars

Live Webinar - "CALD Engagement is more than a Translated Poster"

Date: Wednesday 17 March | Time: 3.30pm (AEDT)

With the vaccine rollout underway, there’s plenty of discussion about its uptake and reservations people might have about receiving it. We wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Dr Holly Seale, infectious disease Social Scientist at the School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney, about her latest research on the subject, particularly focusing on people from CALD backgrounds. Register and more information here.

A free course on Aged Care from the Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership

The Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership’s online course “Culturally responsive practice when working with older people in health and aged care settings” enables health professionals to work effectively and sensitively with Australia’s ageing migrant and refugee population.

About the course:
  • Free online course for any interested health care professional
  • Covers a variety of healthcare settings and scenarios
  • Created in collaboration with migrant and refugee communities, healthcare professionals, and leading health researchers from Monash University
  • Takes up to 5 hours to complete
  • Includes interactive content, animations, quizzes and reflective tasks, and resources for further reading
Could this course be a part of your profession’s continuing Professional Development program? Contact to discuss professional accreditation.

An NDIS workforce for our diverse community - free online workshops

CultureReady helps disability service providers work more effectively with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

CultureReady workshops are free workshops aiming to equip disability service providers (NDIS registered or those intending to seek NDIS registration in the next 18 months) to provide culturally responsive services.

They provide on-request training for your organisation and public calendar bookings. Calendar bookings are updated periodically. Keep an eye out for new calendar bookings throughout the year. CultureReady - Settlement Services International ( 

Engaging with multicultural communities to understand and respond to their needs

When: 31 March 2021 13:00 to 14:00 AEDT
Where: Online
Topic: This webinar will explore how professionals can engage with multicultural communities to better understand and respond to their needs. This webinar is of interest to professionals working in community development, local government and health and social services.

More information and how to register here.

Upcoming Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) webinar series

The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network and the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network in conjunction with MHPN are producing a new webinar series designed to support practitioners who work with people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.  

2nd webinar - An interdisciplinary cross-cultural conversation: exploring the meaning of healing and recovery - Wednesday 31 March.

More information here  or email MHPN on or call 1800 209 031 

Infant, Child, Youth and Family Seminar Series (ICYFSS)

Presented by the Multicultural Mental Health Program (Child and Youth Mental Health Service) and the Mental Health Professionals Network.

Date and time: Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 9:00am - 11:00am
Venue: Online Webinar (link to be provided a day before the event)
Cost: Free
Register: QR Code (on Flyer below) or by 18th March 2021
More information here.

Upcoming Events

Harmony Week is ongoing until March 21st! 

Visit for more information and you can register your Harmony Week event public or private to receive limited promotional items like stickers, balloons, wristbands on this link   

Recent Publications and Reports

CALD COVID-19 Communication Study (Feb 2021)

Title: Enhancing and supporting the COVID-19 vaccination program - focusing on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities.

Aim: To investigate engagement with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds during the pandemic and identify strategies to improve communication about the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Read the full article here.

Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab COVID-19 report launched!

The inaugural research report by the newly established Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab, hosted by Australian Red Cross, has been launched. Working with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, migrants and partners across the world, the report shows how and why migrants have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and related policy measures.

The report is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. The Global Migration Lab website contains additional case studies and research from report countries. View here.

Key findings from the Australian component of the research can be accessed here.

Research outlines  solutions offered by CALD leaders in communicating health information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic 

Title: Communicating COVID-19 health information to culturally and linguistically diverse communities: insights from a participatory research collaboration

Findings: Three key findings emerged: 1) partnerships between CALD leaders, communities and government are critical for effective health communication; 2) shifting behaviour requires moving beyond disseminating information to designing tailored solutions; and 3) the diverse needs and circumstances of people and communities must be at the centre of health communication and behaviour change strategies.

Journal: Public Health Research and Practice (March, 2021). Read the full article here.

MSH Health Equity and Access Unit: 2020 Year in Review

2020 was a challenging year for many people and they have had to refocus their priorities and action a COVID-19 pandemic response for people with disabilities and people from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds. Highlighted are some of the many activities in Metro South Health region in 2020 including COVID-19 related work.

Click here to read the full 2020 Year in review report from the Access and Capacity-building Team, Metro South Health.

Multicultural Australia's Annual Report 2019-20

Click here to read the full Annual report from Multicultural Australia highlighting their activities and achievements in 2019-20.

Research opportunity

Researchers at UNSW Sydney are seeking volunteer research participants to learn more about the psychological wellbeing and safety, for example; physical demands; work pressure and emotional demands experienced by employees who have worked within Australian Regional Offshore Processing Centres. More information here.

Bits n Pieces

Appreciation to the Islamic Society of Algester and all the community members for donating to Mater Refugee Health!

Mater Refugee Health Service expresses immense gratitude to the  Islamic Society of Algester and all the community members who generously donated so that the clinic can provide support to the patients from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.  The extra care and commitment through the facilitation of your donations makes the health care we deliver more holistic and sustainable, reducing the social impacts and financial barriers many patients experience.

We are forever grateful for your enormous generosity!

UN member states challenge Australia’s refugee and asylum policies

Forty-seven UN member states raised concerns about and recommended changes to the Australian Government’s refugee, asylum and immigration detention policies when Australia’s human rights record came up for its third five-yearly Universal Period Review (UPR).

To see the full list of relevant recommendations, comments, questions submitted in advance and the Australian Government’s response, you can read the full report.

20-year anniversary exhibition on family and seeking asylum in Australia 2001-2021

Would you like to share your story?

Twenty years on from the Tampa, Children Overboard, and Australia’s Pacific Solution, a new exhibition will share refugee stories on how family life changed after seeking asylum in Australia. Lost chances, New Beginnings will bring together the stories of families – separated, grieving, and seeking new hope and new futures – who came to Australia for protection between 2001 and 2021.  Victorian writer Sandy Watson and photojournalist Sandy Scheltema are launching the exhibition and podcasts. The exhibition opens in September 2021, hosted by the Trentham group of Rural Australians for Refugees in Central Victoria. If you would like to share your story or get involved, you can find out more at or email

Queenslanders with disability could be left out 

Queenslanders with disability and disability advocacy organisations are seeking a commitment from the Queensland State Government to continue funding for essential independent advocacy services and the QLD Disability Advocacy Alliance launched a campaign, Stand with us!
AMPARO Advocacy and other QLD advocacy organisations  have come together to form the Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance. Click here for more information and show your support for this campaign.

Subscribe to the E News HERE
This E-Newsletter provides a regular forum to share news, resources and information to support practitioners, build capacity and partnerships to improve the health and wellbeing of people from refugee backgrounds. 

It is collated and distributed by the Refugee Health Network Queensland and supported by 
Mater and the Queensland Government.

Contributions about Refugee Health to this E-Newsletter and feedback are welcome. 

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