Emojis are a simple and fun way to connect with others, according to Natali Smud, Senior Health Promotion Officer at the MHAHS.
“By adding the emoji to the video, we hope to inspire people to share the information and spark a conversation about HIV testing. HIV testing is easy and private. Get tested today,” said Natali Smud.The video available in Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish is further complemented by a new Testing Options web page on the MHAHS website detailing HIV testing services including anonymous services and those not requiring a Medicare card.
“Lack of health information makes people vulnerable. By addressing the needs of disadvantaged groups, the Testing Options web page reduces health disparities by increasing access to vital HIV testing and care,” said Natali Smud.
The Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub of the Sydney Local Health District has welcomed the release of The NSW Plan for Healthy Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: 2019-2023.
The new plan aims to ensure people from culturally and linguistcally diverse backgrounds have equitable access to health care services that are culturally responsive, safe and high quality.
There is widespread recognition that we need to do better in caring for the well being of people from diverse communities, according to Barbara Luisi, director of the Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub.
“There is a growing sense of urgency in NSW to do whatever it takes to improve the health care needs of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The new plan will help us to refocus our effort to increase health service access and demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the health of people from diverse cultural backgrounds,” Ms Luisi saidThe Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub is currently finalising its own plans to support the new state plan and work more closely with key stakeholders to improve health care access to people from diverse backgrounds across Sydney and South East Local Health Districts.
More than one thousand international students in Sydney have benefited from the MHAHS International Student HIV Project.
The project aims to increase HIV health literacy, and promote access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment. The target audience is international students attending English language colleges in NSW.In partnership with Positive Life NSW, more than 41 education sessions have been delivered, reaching more than 1070 students in 2018.
Senior Community Engagement Officer, Wa'el Sabri, said: “The project was highly successful in 2018, and we are proud that together with our partners we are able to offer such quality HIV education sessions to international students.”
More than two thousand Safe sex packs, HIV educational resources and information in several languages were provided at ten English Language Colleges.
The project continues to foster new collaborations. Last year, an integrated skills module was developed, in partnership with an English College. This module will help teachers to use HIV as a topic when teaching English. This module will be piloted this year, and it is hoped it can be scaled more broadly to other colleges.
Much of the project’s success is due to its ability to be flexible to the needs of the participating colleges and students. The 2-part HIV information sessions include 1 session that focuses on on HIV testing, prevention and treatment, and 1 session delivered by a person living with HIV.
“Our sessions provide factual information about HIV, and also allow students to hear about the experiences of someone living with HIV. This raises awareness of stigma and discrimination, and adds a human element to the program.A key characteristic of our sessions is its ability to be flexible and adaptable in terms of its length, English language proficiency, cultural backgrounds. Evaluations suggest students have an increased understanding of HIV, and an increased awareness of HIV testing and prevention options following our session. A majority of students also indicate they are likely to share the information, which is really positive”, said Mr Sabri.
Organised by the Muslim Women Welfare Assocation (MWWA), the 2nd Women’s Life Expo showcases a range of displays around issues affecting women’s lives.
The expo provides Arabic women and their families an opportunity to find new and innovative ways of improving their day to day life, according to Arabic Community Hepatitis B Project Officer, Faten Solaqa.
“The expo gives Arabic women the opportunity to browse a wide range of health serrvices available in the Local Health District, gardening, lifestyle to locally produced foods, entertainment and masterclass workshops”.“The MHAHS team was at hand to interact with the visitors at its information stall and explain how the project can help the communities prevent hepatitis B. The team will also have goody-bags ready, with fresh fruits containing Get Tested. Know Your Status hepatitis B message stickers. Stickers make hepatitis B information more accessible,” said Ms Solaqa.