Introducing Mohammad Daud Karimi, Project Coordinator for the Outer Northern Refugee Health Network

Posted by Sharyn Rognrust, Category: Refugee & Asylum Seeker Health,

The Outer Northern Refugee Health Network (ONRHN) provides a regular forum for discussing whole-of-person refugee issues. The network identifies and implements multi-sectoral strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in the outer northern catchment of metropolitan Melbourne.

What are some of the achievements of the ONRHN? 

Some achievements of the ONRHN as identified by the ONRHN Partnership Analysis conducted in February 2017 are:
  • Successfully bringing together relevant stakeholders across the outer northern region of Melbourne and neighbouring areas including refugee and asylum seeker health specific services, settlement providers, hospitals, community health, government, and other primary care (including mental health) organisations.
  • The network’s member commitment to a Collective Impact approach to the partnership and actively supporting the role the Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership (HWPCP) plays as backbone for the network.
  • The network’s member participation contributing to an increase in the knowledge and understanding of refugee health issues, needs, and system opportunities.
Some other accomplishments of the ONRHN are:
  • Development of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Interagency Network listing for Outer Northern Melbourne.
  • Completion of the ONRHN Service Directory and preparation for integration with the National Service Directory.
  • Establishment of the Data Bulletin Working Group and the drafting of the first data bulletin infographic format.  The format will serve to represent clearly and concisely the key dataset for the Hume and Whittlesea catchment and aid partner agencies in their service planning.
  • Formation of the Strategic Planning Reference Group which, with the support of a consulting agency, has started the process of developing a 2018-2020 strategic plan for ONRHN.

What are some of ways that Aged Care and Disability service providers can support people who have had a refugee experience?There are many challenges that need to be addressed to improve access to aged care and NDIS programs for refugee and asylum seekers. For instance, the lack of funding for interpreters in the NDIS can compound the issue of long waiting times for services. Additionally, asylum seekers are not eligible for the NDIS.  This needs further advocacy to actively overhaul existing policy.

What are some of the trends you are finding in Melbourne’s Northern region relating to people who have had a refugee experience?

Melbourne’s Northern region is one of the most populated regions in terms of humanitarian entrants in Victoria. It appears Hume and Whittlesea are the fastest growing and most culturally diverse communities in the northern region of Melbourne.  The City of Hume is home for the highest number of new humanitarian arrivals out of all Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the north with the City of Whittlesea having the second highest population.  It is worth mentioning that amongst the cohorts of settlers in the northern region most of them are from Iraq and Syria with a very poor proficiency of English and other distinct socioeconomic indicators.

A review of the Outer Northern Metro Health Nurse Models initiative in December 2017 found that over the previous eight months, through service provision in three locations (Broadmeadows, Dallas and Craigieburn), that over 430 refugees had been able to undergo an initial health triage and assessment and be referred for required services to meet their needs. Significant health and wellbeing needs were identified in this cohort of people who may have otherwise remained on a waiting list for their initial assessment and been subject to the inherent risk that waiting entails. Disability, mental health, chronic disease, mobility, aged care, general and preventative health needs have been identified and referrals have been initiated for further assessment and care. Access has also been enabled for practical supports such as aids and equipment to support members of these families, address immediate needs, and reduce the risk of critical events that might otherwise occur.

For further information, you can contact Mohammad on:
Email: Mohammadk@hwpcp.org.au
Mobile: 0429 104 157