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Poor Maternal Health Outcomes for Refugees - NFP Report

12 December 2012 at 1:44 pm
Staff Reporter
Immigrant and refugee women are at greater risk of suffering poorer maternal and child health outcomes, according to a new Not for Profit report.

Staff Reporter | 12 December 2012 at 1:44 pm


Poor Maternal Health Outcomes for Refugees - NFP Report
12 December 2012 at 1:44 pm

Maria Vamvakinou MP launches Common Threads at Melbourne Museum. Supplied.

Immigrant and refugee women are at greater risk of suffering poorer maternal and child health outcomes, according to a new Not for Profit report.

The Common Threads Report by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) also found that immigrant and refugee women are less likely than Australian-born women to have adequate information and familiarity with contraceptive methods.

Executive Director of MCWH, Dr Adele Murdolo, said that good sexual and reproductive health is not just about pregnancy and birth but encompasses a whole range of issues relevant to women’s lives, including the right to access comprehensive information about contraception and abortion.

"The evidence indicates that immigrants arrive with good, if not better, health than the Australian born population, but this health advantage deteriorates with the increasing length of their residence in Australia," Murdolo said. 

"There are many reasons for these poorer health outcomes, which the report outlines. But one of the key issues for us is overcoming the challenges that women face in accessing health related information and services.

"The Common Threads research represents an important opportunity to understand more about the various issues that immigrant and refugee women face in accessing culturally appropriate health care.

“Inequities in health put immigrant and refugee women at further disadvantage, diminishing opportunities for wellbeing and overcoming other effects of social disadvantage. The promotion of a holistic model of care that values women's experiences, knowledge and culture should be at the core of health service provision,” she said.

MCWH executive director Adele Murdolo, MCWH Board chairperson Repa Patel, Common Threads project officer Maria Hach and Maria Vamvakinou MP at the launch. Supplied.

As part of the research, the MCWH has developed a best practice guide titled Common Threads, Common Practice: working with immigrant and refugee women in sexual and reproductive health.

The Guide aims to provide community and health practitioners with a framework to understand and promote best practice in the delivery of services for immigrant and refugee women in Australia.

(MCWH) is a national, community-based organisation committed to the achievement of health and wellbeing for and by immigrant and refugee women. Its mission is to promote the wellbeing of immigrant and refugee women across Australia through advocacy, social action, multilingual education, research and capacity building.

Maria Hach, the project officer and author of Common Threads, said that one of the motivations behind the best practice guide was to increase cross-cultural understanding.

"Hopefully the guide will be used extensively by health practitioners around Australia to enable women the best chance for excellent outcomes in health and wellbeing, whatever their culture and background."

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