MAC and CAHML Venturing Towards Culturally Appropriate Care

by Nina Telford

MAC was recently commissioned by Central Adelaide Hills Medicare Local (CAHML) to conduct a forum looking at the local health needs of people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups. The undertaking is part of CAHML Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) in regards to primary health issues across the region.

For the purpose of this project, CAHML chose to concentrate on seven of its largest CALD population groups. The seven communities are made up of people from Vietnam, China, India, Italy, Greece, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Three one and a half hour sessions were organised for the day with around ten people per session. Series of questions prepared by CAHML were put forward to the participants during each session. These questions were answered, discussed, debated, dissected by the group or mulled over when they agreed to disagree. The facilitator, a MAC staff member was kept ‘on her toes’ trying to keep up with the very interactive and vocal group of people. Needless to say, CAHML acquired a lot of valuable information in trying to ascertain what would be some of the deep seated concerns of CALD communities in regard to their health needs and service gaps. This is vital for an organization like CAHML in terms of meeting the cultural needs of CALD groups and to plan for providing care in the future that would be culturally inclusive.

The participants from these seven communities were also delighted to be able to have the opportunity to express their views on health issues and services from their own cultural mores and values. They thought the forum was an excellent idea and a good majority said they would be willing to participate in future sessions.

Overall, it was a very successful joint project between MAC and CAHML and both parties look forward to on-going association. For MAC in particular, it was also about demonstrating its role as a conduit for generalist organizations such as CAHML in reaching out to CALD communities and to be able to do it so effectively.