C.22 ACT Multicultural Strategy 2010–2013

A new Multicultural Health Policy Unit has been established and will commence operations from 1 July 2013. The unit will be placed alongside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit within the Policy and Government Relations Branch. The Multicultural Health Policy Unit will provide guidance across ACT Health to ensure that all

ACT Health services (including primary health care, clinical health services and population programs, including health promotion and prevention) are delivered in culturally safe and appropriate ways. It is anticipated that all divisions and branches will work with the unit to: improve data collection; deliver culturally safe and appropriate services and information; engage culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) consumers in providing feedback and participating in service planning and evaluation; and develop the cultural competency of all staff.


Focus area Progress
Languages ACT Health continued to promote service accessibility to people from multicultural backgrounds by promoting access to interpreter services. After a review involving significant consultation, the internal Migrant Health Unit, which provided in-house interpreting of Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese, ceased operation in December 2012. All interpreting services are now accessed through the national Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS), and a revised standard operating procedure provides guidance on accessing this service. In 2012‑13, expenditure on TIS telephone and on-site interpreting services totalled $410,000, with Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese and Cantonese interpreters most frequently accessed. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)—That 100 per cent of ACT Government publications include accessibility block information—that is, information in alternative formats such as other languages. One hundred per cent of ACT Health publications (but not all posters, because of space limitations) include ‘accessibility block’ information. Translated documents, including alternative formats such as large print or audio, can be requested by the client. The Office of Multicultural Affairs is informed accordingly. Health Promotion Grants were awarded to support the Health Care Consumers’ Association Inc. for Health Literacy for All, a project to develop a series of health literacy modules, including modules in an e-learning format that include a ‘translate’ function so material can be accessed in community languages; and the introduction of a multicultural QUIT module and training local bilingual presenters to deliver it. The Health Protection Services finalised a food safety guide for businesses, which was translated into 11 languages to ensure food safety information was available to CALD communities. The guide provides comprehensive information about the most common food safety requirements. Guidelines for temporary food stalls were also developed and translated into 12 languages. The guidelines are designed to assist organisers of food stalls at outdoor events in the ACT to meet all food safety requirements.
Children and young people Health Promotion Grants supported Football United to deliver Empowered for Healthier Communities, which provides regular physical activity and leadership or life skills training for over 1,000 children and youth from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds in the West Belconnen and Dickson regions of the ACT. In 2012‑13, refugee children and youth were a focus of the project.
Adults, older people and aged care Health Promotion Grants supported the Asian Women’s Friendship Association to provide Stay Firm and Be Active for CALD Background Seniors, a program to provide seniors and their carers from CALD backgrounds, specifically those from Asian backgrounds, with informative and constructive weekly Tai Chi classes.



Focus area Progress
Women The Health Directorate has continued to address the specific needs of women from multicultural backgrounds by: providing women’s health services across the ACT to enhance access by women of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds delivering a women’s health talk to 195 women at the CIT English as a Second Language course developing a project plan to increase liaison with cultural communities in which female circumcision
is practised with identified funding, commencing recruitment to a part-time women’s health nurse position to provide holistic health promotion on women’s health, including the impact of female circumcision. Nursing, medical and counselling services are provided to women who experience significant barriers to accessing health services, including language and culture. KPI—Proportion of clients attending Well Women’s Checks at the Women’s Health Service from multicultural backgrounds. In 2012‑13, 266 CALD women (40 per cent of all clients) accessed this service. The BreastScreen ACT program has continued to address the specific needs of women from multicultural backgrounds by providing free breast screening services to all women in the ACT aged over 40. BreastScreen ACT recommends regular screening of the target group—women aged 50 to 69 years—which has been effective in reducing deaths from breast cancer through early detection. The program has implemented a recruitment plan (in consultation with multicultural representatives) with specific strategies that aim to increase the participation of women in this group. Work has also occurred to develop and produce general breast screening information brochures in Chinese, Vietnamese, Croatian, Greek, Italian and Spanish. KPI—Percentage of women with multicultural backgrounds in the BreastScreen ACT program. In 2012‑13, 767 CALD women (5.5 per cent of all clients) accessed the BreastScreen ACT service. Health Promotion Grants supported the Australian Breastfeeding Association ACT/SNSW to improve breastfeeding rates (initiation and duration) among specific target groups, including women from CALD backgrounds. This is done by delivering targeted peer support training programs and breastfeeding information sessions and increasing the number of establishments or organisations in the ACT that are Breast-Friendly Workplace accredited. ACT Health supported the Health Care Consumers’ Association to employ a Consumer Coordinator/Multicultural Liaison Officer in 2012‑13 to facilitate involvement and perspective from consumers in the development of service planning for the Health Infrastructure Program. The Consumer Coordinator/Multicultural Liaison Officer fostered networks with multicultural community organisations and diverse communities about the health system, particularly regarding the Health Infrastructure Program, consumer participation and health literacy, including the development of suitable information resources.
Refugees, asylum
seekers and humanitarian entrants
ACT Health continued to seek to meet the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian entrants by providing access to health and wellbeing services so that this target group can maintain their dignity and physical and mental health. It did so by: continuing to provide Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers with the same access as Health Care Card holders to public dental and community health services collaborating with the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship in accommodating the housing and health care needs of 50 immigration detainees in the ACT community continuing to promote awareness of the ACT Services Access Card introduced for refugees in October 2011. The card is designed to provide access to services, without the need for refugees to re-tell their trauma or refugee story. Health Promotion Grants supported Arthritis ACT, incorporating Osteoporosis ACT, to deliver Lowering the Barriers, which involved finding representatives from a range of disadvantaged groups, including refugees, to share their life stories with one another in the context of workshops with one simple health message:‘You are the most important health provider for you.’
Intercultural harmony and religious acceptance ACT Health promoted or conducted general programs for staff to enhance their understanding of the rights of their colleagues and clients. These initiatives included: Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) training, and establishment of the RED contact officer network Human Rights Act training workshops on managing and preventing discrimination, bullying and harassment Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights training e-learning packages on managing work aggression and violence. The Health Directorate has implemented cultural awareness training for staff, to promote a caring and competent health workforce.