ECCQ’s mission is to ensure “that all people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds have equal access to services and can fully participate in all aspects of a cohesive and harmonious Queensland”.
Health is widely recognised as an important indicator of wellbeing. Many Quality of Life frameworks include the measurement of health outcomes as a core component. It is also well established that disadvantage is positively correlated with poorer health and even premature mortality (Centre for Social Justice, UnitingCare Queensland, 2010).
A strong universal health system is the best foundation for meeting the needs of CALD communities. This universal level of provision requires an overlay of culturally appropriate services and resources to ensure that CALD clients have an equitable access to health services.
There is an increasing evidence that the cultural influences and settlement factors have an adverse effect health and well-being of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities across Queensland.
The report by the parliamentary inquiry into chronic disease committee recommended that:
“The committee recommends that the Queensland Government ensure that chronic disease prevention programs targeting culturally and linguistically diverse communities are funded appropriately over the longer term and that the interventions are targeted and culturally appropriate, including community awareness programs to better educate and empower culturally and linguistically diverse communities on culturally acceptable methods of prevention or early intervention.” ( Recommendation 1, p.5. Social Development Committee, Report 2, January 2010)
NHRMC defines cultural competency in health as:
“A health system that is culturally competent:
- acknowledges the benefits that diversity brings to Australian society
- helps health providers and consumers to achieve the best, most appropriate care and services
- enables self-determination and ensures a commitment to reciprocity for
- culturally and linguistically diverse consumers and their communities
- holds governments, health organisations and managers accountable for
- meeting the needs of all members of the communities they serve.”
(Source: NHRMC, Cultural Competency in Health, December 2005)
What we have identified
ECCQ’s health programs indicate that:
- there are language and cultural barriers to appropriate health care
- there is a need to increase health literacy among CALD communities and especially among new arrivals
- there is a need for greater cultural competency among health sector workers
- multicultural health workers can help to address health needs and overcome barriers to access
- there is a lack of data about CALD communities’ health needs, issues and outcomes.
Some CALD communities have high reported health problems. Queensland Health reports that total deaths for Samoan born residents in Queensland is 1.5 times higher than the general community and avoidable deaths are twice as high (Queensland Health Website, 2010).
What we have done
Based on best international evidence ECCQ:
- implemented Multicultural Health Worker program bridging health professionals with CALD communities in Queensland
- developed the first industry accredited nationally recognised qualification for multicultural workforce – Certificate IV in Primary Health and Community Care (Multicultural). This a milestone of national significance in the development of multicultural workforce.
What ECCQ calls for
From this, ECCQ calls for:
- establishment of accredited multicultural health workforce across Queensland based on the proven Multicultural Health Worker model
- appointment of a CALD health community liaison officer
- improved data collection, analysis and reporting about health issues, health outcomes and levels of access to services and interpreters
- ensuring statewide reach of culturally-tailored health programs
- improving CALD patient journey between hospitals and primary health care providers
- an accreditation system that addresses and assesses cultural competency
- leading practice in the use of interpreters including by GPs and specialists
- research that demonstrates the best practice models for improving health outcomes for CALD populations.