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The asylum seeker and refugee healthcare experience

10 May 2022

In this episode of Taking care we look at the healthcare experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and some of the challenges they face.  
Key points
  • In this episode of Taking care, infectious diseases specialist Dr Nadia Chaves, counsellor Tigist Kebede, and lawyer Sahema Saberi detail their experiences of healthcare through the refugee and asylum seeker lens.
  • They explain the importance of patient centred care for these communities and offer tips for practitioners on how to provide culturally safe and respectful support.

Host George Hyde speaks with infectious diseases specialist Dr Nadia Chaves, counsellor Tigist Kebede, and lawyer Sahema Saberi about the common journey with Australia’s healthcare system for their communities.

With these patients’ often complex backgrounds and situations, person-centred care is key.

‘It’s meeting people where they’re at, and listening to what really matters to them,’ Dr Chaves said.

Tigest talks about supporting ethnic communities with the 2021 vaccination rollout and the importance of properly understanding a person’s unique circumstances to empower them with the information they need to make healthcare decisions.

‘Oh it’s not just asking something from me, it’s sitting with me through the complicated experience I’m having.’

Systemic racism means these patients must advocate harder either on their own behalf or through other groups or interpreters. 

As an Afghan refugee and medical interpreter, Sahema understands the challenges language and cultural barriers present.

‘I know for a fact there are times when language barriers can lead to miscommunication, misdiagnoses of issues or incorrect diagnoses - which then, of course, goes to reducing the patient’s satisfaction of the health service provided to them,’ Sahema adds. 

They offer guidance for practitioners and health services wanting to provide genuine support. Such as asking the right questions, understanding their patient’s’ current situation and acknowledging the cultural stigmas around specific topics, such as mental illness. 

Listen to the full episode.

Did you know?

The Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest Taking care episode today

Ahpra releases a new episode fortnightly, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia. You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and by searching ‘Taking Care’ in your podcast player.

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Page reviewed 10/05/2022