Annual Report 2019-2020

MCWH is proud to present our Annual Report for the 2019-2020 financial year.


A message from the Board Chair

This has been a year of adaptation and change for
MCWH, incorporating our landmark Advancing the
Evidence conference in February 2020, followed by the
transformation of service delivery to online platforms in
response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On both counts, MCWH held migrant women at the
centre of our work, advocating for their optimum
health and wellbeing, and finding alternative ways
of providing much-needed health information and
education to women in their own languages.

I was delighted to be at the conference, which
took place just weeks before gatherings of this size
became impossible. It brought together over 160 key
stakeholders from across Australia to discuss, debate,
problem-solve, and develop concrete strategies to make
the health system more responsive to migrant women’s
needs. The conference enabled us to develop a robust
overview of migrant women’s reproductive and sexual
health across Australia, and put the pieces together for
strong, collaborative advocacy in the years ahead.
In response to COVID-19, MCWH adapted by using
alternative platforms: teleconferencing, social media,
radio segments and old-fashioned phone calls
to provide important in-language education on
preventing COVID-19 transmission, and associated
women’s health issues.

Our participation in Victoria’s response to COVID-19 was
vital during the second wave. In collaboration with the
Department of Health and Human Services, MCWH health
educators phoned public housing residents to support
and encourage them to take a COVID-19 test. Across six
sites, educators made nearly 2000 calls in 21 languages.
As a result, COVID-positive migrant families from across
Melbourne who were in home isolation also contacted
us directly for support. MCWH identified and provided
appropriate support for many of these families.

MCWH’s Strategic Plan was due to end in 2020, however, the
Board decided to continue the current Plan for another year.
Much is unknown. But we do know that whatever the future
brings, MCWH will continue to be here for migrant women,
their families and communities. Finally, in this extraordinarily
difficult year, the achievements of our staff have been
remarkable and the Board extends its profound appreciation
for the ingenuity and dedication they have demonstrated.

Tamara Kwarteng