Media release: 1 week, 1337 calls to migrants in public housing towers

July 2020

From unemployment to housing, and increased social isolation to family violence, COVID-19 has affected the lives of migrant women in Australia. And yet, they have fewer opportunities to access culturally appropriate information and services in their own language.

The recent surge of community transmissions in public housing towers has revealed these gaps in information and service provision. While multilingual resources have been developed, they had not been disseminated effectively to ensure that migrant women receive timely information.

In the past week, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health has worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to call 1337 homes in Melbourne’s public housing towers. Speaking a total 19 languages, trained peer health educators have engaged with women with tailored, accurate and multilingual information and support.

Health Education Manager, Amira Rahmanovic said that the lack of timely multilingual information meant that many migrants missed out on crucial information about testing locations and availability of in-home tests. “This type of information in English has caused a lot of stress for migrants who do not share the language, particularly in a time of crisis. We are pleased to provide tailored support to help communities stay safe.”

As a result of the calls, 83% of respondents agreed that COVID-19 testing was important and decided to take the test.

“These results show that tailored, multilingual information communicated by trained peer educators can make a difference in COVID-19 response”, said Executive Director, Dr Adele Murdolo. “This kind of support is essential.”

Watch video announcement. For further information, please contact: Adele Murdolo, Executive Director, tel: 0438 823 299 or