Introduction

Health Education Program

We make health information work for migrant and refugee women in Victoria. Here is how.

Health Education Program

IMPORTANT NOTICE: To reduce the risks of COVID-19, most of our health education sessions are still being delivered online, however we look forward to delivering in-person sessions very soon. Contact our Health Education Manager at amira@mcwh.com.au to make a booking. For more information about COVID-19 safety, read our COVID-19 Multilingual Health information page.

Health education for migrant women

At MCWH we believe that every person has the right to clear, accurate and relevant information about their health. That's why over 40 years ago we developed this free Health Education Program: to share health messages directly with migrant women in their first language.

Our program is government funded and used by workplaces and groups across Victoria because it works. In-language health sessions empower women to learn more about their health and services they can use. Make a booking now.

Booking a health education session is simple:

1. Choose a place to meet

group of women

Our free education workshops are for migrant women of all ages. Whether you are a parents' group, seniors group, school group, workplace, organisation, faith group, sporting group or social club, we want to talk to you about women's health!

Our educators can meet your group online or travel anywhere in Victoria to deliver health sessions at your workplace or wherever your group meets.

Contact our Health Education Manager to make a booking.

2. Choose your language

Languages available

Arabic     العربية
Assyrian
Burmese     မြန်မာစကား
Cantonese     廣東話
Croatian     hrvatski
Dari     دری
English
Farsi     فارسی
Greek     Ελληνικά
Hindi     हिंदी
Italian     italiano
Karen     (S’gaw Karen) ကညီကျိ
Lotuko (Otuho)
Ma’di     Ma'diti
Mandarin     普通话
Marathi     मराठी
Punjabi     ਪੰਜਾਬੀ     پن٘جابی
Sudanese-Arabic     سوداني
Tamil     தமிழ்
Tigre     ትግረ
Tigrigna     ትግርኛ
Vietnamese     Tiếng Việt

What if more than one language is spoken in a group?

We can run sessions in simplified English for your group if you speak many different languages.

For large groups or workplaces where more than one main language is spoken, two or more educators can deliver sessions in more than one language
(depending on numbers).

If you don't see the language you want in our current list, please contact us.

What if I can't see my language on the list?

If you don't see the language you want in our current list, please contact us.

If we do not have an educator who speaks you language, we may still have written and visual resources in your language We will work with your group to try to make sure you can still access health information you want.

3. Pick your health topic(s)

What is women's health?

For groups that choose our full health education program, this module explains why women's health is important.

It covers a very wide range of topics. We will talk with you to find out what topics are most useful for you.

You can also choose specific topics to focus on:

  • Breast health (breast cancer, checks and screening)
  • Cervical health (Pap smears, what happens if I get and abnormal pap test, HPV, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer)
  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • Menstruation (Periods),
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Your health rights
  • Navigating the Australian health system

Making healthy choices

This module covers information about how to stay healthy throughout your life and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes. We also talk about how to manage chronic illnesses if you have one and where to get support.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Healthy Heart
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Smoking
  • Arthritis
  • Gambling harm

Coping with COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted our lives, wherever we are living in the world. Our health education team has up-to-date information on how to manage COVID-19 including:

  • COVID-19 prevention
  • COVID-19 symptoms and testing
  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • Vaccination and how to get vaccinated
  • COVID-19 recovery and support
  • COVID-19 and other health conditions (including pregnancy)

Working well: Workplace health and safety

Many women spend long hours working, whether that is in paid employment, unpaid caring and domestic responsibilities, volunteering or studying. Find out about how to take care of yourself at work. This module covers many important topics including:

  • Asthma
  • Discrimination
  • Dust
  • Heat
  • Hygiene
  • Machinery
  • Manual Handling
  • Parental Leave
  • Noise
  • Occupational Overuse Syndrome
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Stress
  • Varicose Veins
  • Workplace Violence
  • Workplace Bullying
  • COVID-19 safety in the workplace
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Navigating workplace complaint systems and referral pathways

Mental health and using medicines safely

Mental health is not always talked about but it is so important to our well-being. Mental health can affect our physical health too. This module can cover a wide range of issues, including:

  • Pain Management
  • Relaxation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Mental Illnesses
  • Better Sleep
  • Using drugs - prescription & non-prescription
  • Alternative therapies 
  • Navigating mental health system and referral pathways

Sexual and reproductive health

Like all our health modules, sexual and reproductive health covers many important topics. You can request the specific topics that are most relevant to your group.

  • Fertility and infertility
  • Vaginal health and hygiene
  • Sexuality and sexual identity
  • Contraception and contraceptive choices
  • Pregnancy Choices (Abortion, Adoption, Foster care)
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs, including HIV and Hepatitis B
  • Cystitis and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Navigating Sexual and reproductive health system and referral pathway

Women’s safety and wellbeing

1 in 3 women in Australia (34.2%) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a man since the age of 15 (Our Watch). Women of all ages and backgrounds can experience violence. Violence has many negative effects on women's health and well-being. Research tells us that migrant and refugee women are less likely to know their rights and how to get the right support.

It is important that everyone understands what violence is, how we can prevent it and where we can get support for someone we know. This module covers many issues in a non-judgemental way:

  • Sexual assault and harassment
  • Healthy relationships
  • Gender equality and preventing violence against women
  • Gender-based violence
  • Family violence
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Support services and how to help someone you know

About our educators

We employ and train a team of health educators, who collectively speak over 20 languages and understand the challenges of migrating and settling in Australia, and strongly believe that every woman should have equal opportunities to access health information and learn about the services available to them. You can learn more about our health educators on the staff page.

Our health educators receive ongoing professional development training provided by health experts in Victoria and Australia. Unlike interpreters, whose role is to convey the words of others from one language to another, health educators can immediately and directly explain, clarify and answer questions that women may have about health topics.

Although some health educators are also trained medical professionals, health educators do not provide health advice. Health educators will provide you with clear information in your language, and resources written in your language, so you can make informed decision about your health. Health educators can also tell you about services you can access to seek more help about any health problems or concerns you have.

Health Education, Brimbank, April 2021

I feel so inspired by all of the work you and your team do. It has been especially rewarding teaming up with you to deliver targeted sessions in our Smalltalk Supported Playgroups and our First Steps New Parent groups.

Julie McKenzie, Early Years Playgroup Team Leader, Brimbank City Council Community Care

Health education, Nhill, November 2020 Excerpt 1

I must express how great the session was! The Nhill ladies only had positive feedback such as “I wish I knew this when I was younger” and “I have learnt so much.”

We all look forward to next week sessions. Thank you again for both your efforts in delivering culturally appropriate education to the Karen community.

Casey Hiscock, Registered Nurse - Refugee Community Health, West Wimmera Health Service

Dame Phyllis

I have completed the Survey, but that is not enough to say what I like to say.

I say: “you are brilliant, you make the multicultural women feel that they are not left behind.” Thanks a lots for continuing to provide high value knowledge for the women who cannot understand the official languages. Thank you and thank you again.

 

 

Hoang Nguyen, Multicultural Liaison Officer, Dame Phyllis Frost Centre

Health Education, Nhill, November 2020 Excerpt 2

From my perspective the content that you were able to share just flowed as real-time translation was not needed, therefore the amount covered in the time frame is greater than I could present.

The ladies were also engaged for the entire time, even at times sharing a laugh.

Casey Hiscock, Registered Nurse - Refugee Community Health, West Wimerra Health Service

Health Education for Vietnamese Parents

On behalf of AVWA, I would like to thank you once again for organising useful sessions to parents in my playgroup.

They mentioned they enjoyed learning more about health in the sessions with you. They did not receive that useful information anywhere else before.

I feel happy as we have succeeded in meeting our mission: to educate people to improve their well-being.

Wishing you all the best!

Dieu Nguyen, Playgroup Facilitator, Australian Vietnamese Women's Association

Have more questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions below. Or contact us for more information.

How much do heath sessions cost?

Our health education sessions are free for migrant and refugee women who attend. We are a funded by the Victorian Department of Health to run these sessions and we are a not-for-profit organisation.

Where will my session be run?

You can book a session anywhere in Victoria that works best for your group. We can travel to your workplace, office, business, community space, school, meeting house, place of worship or meet online. Your session can be daytime or at night, outside of work hours or even on the weekend.

You need to hold your health workshop somewhere that is safe and accessible for the women in your group.

How long is a heath education session?

The length of a session is flexible to suit the group. Depending on the topic or topics, sessions usually run for 30 minutes at workplaces and, 1-2 hours in other settings. Some groups will organise a whole education program which runs as a series of weekly sessions.

When you book your workshop, a staff member will discuss your options with you.

Are health educatin sessions confidential?

Health education sessions are about learning together in a safe and trusting environment, where women can share stories and hear about general health information.

Our health educators follow a strict Code of Professional Conduct and will never share your personal information. Educators may ask for information about you to help them evaluate the workshop. This information might include asking which suburb you live in, how old you are and if you have ever attended a workshop before. You do not have to give any information if you don't want to.

Everyone who participates is free to choose how much they want to share. Through workshops, we learn about issues that are important to migrant women and health challenges that migrant women experience. We may talk about these challenges when we advocate about these issues, but we will never identify individual women or their stories without their permission.

Health educators cannot diagnose conditions or provide medical advice.

Do you provide written resources?

Health educators often bring visual resources to explain health topics. They will also provide written materials (either in English or in your chosen language) that session participants can take home. You can also ask us to send you free written resources in the mail or via email at any time (Call 1800 656 421). If you want to look for health information in languages other than English you can search our multilingual library catalogue.

How do I know that the health information you provide is accurate?

Our health educators receive regular up-to-date training from key health organisations and our resources are carefully selected from reliable sources and checked by our health education team.

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information abut the Heath Education Program, contact our Health Education Manager, Amira Rahmanovic on (03) 9418 0918 or amira@mcwh.com.au

Why health education?

We want all women living in Australia from migrant and refugee backgrounds to have equal opportunities to:

  • make informed health decisions
  • know about and access health services available in Australia
  • understand, maintain and improve health and well-being

Everyone can make positive changes to support migrant and refugee women's health. Visit other pages on our website to see what else MCWH is doing to achieve equity in health.

Our Health Education Program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health.