News and Events

Multilingual Health Education Program

Health & wellbeing

Aug 15, 2022

The WOMHEn (Workforce Of Multilingual Health Educators) project provided vital in-language health education to women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

The WOMHEn project began in 2021 and was funded by the Victorian Government under the Working for Victoria initiative and coordinated by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health.

GenWest recruited a team of accreditation-trained, multilingual, multicultural health educators to deliver health education session and share information on COVID-19.

Over the past year, our multilingual team of health educators have developed deep, rich, trusting relationships with multicultural women’s groups across Melbourne’s west.

The team delivered 31 health education sessions, reaching 474 people.

Sessions were delivered in these languages:

  • Hindi
  • Nepali
  • Afghani Urdu
  • Pakistani Urdu

The team also ran sessions in Easy English for members of the following communities:

  • Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka
  • Burmese
  • Karen
  • Karenni
  • Vietnamese

Topics covered in these sessions included:

  • COVID-19 vaccinations and testing
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Essential health check-ups
  • Navigating the Australian healthcare systems
  • Respectful relationships
  • Sexual and reproductive health

“The session was extremely useful; we got our doubts [about COVID-19 vaccines] clarified.”

Health education participant

The team proudly facilitated the vaccination of over 300 women who would otherwise not have been vaccinated.

The team developed an understanding of the factors that influence the health outcomes of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Melbourne’s west.

They observed barriers that women can face in accessing reliable health information, including limited access to culturally sensitive information, language barriers and lack of digital literacy.

Illustration of three women with their arms around each other. One has light brown skin, is wearing pink clothes and a blue head scarf. One is has white skin, grey hair and is wearing a blue dress. One has dark brown skin and is wearing pink and green.

“In-language sessions are very helpful. A wonderful presentation of the facts.”

Health education participant

What’s next?

In June 2022, the Working for Victoria funding ended and the WOMHEn project stopped running in its previous form.

GenWest acknowledges how impactful the WOMHEn project has been and how vital in-language health education is to ensure we continue to meet community health needs.

The last year has informed the way forward for GenWest in how we work with communities from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

We are excited to share that our wonderful team of accreditation-trained, multicultural, and multilingual health educators will continue their important work at GenWest.

Over the next 4 months, the team will plan the next phase of the project. This will include strengthening existing relationships with multicultural women’s community groups, listening to community about their health needs, and working with specialist multicultural agencies and settlement services.

The team’s vision for this project is for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Melbourne’s west to have access to evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and effective health education in-language.

This will include delivering health, wellbeing and education projects to:

  • Increase women’s health literacy and confidence to access and navigate health and other services.
  • Support existing health practices that traditionally occur within communities, for example the health wisdom and practices that older women share with younger women.
  • Work on addressing the underlying causes of health inequity and violence against women from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
  • Harness the strengths these communities have in promoting their own health.
An illustration of three people - a mother and child together looking to the right at another person.

Where to find out more

For updates about the work of the multilingual health education team, subscribe to our mailing list, become a member or keep an eye on our news page.

Contact us

Call us

1800 436 937

Email us

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317-319 Barkly Street


Naarm/Melbourne VIC 3011

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