Associate Professor Linda Robertson has been helping people without good English language skills to access healthcare.

A report by the Dunedin City Council identified that one of the issues facing immigrants settling in the city was access to health care, due to the immigrants' limited ability to communicate in English.

Linda worked in collaboration with a group of older Chinese to develop two resources to address this issue. A flyer with information about health care access in Chinese and English has been produced and was launched in 2015. About 30 people attended the launch event, which was covered by a local Chinese language newspaper. A wallet card in English was also produced, for health care providers to record their contact details. 

Both resources have been widely distributed within the Chinese community, and in 2016 the flyer was also translated into Arabic for Syrian refugees. 

As a result of these discussions some of the younger Chinese women were keen to help the seniors. They meet on a monthly basis with an activity and a shared lunch to help members of the group get to know one another, and answering any questions particularly for health system issues. This work has gained momentum and continues to improve access to health services. 

October 2017

Image credit: Paul Allen, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY NC ND 2.0