In the 10 years since the publication of the first refugee health
handbook there have been considerable steps taken towards
improving long-term settlement outcomes for refugees settled in
New Zealand. This has been as a result of cross-sector collaboration
between the Department of Labour, Immigration New Zealand and
settlement service branches, the Ministry of Health and District
Health Boards, and the wider governmental sector, including
Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.
In the health sector, partnerships between District Health Boards,
non-governmental organisations, settlement services and refugee
communities has led to the delivery of services which are culturally,
linguistically and religiously appropriate to refugee communities.
The participation of people from refugee backgrounds in the health
and disability sector workforce is increasing, and contributes
significantly to the capacity of services to meet the specific needs of
In addition, health services have made considerable efforts to meet
the high and complex health needs of refugee groups. Initiatives
such as the provision of interpreting services and culturally and
linguistically diverse group (CALD) cultural competency training,
along with tailored and targeted health programmes, have made a
difference to improving access and equity for refugee groups.
Health issues related to changes in lifestyle are emerging with the
long-term settlement of refugee communities. Reduced physical
activity, diets high in fats and sugars, and smoking place refugee
groups, particularly those from South Asian, Middle Eastern and
African groups, at risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and
diabetes. Including refugee groups and their ethnic communities
in mainstream prevention, screening and intervention services and
programmes is of importance in maintaining good health outcomes
for settled communities.
The 2012 update of Refugee Health Care: A handbook for health
professionals discusses new refugee communities settled in New
Zealand, emerging trends in the health of refugee groups and
current therapies, and adds new service providers. Written in
consultation with health providers, experts in the field and people
from refugee backgrounds, it is designed to support health workers
in primary, community and secondary health care settings in the
delivery of safe, effective and culturally appropriate care for their
- Citation: Ministry of Health. 2012. Refugee Health Care: A handbook for health professionals. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
- Creator: Dr Annette Mortensen, Dr William Rainger, Sally Hughes
- Language: English
- Publisher: Wellington: Ministry of Health.
- Year: 2012-06-01
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