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Launch of Refugee Health Care Handbook

15 November 2001 Media Statement

Launch of Refugee Health Care Handbook

Health Minister Annette King today launched a refugee health care handbook, calling it “another part of this country’s ongoing commitment to asylum seekers”.

Mrs King launched Refugee Health Care: A handbook for health professionals at the Fickling Centre, In Mt Albert Road, Auckland.

Mrs King said: “I am proud that New Zealand is one of only nine countries worldwide offering a regular quota of places for refugees identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. And I am also proud that New Zealand was the first country in the world to accept refugees with disabilities.”

This new handbook was the outcome of nationwide consultation, Mrs King said.
“New Zealand's health professionals offer a humanitarian approach to refugee settlement and provide a good service now, but there is always room for improvement. This handbook is about achieving just that.

“Many refugees arrive here debilitated by trauma, loss and unresolved grief. Good access to health care, immigration services, interpreters, education, social welfare, housing and employment is crucial.”

Mrs King said successful resettlement depended on responding well to refugee needs. ”Our goal is an integrated approach to resettlement. This handbook outlines where to access services and information on refugee health issues. Those issues may include tuberculosis, infectious diseases, grief, bad nutrition, war injuries and many other physical or mental health issues.”

Mrs King said the handbook also outlined the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the main refugee groups accepted into New Zealand and provided advice to health professionals on how to conduct culturally sensitive consultations.

“Contributors include the Immigration Service, New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Plunket, and Auckland, Canterbury, and Hutt Valley District Health Boards. A number of other agencies or individuals working with people from refugee backgrounds, and refugees themselves also contributed to the handbook.

“I wish to thank those who shared their thoughts and sometimes sad experiences. Their work will bear great dividends for many refugees over coming years.”

ENDS

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