Menu Icon Search

PHN welcomes launch of Darling Downs African Communities Council

February 29, 2024

In the Darling Downs and West Moreton region, more than 55,000 people were born in predominantly non-English speaking countries. Findings from our latest TALK ABOUT indicate that multicultural communities encounter health disparities, unique health conditions, language barriers, and discrimination in their experience with healthcare.

Toowoomba (1.1%) is a regional area with a higher-than-average rate of migrants who have entered Australia under humanitarian programs (Queensland Government Statistician’s Office 2021).

People with a culturally or linguistically diverse background often find it difficult to access health services. They may not expect services to be available because they have come from cultures with few services and a high degree of self-reliance. They may also face language barriers in finding out how to access services and in interacting with health professionals and technologies.

“We understand that our region’s multicultural communities can benefit from additional support to access the health care they need,” said Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN CEO, Lucille Chalmers.

“That’s why the PHN works with culturally informed health services to provide primary health care support to migrants and refugees in our region,” said Ms Chalmers.

“We are very keen to have ongoing engagement with our diverse communities so we can hear directly where we can make the biggest difference.”

In early February, Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN Multicultural Coordinator Julie Cave attended the launch of the Darling Downs African Communities Council (DDACC) in Toowoomba.

This is an exciting initiative for the African communities of the Darling Downs, with 17 African Countries represented. The DDACC will seek to engage and support community organisations and individual members, so all people who have moved here from Africa are able to establish their lives as valued members of the Darling Downs Community. The development of the Council will also increase opportunity for engagement with the African Community for all levels of Government and the wider community.

The PHN also attended a Cultural Diversity Network (CDN) meeting in February. Facilitated by the Toowoomba Regional Council, this is an inclusive network of more than 50 organisations, communities, local and state agencies, specific interest groups and networks. CDN supports the growing networking of individuals and agencies working with multicultural communities and to promoting common dialogue and exchange on working issues with Toowoomba’s multicultural populations. Refugee groups are encouraged to participate and introduce themselves to the community and service providers in this network which meets quarterly.

The PHN’s Kath Patterson, Jenny Lazell, and Julie Cave attended the CDN meeting to consult with network members as part of the PHN’s Health Needs Assessment, of which improving the health of vulnerable groups is outlined as a key health priority.

Click to learn more about how we support multicultural and refugee health in the region.