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Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Case study: 2018-2019 Multicultural Communities Grants

We consider the achievements, successes and learnings from the 2018-2019 Multicultural Communities Grants program.

Project aims

  • To raise awareness and understanding of cancer screening, early detection and immunisation across under-screened communities in Victoria.
  • To increase the knowledge, skills and confidence of health professionals and staff at community organisations to promote and deliver cancer screening, HPV vaccination and viral hepatitis information.
  • To implement sustainable initiatives in partnership with local community/health organisations.

Project achievements

  • 7 community-based organisations and health organisations received funding to implement 9 health promotion initiatives to increase participation in National Cancer Screening Programs within under-screened communities.
  • 1150 community members, from across Victoria, participated in education sessions that aimed to increase knowledge and understanding of bowel or cervical cancers and screening.
  • 7 initiatives targeted multi-cultural communities such as Chinese, Malaysian, Afghani, Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Greek, Italian, Pacific Islander and Arabic-speaking communities, 1 initiative targeted African women who have experienced female genital cutting (FGC) and 1 initiative targeted predominantly English-speaking women living in remote and regional communities.
  • Most organisations reported increased awareness and understanding of bowel and cervical cancer screening among community members who participated in education sessions.
  • Every organisation developed strategies to promote the sustainability and continuity of initiatives to promote cancer screening within their under-screened communities.

Project learnings

  • Some community members want an integrated approach to health information, including other health needs, such as prostate cancer, pregnancy, contraception.
  • Targeting community members by age-range is preferred by younger women and can be more effective.
  • Community health champions are well placed to understand and deliver sustainable initiatives which tackle the unique barriers faced by specific under-screened communities.

Key barriers

  • Cultural norms that single women are not sexually active; therefore, a common belief that single women were not required to screen.
  • Fears that an HPV-positive diagnosis would impact a woman’s ability to marry.
  • Fear or anxiety of being diagnosed with cancer and a belief that it is ‘better not to know’.
  • Fear or worry about the cervical or bowel screening test procedures.

Key enablers

  • Cancer survivors sharing the importance of cancer screening and early intervention at community education sessions.
  • Flexibility from community organisations to allow participants to attend education sessions.
  • Providing language-specific cancer screening information and using plain-language communication.
  • Culturally appropriate and sensitive approaches to cancer screening with well-trained and supported health professionals.