THE COVID-19 pandemic had a global impact on everyone, but its effects hit some groups harder than others. A disproportionate number of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people were reported to have died from COVID-19 related deaths. In response to a report by Welsh Government’s Socio-Economic sub-group Hywel Dda University Health Board set up a dedicated team to engage with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.
The Community Development Outreach Team (CDOT), which was the first of its kind in NHS Wales, is having a positive impact on our diverse communities and has been a voice for those that are experiencing barriers to health care and accessing information.
Sandra Mitchell, Community Development Outreach Team Manager, said: “We are a bridge between the health board and our diverse communities, helping people access services with support from an interpreter or receive information in their own language.
“We are empowering communities to ask for interpretation support when accessing services and encouraging them to make healthy lifestyle choices and take up screening services, vaccinations, smoking cessation and more.”
During the COVID 19 pandemic, the team worked to share multiple health specific messages with minority ethnic communities; produced resources in 17 different languages; engaged with over 650 people; supported 18 vaccination clinics and two mobile vaccination clinics, all while ensuring effective communication through use of interpretation services and enabling individuals to access healthcare services.
Other team projects also include the organisation of a wellbeing event for Eastern European Roma communities; first aid classes for multicultural communities with St John Ambulance; creating interpretation request cards in multiple languages to help people request an interpreter when accessing healthcare services and women’s wellbeing walks.
The wellbeing walks are an opportunity for women from diverse communities to come together and talk about health issues and what concerns them, in a safe environment and in a culturally appropriate way. They have been very successful, and CDOT is looking to expand the wellbeing walks into other areas.
CDOT’s commitment to supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities recently resulted in the team winning the Community Initiative of the Year award at the National BAME Health and Care Awards (BAMEHCA).
The awards ceremony is an annual event, hosted by DiversityQ, recognising the hard work and resilience of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic professionals in the UK health and care sectors.