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Submission to the National
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from
The City of Port
Adelaide Enfield conducts regular public immunisation clinics for all
residents. During 2001, families who were ex Woomera and Port Hedland
detainees, who have settled in the local area, attended the immunisation
clinics. It was evident that the families required special needs including
interpreters, therefore the Community Health Nurse approached Child &
Youth Health to undertake a joint pilot project to offer a specific program
targeted at new arrivals to the area. Child and Youth Health were offering
home visits for the families in the area, but were being overloaded with
Council's key performance
objectives include "Research and identify regional factors-including
socio economic, ethnic and geographic -which influence low immunisation
coverage." As well as "Develop promotional or service provision
strategies to address coverage deficiencies in the region- based on the
assess factors of influence."
Migrant Health offers
health services for all migrants in the Metropolitan areas, however access
to the service can be hindered by factors such as transport issues, language
and reluctance to remove children from school during school hours.
The Child & Youth
Health Service negotiated with The Department of Human Services to provide
a grant to cover interpreter services for a period of 12 months. At the
completion of the pilot program an evaluation will be undertaken to assess
the future viability of the clinic.
The following briefly
outlines the clinic:
- Funding: Funding
is a joint responsibility between Council. Child and Youth Health and
Department of Human Services
- Nursing staff,
administrative staff are provided by Council along with infrastructure
such as facilities to store vaccines and provision of consumables
- Child & Youth
Health provide the venue for the clinic as well as a Registered Nurse
to assist and conduct health checks at the same time.
- The Department
of Human Services is paying for the provision of culturally appropriate
interpreters to ensure valid consent.
- The clinic is
conducted on a monthly basis and is promoted through Child & Youth
Health, who make the appointments. There is some word of mouth as the
families talk to each other.
- Catch up vaccinations
are offered to adults as well as children. Initially there was some
confusion as records were not always available. South Australian Immunisation
Coordination Unit has a data-base of Woomera detainees which in most
instances can be cross referenced to ascertain immunisation status.
In the absence of records however the normal schedule should be implemented
as per CDNA (Communicable Diseases Network Australia) recommendations.
- Most of the childhood
vaccines have been commenced by Migrant Health on a catch-up basis.
- Adults had only
received Oral polio vaccine initially in the detention camps, which
was extended to measles mumps and rubella to prevent outbreaks in Australia.
Australia has been polio free since 1976 and the detainees are from
countries where polio and measles are endemic. This has been seen as
a public health measure for both the Australian community as well as
the detainee community.
- Council offers
free adult diphtheria and tetanus vaccine to all residents, therefore
a primary course of the vaccine was also offered for adults attending
the clinic along with measles mumps and rubella and polio they have
not already received in the detention Centres.
is ideally placed to offer this service if funding was available They
provide a specialised, accredited service with existing infrastructure
to conduct the clinics. During a recent Public Health Conference in Melbourne,
General Practitioners stated that they do not have the time or resources
to offer this service. There are not a lot of venues refugees/detainees
can attend that offer the time required to adequately assess their immunisation
Most Local Government
providers are unable to offer this service to refugees in their area due
to the lack of funding. Port Adelaide Enfield is a proactive Council,
which provides the service as part of their Performance Objective Standards.
Migrant Health offers
a comprehensive service in the city, but due to geographical constraints
and cost of large families to take public transport the regional nature
of outlying services would be more cost effective in terms of proactive
instead of reactive health care to offer the service close to where they
live and congregate.
Updated 22 October 2002.