The health needs of the Somali community in Bristol

Jenny Ingram
Community Practitioner: the Journal of the Community Practitioners' & Health Visitors' Association 2009, 82 (12): 26-9
Refugees and asylum-seekers have many health needs, and access to health services is often complicated by language barriers and a lack of properly trained interpreters and health advocates. This study aimed to identify the health needs of the Somali community in Bristol by conducting 10 semistructured interviews with community representatives and healthcare professionals, and two focus groups with Somali residents.The findings were validated and discussed at a workshop with local residents, teachers, primary healthcare team members and stakeholders. Priorities were agreed and translated into action. Three interrelated themes were identified--access to health promotion information, communication needs and service provision. Suggestions were made to establish groups, drop-in sessions and health awareness days. The findings for the Bristol Somali community could apply to most newly arrived refugee communities in the UK. Understanding where people have come from, their healthcare needs and the social factors that characterise exile will help healthcare professionals to improve the services offered to these communities.

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