Health education for Somali Bantu refugees via home visits

Elizabeth R Eisenhauer, Elaine C Mosher, Karen S Lamson, Helen Ann Wolf, Diane G Schwartz
Health Information and Libraries Journal 2012, 29 (2): 152-61

BACKGROUND:  Somali Bantu refugees, with unique health information needs, created challenges for health and social service providers.

OBJECTIVES:  A service innovation was developed (i) to raise awareness, especially among local health and social service providers, about the Bantu refugees' presence in the community, their culture, and their information needs and (ii) to deliver needed health information, emphasizing child health, to the Bantu mothers in their homes.

METHODS:  The project consisted of: (i) a community conference targeting local health and social service providers, describing the refugees' presence in the community, their culture, and information needs. (ii) Focus groups conducted with members of the Bantu population elicited additional information needs. (iii) Curriculum was developed based on identified needs, and (iv) the curriculum was delivered to the refugees in their homes. A clinical informationist and MP3 technology enhanced the project.

FINDINGS:  Conference attendees' evaluation responses indicated improved understanding of Bantu culture. Focus groups' identification of health information needs provided a framework for the health education curriculum. A project website made educational materials available to other healthcare providers.

CONCLUSIONS:  The project raised awareness of the Bantus' presence, culture, and information needs. Identification of other unmet needs demonstrated that additional support for refugees is required.

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