Factors contributing to the sharing of COVID-19 health information amongst refugee communities in a regional area of Australia: a qualitative study

Healey, Sunita Joann Rebecca, Ghafournia, Nafiseh, Massey, Peter D., Andrich, Karinne, Harrison, Joy, Taylor, Kathryn, and Bolsewicz, Katarzyna (2022) Factors contributing to the sharing of COVID-19 health information amongst refugee communities in a regional area of Australia: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 22. 1434.

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups worldwide. Newly emerging CALD populations formed by recently arrived refugees are predisposed to even greater health disadvantages due to complexities of the refugee experience. The aim of this study was to explore how culture, refugee experiences and existing relationships shaped what COVID-19 messages were listened to and shared during the early-mid phases of the pandemic. The work focused on three newly emerging refugee groups in the Hunter New England region, Australia: Afghan, Congolese and Syrian communities.

Methods: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the experiences and stories of 15 adult community members, nine influential members and six service providers. All community members arrived in Australia on or after January 2014. Interpreter-assisted interviews were conducted with small groups or individuals, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim in English. Three levels of thematic data analysis were employed to uncover the important issues and experiences of the participants.

Results: Three key themes and several subthemes were identified. The themes were: 1) Experience as a refugee uniquely influences COVID-19 message communication; 2) Refugee groups use diverse practices when accessing and sharing COVID-19 messages; and 3) Official government messages could be improved by listening and tailoring to community needs.

Conclusions: Effective health messaging relies on reaching communities in a culturally acceptable and meaningful way. Official COVID-19 messages can be tailored to engage newly emerging communities by improving the quality of the content, delivery and format whilst working collaboratively with communities and trusted service providers. Further mutual research is needed to understand emerging communities’ viewpoints. The use of culturally informed approaches is recommended.

Item ID: 76360
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
Keywords: Australia, COVID-19, Cultural diversity, Health literacy, Information dissemination, Refugees, Social cohesion, Trust
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco mmons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2023 02:14
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420606 Social determinants of health @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420201 Behavioural epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200104 Prevention of human diseases and conditions @ 100%
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