Refugee Health Education: "Learn to Succeed. Together We Build Our Community."

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Maria Theresa P. Panizales, DNP, RN
Vitals Global Healthcare Management, Ltd., Floriana, Malta

Purpose:  The purpose of the project is to develop and implement a comprehensive culture sensitive health education program to address the resettled refugees identified health needs as a result of lack or cessation of support after the refugee resettlement program ends. The health needs were identified through a community needs assessment conducted in Fall 2015.

Methods: The program is a quality improvement project using a qualitative design guided by Avedis Donabedian's quality framework that encompasses structure, process and outcome, and the use of Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle methodology for continuous process and program improvement.

The project is a collaborative community-based training program with stakeholders involved as resource, and subject matter expert from their respective organizations. The number of community trainers vary depending on date and time availability, the DNP student assumes teaching the course where necessary. The total number of participants are 15, male and female, aged 18 and above, and post resettlement program support. There were participants that does not meet the criteria and would like to attend, this was allowed. The refugee participants are from different ethnic background within the target community, mostly Somali and Congolese.

The program is a 2-hours weekly session to resettled refugees at Providence, RHode Isalnd ZIP Code 02907. The curriculum is divided into three: (1) health education, (2) community immersion, and (3) case management. Health education will include topics selected from the community needs assessment such as simple illnesses and management, first aid, nutrition, preventive health care, etc. while community immersion activity involves marketing (grocery/market visit as feasible) and socio-cultural "Thanksgiving Dinner" event. Case management is the provision of resource handbook and health insurance road map or guide.

Participant experiences, and composite measures based on the curriculum and program goals and objectives were collected using survey tools for knowledge, skills and general program. The tools were developed by the DNP student based on the community needs assessment to assess if the needs were met. This will be analyzed and utilized to drive improvement of the program. Participants complete pre and post knowledge and skills survey to identify strengths and weakness of the curriculum, teaching methodology and program structure. Refugee community leaders were engaged actively, so skills can be gained in program management and teaching.

The program survey tool will collect quantitative data to determine program efficiency based on the program goals and objectives. Qualitative data will include collecting feedback from participants and random anecdotal reports during meetings with community stakeholders, program staffs, community health advisory board and trainers.

Results: A cursory analysis of the pre-health education program survey reveals knowledge and skills gap in basic health care, and navigation of government health services.

Conclusion: The health education program is expected to be completed by Dec 17th. There will be two more classes after Dec 3rd.