Many people from migrant communities do not necessarily access the healthcare services they are entitled to. There are language and cultural barriers and sensitivities regarding access to health care, screening and public health information. The Pacesetters Programme was developed to address specific issues around health inequalities and the Migrant Impact Fund was set up to support the delivery of services to migrant communities. Nationally, data indicates that lower percentages of BME women are taking up breast screening than women in general. We know that there are issues for BME women however we do not fully understand the local picture. There are cultural differences in the way BME groups experience health. There is a lack of self awareness and women would not feel comfortable talking about their health in general and talking about breasts is a particularly sensitive issue. Community Health Champions are able to reach their communities sensitively and convey messages which are otherwise may not filter through to them.
This program was organised by NHS Leeds and Refugees First. In stage one the main aim was to reduce health inequalities by raising awareness and improving access to breast cancer screening services amongst ethnic minorities, namely women over 50 from Middle Eastern communities. On stage two, the project addressed a wider range of health issues and included men. The wider aim was to provide healthy lifestyles information and assist migrants to access health services.
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