A workshop on health issues by National school of public health

29th July 2021

Almada Mundo,

Reported By: Pabita Regmi Khanal

We had an invitation for participation in a workshop about health literacy and social cohesion in migrant communities organised by the national school of public health. Invitation was from Almada Mundo for the date 29th of July 2021 and venue was Almada Mundo. It was mentioned that Filipa Barreiros would be representative for the workshop.

We were six Nepalese participants among which three were women and three were men. The workshop starts at about 3:15 pm in afternoon.

There were three sessions in the event. In first session, we were requested to answer a questionnaire which contained about twenty questions about our personal, professional and health details.

In mid-session, Filipa read one story about an immigrant housewife like us. This story was collected from Lisbon during their field visit and interview project work. In story, the host was middle aged women having two kids living with her husband. She was not documented so she cannot get all health services from centro saude. She is suffering from very severe back pain but cannot get proper treatment because she did not have SNS number, and she was unable to pay bills for service from private hospitals. After story, we were asked to share our stories related to current situation of health issues among immigrants in Almada.

It was very interesting session because all participants shared their stories, and all were different. The problems mentioned by participant immigrants were: –

· Not having SNS number

· Language problem

(Many health professionals do not co-operate very well with the persons who cannot speak in Portuguese language)

· Difficulty in having appointment in hospitals

(One participant living in Almada need an urgent uterus surgery but she could not get an appointment in Almada. So, she tried to get it in Coimbra because she got this hospital as an option from her doctor, but she could not get it.)

· They were giving two different SNS number for one single person

· They were giving wrong (different than others) SNS number

· Carelessness by nurses

(We must wait for whole day to see doctor because sometimes they forget to call our name even though we were waiting there for doctor call)

· In children’s issue, lack of regular follow ups from doctors

· Very hard to do ultrasound in Almada.

(There is no near dates. We must wait for about 3 months to do one ultrasound of uterus.)

· There is no easy access to the mental counselling for immigrants because it is most needed thing for people struggling for survival in new country.

In final session, we were requested to suggest some possible solutions to minimise these kinds of health-related hazards. We participants tried to give following solutions: –

· There must be a helpdesk for those who have language problem (at least English language)

· Health professionals should be equally co-operative to people who cannot speak Portuguese

· There must be easy access to change all personal details in centro saude for example contact number, current address etc.

· For people who don’t have easy access to technology, there should be posters, pamphlets, announcements about health, hospitals and centro saude in public areas like metro stations, minimarkets, parks etc.

· There must be a helpline for immigrants who needs mental counselling

· Public awareness is most important to make immigrants comfortable with every health facility.

At last, we expressed our gratitude to the Portuguese government for accepting us and providing all health facilities without any hesitation