People like Ruwani* face many barriers to live independently and are increasingly presenting at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with financial stress, complex mental health issues and greater impacts on their wellbeing.
“When I came to Australia I had hope for their future, that they would at least be safe. But when I was pregnant with my second child, the government took away my medicare. I do not know why.”
Before Ruwani lost access to Medicare, her bulk billing GP referred her to the public hospital where her first baby was delivered. However, with her second child, as her Medicare was cancelled she was unable to pay for an ultrasound at the hospital clinic. Through local refugee organisations, Ruwani was referred to ASRC Health.
“This experience of being pregnant was so much more frightening than with my first baby when I had Medicare. This time I could not see my family GP because I did not have money to pay for appointments. And when the hospital told me I would have to pay for my blood tests and scans I did not know what to do. And I was very worried that all the stress would harm the baby.”
The ASRC nurses booked Ruwani in to have a pro-bono pregnancy scan at a Melbourne hospital. They organised the transfer of her health record from her bulk billing GP to ASRC’s GP. ASRC nurses also organised a female pro bono GP at ASRC to provide Ruwani with pregnancy and general family care, liaised with a social worker at the hospital to assess and support her before and after delivery.
They referred Ruwani and her partner to ASRC’s Client Services and Counselling for continuing support around mental health. The nurses ensured Ruwani was booked for regular ASRC GP appointments to provide ongoing support and linked her to ASRC’s Material Aid and GAP services to access supplies for her newborn baby.
“With all the stress of losing Medicare and having no money, my husband and I started to have more problems. We are okay now but for a while it was very bad. The doctor and nurses and ASRC organised for us to get some counselling and other help. All of ASRC helped us to get through this very bad time.”
Demand for our services continues to grow and the needs of our community are constantly evolving. To meet this challenge we need to be even better at supporting people with what they need the most. We must help to enhance people’s resilience so people seeking asylum can have the chance to build a better life for themselves. You can be that chance for someone by helping to build a place of welcome. Help to support Ruwani and others just like her by donating today.
Be a chance for change. And help shape a place of welcome.
* Names changed and stories amalgamated to protect the identity of people seeking asylumLeave a reply