Addressing migrants’ health needs in New Zealand

Pabitra Biswa
Pabitra Biswa

Bhutanese women in Christchurch, New Zealand, became part of a specialised event for migrant women health providers who are struggling to meet the needs of migrants who moved to Canterbury after the earthquakes.

About 150 women representing 19 nationalities including Bhutanese-New Zealanders attended the ‘Ladies Health Day’ on Friday, which aimed to bridge language and cultural barriers to health for women who had recently made Christchurch their home.

Christchurch Resettlement Services (CRS) general manager Shirley Wright said many of the women did not know what health services were available in the city because they had become socially isolated.

Bhutanese-New Zealander Pabrita Biswa, who was one from Bhutanese community to attend this event, spent 20 of her 25 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before moving to New Zealand.

The ladies health day helped her learn more about how to get a job and how to eat healthily in New Zealand, and she had enrolled with subsidised medical centre Piki Te Ora, popular with migrants and refugees.

While refugees were enrolled with a GP from the moment they arrived in the city, migrants were left to enrol themselves, leaving a gap in health provision for those who did not enrol with a doctor.

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