The Durban University of Technology (DUT’s) Urban Futures Centre hosted a Seminar Presentation entitled: Using technology to improve refugee and migrant access to sexual and reproductive health care.
The event was held in conjunction with the AIDS Foundation of South Africa and The Florence Foundation, at Steve Biko Campus, today.
To understand more on the sex health care amongst refugees, a community research had been conducted by the Florence Foundation to enhance knowledge and prevalence of HIV/AIDS and health risky behaviours amongst refugee and migrant communities in Durban, South Africa.
In support of their work done, the AIDS Foundation of South Africa has also developed a USDD format questionnaire with the goal to assess the sexual and reproductive health needs of refugees and migrants in South Africa. USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is a global system for Mobile (GSM) communication technology that is used to send text between a mobile phone and an application programme in the network. It already exists in English and in French, and will soon be translated into Portuguese and Swahili.
One of the speakers at the event was Brian Minga Amza, coordinator of the Florence Foundation, stressed that there was a lack of information in the refugee and migrant community when it came to issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS and believes a solution has to be found.
“The National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS that the government is working on excludes all migrants. We have developed a questionnaire with the goal to assess the sexual and reproductive health needs of refugees and migrants in South Africa. We went into the communities and people responded to the questionnaire. Health care education needs to be provided in a language that the migrant can understand,” he said.
Advocacy Manager at the AIDS Foundation of South Africa, Deborah Ewing, said in order to break the language barriers, stereotypical behaviour from health care staff, they Aids Foundation reached out to churches and community leaders to help advocate their message across.
“We asked ourselves, how do we reach people and we did that through working with every organisation that we can partner with who is working with refugees and migrants. Some of them are the Florence Foundation, Refugee Social Services and The Denis Hurley Centre,” she said.
The USDD format questionnaire will be officially launched at a date soon to be revealed, allowing people to reach it easily, and most of all anonymously
Pictured: Speakers and attendees at the event.