A collaborative response for the Casey community

Late last week, Monash Health established two new screening clinics in response to the recent outbreak in the Casey and Dandenong areas.

Thanks to a collaborative response from the Refugee Health and Wellbeing team, led by Jacquie McBride and the Community Outreach team led by Dan Carter, Director of Aboriginal Health, Monash Health, along with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has ensured that the community has access to health care,  information, welfare and testing support they need to gain control of this outbreak.

Monash Health’s contact tracing effort has been supported by Jacquie’s team who have followed up families from diverse backgrounds. The team has also checked in with families on a daily basis, to monitor and respond to health needs and reinforce public health messages, with the Complex Care team led by Debra Gascard assisting in our early response to the outbreak. Social and material needs have been addressed by coordinating food drops, tailored to meet specific requirements, and toy drops to keep the children occupied while staying home.

“It’s been about positive engagement and support to ensure families are best placed to engage in contact tracing efforts, have health needs addressed and understand public health messaging including isolation requirements” says Jacquie.

Dan and his team have been working on engaging with the community in Dandenong at Palm Plaza, next to Dandenong market.

Working out of Monash Health Community’s Green Cross Bus, the team have been engaged in fruitful conversations, handing out reusable masks and ensuring the community have as much information as possible about COVID-19, where and how to get tested, and staying home whenever possible.

The team working from the Green Cross Bus are familiar with the area and many members of the Dandenong community and Dan says that it’s helped to engage face to face with community members who are uninformed about the risks of COVID-19.

“There are a lot of community members who are concerned that being tested will prevent them from being able to work until they receive their results. We have been making sure that everyone knows what help is available to them and how to access it.”

Dandenong Market and Palm Plaza are busy places on market day, and Dan says the store holders have been thankful for the work that Monash Health have done in setting up the walk-up testing clinic and providing COVID-19 signage in a variety of languages that match the cultural groups in the community.

For the last few months, outreach services have also been instrumental in helping people in the community get tested who are having trouble accessing a screening clinic and who don’t qualify for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Service’s ‘call to test’ service.

At the moment, the team are providing swabs to around 30 community members and households per week.

Approved by Julia Oxley 

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