PRESS RELEASE: THE COVID19 WORLD SERVICE IS LAUNCHED
A new service which aims to inform migrants about Covid19 is to be launched today (Tuesday, May 19th). Using video messaging in over 30 different languages, from Swahili to Urdu, Chinese to Czech and Portuguese to Polish, this service will be run by the Together Ireland Initiative and Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre. Over 20 doctors, and other healthcare professionals, from around the world, but living and working in Ireland, have voiced the video messages which have been scripted with advice on how to prevent the contraction and spread of the virus as well as what to do if you test positive for Covid19 or are a contact of someone who has.
“We know that not all people in Ireland today consume public health information on Covid19 in the same way. Many migrants do not speak or read English. Many don’t listen to Irish radio, watch Irish television or read Irish newspapers,” explained Graham Clifford, who is behind this initiative. He added: “Many migrants get their information online, via Youtube or from news agencies in their home countries as so many young Irish migrants do when living abroad. But often the public health advice from elsewhere can be very different to our own.”
The scripts for each video mirror up-to-date public health information and guidelines from the HSE and have been written by a GP. They are then presented in a culturally appropriate style by the person filming the videos using their smart phones. All the clips will be uploaded to nascireland.org this week and will be updated once we enter a new phase of Covid19 restrictions.
Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc said: “The importance of providing people with vital public health information from trusted sources in languages they can understand, and from people they can relate to, cannot be understated. From our experience, we know that many migrant and ethnic minority communities are really struggling with this. As Ireland moves out of its initial lockdown phase, its now critical that everyone has access to up-to-date, reliable information. We’re delighted to be working with Together Ireland to achieve that.”
Its anticipated that GPs and other healthcare providers will use the videos as a resource to communicate with patients from other countries who have little or no English. As the number of clusters in meat factories and direct provision centres in Ireland continues to grow Graham Clifford said the need for clear communication with migrants is so important for the people involved and for public health in general. “We’ve done a very good job in terms of advising English and Irish speaking people here about the virus – but we live in a country with over 200 nationalities according to the last census. We’re a modern multicultural country and so during a national public health emergency like this, we need to make sure we communicate with all sections of our society effectively and use methods which work. If we’re all in this together then its vital no one is left behind.”
And Clifford believes the weaknesses of migration integration strategies in Ireland have been exposed during this crisis. “Communication with migrant communities hasn’t been as effective as it should be because there’s a lack of understanding of who our migrants are, especially those in low paid, low skilled jobs, asylum seekers and refugees. There’s a knowledge vacuum in many state agencies. If we haven’t built up communication and understanding during normal times how can we expect to comprehend the challenges facing migrants at a time like this and help them?”
He called for those parties in government negotiations to understand the need for an effective and functioning Migrant Integration Strategy in the years ahead. “We face difficult and testing times. For the good of everyone in society its important we work together harmoniously to rise again. We need more than translated documents and Africa Days once a year – we need effective, clever, organic community integration which benefits everyone in society and harnesses the assets and abilities of all who now call this country home.”
Note to editors:
The Public Health Videos on Covid19 will be in the following languages from this week but will be expanded in the weeks ahead: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Catalan, Chinese (mandarin), Croatian, Czech, French, Georgian, Hungarian, Hindi, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu and Yoruba.
Together Ireland is an initiative which looks at how we can enhance and enable greater community integration in cities, towns and villages across Ireland to the benefit of all.
To contact Graham Clifford of Together Ireland call (086) 4462650 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Fiona Hurley of Nasc on (087) 104 3284 or email: email@example.com