December 2, 2023

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Saskatoon partnership aims to help refugees with health-care translation – Saskatoon

A partnership in Saskatoon aims to build health literacy within Saskatchewan for newcomers to the province.

Saskatchewan Blue Cross says it has partnered up with 10 organizations within the health literacy space, one of them being Global Gathering Place.

Kelly Wilson, the president and CEO of Saskatchewan Blue Cross, said they started their partnership with Global Gathering Place in 2021 after there was an influx of refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine.

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“There were a lot of newcomers in our province and you can imagine that they don’t always know our language when they land,” Wilson said.

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She said there’s a big need to help support people to understand their health-care needs.

Wilson said with Global Gathering Place they are working on cultural and language services and providing translation and funding for a number of the programs that Global Gathering Place has.

She said they help support 10 partners within the health literacy space.

Doha Kharsa works with Global Gathering Place as a path facilitator. She said she helps provide access to the health-care system for refugees.

She said refugees and newcomers to Saskatchewan will meet with the Open Door Society, an organization that helps connect newcomers to several services, which then refer those people to path facilitators.

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“Then we will start assisting them to navigate the health-care system, and the program is for six months.”

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She said health care is a priority for everyone, noting many refugees have no clue about Canada’s health-care system when they arrive.

“The main challenge is language, a language barrier.”

She said the system is also very different from other countries.

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