On Thursday 28 April, the new Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub, a much needed service in Melbourne’s inner-north, was officially opened by Cr Samantha Ratnam, Mayor of Moreland, and blessed by Reverend Monsignor Anthony Ireland STD EV PP, Episcopal Vicar for Health, Aged and Disability Care in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.
The new service, located on the ground floor at 503 Sydney Road in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, will provide healthcare services for asylum seekers and refugees.
Special guests at the event included Cabrini Sisters General Superior Sister Barbara Staley, MSC; Sister Catherine Garry, MSC; Sister Arlene Van Dusen, MSC; and Sister Sharon Casey, MSC; as well as Cabrini Board Chairman Richard Rogers.
“Cabrini is committed to making a difference to the disadvantage faced by asylum seekers and refugees,” says Dr. Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Cabrini. “We believe that working collaboratively is the most effective way to address disadvantage and will lead to the best health outcomes for the people we want to serve.”
[The Australian state of] Victoria has one of the highest asylum seeker and refugee settlement numbers in Australia. Many asylum seekers in our community have neither work rights nor access to government benefits such as Medicare, Centrelink, housing or emergency relief.
“Our approach is based on strong partnerships with public and private hospitals, community health agencies, asylum seeker/refugee services and others who want to make a difference to the plight of asylum seekers and refugees,” said Dr. Walsh. “We are grateful to the many agencies who have supported the concept and look forward to others joining with us over time to enhance our capacity.”
In his blessing, Monsignor Anthony Ireland reminded the gathering that pain is not hypothetical, it’s not imaginary, it’s real, and the pain of refugees and asylum seekers is a powerful reality in our community, and in societies all over the world.
What Cabrini and everyone associated with the new Centre are doing, Monsignor Ireland said, is giving witness to the Gospel truths. …Everybody involved is doing precisely what the Gospel [calls forth…]
Initial services will begin in May 2016 with GP clinics and specialist mental health services to be offered first. Chronic disease management, maternal and child health and infectious disease management, as well as social, emotional and spiritual support services, will follow.
“Clustering these services in one location will enhance access and facilitate a person-centred, integrated approach to primary and specialist care for this vulnerable group,” said Dr. Walsh.