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Maternity Care: Session 7

With the Caribbean and African Health Network, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the Longsite Primary Care Network we've been dismantling the barriers that women seeking asylum and refugees experience in their journey to motherhood.


Refugees and asylum seekers have a higher likelihood of experiencing health concerns as a result of the experiences that they live through, life choices and cultural habits.


Poor diet as a result of their immigration status, higher chances of having diabetes - and a propensity to seek medical care later than most further exasperated the health disparities they experience.


For our final session, we were joined by Carlos who is an NHS Development Coordinator. Carlos's work focuses on finding out what barriers the Ardwick and Longsight community face regarding uptaking bowel cancer screenings.


He collected the ages and ethnicity of the women. He then explained the risks of bowel cancer and how it disproportionately affects communities of African and Asian descent.


The group were briefed about the NHS Screening Programme which offers bowel cancer screenings every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 74. If caught early, bowel cancer has a 90% chance of recovery. Carlos advised the women to pass on this information to older family members who might benefit from screening.


Carlos assured the women that exercising and eating a healthy diet, a balanced nutritious diet and up taking the test kit when eligible is key to reducing the risk and better chance of treatment.


Only two out of 18 women, including the two volunteers, had heard about bowel cancer. By the end of the session, all women had learnt something new about bowel cancer.


The women were encouraged by Carlos to speak to the men in their lives as the bowel cancer screening uptake for men in the community is lower than for women.

All the women said they will be on the lookout for the screening kit when eligible and encourage eligible members of their families to not hesitate to test themselves.


Finally, we performed a survey where we asked the group what would prevent them from seeking treatment if they experienced any symptoms in the future. Almost everyone mentioned language, the primary barrier reported throughout the Maternity Care sessions.


The women felt at the end of the session that they have learnt something new, and they would like to find out more information about bowel cancer and how they can reduce the risk. Carlos reassured the women that information is available in Arabic which leads to knowing where to look for information and how.


The group made a valid point by saying you cannot search for what you don’t know or not looking for. This is why sessions such as the Maternity Care project is vital, as it informs, and it gives room for further development, knowledge and better health care decision being taken by the community who needs it most.


We rely on donations and grant funding to dismantle the health and wellbeing inequalities the people we support face. If you can donate you'll be helping us to create an equal society. Make a donation here today.

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