A new health care service for migrants has been launched in the Southern Health Trust area.
The Northern Ireland New Entrants Service (NINES) offers nurse-led health care advice and initial health assessments for adults and children not already registered with a GP.
Armagh I understands that a new intake of migrants will shortly arrive in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough.
Funded through the Southern Local Commissioning Group and developed in partnership with the Public Health Agency (PHA), NINES will be the first point of contact to the health service for new migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, offering health promotion advice and information on how to register with a GP and access other services they may need.
Gerry Bleakney, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement with the PHA, said: “The Northern Ireland New Entrants Service has been developed to ensure that we meet the need for public services from our migrant population.
“The PHA is committed to reducing inequalities and improving the health and social wellbeing of our ethnic minority community. NINES is an introduction to health and social care for people new to the country, ensuring they get an initial health check and explaining how our system works.
“Each client gets their own personal health record and will be referred onward to appropriate services that they may need. Moving far from your home can be a difficult experience, with feelings of isolation and fear and this service will help to ensure that our newer communities get the best start on arrival.”
Launching NINES in the Southern area, Trust Chair, Roberta Brownlee said: “In the Southern area we have the largest migrant population in Northern Ireland and this continues to rise.
“We want to ensure the health and wellbeing of our whole population by giving everyone living in our community the same access to health and social services. We are working closely with interpreting services and BME groups to overcome any cultural or language barriers and ask for the support of employers and community and voluntary organisations working with new migrants to the area to help us to raise awareness and encourage them to avail of this service.”
Picture inset: Roberta Brownlee, Chair and Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Southern Trust, Gerry Bleakney, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement, Public Health Agency, Alison Patterson, Senior Commissioning Manager, Southern Locality Commissioning Group, Sheila ONeill, NINES, Health Protection Nurse Specialist, Artur Kmiecik, Newry and Mourne Ethnic Minority Support Centre, Bernadette McAliskey, STEP, Paul Yam, Wah Hep Chinese Community Association, Julie McConville, Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing, Southern Trust, Rasa Juodiske and Hetty Smyth, Craigavon Intercultural Programme, Lynda Gordon, Head of Equality Assurance Unit, Southern Trust and Claire Hamilton, HSC Regional Interpreting Service.
Main picture: Sheila ONeill, NINES, Health Protection Nurse Specialist, Angelino Tavares, Julieta Gusmo and Angelina Gusmo Tavares from East Timor who now live in Dungannon, and Interpreter Roy Setiawan.