Refugee Health Service Supports New Arrivals

world refugee day logo

World Refugee Day was recently held on 20 June – an international day organised every year by the United Nations to celebrate and honour refugees from around the world.

At Pegasus, we work closely with former refugee community leaders and community groups, Red Cross, Christchurch Refugee Resettlement Services, Purapura Whetu in Christchurch and Safer Mid Canterbury in Ashburton to help support new arrivals.

Pegasus Refugee Health Nurse Sahra Ahmed says her role is to help former refugees connect with health services once resettled in Canterbury. As permanent residents, new arrivals should have full access to a general practice and services such as oral health checks, B4 school checks, immunisations and cervical screening.

“We make sure they are supported by reducing barriers – enrolling them with a general practice close to where they live and helping with transport. If they are eligible for a Community Services Card, they also have free GP visits for five years and funded oral health.”

Sahra and her family have lived in New Zealand for 30 years since leaving Somalia. Her nursing training completed in New Zealand, coupled with her own experience as a new, New Zealander gives Sahra valuable insights into how Pegasus can help former refugees access health services in their new home.

Sahra says that experience has shown that if new arrivals get a good start, then there’s a better outcome for all concerned.

“If the individual does well, then their new country benefits. Former refugees can contribute to their community by using their skills and sharing their strengths and experience.”

Around 70 people are expected for resettlement in Ashburton and 90 in Christchurch this year, mostly from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia through the Quota Refugee programme.

Learn more about the Refugee Health Service

Read the full June newsletter here