Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Afghan families participate in health meetings and receive instructions in their language

At the end of November, Professor Marcela González, from the School of Nursing, proposed, together with Professor Angelina Dois, to hold five community dialogues with the five Afghan families who arrived in Chile at the end of September and who have been supported by the college. “These meetings,” says González, “had the objective of knowing the immediate needs that they felt regarding their health and well-being.”

One of them, the most urgent, was to have an «emergency kit» (or enough komak hay awayla بسته کمک های اولیه, as they call it in the Dari language) that allows them to solve daily problems, such as a headache, stomach ache or heal a scratch. “Difficulty that emerges due to the limitations in the use of the Spanish language that families still have, which makes it difficult for them to go to the pharmacy and recognize those medications that are commonly used by them in Kabul,” adds González.

“This kit has, in addition to the medications, with serum, dressings, adhesive cloth, bandages and a thermometer, in addition to the instructions on how to use them translated into their mother tongue” – Marcela González, UC Nursing academic

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For this reason, the two academics from the Faculty of Medicine joined forces with their colleagues Ximena González and María Teresa Valenzuela, professor Olaya Grau, from the Faculty of Social Sciences, social worker UC Bárbara Donoso and Pastoral UC, in order to hold a workshop on December 21 that will explain each of the elements of the emergency kit, in addition to delivering a Christmas box to celebrate Christmas Eve dinner.

“This kit has, in addition to the medications, with serum, dressings, adhesive cloth, bandages and a thermometer, in addition to the instructions on how to use them translated into their mother tongue,” says González. The Dari translation was carried out by the young Chilean-Afghan Alí Akbarzada, who has supported the families throughout this process.

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This is one of a series of activities that have been carried out since September to accompany the families’ settlement process.
“One of the hallmarks of Pastoral UC is welcoming,” says Leyla Darras, Director of Solidarity and Sustainability of Pastoral. “This is how the Afghan families hosted by UC have not been the exception and we have done our best to collaborate so that their stay in Chile is a good experience.” In this way, the Pastoral has arranged volunteers to take care of the little ones while the parents are in the classes of the Spanish UC program of the Faculty of Letters and, at Christmas, they received Christmas dinners to «convey to them the meaning of this time : a time when family is the most important thing and where hope and joy reign.

This is one of a series of activities that have been carried out since September to accompany the families’ settlement process.

Another action is to homologate the Afghan vaccination cards for children and adults and this is being done in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the National Immunization Program, which will allow them to have access to pending vaccines. In addition, they are being contacted with the CESFAMs closest to their homes.

“When there are refugee situations, solving health issues is essential, especially after the long journey they had to make,” says Professor Olaya Grau, who co-leads the articulation of insertion actions as part of the UC Intercultural Program.

According to Grau, the support of the School of Nursing is essential for the psychosocial support that foster families need to be complete. “To do this, negotiations are also being carried out with the Christus UC Health Network, which allows them to generate health checks and a set of medical examinations with specialists, especially in more urgent matters”, he adds.

“When there are refugee situations, solving health issues is essential, especially after the long journey they had to make” – Olaya Grau, who co-leads the articulation of insertion actions as part of the UC Intercultural Program.

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