The CEC and Health Equity
The CEC promotes equal access to health and social services for all people regardless of ethnic origin and works on projects that aim to remove systemic barriers to this access.
Language and religious and cultural beliefs prevent some individuals from ethnic groups from finding and using the health care they need and prevent practitioners from optimally serving these people. The goal is to make practitioners more sensitive to the particular needs of different groups and create tools to educate people from these groups about important health issues.
Why Hepatitis C and Related Diseases?
Hepatitis C is a major health concern in some immigrant ethnic communities – especially those whose members come from home countries which have a high prevalence rate (3% or higher).
From 2005 to 2010, the CEC, in partnership with the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF), developed resources on hepatitis C and conducted training sessions for healthcare providers from four high-risk communities: Chinese, Egyptian, Filipino, and Vietnamese. Their goal was to train the healthcare providers on how to address the need for prevention and treatment of hepatitis C in their respective communities.
During this time, the CEC also consulted with members of these four ethnocultural communities, who indicated that there is a need to inform their communities about other illnesses which are spread in a similar way as hepatitis C (namely, hepatitis B and HIV). They also indicated that language and literacy barriers prevent individuals from these communities from learning about these diseases and taking necessary measures to protect themselves and others. In addition to the four communities, the South Asian one was identified as being at high risk for hepatitis C and the other two illnesses.
The Current Project
In 2013, building on its previous work, the CEC began a project entitled “Hepatitis C and Other Related Communicable Diseases in High-Risk Immigrant Ethnic Communities”. This project broadened the scope of the CEC’s hepatitis C initiatives to include hepatitis B and HIV, as well as the communities to include people from India, the South Asian country with the largest immigrant population in Canada.
The CEC partnered with the Canadian Liver Foundation in an effort to increase the knowledge, participation, and collaboration of healthcare and community care providers, as well as community leaders, on hepatitis C and the related diseases in five of the high-risk communities in Canada (Chinese, East Indian, Egyptian, Filipino, and Vietnamese).
The project consisted of the following:
- Resources were created for healthcare providers, namely a training manual and PowerPoint presentation
- Resources were created for ethnic communities, namely a fact sheet about the illnesses and prevalence rates in home countries. The fact sheets were created in English and French for the five selected communities (Chinese, East Indian, Egyptian, Filipino, and Vietnamese) as well as translated into seven languages (Arabic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Punjabi, Tamil, Tagalog, and Vietnamese)
- Twenty-five lead trainers were selected: five healthcare providers from each of the five communities, one from each of the major cities in Canada (Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg).
- These 25 lead trainers attended a workshop conducted by the CEC and CLF about hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV and why they are a major health issue in the selected communities.
- Each lead trainer then organized and conducted a workshop for people from their community (healthcare and community care providers as well as interested community member) about the illnesses, their modes of transmission, prevention methods, and treatment. In total, 294 individuals attended the 25 workshops.
- This Hep C portal was added to the CEC website on which resources are available to healthcare and community care providers as well to the five selected ethnic communities. These resources can be adapted for use by other communities.