Cairde has launched a new multilingual mobile friendly website, Health Connect to improve minority and vulnerable communities’ access to local health services.
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The new information platform:
Ö Describes health services available in Ireland, including GP practices, hospitals, maternity and women’s health and mental health.
Ö Enables an immediate connection to relevant services available in user’s area of residence. The website is linked with Google maps where those services are tagged thus the user can instantly see what’s available in his/her locality and can easily obtain addresses, opening hours and other contact details.
Ö Provides more information about the health sector in Ireland, including general entitlement to health services, help with medical costs, GP out-of-hours service, GP and GP Visit Card schemes.
Ö English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Polish languages versions.
Health Connect is designed with a mobile user in mind. It features clear design, short text, accessible menus, geolocation option for health services in Ireland, integration with Google Maps for an interactive and intuitive experience. Health Connect is for everyone yet it accommodates vulnerable minority ethnic – migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and foreign students users, who may not have easy access to a computer and may have difficulties with understating both the English language and the Irish healthcare system.
The project is developed by Cairde, an advocacy organisation working to improve ethnic minorities’ access to services in Ireland and funded by the National Social Inclusion Office, HSE under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2017.
Tonya Myles, Cairde’s General Manager says:
‘Cairde has almost 20 years’ experience in working with ethnic minority communities in the area of health information. It specialises in devising innovative approaches to providing appropriate and accessible information to migrants.
‘Poor awareness about available services, pathways of access and rights and entitlements remains one of the key barriers to migrants’ integration in Ireland.
‘Health Connect will enable users of ethnic minorities to better access health services in the most optimal way. Mobile phone usage has been identified as a medium used by a large number of migrant communities to communicate both within Ireland and with relatives beyond the country.
‘This is the first phase of the project. The platform enables building on existing content and features improving users’ experience. It also allows adding new languages. At this point we also encourage health service providers to update their details on Google maps.’
Diane Nurse, National Lead, HSE Social Inclusion says:
‘This interactive mobile app Health Connect will be really useful in supporting people from diverse ethnic backgrounds to access relevant information about health services and to use these services optimally. It is a practical and innovative way of providing information to people unfamiliar with our health services. I welcome this resource and look forward to phase 2 of this exciting initiative!’
Cairde Dublin, 19 Belvedere Place, Dublin 1; ph. 018552111
Cairde Balbriggan, Old St. Georges School House, Hampton Street, Balbriggan; ph. 018020785