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Health Soc Care Community. 2005 Sep;13(5):451-61.

Exploring the 'fit' between people and providers: refugee health needs and health care services in Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand.

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School of Geography and Environmental Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.


The needs of refugees and the struggles on the part of service providers to address this diverse population have received limited attention within the academic literature. This paper profiles Hauora o Puketapapa/Roskill Union and Community Health Centre (HoP), which is a non-profit, community owned and operated health clinic designed to deliver accessible, affordable and appropriate primary health care services to low-income groups in the Mt Roskill area of Auckland, New Zealand. The clinic's locality has undergone considerable demographic change over recent years with the arrival of refugees from diverse backgrounds. This situation has resulted in new sets of health needs and expectations which need to be addressed. The study took place in 2002-2003 and employed qualitative methods. In-depth interviews with community representatives, clinic users and health service staff members revealed that refugees face considerable barriers in accessing and utilising health services. Similarly, we found that health practitioners face the daunting task of endeavouring to meet these needs in an effective and culturally appropriate manner within a limited funding environment. We conclude that, despite these challenges, HoP has successfully established itself as a well-regarded place of primary health care. In so doing, it has strengthened the capacity of the local community to respond to the changing policy environment. However, long-term sustainability issues remain unless resourcing issues are adequately addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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