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Refugees in Greater Western Sydney: A systemic analysis of the impact of COVID-19 and service system response

Background

The NSW government was praised for its efforts in managing the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping the overall number of infections low. However, the current wave of the pandemic disproportionately impacted areas where refugees traditionally resettle, with the majority of new cases being reported from Western and Southwestern Sydney regions. Refugees resettled in Greater Western Sydney are more likely to experience poverty, be employed in less protected, service-sector jobs, experience language and health care access barriers, and have higher rates of co-morbidities. These factors may put them at increased risk of exposure to people with COVID-19, or hospitalisation and fatality as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, examining the lived experiences of recently resettled refugees under the pandemic lockdown circumstances would help us understand the impact of the pandemic on this marginalised population. The project will also examine the refugee-specific service system response to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and its control measures.

Objectives

  • Examine the lived experiences of refugees during the first and third wave of the pandemic
  • Understand the impact of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing (social, economic, cultural) of recently resettled refugees
  • Understand how services assisting refugees responded to the current COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Western Sydney

Methods

This a qualitative study which will involve semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FGD) to explain and elaborate upon issues identiļ¬ed above.

Investigators

Zelalem Mengesha

Aryati Yashadhana

Patrick Harris

Evelyne de Leeuw

Danielle Weber