Promoting health in multicultural communities


Local Doonside resident Mervat Sidra has been working to bring issues around health to multicultural Western Sydney. Egyptian-born Mervat Sidra was inspired to help spread the word about a healthy lifestyle after joining the Get Healthy Coaching and Information Service.

Losing five kilos in the first two months, she said the free telephone-based service was crucial to her health journey specifically her coach Josh. Josh is one of the countless qualified health professionals who provide free services to motivate, advise and support people in their healthy eating and physical activity targets.

Mervat said that weight loss was not her main goal but rather focusing on activity and food to help her address her stomach issues. Weight loss was seen as an added bonus.

“I just really wanted to better manage my pain and generally feel better.”

Now the 58-year-old is working during the Multicultural Health Week (September 4-10) to get other women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to take their health seriously.

The Western Sydney Local Health District’s Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman said that in the first half of 2017, only around 7% of participants in the program reported speaking a language other than English at home.

“We want to see more CALD women take that important first step to improving their health for the long-term.”

Mervat Sidra’s is serving as an example for the rest of the CALD community, particularly women to prioritise their health by getting involved in programs such as the Get Healthy Coaching and Information Service.