Why the need for cultural competency training for the general health workforce

Migrants and refugees new to New Zealand have different experiences and expectations of healthcare based on healthcare systems in their countries of origin. Understanding that health beliefs, attitudes and practices differ between cultures and exploring these differences is the first step towards establishing trust and rapport with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients and families.

We need a culturally competent health workforce with skills, attitudes and knowledge to respond to the diverse and unique needs of CALD migrants and refugees from Asian, Middle Eastern, African and European countries. These communities face barriers to access and inequities in health care provision in New Zealand compared to other groups in our society.

Cultural competence is pivotal for addressing inequities and culturally safe care, as culture and language may influence:

  • how illness and its causes are perceived by both the client and the practitioner
  • the behaviours of CALD clients who are seeking healthcare and their attitudes towards the practitioner
  • client/family engagement and acceptance of the health services offered.

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand - Commissioning Directorate has commissioned eCALD® Services to provide cultural competency training programmes for the general health workforce to enhance cultural understanding, attitudes, knowledge and skills to work more effectively with CALD communities.

Related links

About cultural competence

View 'Cultural Competency' courses for the general health workforce.