Tens of thousands of Afghans have been resettled to the United States after the Taliban took control of Kabul in 2021. Resettlement agencies, federal partners, healthcare systems, public health professionals, social service providers, and community-based organizations are working hard to support Afghan communities. One important aspect of resettlement is addressing the public health needs of communities in a culturally appropriate way.
Fortunately, there are many examples of strategies, approaches, and programs that have shown to have a positive impact in local settings that could serve as a model for others. In partnership with our partners and through interviews with organizations and community leaders across the country, NRC-RIM has developed a collection of promising practices related to Afghan health promotion. This collection is intended to highlight culturally appropriate programs and to inspire other organizations to consider similar approaches.
Education and Prevention to Reduce Lead Exposure Among Afghan Arrivals
One notable public health challenge that Afghan newcomers face before and after resettlement is exposure to lead and the risk of lead poisoning. Seattle and King County Public Health (SKCPH) has been partnering with Afghan Health Initiative (AHI) to prevent childhood lead poisoning in King County, Washington. Their efforts include home visits and a pressure cooker exchange program.
Orienting Afghan Newcomers to Prenatal Care and Delivery in the United States
HealthPoint is a network of non-profit community-based health centers in Washington state that provides care to many communities, including newcomers from Afghanistan. Learn how the CenteringPregnancy model for prenatal care has helped provide health education and social connection for Afghan newcomers adjusting to life in the United States.
Mental Health and Social Support Programming for Afghan Newcomers
Recently resettled Afghans are adjusting to their new lives while contributing to their communities, securing public benefits, and pursuing opportunities for youth and adults. An important part of Afghans’ resettlement process is understanding and addressing mental health and social support needs. Culturally appropriate mental health and social support programming empowers Afghan newcomers to cope with challenges, rebuild their lives, and thrive in their new homes.
Bringing Vaccines Directly to Afghan Communities
The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) in New York state worked to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in local refugee and immigrant communities using a pop-up clinic model that featured community engagement, effective communication, and convenient care. ECDOH partnered with trusted Afghan community health workers to provide accurate health information in Dari, Pashto and English.
Vaccine Listening Sessions
The Afghan Health Initiative partnered with a health department to host community listening sessions to receive input from the Afghan community about the COVID-19 vaccine. The listening sessions were held via Zoom and Farsi, Dari and Pashto interpretations were made available.