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In the current Sydney lockdown, the Asylum Seekers Centre has responded to a 60% increase in demand for support. In order to adhere to changing NSW restrictions, staff and volunteers have had to change the way they deliver that support.
Mansour*, a 44-year-old man seeking asylum, contacted the ASC after he was notified that he had had to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a COVID-19 case at the supermarket.
The problem was Mansour lived alone, with no family members or friends living nearby. He was unable to travel to a chemist to access vital medications for his chronic illness.
Asylum Seekers Centre health manager Leonie Agnew said the team had to think creatively to find a way to help Mansour.
She phoned his GP to explain the situation, and the GP emailed the prescriptions to a Newtown chemist. This allowed an ASC volunteer to collect his medications and post them express to Mansour.
“Mansour was feeling stressed and lonely, so we checked in on him daily and arranged to have food delivered to his door,” Ms Agnew said.
“Having his medications meant there was one less thing for him to worry about.”
In the current lockdown, the Asylum Seekers Centre health clinic has been offering appointments through telehealth. Face-to-face appointments and home visits have also been happening where necessary.
With current travel restrictions, the ASC has also had to change the way it helps people access their medications.
“People seeking asylum want to do the right thing and stay safe during the pandemic,” Ms Agnew said.
“The support of a kind community, and services like the ASC provides, makes it easier for people to follow stay-at-home orders.”