Leading infectious diseases physician to lead community health testing and vaccination consortium focussed on melbourne’s most marginalised communities

Released on 16th June 2021

cohealth’s Dr Nadia Chaves has been appointed as Chair of the C-19 Network’s clinical governance group.  The C-19 Network  is a consortium of five Community Health organisations (cohealth, DPV Health, IPC Health, EACH and Star Health) which have collectively combined their capacity and capabilities to scale COVID-19 testing and vaccination services to communities across metro Melbourne.

Each of the five member organisations has existing relationships with their local communities and delivers a suite of culturally relevant education, health promotion, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the C-19 Network have conducted over 280,000 COVID-19 tests collectively and have not had one transmission of the virus to a staff member. From February this year, the C-19 Network have engaged with local communities on over 21,000 occasions through our localised response workforce.

The C-19 Network has vaccinated more than 15,600 of Melbourne’s most vulnerable people since commencing in May, with a focus on people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those in insecure housing and homelessness, and people in high-density and shared accommodation settings.

Jayne Nelson, CEO of IPC Health, Lead Agency of the C-19 Network said, ‘We are honoured to have an Infectious Diseases Specialist of Dr Nadia Chaves’ stature providing clinical oversight of our work.

Her expertise and experience in working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is a great asset for the C-19 Network.”

“The member organisations share a common mission to improve health equity, we are deeply embedded within communities across Melbourne and have alliances with local providers in regional and rural Victoria.”

“Our teams can be quickly mobilised to ensure reach and education through engagement and the necessary follow-up and support of the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Ms Nelson.

“Together the C-19 Network partners can respond with agility to any outbreaks and ensure that testing and vaccination is taken to the communities that most need them.  This work complements the mass vaccination programs and hubs,” she said.

Dr Chaves said “Much has been written and said during the pandemic about the need to prioritise marginalised communities for support including, importantly, vaccination.  Community Health organisations do that every day as a primary function.”

“We know the pandemic is causing high levels of anxiety in the community and that trusted relationships are key to engaging, educating, and supporting people in under-served communities. Our aim is to break down the structural barriers which prevent people who are most at risk from being able to access COVID-19 vaccination.” said Dr Chaves.

“While we are connected to communities and take the vaccination to where there are people with the highest needs, we also put service quality and safety at the top of our agenda.”

“The pandemic has shown us how poverty and social inequality compounds COVID risks, which is why focussing vaccination efforts on those communities is so important,” said Dr Chaves.

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More information: email media@cohealth.org.au or call 0499 101 638

More on cohealth: 

cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services. 

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