Somali residents ask state for more collaborative health care
MINNEAPOLIS — Some in the Somali community say the state isn’t doing enough to address the health concerns of Somali people. Fartun Weli runs a health organization for women called the Isuroon Project in south Minneapolis.
She said immigrant healthcare programs from the Minnesota Department of Health aren’t a good fit for many Somali people.
“We are being forced to use these programs. We weren’t even here when these programs were designed,” she said.
“Our women, they don’t know where to go for healthcare; they’re very confused about what doctor to see, what kind of medication to take.”
Weli says the state needs to provide more funding for preventative care and explore the cultural differences between Western and Somali medicine. She said she wants Somali people to collaborate with the Department of Health on those efforts.
Department of Health spokesman Mike Schommer said the state is working to improve the health of all immigrants and is open to having conversations about new approaches.
“It’s important to recognize that a lot of the solutions are going to exist within the community,” he said. “So we do try to operate in a way that is in partnership.”
Schommer said the state is working with several immigrant groups on healthcare initiatives.
MPR (Minnesota Public Radio)