Immigrants Help Afghan Refugees Start New Life in the USA

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One thing that many employees at the Tuberculosis and Refugee Clinics at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, know in common is that they know how difficult it can be to live in a new country where the language is not understood.

Tram Pham, a nurse at the clinic, couldn’t hold back her tears when describing how hard her life was at the beginning of her relocation to the United States (USA) as a refugee from Vietnam.

He also recalled the unexpected joy of meeting a Vietnamese-speaking nurse and described the lengthy medical and tuberculosis screening required for newcomers.

Nearly three decades later, Pham hopes to pay the price for the comfort she and her family experience in the clinic by serving as a nurse at the clinic.

“I see patients from all over the world. I see some patients from Vietnam. I see a lot of patients who are refugees. I like to see myself,” Pham said.

The clinic where he works checks people out of Afghanistan after US troops withdrew from the country in August. Pham doesn’t speak Persian or Pashto, but she can calm stressed patients because they don’t have a job or can’t pay their rent.

One day, he holds the hand of an elderly Afghan woman who expresses her concern about living in a foreign country.

Medical translator Jahannaz Afshar felt the same way. The woman greeted the refugees in Persian when they arrived at the clinic. It explains what must pass as part of the medical examination required by the federal government. Explains the complex US healthcare system and shares tips on how to find a dedicated doctor.

Afshar, who moved from Iran in 2004, also explained cultural differences such as Americans’ preference for small talk. He teaches newcomers how to get on the bus or use the public library and assures that people in the US give help without expecting anything in return.

“I just arrived in this country and I had to go through a lot of things as they faced. It’s clearly very relevant and I can easily understand their plight,” Afshar said. said.

Nelda David, director of the clinic, said she was not surprised by the enthusiasm of the staff.

“Most of our staff were ex-migrants or refugees. Some of them even went through the process of assessing the health of refugees at this clinic,” said David.

The Tuberculosis and Refugee Clinic at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center joins a network of charities and government organizations involved in efforts to resettle nearly 100,000 refugees from Afghanistan. Initially this clinic was appointed to treat 200 refugees, but later the number was increased to 800 refugees. [ab/uh]

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