The fu­ture looks healthy for Abo­rig­i­nal women 2018

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

ACROSS the spec­trum, there are sig­nif­i­cant gaps be­tween health sta­tis­tics of Abo­rig­i­nal and non-abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

“We’re not clos­ing that dis­par­ity as quickly as we need to,” Pri­mary Health Net­work (PHN) West­ern NSW Abo­rig­i­nal Health man­ager Kim Whitely told

“We can make all the poli­cies and beau­ti­ful frame­works in the world but we need to be al­ways en­gag­ing with our com­mu­nity, al­ways be lis­ten­ing to their needs.

“If we con­tinue to do what we’re do­ing the gaps are not nar­row­ing that way, sig­nif­i­cantly enough, so we need to lis­ten and hear what changes we need to put in place, to in­form our health ser­vices and poli­cies,” Mrs Whitely said.

“It’s about al­low­ing women a voice in the ser­vices that are pro­vided to them. So those of us in po­si­tions that are dic­tat- ing pol­icy or what­ever else, we are in­formed by peo­ple on the ground, by the peo­ple that re­quire those ser­vices.”

In Wi­rad­juri coun­try in the NSW cen­tral west, so­ci­ety is ma­tri­ar­chal and women are key to that so­ci­ety. For ex­am­ple, women nav­i­gate fam­i­lies through sports, the health care sys­tem and cul­tur­ally.

Reach­ing and lis­ten­ing to Abo­rig­i­nal women was a key driver be­hind the in­au­gu­ral Abo­rig­i­nal Women’s Health Fo­rum held at the Dubbo RSL Club on Fri­day, Septem­ber 28.

“To­day’s about giv­ing women a time out, and (for them to) get in­for­ma­tion about how they can stay healthy them­selves,” Mrs Whitely said.

“The big­gest thing in the con­text of the fo­rum is the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween West­ern Lo­cal Health District as a state en­tity and our Pri­mary Health Net­work too, as a Com­mon­wealth ini­tia­tive.

“It’s re­ally good for Abo­rig­i­nal work­ers, to recog­nise the need to join and work col­lab­o­ra­tively so that we can build a bet­ter ser­vice for our pa­tients and peo­ple,” she said.

“We’re all try­ing to achieve the same goal, but do­ing it to­gether means we’ll get their faster,” West­ern NSW Lo­cal Health District Abo­rig­i­nal Health man­ager Kellyann John­son said.

Dur­ing the fo­rum, key­note speak­ers in­cluded Ngemba/wi­rad­juri wo­man Dr Kh­yarne Biles and Barkindji/maori wo­man Jes­sica Skin­ner – both high-achiev­ing younger mem­bers of the indige­nous com­mu­nity.

“It’s great to be able to show­case our amaz­ing, tal­ented young peo­ple in health, ed­u­ca­tion and sports. Abo­rig­i­nal women don’t get the high pro­file fo­cus that our men do,” Mrs Whitely said.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

Pri­mary Health Net­work (PHN) West­ern NSW Abo­rig­i­nal Health man­ager Kim Whitely with West­ern NSW Lo­cal Health District Abo­rig­i­nal Health man­ager Kellyann John­son at the in­au­gu­ral Abo­rig­i­nal Women’s Health Fo­rum in Dubbo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.