The future looks healthy for Aboriginal women 2018
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.
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.