Local Aboriginal families with young children will benefit from new services after Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service was successful in gaining a $500,000 grant earlier this month.
The New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program is an initiative of the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Health, and aims to deliver antenatal, postnatal and early childhood services targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children under five yearsn old. Nunyara plans to use the funding to improve the health care of children from antenatal care right through until they attend primary school.
The health service currently have a part time Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care (AMIC) Practitioner and access to a Midwife one day per week.
The funding would increase the hours of these two positions as well as create four new jobs. Nunyara will employ a Child Health Coordinator, Child Health Nurse, AMIC Trainee and Transport Officer to support the new program.
Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service chief executive officer Cindy Zbierksi said the team anticipates they can “more than double” Nunyara’s service delivery outputs relating to improved access and outcomes for under five-year-olds.
“We can increase the child health checks by at least doubling them in the first six months and increase childhood immunisation by 20 percent,” she said.
The provision of a Transport Officer in the new program will also assist clients to attend specialist appointments in Port Augusta, who have more Paediatric and Obstetric services than Whyalla.
Mrs Zbierski said this has been an issue in the past, as travelling to Port Augusta is less than 100 kilometres away so clients do not qualify for the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme.
Nunyara is working on converting one of its buildings into a space for this service and plans to have the team fully operational by the end of 2017. Nunyara is located at 17/27 Tully St, Whyalla.