|Exercise Kummundoo is a health initiative conducted under a joint agreement between the Royal Australian Air Force and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) with the goal to improve the lifestyles of rural Indigenous populations.
Two dental officers and three dental assistants deployed to Western Australia over the period 5-26 August working at Mawarnkarra Health Service in Roebourne and Wirraka Maya Health Service in Port Hedland.
Two Indigenous liaison officers participated in Exercise Kummundoo to provide cultural support and community engagement. The teams worked together with the staff in the local clinics and provided dental services and health education to the Indigenous communities.
The Air Force Indigenous liaison officers have spent the duration of the Exercise attending social events and cultural groups with the men, women, boys and girls from the local communities. Squadron Leader Khai Nguyen, the Officer in Charge of Exercise Kummundoo, said this year the reach of the exercise is extending beyond the clinic with broad health promotion activities.
“Our Indigenous team members have been connecting with the local communities to increase awareness of various health issues afflicting the region and to share their own personal serving experiences”, he said
“This connection has been paramount as it has enabled our team to embed ourselves within the communities, gaining their trust and maximising our impact.” Warrant Officer Brett West, Indigenous Liaison Officer for Exercise Kummundoo, said the Exercise has been really positive because it has helped close the gap in Indigenous health.
“It’s fantastic being able to come to the Pilbara where Air Force doesn’t normally have a presence”, he said “Exercise Kummundoo has been great for both the Air Force and the communities and it not only provides a vital service but also showcases Air Force as an employment option.
” During the exercise, the two teams saw a total of 199 patients, extracted 137 teeth and delivered four hours of training to impart their knowledge onto both their patients and the health professionals providing regular care in the Roebourne and Port Hedland communities
Squadron Leader Nguyen said that Exercise Kummundoo 2016 has been a professionally rewarding experience for the entire team where they have all made individual connections and a difference to all that have passed through the clinic doors.
“It has been an overall success where we have made a noticeable and tangible difference to the local regions”, he said “Air Force has been able to provide comprehensive dental services to the region through Mawarnkarra Health Service and Wirraka Maya Health Service that the community has been unable to access.” Exercise Kummundoo is under a five-year agreement with NACCHO, with three years to go.
While dental care has been the focus of the last two years, the program is aimed at a generalise approach to health and well being of Indigenous people .
Picture below 2015 :NACCHO chair Matthew Cooke and CEO Lisa Briggs with Acting Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Leo Davies ,Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley and Assistant Health Minister Senator Fiona Nash