NACCHO Aboriginal Health ” What Works ” Part 8 : Aboriginal-run services can work but need to prove their worth, Indigenous leaders say


“We think it’s also been really important to try to dispel the public perception that somehow spending more money in Aboriginal health isn’t a worthwhile or a viable thing to do.

For every $1 invested we’re delivering a $4.18 return,

“We wanted to be able to show that the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector actually delivers good services and good outcomes, and they are cost-effective.”

Danila Dilba Health Service Darwin  CEO Olga Havnen said she had spent years pushing for evidence-based programs and governments needed to focus on Indigenous-run organisations that proved they could deliver

Photo caption  above from Page 3 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

A lack of evaluation of Indigenous-run programs aimed at overcoming disadvantage is placing serious limits on positive outcomes, Aboriginal leaders have warned

Report from the ABC

The comments come after a report by the Productivity Commission found Indigenous Australians are becoming more disadvantaged, citing alarming increases in imprisonment rates, mental health problems and rates of self-harm.

The report also said of the $30 billion budget allocated to overcoming these disadvantages, just 34 of the 1,000 federally funded programs had been properly evaluated.

Northern Territory Aboriginal health service Danila Dilba has engaged a private economics consultancy firm to carry out a cost/benefit analysis of its key primary health care services, CEO Olga Havnen said.

“For every $1 invested we’re delivering a $4.18 return,” she said.

But the report also showed Danila Dilba’s outcomes were not the norm.

Indigenous leaders said the lack of economic evaluation left billions of dollars being spent in areas that may not have been proven effective.

“As a taxpayer you should be concerned that programs for which there is no evidence are being funded,” anthropologist Marcia Langton told the National Press Club.

The head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, said measurable data offered guidance for funding targets.

“It should be clear that you don’t get funding forever just for the sake of funding, you actually have to get clear outcomes, and outcomes that are successful,” he said.

There should be a real evaluation program in place if the federal government is “handing out taxpayers’ money”.

“We’ve got to totally revamp the way the evaluations are done and make them real so we get measurable data — and we can do that tomorrow morning,” Mr Mundine said.

Better evidence needed on program outcomes: Scullion

A spokesperson for Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion admitted there was a need for more evidence to demonstrate which programs were working.

“Minister Scullion acknowledged that in the areas of incarceration, domestic violence, mental health and substance misuse, increased effort was required to improve outcomes — and better evidence was needed to drive this progress,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Public sector governance expert Steven Bartos said allocating funds without evidence created a false economy.

“When you don’t know anything about any of the programs then you’re just relying on gut feelings, and that’s not good enough,” he said.

“The measurement of outcomes, the framework for doing that, has to come from Indigenous communities themselves.”

Danila Dilba Health Service Darwin 25 years strong


Photo caption  above from Page 3 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

The 8th of November, 1991 was a day of great pride for Darwin’s Aboriginal community with the official opening of Danila Dilba Health Service.

Its beginnings as an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation go back to the 1970s — a time of great activism for Indigenous people across Australia.

After Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974, Darwin people were evacuated to southern cities where local Aboriginal medical services had started. People from the local Aboriginal community were impressed with the services and wanted their own one.

Danila Dilba grew out of the community, with people holding meetings, lobbying government, lodging petitions and even holding a ‘sit-in’ at government offices for a culturally appropriate primary health service for Indigenous people.

The name Danila Dilba Biluru Butji Binnilutlum was given to the service by the local Larrakia traditional custodians.

In the Larrakia language Danila Dilba means ‘dilly bag used to collect bush medicines’ and Biluru Butji Binnilutlum means ‘Aboriginal people getting better from sickness’.

Our logo reflects this meaning and was designed by Larrakia elder, the Reverend Wally Fejo.

The service was friendly, comfortable and provided holistic care. Danila Dilba was a safe place for Indigenous people to raise their concerns and find solutions to their health concerns.

Danila Dilba has grown significantly in size and capacity, from eight staff and one building in 1991 to five clinics, including separate men’s and women’s clinics, mobile and dental clinics, community programs and a staff of over 130 serving almost 12,000 clients in 2016.

Our Aboriginal Health Practitioner First policy, where new clients see an AHP before a GP, and our large Indigenous staff are the core of our culturally appropriate care.





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