NACCHO Aboriginal Health @AHCWA pioneering new ways of working in Aboriginal Health :Our Culture Our Community Our Voice Our Knowledge

NACCHO appreciates the work AHCWA has been doing constructively with all governments since 1997 and especially since the name change in 2005.

Your work to advance with one voice the development of Aboriginal Health in 22 ACCHSs in 7 regions of WA is not dissimilar to our work at a federal level.

It is commendable what you have achieved in such a short time frame. I love the passion, respect and commitment and am reinvigorated whenever I visit the state to discuss national advocacy issues.

Your youth policy program, health promotions, education and training programs are first rate.

As our Aboriginal population increases to one million people by 2030 I think we all should focus our increasing efforts to close the gap, have meaningful reconciliation in this nation and change aspects of our federal constitution.

NACCHO stands ready with you to be consulted, to provide advice and implement any urgent public awareness action plan as we now have 145 members with 6,000 staff in 304 health settings across the nation.

NACCHO believes there is no agenda more critical to Australia than enabling Aboriginal people to live good quality lives while enjoying all their rights and fulfilling their responsibilities to themselves, their families and communities.

Aboriginal people should feel safe in their strong cultural knowledge being freely practiced and acknowledged across the country.

This should include the daily use of our languages, in connection with our lands and with ready access to resources.

Aboriginal people should feel safe, free from racism, empowered as individuals and have health services to meet their needs and overcome health inequality and increase life expectancy “

Extracts from NACCHO CEO Pat Turner’s Key note for the WA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector Conference Wednesday 11 April 2018 

Outlines the priorities for NACCHO moving forward and calls for the Sector to “exemplify evidence and best-practice in all that we do”

Mappa will actively help improve access for people living in regional and remote areas by showing them where their nearest health service is, even in the most remote communities. It will also better connect people with culturally appropriate healthcare closer to home.

AHCWA Chairperson Vicki O’Donnell see part 2 below

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) is hosting its annual two-day State Sector Conference this week at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle WA .

The 2018 State Sector Conference brings together representatives from AHCWA’s 22 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Member Services and key stakeholders and a range of disciplines and key portfolio areas, including representatives from Non-government, and State and Federal Government agencies.

More than 260 delegates, many who are Aboriginal leaders in health, will travel from all parts of the state to attend the state conference at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle on Wednesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 12.

Read Minister Wyatt’s recent Speech

Family key to Aboriginal Health

Highlights of the conference include an opening address by the Federal Indigenous Health Minister and Minister for Aged Care the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM and a keynote speech from National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chief Executive Officer Pat Turner.

Minister Wyatt opened the conference and return on day two to launch the Western Australia Aboriginal Youth Health Strategy 2018 – 2023, Today’s young people, tomorrow’s leaders.

Developed with and on behalf of young Aboriginal people in WA, the strategy is the culmination of almost a decade of AHCWA’s commitment and strategic advocacy in Aboriginal youth health.

AHCWA Chairperson Vicki O’Donnell said the conference was an opportunity for people involved in Aboriginal health to come together and share their professional experiences and knowledge, while engaging in frank, informed discussions about the health needs of Aboriginal people in WA.

The conference provides delegates with the opportunity to examine the successes and learning across the sector and to explore future strategic priorities and directions in Aboriginal health.

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in WA, are the also the largest provider of primary healthcare for Aboriginal people,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“Across Australia, these services provide more than 3 million episodes of care to 350,000 people each year.”

Located across geographically diverse metropolitan, rural, remote and regional locations in WA, ACCHS represent the most effective model of comprehensive primary health care for Aboriginal people and their communities.

The ACCHS model of care delivers comprehensive, holistic healthcare that reflects an understanding of the cultural needs of Aboriginal people, as well as the importance of connections to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community.

“We are very proud to be at the forefront of some of the most innovative projects and technological advancements in the Aboriginal health sector, Ms O’Donnell said.

“Our landmark projects will undoubtedly help improve access to vital healthcare for Aboriginal people and communities across Western Australia, particularly those living remotely.”

One of the highlights of the conference will be the launch of the innovative Mappa project, an adaptable browser-based mapping directory developed by AHCWA.

Mappa offers health service delivery information to help facilitate more seamless treatment options for rural and remote Aboriginal people to access services closer to home and during their patient journey in Perth. see Part 2 Below

ACHWA is also pleased to welcome Professor Charles Watson, Senior Health Advisor in the WA Office of the Chief Health Officer to the conference. Professor Watson will deliver a keynote address – The Hype and the Reality – on medical cannabis.

The dedicated staff of ACHWA’s member services will play a key role in the conference, delivering a range of thought-provoking and informative presentations. Among the topics will be Aboriginal men’s health, Balgo bush medicine, programs to tackle indigenous smoking in WA and the need for community led solutions in the rebuild of the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service.

Leaders in Aboriginal youth health, including young achievers and two women who made it their lifelong mission to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal communities, will be recognised at the conference dinner on Wednesday night.

“This conference draws together some of the best minds and expertise so we can work together on culturally appropriate solutions to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“We are dedicated to addressing the health inequities in Aboriginal Health and doing all we can to close the gap, to ensure parity in the health outcomes and life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.”

Over the two days, 15 workshops and keynote speeches will be held. AHCWA will present recommendations from the conference in a report to the state and federal governments to highlight the key issues about Aboriginal health in WA and determine future strategic actions.

Wow, what a stage presence! The WA ACCHSs’ State-wide Tackling Indigenous Smoking Teams are presenting on the unique and evidence-based approach to address smoking in communities. They call it the ‘Western Australian Way!’. Awesome work by all!

The conference agenda can be found here


An innovative new health service mapping system developed by the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) will deliver better access to medical services and improved health outcomes for Aboriginal patients in regional and remote WA.

Mappa – Mapping Health Services Closer to Home is an adaptable browser-based mapping directory that integrates health services across WA with helpful information for all regional areas, including remote communities that do not register in Google searches.

The system, which is based on cutting-edge technology, was unveiled at AHCWA’s annual state sector conference at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle today. Data is available to primary and allied healthcare professionals through a free, public online map.

AHCWA Chairperson Vicki O’Donnell said Mappa offered comprehensive health service delivery information to help Aboriginal people living in regional and remote WA access services closer to home and improve their patient journeys in Perth.

“In Australia, people from all backgrounds and cultures routinely travel thousands of kilometres for healthcare with, at times, extremely sensitive and debilitating health issues,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“Through our expansive reach into regional and remote areas, AHCWA and our member services identified a severe lack of clarity in the types of health services available in country WA.

“For years, we have been hearing stories of Aboriginal people being flown to Perth for appointments and sent back home, only to be recalled to Perth two weeks later for a follow-up.

“In many cases, hospital staff do not realise that a patient’s journey home may involve a three or four day journey and travel by bus, train, plane, on unsealed roads and walking.

“We want to minimise patient dislocation by showing health professionals and patients what services are available in regional and remote WA so patients are closer to home, family, and country.

“Mappa is part of the solution to help bridge the gaps and bring greater cohesion around healthcare offerings.

“Mappa will actively help improve access for people living in regional and remote areas by showing them where their nearest health service is, even in the most remote communities. It will also better connect people with culturally appropriate healthcare closer to home.

“We hope this landmark tool will work to overcome the growing inability and inequality for Aboriginal people to access healthcare services, the unacceptably high rates of preventable health issues and the importance of culturally appropriate health care.”

Ms O’Donnell said it was likely that Mappa would also reduce costs to the public health system by decreasing non-attendance and costly unplanned re-admissions with extended lengths of stay.

“Not only will Mappa help to better connect Aboriginal people with appropriate healthcare, but we strongly believe it will also reduce costs associated with patient travel, regional and remote emergency responses and publicly funded specialist visits,” she said.

The conference agenda can be found here:

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