NACCHO Aboriginal #EarlyChildhood Health @AHCSA : #Indigenous Health Minister @KenWyattMP launches Connected Beginnings’ at the Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service @CKAHSAC

“The Connected Beginnings program is extremely important for Ceduna mums, dads, babies and children – we have 148 babies and children between the ages of zero and four years old, and we want to make every effort to help children have the best start in life,

I encourage all families especially mums and dads, to bring their babies and children to Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service to be screened, and they will be followed up with specialists, where and when necessary.

It is essential that Ceduna’s expanded holistic service model embraces everyone, and we continue to work consistently together to support our families who may be experiencing other challenges in their life

I have no doubt each and everyone of us want our children to be strong and healthy, to be educated, and to grow up to be leaders in their own community “

CKAHS chief executive officer Zell Dodd said they had received federal funding last year and once they were able to secure staff with specific skills to work on the program it commenced.

“The first five years of life is a critical time that ultimately helps shape every child’s future and is fundamental to closing the gap in health equality.

I know Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service has worked hard to attract professionals to fill five new positions to help support the program and local families.”

Connected Beginnings helps children enjoy good health, to set them on the way to academic success and a lifetime of better opportunities,

It works by providing children and their families with holistic support through existing and expanded local services.”

Minister Wyatt said the program aimed to have healthy families and improved school readiness

Download Minister Wyatt’s Press Release HERE

NACCHO Ken Wyatt Press Release Ceduna SA visit

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service chief executive officer Zell Dodd, Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt, Senator for South Australia David Fawcett and Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey at the official launch on Wednesday. Picture: Luca Cetta


Ceduna families are benefiting from a program linking health care and early childhood education.

The ‘Connected Beginnings’ program was officially launched by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt today at the Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service (CKAHS), as part of a national rollout, where it has been helping to build better, stronger lives.

The federal government has committed $12 million over three years from the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program to implement the health component of Connected Beginnings, plus around $10 million per year from the Community Child Care Fund to support the education component.

 Through Connected Beginnings, Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health service provides health checks to women, babies and children up to school age.

“This means mothers and children in this community are being referred to specialist services including paediatricians, ear and eye specialists, dentists, occupational and speech therapists and dieticians,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The social and emotional wellbeing team here also provide much-needed support for mums experiencing anxiety and depression, plus an environmental health program that targets everyday housing and community living conditions, essential to maintain health and prevent disease transmission.”

 Ms Dodd said the program was designed to regularly screen to pick up any health concerns early on that may impede on learning capabilities.

“We work in partnership with Ngura Yadurirn Child and Family Centre, who are the lead agency in Ceduna for this program,” she said.

“We also work very closely with the Ceduna District Health Service management, in particular the Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care (AMIC) worker, Aboriginal Patient Pathway Officer and the Step Down Manager.

“The Rural Doctors Workforce Agency also plays a key role in supporting CKAHS health services with visiting specialists.”

Senator for South Australia David Fawcett welcomed the extension of the program to Ceduna.

“Wrapping services including early childhood education, maternal and child health, and family services helps families now and will help generations to come,” he said.

“Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service has a strong working relationship with the Ceduna District Health Service through a memorandum of understanding, and works closely with the Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care worker.”

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey congratulated Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service and Ngura Yadurirn Children and Family Centre for their leadership and dedication to give local children the best start possible.

Run jointly by the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health, the program is also underway in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Galiwin’ku, Port Augusta, Mildura, Doomadgee and Doonside, along with a health-only program in Canberra.

Opportunities are being investigated to establish the program in further locations.

Ms Dodd said CKAHS also had other complimentary services on offer such as the social and emotional wellbeing team and the environmental health team, with an individual or family able to be referred to these programs for additional support.

“It is essential that Ceduna’s expanded holistic service model embraces everyone, and we continue to work consistently together to support our families who may be experiencing other challenges in their life,” she said.

“I commend the efforts of the key staff at Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health, Ngura Yadurirn and Ceduna District Health Service

NACCHO health news:More action needed on alcohol misuse among Aboriginal people in Ceduna SA

The CEO of the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA), Mrs Mary Buckskin (pictured above)  has called for more action to address the problem of alcohol misuse among Aboriginal people in the Ceduna area in the far west of South Australia.

“AHCSA supported the findings and recommendation of the 2011 report of the State Coroner following the inquest into a number of alcohol-related deaths in the area,” she said.

“We are pleased that some of the recommendations have been implemented. In particular, the expansion of the sobering-up shelter managed by Ceduna-Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service is clearly better meeting the need.”

However, Mrs Buckskin stressed that much more must be done, as clearly problems persist. “There is a need for a more strategic approach involving Aboriginal communities and their organisations in Ceduna and surrounding areas, as well as Yalata and Oak Valley.

“Currently, some actions taken by some agencies are ad hoc rather than being part of an overall strategy, and are not necessarily helping the problem.

“There is no single magic bullet to address it. What is required is a range of strategies developed with appropriate consultation, and introduced in a coordinated way.

“We need strategies to reduce the availability of alcohol; we need strategies to ensure that people with alcohol problems have access to health services where they can be properly assessed and offered treatment; we need appropriate rehabilitation services for individuals and families,” Mrs Buckskin said.

She added that people who have alcohol-related brain damage need to be properly assessed and provided with appropriate services.

“Above all, it must be recognised that the people at most risk of alcohol-related harm or death come from the communities further west. A comprehensive strategy to deal with alcohol problems in the Ceduna area must include supporting people to return to their country and ensuring that the communities concerned are adequately resourced to support this happening.

“While this will require significant resources, in the long run a coordinated comprehensive strategy will save lives and money. And this is really an issue of human dignity,” Mrs Buckskin said.

The Aboriginal Health Council of SA Inc. (AHCSA) is the peak body representing Aboriginal community controlled health and substance misuse services, and Aboriginal health advisory committees across South Australia. AHCSA is an affiliate of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

ENDS. For further information contact: Mrs Mary Buckskin, Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Inc., 08 8273 7200.