Our People to Live Stronger & Longer

BHP enables culturally safe vaccination program for Indigenous Australians in New South Wales.

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) has gratefully received support from BHP to aid in the provision of culturally safe care for Aboriginal communities across New South Wales (NSW) in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At AH&MRC we recognise the importance of reaching into community and providing medical care outside traditional clinical spaces. Therefore, with thanks to BHP, we have purchased a motorhome to allow Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHOs) to hold mobile vaccination clinics in their local communities.

Mobile vaccination clinics offer greater access to vaccines for Aboriginal people by overcoming geographical barriers whilst ensuring cultural safety. Providing this service will help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities safe.

BHP’s Vice President NSW Energy Coal Adam Lancey said: “We are proud to support the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW in their important work delivering better health outcomes for Indigenous people in this state, particularly for those in regional areas.”

In the short term, this asset will be used in the Northern Rivers region, where whole communities and ACCHOs clinics have been devastated by the recent flooding. This is a key example of how AH&MRC can use assets, like those acquired thanks to BHP, to meet the immediate needs of Aboriginal communities.

CEO Robert Skeen of AH&MRC states “In 2021, AH&MRC have a created a COVID-19 response team who assist Member Services with COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and resources. Our response team is an integral part of our vision and with the help of the valuable partnership of BHP we’re able to provide care to all our mob in every community across the state”.

In the long term, this asset will be used to connect with the Aboriginal people with ACCHOs. This motorhome will bridge this gap and allow for greater access to high quality, comprehensive primary health care services across NSW.

The purchase of the motorhome was made possible thanks to BHP, who, through their generous donation will help Aboriginal communities access culturally safe care throughout NSW.

Official Media Release. 

Keeping spirit strong through a holistic approach at Waminda

Imagine receiving a care package from your local health provider with food, sanitiser and art and craft materials for your children. Your Elders getting their medical supplies and toiletries. And everyone being reminded to keep active and nurture their body through eating healthy food. That was Waminda’s response to lockdown earlier this year in order to ensure the safety of their mob.

Waminda, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service for women’s health and welfare, has a strong cultural governance and is guided by the community in which it operates. Their programs are rooted in connection to country and culture, with a particular focus on healing and keeping spirit strong.

The Baalang Healing program is a key program for Waminda. It was developed in response to the social and emotional wellbeing, spiritual, cultural and physical health needs of our community. “It has been designed and led by Aboriginal women under the guidance of Elders. Their voices are powerful in the design of our healing processes. There is a commitment to pass on cultural knowledge, identity and healing,” said Kristine Falzon.

Self-determination is a key focus of this program. Participants are encouraged to recognise and value themselves as their own healers. Throughout the healing program, the team at Waminda also created resources for the community specific to their needs. This includes free hotlines and additional support to increase accessibility to assistance. The health professionals working in the program include therapists, counsellors, case managers, cultural mentors and after hours support.

Waminda staff are widely admired and proud of their achievements in their own communities and the broader Shoalhaven. ‘The driving vision of Waminda is to provide culturally safe service. We offer women and their Aboriginal families an opportunity to belong and receive quality health and well-being support.’ said Waminda’s executive manager Kristine Falzon.

This story was written and published by the Australian Government Department of Health. For more stories on keeping your spirit strong visit the Department of Health website.