Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers play a vital role in the primary health workforce. They provide clinical services, health promotion and work with their communities responding to local health priorities. They deal with patients, clients and visitors in hospitals and also assist in coordinating and providing health care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health clinics. In particular they look after the spiritual, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community.
This documentary showcases the unique and significant role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and aims to bring greater understanding to the integral role that they play in ‘closing the gap’ for their people.
Presented by Daniel Browning, presenter and producer of the Awaye! program on ABC Radio National, this half-hour documentary has been filmed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services around Australia. It features filmed interviews and case studies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers who are making a significant difference to the spiritual, emotional and cultural wellbeing of their communities:
- Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns features the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker as the first point of call at the Health Service. This case study shows a primary care model where clinical services are coordinated with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker playing an integral role in this service.
- Karpa Ngarrattendi Aboriginal Health Service in Adelaide shows how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a cardiac unit at Flinders Medical Centre. This case study underlines the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients of having to leave their communities, often for the first time, and engage with a complex medical facility and illustrates the important role of educational, liaison and support role played by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.
- Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service in Katherine. This case study focuses on the development of clinical skills, advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and non-Indigenous health workers. It shows the 'on the job' training provided at Wurli.
- Nunga Lunch provided by Noarlunga Aboriginal Primary Health Unit each week. The whole team are in attendance so it is a great way for the community to interact with the Aboriginal Health Workers.
This project is guided by an Advisory Group, including representatives from NATSIHWA; NACCHO; ATSIHPB; ATSIHRTONN and Health Workforce Australia. The Group is chaired by Mr. Clarke Scott, CEO of NATSIHWA.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this program may contain images of people who have died.
This documentary is part of a multimedia package developed by the Foundation and funded by Health Workforce Australia, an Australian Government initiative, to showcase, promote and support the role and function of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.