AHCWA Newsletter December 2023 – January 2024

Chief Executive Officer’s Message

Kaya everyone,

I am very pleased that towards the end of last year, AHCWA finalised their WA Pre-Budget Submission. I know that partaking in processes such as the budget cycles will continue to build the image of our sector, conveying our needs, successes, and reality. It also enables AHCWA to personally share and discuss the needs of the WA ACCHS sector with ministerial advisors and key officials at different agencies to gather feedback and interest. This year’s submission features include funding for enhancing operations of the Aboriginal Community Controlled RTO sector, optimising strategies for workforce attraction, recruitment, and retention, and greater efforts towards inventorying ACCHS’ clinical, capital, and digital infrastructure.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the development of the WA Pre-Budget Submission. AHCWA can only do our work with all your voices and years of experience. Our core business is to hear your aspirations, priorities and ideas, and we are committed to bringing them to the attention of key decision-makers, advocating for resources and ways of working that make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people. The WA Pre-Budget Submission sees the accountability of government at many levels engaging with non-government entities each year. AHCWA will continue to tell our Member Services’ stories and provide creative, community-led solutions as soon as they’re needed and in ways that embody Aboriginal empowerment.

I know we will all continue to support our communities and each other throughout 2024. We always have a lot of work to do, and I know we will do it with passion, integrity, and collaboration.

You can view the WA Pre-Budget Submission here.


AHCWA CEO, Des Martin

WA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector Conference 2024 registrations are now open!

Dive into the heart of the Aboriginal Health Sector and connect with your mob, health specialists and communities. Prepare for an exciting time as we explore diverse health topics and services across WA.

Plus, hear from government speakers and NACCHO to learn about future directions in funding and programs. And don’t forget there is an exciting Youth Conference.
2024 WA Aboriginal Youth Conference: Monday, 29 April 2024
AHCWA Member’s only Forum: Tuesday 30 April 2024
2024 State Sector Conference: Wednesday, 1 May, and Thursday, 2 May 2024
Where? The Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Register here

First Nations Traineeship Program

The First Nations Traineeship Program supports up to 500 First Nations students across Australia to undertake accredited training in the health sector in a Certificate III or IV as an Aboriginal health worker and/or practitioner. The program will run through until 2027.

The program will support the growth and sustainability of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations workforce by providing culturally appropriate care and;

  • increasing the supply of health workers and practitioners;
  • addressing health workforce shortages in rural, regional and remote Australia;
  • ensuring a capable and qualified workforce.

To achieve this, AHCWA and Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) will each have a Jurisdictional Coordinator who will be coordinating the FNHWT Program across Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) geographic areas and offering wrap around services to the First Nations Trainees, Aboriginal Community Controlled Registered Training Organisations, and Member Services. The program plays a key coordination role for the ACCHOs and ACCHRTOs with funding to support training, mentors/supervisors, work placements, and mentoring for health worker trainees.

To find out more about the benefits for ACCHS or how people can enrol in the training, please contact AHCWA’s People and Culture team.

Enquire now

SWAMS recognised for providing ‘Person-Centered Care’

A pilot program to help meet the health needs of children in Out of Home Care has received accolades in WA. South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) won the Person-Centred Care category of the WA Health Excellence Awards 2023 alongside partners, including the Department of Communities, the Department of Health, the Child and Adolescent Health Service and the Western Australian Country Health Service (WACHS).

The pilot aims to test new ways of working to improve collaboration and coordination between services as well as improving the health of children aged up until 18 who are in the Out of Home Care system.

SWAMS Health Navigator Hannah Humphries said she was pleased to receive the award on behalf of SWAMS at a gala dinner held at Crown Perth on 7th December. The awards celebrate excellence and innovation in service delivery across the WA health system.

Pictured are health navigators from three services who were pleased to be in Perth to receive the awards: Kelly Lineham and Kellee Biffin from WACHS, Tracey Simpson-Jones from the Child and Adolescent Health Service, Hannah Humphries from SWAMS, and Danielle Gilsenan and Sharma Hamilton from the Child and Adolescent Health Service.

News in Research – Updated ‘National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2023’ is released

On 1 January 2024, the revised National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2023 was released. It encourages and demonstrates how engagement, co-design and data sovereignty within Aboriginal Community Controlled Organistations (ACCO) can build capacity and empower Aboriginal communities.

All ACCO’s should be aware of and informed by chapter 4.7, written in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee at [email protected].

Enquire now

AHCWA Sexual Health Team visit Acacia Prison

At the end of last year, the Sexual Health, Blood Borne Virus and Family Wellbeing teams attended a two-day Health Expo at Acacia prison. Approximately twelve Health and Community services came together and held stalls to increase knowledge of health and well-being services and to deliver health promotion information and education to prisoners and Prison staff at Acacia Prison.

Stalls ranged from Diabetes WA to Cancer Council, Corrective Service Rehabilitation program, AOD Services, Homeless Health Care, 360 Health and Community, Wungening AOD Aboriginal Corporation, HepWA, WAAC and many more.

The event was a great success, with 330 prisoners attending. The Health Service Manager from Acacia prison said they received many positive comments from the prisoners who visited the AHCWA stall.

“We genuinely appreciate AHCWA’s support and look forward to having everyone back next year,” they said.

AHCWA was invited after supporting the peer education project that was delivered by HepWA earlier in 2023. This project run by HepWA ran for six months, and approximately 12 Prisoners became peer educators.

AHCWA discussed topics such as safe sex, harm reduction, STI/BBV checks, and syphilis education with the inmates, who were all respectful, fun and interested.

Two peer educators stated that they had prompted other inmates to have testing for syphilis, of which two positive cases were found and treated.

NEW Immunisations across life resource 

AHCWA has just released a new resource promoting the importance of immunisations across life.

See the video here

Your Journey in Ear Health booklets and video resources 

Health Promotion has been a major drive to produce resourceful information to assist families and communities to prevent ear and hearing issues in the regions of WA.

Your Journey in Ear Health booklets and video resources were developed for our ACCHS in regions to educate families in ear and hearing screening, families sharing past experiences in their ear health journey.

The AHCWA Ear Health team supported the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS) to celebrate the launch of their locally designed Your Journey in Ear Health resources.

During the celebration the GRAMS management team provided a speech with the importance of maintaining healthy ear cares and access for their communities is a fundamental aim in closing the gap.  The video’s and booklets were received well by all staff and community members, followed by a wonderful barbeque meal and a delightful cake, the AHCWA Ear Health team would like to thank and congratulate the GRAMS team for hosting a great event.

OVAHS Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service is celebrating its 40th year of operations in 2024

OVAHS is seeking photos and memorabilia from the community to be shared at the special event that will be held during the year. Please email items to [email protected].

The OVAHS team say thank you to the visionary leaders who put their heads together with a dream to create Kununurra’s very first Aboriginal Community Controlled Primary Health Organisation, and for those who continue this vision. They also thank their dedicated staff, partners, and the community for making this milestone possible. Here’s to 40 years of healing, growth, and continued empowerment.

Contact OVAHS

New look for the OVAHS mobile clinic

The OVAHS mobile clinic truck. Affectionately known as the KROC (Kimberley Remote Outreach Clinic) has an incredible new look. The truck recently returned from Darwin with OVAHS’ new branding and program logos added. You can expect to see the KROC around the town and parked up at events, it will be hard to miss. If you are in the Kimberley please take the time to see what health messages we are delivering and check out the great artwork displayed on the truck.

Read more here

Save the Dates!

2024 State Sector Forum

The 2024 State Sector and Youth Conference dates and theme have been announced!

2024 WA Aboriginal Youth Conference: Monday 29 April 2024
AHCWA Members Forum: Tuesday 30 April 2024
2024 State Sector Conference: Wednesday 1 May and Thursday 2 May 2024
Awards Dinner: Wednesday 1 May 2024

The event will be held at The Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. We’re working hard on creating an engaging, informative and enjoyable event for all participants. We look forward to seeing you there!

Register Here:  Youth  State Sector

2024 NACCHO Member’s Conference

2-5 December 2024
After a successful conference in Noongar Boodjar (Perth), we are excited to announce that the 2024 NACCHO Members’ Conference will be held on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country (Canberra) 2–5 December 2024. Get it in your calendars! #NACCHOConf2024

Meet the AHCWA Social and Emotional Wellbeing Team 

Since commencing in their new roles in May 2023 the SEWB Program Manager and Pilot Project Officer have continued coordinating the SEWB Governance Committee Meetings and monthly Community of Practice Meetings. Establishing partnerships and providing support to the SEWB Pilot Sites; Bega Garnbirringu Health Service, Derby Aboriginal Health Service, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, Southwest Aboriginal Medical Service and Wirraka Maya Health Service.

Read more here

Sexual Health Webinars 

WAPHA is hosting a webinar on 19 February ‘Syphilis and other infectious diseases of public health significance which will include updates on other important re-emerging diseases, such as measles.

GPs seeking the latest information on clinical presentation, up to date testing protocols, management and contact tracing are encouraged to attend the WA Primary Health Alliance webinar on Syphilis and other infectious diseases of public health significance on 19 February.

More information and clinical guidance is also available on the Department of Health WA website and Adult Immunisation’ HealthPathway.

‘Contact Tracing for Sexual Health Teams in ACCHOs’ is another webinar which will feature highly experienced sexual health workers from ACCHOs in WA and the NT discussing their processes, successes and challenges around contact tracing.

Register here

Shortage of Bicillin L-A prefilled syringes

There is a shortage of an important medicine for our sector, Bicillin.

These shortages are due to a global increase in demand for benzathine benzylpenicillin medicines as well as manufacturing constraints. Pfizer Australia has advised us that these shortages will continue into 2024.

Benzathine benzylpenicillin plays a significant role in rural and remote community health care, and we acknowledge the critical importance of this medicine to our people.

Pfizer Australia are closely controlling stock to ensure equitable supply.

Stay updated here

Youth can have their say – share this opportunity with our youth 

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Western Australia is seeking feedback from community members under 18 who live in WA.

The Commissioner said although many children and young people were passionate about or involved in environmental causes she hoped to source a range of diverse perspectives from people of all ages and abilities across the State.

“I’d encourage parents and those who work in child-related organisations to consider sharing the survey link with children during the school holidays – make it a fun activity for the family to take part in for the younger ones who may need some assistance – it’s simple and doesn’t take long to complete.”

The views of our children and young people are important. The survey closes on Friday, 1 March 2024.

Take the survey

Making News Headlines

Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner

Ms Andrea Kelly is the Interim First Nations Aged Care Commissioner. This role will encourage culturally safe, aged care for First Nations people across Australia.

Read more here

Employment Opportunities at AHCWA

AHCWA is currently advertising for new positions, including:

Find the full list of AHCWA’s current vacancies here