Training for Aboriginal Health Workers to Expand as Immunisation Rates Rise

February 9, 2016


A training program for Aboriginal Health Workers to administer vaccinations will expand into more
regional areas, with figures suggesting the program has already contributed to increasing
immunisation rates among Aboriginal children.

The State Government has released figures that show Aboriginal immunisation rates in 5 year olds
have exceeded those of non-Aboriginal children, with 94.3% of Aboriginal children now vaccinated.
The Aboriginal Health Council of WA launched a training program for Aboriginal Health Workers in
partnership with the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) at the Department of
Health in March last year.

So far, the program has been rolled out in a number of locations including Perth, Port Hedland and
Broome, and 15 Aboriginal Health Workers have been trained to administer and promote

“Until this program was launched, only nurses and doctors were authorised to carry out
immunisations,” said AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox.

“The benefit of also training Aboriginal Health Workers is that they have access to Aboriginal children living in remote locations and are trusted by the communities where they live.
“We are thrilled that it appears this training has already contributed to immunisation rates among
Aboriginal children increasing significantly.

“The figures show that the immunisation rate among Aboriginal children increased from 91.3% in the September quarter to 94.3% in December and we hope that rate will increase even further.”
Ms Nelson-Cox said the training program would be expanded this year to include Kalgoorlie and
Roebourne, and she hoped it could be rolled out to several remote locations later in the year.

“We have received an overwhelming response from our Aboriginal Medical Services, who see the
value in their Aboriginal Health Workers being trained to administer immunisations,” she said.
“We are working hard to meet the demand for the course, and we hope that the more Aboriginal
Health Workers we can train, the higher the immunisation rates will be.”

Note: an immunisation rate of about 95% is required to effectively prevent outbreaks of highly
infectious diseases.

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