Around 200 delegates have wrapped up a three-day conference in Perth which highlighted some of the major issues in Aboriginal health.
The annual state sector conference, hosted by the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, was held at the International on the Water Hotel in Ascot from April 4-6.
The conference was attended by representatives of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services from around WA, as well as state and federal government delegates and observers from the not-for-profit sector.
New Minister for Health Roger Cook addressed the member planning day on April 4, summarising the relevant WA Labor election promises, such as a patient ‘meet and greet’ service for remote Aboriginal patients flown to Perth to help them with orientation.
The conference was officially opened by new Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, who said one of his key ambitions for this term of government was to significantly reform the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
Some of the topics discussed at the conference included child growth and development, a patient-centred Medicare model, the needs of LGBTI people, the role of Aboriginal men in addressing family violence, and dealing with suicide.
AHCWA Chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said the conference was a great opportunity for people involved in Aboriginal health to come together.
“Because our state is so large and so remote, we don’t get many opportunities to all come together and talk about common issues in the sector,” she said.
“This conference gave people the chance to discuss problems, hear stories about what is working and what’s not, and put forward culturally appropriate solutions.
“It’s very important that Aboriginal people are given opportunities to find our own solutions to problems and then work out how to implement them.”
The conference also hosted a youth forum facilitated by AHCWA’s Youth Coordinator which identified the key health issues affecting young people around the state.
Over the two days, more than 10 workshops were held. The recommendations from those workshops will be collated into a report and presented to the state and federal governments.