AHCWA Pioneering New Ways of Working in Aboriginal Health

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) will host its annual two-day State Sector Conference this week at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

The 2018 State Sector Conference brings together representatives from AHCWA’s 22 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Member Services and key stakeholders and a range of disciplines and key portfolio areas, including representatives from Non-government, and State and Federal Government agencies.

More than 260 delegates, many who are Aboriginal leaders in health, will travel from all parts of the state to attend the state conference at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle on Wednesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 12.

Highlights of the conference include an opening address by the Federal Indigenous Health Minister and Minister for Aged Care the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM and a keynote speech from National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chief Executive Officer Pat Turner.

Minister Wyatt will open the conference and return on day two to launch the Western Australia Aboriginal Youth Health Strategy 2018 – 2023, Today’s young people, tomorrow’s leaders.

Developed with and on behalf of young Aboriginal people in WA, the strategy is the culmination of almost a decade of AHCWA’s commitment and strategic advocacy in Aboriginal youth health.

AHCWA Chairperson Vicki O’Donnell said the conference was an opportunity for people involved in Aboriginal health to come together and share their professional experiences and knowledge, while engaging in frank, informed discussions about the health needs of Aboriginal people in WA.

The conference provides delegates with the opportunity to examine the successes and learning across the sector and to explore future strategic priorities and directions in Aboriginal health.

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in WA, are the also the largest provider of primary healthcare for Aboriginal people,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“Across Australia, these services provide more than 3 million episodes of care to 350,000 people each year.”

Located across geographically diverse metropolitan, rural, remote and regional locations in WA, ACCHS represent the most effective model of comprehensive primary health care for Aboriginal people and their communities.

The ACCHS model of care delivers comprehensive, holistic healthcare that reflects an understanding of the cultural needs of Aboriginal people, as well as the importance of connections to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community.

“We are very proud to be at the forefront of some of the most innovative projects and technological advancements in the Aboriginal health sector, Ms O’Donnell said.

“Our landmark projects will undoubtedly help improve access to vital healthcare for Aboriginal people and communities across Western Australia, particularly those living remotely.”

One of the highlights of the conference will be the launch of the innovative Mappa project, an adaptable browser-based mapping directory developed by AHCWA. Mappa offers health service delivery information to help facilitate more seamless treatment options for rural and remote Aboriginal people to access services closer to home and during their patient journey in Perth.

ACHWA is also pleased to welcome Professor Charles Watson, Senior Health Advisor in the WA Office of the Chief Health Officer to the conference. Professor Watson will deliver a keynote address – The Hype and the Reality – on medical cannabis.

The dedicated staff of ACHWA’s member services will play a key role in the conference, delivering a range of thought-provoking and informative presentations. Among the topics will be Aboriginal men’s health, Balgo bush medicine, programs to tackle indigenous smoking in WA and the need for community led solutions in the rebuild of the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service.

Leaders in Aboriginal youth health, including young achievers and two women who made it their lifelong mission to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal communities, will be recognised at the conference dinner on Wednesday night.

“This conference draws together some of the best minds and expertise so we can work together on culturally appropriate solutions to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“We are dedicated to addressing the health inequities in Aboriginal Health and doing all we can to close the gap, to ensure parity in the health outcomes and life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.”

Over the two days, 15 workshops and keynote speeches will be held. AHCWA will present recommendations from the conference in a report to the state and federal governments to highlight the key issues about Aboriginal health in WA and determine future strategic actions.

The conference agenda can be found here

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