Newslines Radio: Healthy for life
- Nathan Ramsay
- Dr Noel Hayman, Inala Indigenous Health Service
Peggy Manton-Williams, Inala Indigenous Health Service
PRESENTER: Hi, I’m Nathan Ramsay and you’re listening to Newslines Radio, an Australian Government program on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.
We all know about some of the alarming health statistics around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health including that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are two and a half times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to contract a chronic disease. Chronic diseases include problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory and kidney disease.
This week on Newslines we are looking at the importance of having regular health checks and developing relationships with our local health centre so that we can reduce our risk of contracting these types of diseases.
The Inala Indigenous Health Service, a Queensland health service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is located in Inala 18km south west of the Brisbane CBD.
The clinic is staffed by GPs, nurses, allied health and Aboriginal health workers, and visiting medical specialists who look after the health care needs of the areas large Indigenous population
The centre was established in 1995 by the current Clinical Director Dr Noel Hayman and nurse Nola White, and with input from the Inala community and elders over the past seventeen years the health service has gone from strength-to strength.
HAYMAN: We only had twelve Aboriginal people accessing the centre now we have around eight thousand in 2012 and we complete about fifteen hundred doctor consultations a month and we have shown with some funding from ‘Healthy For Life’ which was really geared up for continuous quality improvement we have actually showed we have improved health outcomes particularly for our diabetics dramatically over the past four years.
We always see the poor statistics of Indigenous health in press and publications what I am trying to do here is have some good stories and we have focused strongly on cardiovascular disease and diabetes and this is because for the ‘Healthy For Life’ they were one of the main target areas.
Another target area is the mums and bubs and we have been working in that area trying to get mums ante-natal care and also with babies about 1988 there were about double the numbers of low birth weight babies in our mums here compared to non-Indigenous in Queensland, we had a rate of 12% of low birth weight babies and at that stage in Queensland it was 6%.
What we have done over the years is increased our average birth weight for mums and we know increasing birth weight can increase health down the track because we do know low birth weight babies they go on to develop chronic disease such as diabetes and renal disease and heart disease so by working closely with mums and bubs and increasing birth weight babies we can see benefits down the track.
PRESENTER: We know that any sort of physical activity is good for us, and that’s what the men’s and women’s programs at Inala are all about, getting our people exercising. Peggy Manton-Williams, the team leader for community and allied health at Inala explained more to Newslines.
MANTON-WILLIAMS: The men’s group does lots and lots of physical activity like fishing, rock climbing, just getting out there and doing lots of physical activity. They have a gym program that runs for six months and they have ten people every time and the people start off they may want to put on weight, they may want to lose weight, they might just want to get healthier and so they do the gym program and we measure their fitness levels all the way through and then at the end of it they get a year complimentary gym membership, so that’s been really successful.
The fishing is obviously relaxation type stuff for the men it’s like working on all different health aspects while having a good time. So they do lots of health education in the men’s group, same in the women’s group they do things that are relaxing and fun but they also learn about different health things and they work on their physical activity and we do things like healing circles as part of the women’s group and the men’s group as well. So they can talk about their problems in a safe environment.
PRESENTER: Indigenous health services are really leading the way in improving the health and lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s important that we take the time to visit local clinics like the Inala Health Service for a regular health check up
To find out more about how governments are working together to Close the Gap in Indigenous health outcomes, check out the links on our website, Indigenous.gov.au.
You can also follow Closing the Gap on Twitter, and friend Indigenous Newslines on Facebook.
I’m Nathan Ramsay, thanks for listening to Newslines Radio.