Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Improving children’s health in Warmun

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jim McGinty MP, WA Minister for Health

A health co-ordinator will be located in the remote Indigenous community of Warmun to improve the health of the Gija people and other local communities under a joint Australian and Western Australian Government funding arrangement.

The $100,000 Gija health project will initially focus on antenatal and young children’s health, but the long-term aim is to improve overall health outcomes across the whole community.

The health co-ordinator will work with nurses and other health professionals to deliver health care in Warmun and adjacent communities and will also collect specific health data.

The Warmun health co-ordinator’s duties will include collecting data on:

  • Indigenous women’s access to antenatal care during pregnancy.
  • Smoking and other substance use during and after pregnancy.
  • The number of children referred to services, such as specialist medical care, allied health or child protection services.
  • The testing and results of Indigenous children’s hearing, sight, speech and other development issues which will feed into school readiness and attendance.

The health co-ordinator will also monitor Indigenous children’s weight gain, immunisation status, infections and early developmental milestones as well as working with other health care agencies to reduce duplication.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said locating a health professional in Warmun demonstrated the Australian Government’s determination to take the practical measures vital to turning around Indigenous disadvantage, in particular to close the 17 year life expectancy gap.

“Nationally, we have set a specific target to dramatically improve the health of Indigenous Australians so that they have the same life expectancy as non-Indigenous Australians by 2030,” Ms Macklin said.

“We are committed to giving Indigenous children an equal start in life by focusing on the critical years from birth to eight including a $112 million investment over four years to provide national coverage of child and maternal health services.”

WA Health Minister Jim McGinty said the State Government was happy to contribute $50,000 towards the cost of providing the health co-ordinator.

“The new health co-ordinator will advocate for the community on health issues and look at implementing programs to reduce health risks, with a specific focus on nutrition and support for pregnant women within the community,” Mr McGinty said.

“The focus on antenatal and child health, as well as factors such as smoking and alcohol or other substance use, will go a long way to not only improve the health of pregnant women and children, but the entire Warmun community for generations to come.

“The new role will help the people of Warmun have a say about how their health services can best serve them.”