The Coalition Government is set to wave through more than $400,000 to Pius X Aboriginal Corporation in Moree, in a bid to boost access between the organisation and mothers and babies.
“It will provide better access to healthcare including antenatal care and practical advice for mothers, and immunisation and health checks for children before they start school,” Member for Parkes electorate Mark Coulton said.
Mr Coulton made the announcement last week that the funding will come from the larger pool of more than $1 million, which will be spread across Aboriginal health services in New South Wales.
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Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Dubbo Aboriginal Health Service have also been flagged to receive part of the share.
The $426,780 reserved for Pius X in Moree will go to the establishment of the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services.
The program attempts to build on the government’s commitment to halve the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality.
“We are seeing positive health results including a decrease in smoking rates during pregnancy, a decrease in rates of low birth weight babies and improved childhood immunisation rates,” Mr Coulton said of the program.
“This is an important health program that will help our local children have a great start to life.”
Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM noted the program had already been rolled out in other parts of Australia and that the results spoke for themselves.
“An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study in 2014 showed that families participating in the New Directions program registered improvements in seven out of the eight national Key Performance Indicators on maternal and child health,” Minister Wyatt said.
Pius X nurse manager Ros Rose said that the rate of infant mortality was a particular concern in the local health district.
“There is a 6.1 per cent difference in mortality rates between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities,” she said.
Ms Rose cited many reasons for the disparity, such as socio-economics and cultural barriers.
“Some people just assume that they’re welcome into the woman’s home. Never assume that you’re welcome,” she said.
“They will also visit them and speak at them. There’s a difference between speaking at them and speaking with them.
“We [Pius X] will have midwives go out into the community with an Aboriginal health worker, someone who knows the community. They will speak with these women and ask for their input.”
Pius X CEO Donna Taylor said she was pleased to hear that the local organisation had secured the vital funding.