Two new projects to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs are being implemented with Federal Government support.
Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh said the projects, undertaken by Carbal Medical Services and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) had attracted almost $900,000 under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme Emerging Priorities Round grant opportunity.
“I am very pleased to see these projects receive this significant support,” Dr McVeigh said.
“They are fantastic examples of local practical action, driven by leaders who know our community and are best placed to identify its needs.
“If we are to make meaningful progress in improving health outcomes for Indigenous Australians this collaborative approach, whereby on-the-ground expertise and knowledge is supported and fostered to generate effective, accessible health services and improvements, is critical.”
The Timely Allied Health for Mob trial, run by Carbal Medical Services, provides on-site access to allied health professionals across podiatry, chiropractic, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, nutrition, dietetics, non-dispensing pharmacy, audiology, optometry, occupational therapy, speech pathology and diabetic education.
Carbal Medical Services CEO, Brian Hewitt, said the trial, which attracted $690,000 in Federal funding, would facilitate and evaluate the change in progression to chronic disease in clients who were able to access culturally aware, in-house Allied Health services at an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).
“All Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) providers identify that a major inhibitor to continuity of care and prevention of advancement to chronic disease is the restricted availability to our services of Allied Health services,” Mr Hewitt said.
“Carbal believes that this trial has the ground-breaking capacity to make a significant change and difference to the way that Aboriginal Health is delivered nationally when replicated.”
The USQ – led research project will focus on wound care in Aboriginal communities, and involve investigating infections present and different biomarkers that show how the body is responding to the wound, using that knowledge to develop a test that Aboriginal health workers can use to treat wounds faster and more holistically, and investigating the capacity of traditional bush medicines to complement the testing platform.
The project, which attracted $205,274 in Federal funding, will involve biomedical scientists and nurses from USQ, in collaboration with health workers from eight Aboriginal medical services from Gladstone to Cunnamulla.
Chairwoman of Toowoomba based Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement, senior USQ Nursing lecturer, and A/Prof in the College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research, Dr Raelene Ward said the importance of the research couldn’t be overstated.
“It’s also an excellent opportunity to build valuable new connections between USQ and Aboriginal health services throughout Queensland,” Dr Ward said.