Close the Health Gap - The Outer West Wellbeing Partnership Project
'…[T]hree out of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regularly experienced race discrimination when accessing primary health care, contributing to some people not being diagnosed and treated for disease in its early stages' (‘Australian Human Rights Commission National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy: Discussion Paper’, March 2012).
'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live substantially shorter lives than other Australians – up to 20 years less in some cases. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes' (www.oxfam.org.au).
OverviewThere is a common misconception that most Australian Aboriginal people live in remote areas, however approximately 50% of the Aboriginal population lives in urban environs (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2006a). Approximately 3,000 Aboriginal people, 10% of the Victorian Aboriginal population, reside in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Research has shown that urban Indigenous people experience similar health outcomes as Indigenous people living in rural locations (Nelson et al. 2007)
The Outer West Wellbeing Partnership Project aims, through partnerships, to work with and support Aboriginal people of all ages to achieve their optimal health. The project is part of a Department of Health North West Metropolitan Region Close the Health Gap Strategy, which commenced in July 2010. The OWWPP is one project funded in year 2 (2011-12) of the Strategy. There are two other Wellbeing Partnership Projects in the NWMR, one in the North and one in the Inner North West.
Aboriginal health is everyone’s business – HealthWest is working to ensure that Aboriginal health is integrated into all aspects of its work: prevention; population; early intervention; mental health.
- Organisational program planning, delivery and evaluation, based on Aboriginal community identified needs, to ensure that services are culturally secure.
- Support consistent and appropriate identification of Aboriginality amongst clients accessing all services to ensure priority of access for Aboriginal people, and maximal use of initiatives and benefits for Aboriginal people with the MBS and PBS
- Flexible service delivery responses (including family responsive services)
- An Improved understanding of what the health needs of the Aboriginal community are, what is being achieved and what is working well, through consultation with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal Health Workers in the west.
Three project Networks have been established to inform the direction of the project.
- Aboriginal Elder's consultative group
- Project Steering Committee
- Aboriginal Support Workers Network
The Cultural Self Identification Card is being piloted by partner organisations.
HealthWest has compiled a directory of services that are available for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities living in the West of Melbourne to raise awareness of what types of services are on offer and how to access those services.
The mapping summarises what type of service can be accessed, as well as providing detailed contact information, including website hyperlink to the organisation's website.
The mapping is in two stages, the first detailing service providers who have a presence in the West and who provide services that are specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The second is a listing of Aboriginal specific organisations that provide services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities living in Melbourne's West but are not physically located in the West.