Our Way

Overview

Health

A mobile clinic goes to each of the communities with our Indigenous Chief Investigator and Healthy Lifestyle Workers. The team offers everyone in the community testing for the risk factors for Kidney disease and diabetes with on the spot tests for blood sugar, Blood Pressure, BMI and protein and blood in the urine along with a general health check up. The teams takes special Point of Care Machines for the blood and urine test and the results are instant so they can be discussed with each person and followed up if they are not good.

Stories

The mobile Clinic has an arts truck that goes to each community with it. Artists travel with the team and work with people in each community to develop their own stories, using their own language and images, about how to be healthier. At the end of each visit a small community event is held to show off the healthy stories created in the past couple weeks by the people that live there.

Community Development

Once testing is over, our Chief Investigators do look at the results from each community. We hold a community meeting where we discuss the results with the community. At the meeting we work with the community to identify issues that are affecting their health. A community development officer then looks at ways the project can support the community to address these issues.

The project also plays a role in promoting awareness of the issues affecting your community. We achieve this through advocacy to community and government agencies, publication of research findings and media publicity about the project’s work in all 10 communities.

Healthy Activities

Eating plenty of fruit and vegies contributes to good health, helps maintain a healthy weight and protects against a number of diseases, including diabetes and kidney disease. Most Australians eat only half the amount of fruit and vegies recommended for good health. Adults need to eat at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegies each day. The amount children need depends on their age. You can find out more about your daily fruit and vegie requirements at www.gofor2and5.com.au

Here are some fun ways to find out more about food…Enjoy!

Research

The Western Desert Kidney Health Project was an action research project targeted at 10 Indigenous communities in the Western Desert and Goldfields of remote Western Australia. Australian Aboriginal people are diagnosed with renal disease four times as often as non-Aboriginal people and in some areas the rate is as much as 30 times higher. Type 2 Diabetes is a major risk factor for renal failure in this population. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the Australian Indigenous community is the fourth highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world.

The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and end stage renal disease (ESRD), the prevalence of the risk factors for these diseases, the age at which those risk factors appear and to determine whether community education and development strategies, coupled with current recommended medical care can reduce the prevalence of these risk factors.

Participants were assessed to identify those with risk factors for diabetes and ESRD or established disease. The project team established appropriate referral networks for management of participants found to be at risk.

The project team presented health promotion strategies to the communities using a community arts for community development model. The communities were assisted to develop strategies to reduce the prevalence of these diseases and assist prevention. Assessment was offered to non Aboriginal people as well but the emphasis was on reaching Aboriginal people who were at extreme risk for diabetes and renal disease.

The clinical and intervention aspects of the project took 3 years and the research team worked with existing health services and the community so that at the end of the 3 years they were better placed to continue clinical care, health promotion and early intervention also able to target services to those in most need, better plan services and commence treatment at an earlier stage of the disease process to reduce progression and complications.

Awards

  • Alison Dimmer, the writer of the Alfie the Tooth Fairy Story, travelled with Narrator Catherine Howard to Brisbane to the National Australian Medical Association Conference on May 27th to be awarded the Dr Ross Ingram Memorial Competition.

 

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