Carnarvon Aboriginal health service funded to deliver A Better Start to Life initiative
August 7, 2018
Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price is pleased a highly successful health program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies is now available for Durack residents of Shark Bay, Coral Bay and the Upper Gascoyne.
This is part of the Federal Government’s national expansion of the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program – part of the $94 million A Better Start to Life initiative to help build stronger, healthier and more resilient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Ms Price said Carnarvon Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (CMSAC) will receive $471,099 to deliver the service and be one of 12 new sites across the nation to be added to the successful program, bringing the total to 136.
“I’m pleased a New Directions program will be available in my electorate,” she said “it is about helping our local children have a great start to life and reach their full potential.
“The New Directions program goes to the heart of the Federal Government’s commitment to halve the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality and is contributing to the positive health results we are seeing for women and children.
“This includes a decrease in smoking rates during pregnancy, a decrease in rates of low birth weight babies and improved childhood immunisation rates,” said Ms Price.
“We are also seeing women accessing antenatal care earlier and more frequently throughout their pregnancies.
“By wrapping services around families, locally focused programs like this are also important in helping guard against the development of chronic conditions in later life, such as rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure.”
Expansion sites were identified through consultation with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums.
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.
“We know that the time from conception through the early years of a child’s life is absolutely critical for their future health and we want to ensure all of our children are given the best opportunities to flourish and thrive,” Ms Price said.