Local Aboriginal health program receives more funding

A local Aboriginal health worker has praised the decision for a local health program to receive a funding extension.

The Aboriginal Environmental Health Worker program has successfully secured $2.7 million to fund environmental health programs in Aboriginal communities over the next three years.

Pika Wiya Health Service’s Robert Haynes said the extension would help him carry out his work.

“I think it’s positive and it’s going to help us,” he said.

“It gives myself and my other environmental health worker Rachelle Krueger a bit of stability knowing we are going to be around for another three years so we can start running a few programs.”

The program, which has been running since 2010, helps to ensure a healthy living environment for people living in rural and remote Aboriginal communities.

Mr Haynes said he had noticed improvements since the implementation of the program.

“A healthy environment works out to be a healthy person,” he said.

“The environment can be anything from their yards, their homes, where they work and things like that, so we work with them to improve those situations.”

SA Health director health protection Doctor Chris Lease said the Aboriginal Environmental Health Workers played a dual role, helping to monitor and address potential environmental health issues while providing education to residents about home, personal and food hygiene.

“The Aboriginal Environmental Health Workers work within their own communities to help people understand how the quality of the environment around them can impact their health,” he said.

“Some of the projects they’ve worked on include education campaigns around hand hygiene, safe drinking water, and waste management.

“They also monitor and address potential environmental health issues such as pest and dog control, food safety and rubbish management.”

In addition to their work within the community, most participants have also successfully completed both Certificate II and III in Indigenous Environmental Health through the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE).

The Aboriginal Environmental Health Workers are based with community controlled organisations across the state including Scotdesco, Ceduna Koonibba, Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and the APY Lands.

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