Your health is in your hands: the 715 check up at Pika Wiya

715 CHECK: Pika Wiya Health Service have a range of programs to help mums and babies improve their health outcomes.
715 CHECK: Pika Wiya Health Service have a range of programs to help mums and babies improve their health outcomes.

Aboriginal residents in Port Augusta are being encouraged to get their annual 715 health check in a bid to help curb the early mortality rate of the First Nation peoples.

The free yearly check up ensures Aboriginal people receive primary health care matched to their needs, by encouraging early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions

The Pika Wiya Health Corporation provides the 715 health check and runs a range of support programs, from birth right through to parenthood, encouraging residents to undertake their regular check.

Amy Walters runs the Kinderling's program at Pika Wiya, which is designed for babies from birth through to six years old.

"715 health checks on our babies are very important. It gives us a benchmark on where they are at birth and makes sure they're growing healthy and meeting development milestones throughout their childhood," Ms Walters said.

"While they're here, we talk to the mums, making sure it's a safe environment for them to come to to talk about health."

The Kinderling's program provides incentives to help encourage mums to make sure their babies health checks are up to date.

"We give them or their babies free clothing - we have little onesies, t-shirts, dresses - the mothers love the dresses!" Ms Walters said.

Pika Wiya also offers a Well Women's program, designed to help new mums look after their own health too.

The 'Well Women's House' provides education and counselling about diet, social and emotional wellbeing, and offer a veggie pack when mums complete their 715.

Local GP Dr Julia Nook said the annual health check is a critical first step to engage with patients about their health needs.

"It's not just about having a 715 health check. We use the initial screening consultations to build trust with our patients, getting to know them and their family," she said.

"We work together to try and look at issues identified in the health check, like tackling smoking or weight, and when people are ready, we refer them to follow up services like a dietitian.

"Sometimes there are underlying issues that might be causing some of their health issues and we can explore those further with patients too."

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are 2.3 times more likely to experience burden of disease than non-Indigenous Australians.

The 715 health check is free at Aboriginal Medical Services and bulk billing clinics for people of all ages.