Aboriginal medical service builds on success

BEFORE the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS)was established in 2005 hundreds of Aboriginal people were not accessing appropriate health care.

But 2014 paints a very different picture for Aboriginal people, with 750 new patients attending the service in the last financial year.

OAMS manager Yolande Meintjes said the release of the Closing the Gap report by Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday reaffirmed the commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal people.

“It is imperative we continue to provide this service to our community and to do that we need to ensure we have the financial resources necessary,” she said.

Ms Meintjes said staff were passionate about reaching as many Aboriginal people as possible and the appointment of Christie Cain as an Aboriginal case co-ordinator has made definite inroads into improving the health of Aboriginal people in Orange, many of whom have chronic health problems.

Ms Cain said for many Aboriginal people who have not accessed appropriate health care for many years, it could be daunting to sit in appointments, listen to medical terminology and go to follow-up appointments.

“By making those appointments for people, and that’s where my role is important, I do all the organising for them,” she said.

“I can even arrange transport to and from their appointments.”

Ms Meintjes said the OAMS continued to build on its success, with work starting soon on the construction of a building for infant, child and maternal health, chronic care and the expansion of dental services.

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