ABORIGINAL mothers and their babies will be given support in a new unit designed to help them learn settling techniques.
Young parents will also be offered programs to help them become better parents.
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS) chief executive officer Jamie Newman said the $4 million expansion of the health service, which was established nine years ago, heralds a new era for Aboriginal health.
He said the funding brought with it an accountability for positive outcomes.
“We now have to focus on measuring the impacts our services have on the lives of Aboriginal people,” he said.
“It’s not just about receiving grants”
The multi-million dollar building under construction will contain six rooms especially designed for promoting mothercraft among Aboriginal women.
“We will have a day centre here offering a similar service to Tresillian or Karitane in Sydney, which will be an alternative for mothers and their babies who would normally have to travel away,” Mr Newman said.
He said the parenting program was designed to give parents the tools to provide their children with a better start in life.
“The program will be about helping parents reduce stress, which could lead to abuse and neglect,” he said.
The expansion also involves an increase in the number of dental rooms from two to three.
Mr Newman said research proved poor dental health could lead to more complex health problems, so it was vital Aboriginal people were able to access care.
He said research and the compilation of data surrounding the provision of services, treatments delivered and outcomes would be an important focus of the organisation in the next 12 months to ensure ongoing funding.
“Eighteen months ago we began this research and data collection and it is crucial if we are to remain viable in the future and attract funding,” he said.
Mr Newman said the OAMS also had to show it was working towards an Aboriginal specific workforce in all areas of health, including doctors, nurses, medical managers and allied health professionals.
“We have valuable partnerships, which we have developed with TAFE, the university, Cancer Council and the Western NSW Local Health District as well as other agencies, and we look forward to continuing these important partnerships as part of our continuing development,” he said.
The new medical centre extension is due for completion in September.