Indigenous communities in Bourke, Dubbo and Moree will reap the benefits of a successful health program for mothers and babies, thanks to more than $1 million in Coalition Government funding.
Member for the Parkes electorate, Mark Coulton, today announced that Bourke Aboriginal Health Service, Dubbo Aboriginal Corporation Health Service and Pius-X Aboriginal Corporation in Moree will each receive a share of the funding.
“I’m pleased to announce that the nationwide expansion of the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program will include three new sites in New South Wales, all of which are in the Parkes electorate. These locations are Bourke, Dubbo and Moree,” Mr Coulton said.
“This will be a great new service for Indigenous communities in the electorate, providing better access to healthcare including antenatal care and practical advice for mothers, and immunisation and health checks for children before they start school.
“The New Directions program builds on the Government’s commitment to halve the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality, and is contributing to positive health results for women and children.”
The three additional sites for the program at Bourke, Dubbo and Moree are part of a wider expansion to help build stronger, healthier and more resilient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
“We are seeing positive health results including a decrease in smoking rates during pregnancy, a decrease in rates of low birth weight babies and improved childhood immunisation rates. This is an important health program that will help our local children have a great start to life.”
Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM said research has shown the value of the New Directions program.
“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,” Minister Wyatt said.
“We know that the time from conception through the early years of a child’s life is absolutely critical for their future health.”
The New Directions program targets five priority areas, including:
- Care of mothers before and immediately after the birth of their baby
- Detailed information about baby care
- Practical parenting, breast-feeding and nutrition assistance
- Monitoring children’s development, immunisations and infections
- Health checks and treatment referrals before children start school
Expansion sites for the program were identified through consultation with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums. There are now 136 New Directions services across the nation.
Media Contact: Anna Tickle – 0400 050 729
New locations for New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services
Bourke Aboriginal Health Service – $354,250
Dubbo Aboriginal Corporation Health Service – $371,950
Pius-X Aboriginal Corporation, Moree – $426,780