More Money for Health Service

(Author: Craig Thomson. First appeared in Inverell Times on the 16th August 2016)

THE STATE Government has allocated more funding to the Armajun Aboriginal Health Service to enable it to focus on disease prevention.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced another $212,000 in annual funding for the busy centre.

Mr Marshall said the funding would help the service refer more people to healthy lifestyle and treatment programs such as the Go4Fun child obesity program and the Get Healthy Coaching service.

“The poor health of Aboriginal people compared to the rest of the population is well documented,” he said.

“The tragedy is that illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions that afflict Aboriginal people are preventable.

“This additional NSW Government funding is being delivered to help Armajun educate its clients about the links between lifestyle and disease.”

More than 92 per cent of Armajun’s clients are Aboriginal people. In an area covering the local government areas of Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Guyra, Armidale, Uralla, Walcha and Inverell, with an Aboriginal population of 4,228, the service treated 3,178 clients in 2014/15 and provided nearly 44,000 occasions of primary health care.

Glen Innes Armajun Aboriginal health worker James Speedy said the funding may help local indigenous people become more aware of their health.

“Our aim is to make people aware of their own health and taking care of themselves,” he said.

Mr Speedy sees big problems with Indigenous health in Glen Innes.

“I see it every day, the hardest thing for my people to get away from is smoking and drinking, cancer and diabetes is also a big problem within the Indigenous community,” he said.

“A lot of people don’t realise they have diabetes until it is too late and by the time they do all I can do is try and assist them to get the right treatment.

“It would be good to encourage healthy living so problems like diabetes don’t occur, or happen less.”