Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS

Health and wellbeing program

Oxfam is very proud of our unique health and wellbeing programs, incorporating local culture and views, which have helped to transform the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia for more than 30 years.

Building healthier communities nationwide

We support programs around the country to build healthy communities, by partnering with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

As a nation, we have never been as well placed to turn the current health crisis faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People around.

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Oxfam understands that the people best placed to help Aboriginal communities are community members themselves. That’s because no one understands their problems better than they do.

Aboriginal people can take control, solve their own problems, and rely on themselves. And a national network of more than 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations is enabling them to do just that.

These organisations are initiated and operated by the local Aboriginal community to provide comprehensive and culturally appropriate healthcare. We support them behind the scenes by strengthening their governance, management systems and policy work so that they can reach more people in need.

In the Health and Wellbeing Program we work in three thematic areas: Close the Gap; men’s and women’s health; and healing and counselling.

Closing the gap

37987 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commisssioner Mick Gooda

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commisssioner Mick Gooda signs the Statement of Intent at Parliament House, Adelaide, Friday 29 October 2010. Photo: Ben Macmahon/AAP

We’ve played a lead role in transforming the Close the Gap campaign for Indigenous health equality from a popular campaign to a force that is shaping government policy, by working with Aboriginal peak organisations to hold our governments to account.

One of our partners is the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, who we’ve been working with since 2003 by supporting a Regional Development Officer and a Medical Public Health Officer, among other initiatives. We’ve also been working with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service since 2008 to support the Coalition of the Intentional, a group of not-for-profit organisations committed to holding federal and state governments accountable for the implementation of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent.

The Federal Government has now signed up to closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. It’s a tremendous result, but there’s still much to do. Join more than 140,000 Australians who have committed to closing the gap and sign the pledge today.

Keeping fit through footy

The Fitzroy Stars Football club brings together 300 Aboriginal men from Melbourne’s northern suburbs to compete in Melbourne’s Northern Football League. We’re a keen supporter of the club – it’s not just about footy: the club’s mission is to nurture a culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle, fitness, nutrition and self-esteem and builds bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Healing communities

Oxfam Australia is working with the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) in Western Australia to help bring about change through effective healing models, which draw on the best of Aboriginal and western healing practices. We’re supporting SWAMS to empower Nyoongar people to deal with past trauma, and reconnect with their culture and healthy living.

Gulf Regional Health Service in transition

Since 2004 we’ve run the Gulf Regional Health Service in northern Queensland, an extensive program to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In October 2010 Oxfam transferred management of the program to North & West Queensland Primary Health Care.

Oxfam will continue to have a presence in the Lower Gulf region as part of our larger contribution to closing the gap in Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy, health and wellbeing.

Related links

Health organisations

Government organisations

Research resources

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