Empowering and recognising Aboriginal women and the role they play in the community was one of the aims of a health forum held in Dubbo recently.
The Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) together with the Western NSW Local Health District, hosted the Aboriginal Women’s Health Forum in Dubbo on Friday, September 28.
Keeping in line with this year’s NAIDOC theme “Because of her, we can” the forum focused on inspirational Aboriginal women in the local area and women’s health.
Some of those key health messages included breast screens, pap tests, mental wellbeing and stopping smoking while pregnant.
The event coincided with the 2018 NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout that took place in Dubbo over the long weekend.
Kim Whiteley manager of Aboriginal Health Programs for PHN said the forum allowed collaboration between commonwealth and state government health providers.
“And collaborating to bring an opportunity for our community, for our Aboriginal women to get together and hopefully learn some information about health and to enjoy themselves as a prelude to the Knockout,” she said.
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Kellyanne Johnson from Western NSW LHD said the forum, in line with the NAIDOC theme of ‘Because of her we can’ was about showcasing inspirational indigenous women and celebrating indigenous women with key health messages.
She said there was still a huge discrepancy with how women and men are treated in society.
“So (this forum) is our way of saying thank you,” Ms Johnson said. “We just want to encourage women to take time for themselves for their mental wellbeing, just to recharge their body and mind.”
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The inugural forum was important to continue because Aboriginal health was important, acting Manager Aboriginal Health – Southern Sector, Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Megan Smith said.
“We want to empower and recognise Aboriginal women and the role that they play in our communities as leaders,” she said.
A key note speaker included Dubbo doctor Khyarne Biles.