Winnunga Nimmityjah Health Services means Strong Health 

Julie’s speech launching SCIPPS study

Following on from Winnunga’s involvement in the research phase, CEO Julie Tongs will soon launch a new research report entitled People I can call on: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s experiences of chronic illness.

As reflected in the report, Indigenous people experience disproportionately high rates of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart, lung and kidney disease, as well as others. Such high rates impact not only the individual sufferer, but also their family, friends and loved ones who help care for those affected.

For Winnunga, this report is a major reflection of everyday healthcare. Winnunga currently has 500 regular clients who suffer from some form of chronic illness. This large number only serves to reinforce the importance, and strength of Winnunga’s holistic, integrated approach to health care.

For those who suffer a chronic illness such as diabetes, the condition is not one-dimensional, but multi-faceted. Health care teams, such as a GP, nurse, dietician, podiatrist, pharmacist and dentists, are all important. Furthermore, social health care individuals play a vital role, with chronic illness one of the major risk factors leading to mental illness, and the experience of conditions such as depression and anxiety. Winnunga is able to provide services from its social health team, psychiatrists and counselors.

However, as the SCIPPS report outlines and recommends, and as Winnunga itself consistently experiences, the need to provide care to those afflicted by chronic illness often must be balanced with the running of a day-to-day health service. Increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who work in the health industry would be a major step towards easing this burden.

Winnunga can take pride in a study such as the SCIPPS report, which reaffirms the work Winnunga undertakes to provide a big picture approach to healthcare.