‘World class’ facility
Wednesday, 21st September, 2011
By John Casey
An impressive new Child and Family Unit at Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation in Argent Street has been described as “world class” by NSW MP Kevin Humphries.
In officially opening the facility with Maari Ma Chairperson Mrs Maureen O’Donnell, Mr Humphries congratulated those involved for “leading the way” in health service delivery for Indigenous Australians.
“The success behind Maari Ma has been building partnerships and that vision shows the way for government,” Mr Humphries told an audience of almost 100 people at the ceremony.
“In the past, the delivery of medical services for Indigenous Australians has been a struggle, but by involving Aboriginal people in the planning process, the decision making process and the delivery process we now see what we can achieve.
“What is being created by Maari Ma will be a role model for the next generation,” Mr Humphries, the NSW Minister for Mental Health, Healthy Lifestyles and Western NSW added.
Mrs O’Donnell, who has nine children of her own, agreed it was a proud day for Maari Ma, but added there was still plenty of work to do.
“It is important that we all work together to bring Aboriginal health services up to the standard of the wider community,” Mrs O’Donnell said.
The new facility will provide safe, culturally appropriate services in a family environment, according to the Regional Primary Health Services Director, Ms Lesley Woolf.
“For pregnant women, mothers with babies and families we now have an appropriate environment to help convey the delivery of health services,” Ms Woolf said.
“This is a significant day for Maari Ma.”
As well as pre and post natal services, the Child and Family Unit will also provide nutrition, healthy lifestyles and outreach services. It will operate in parallel with a three-day per week GP clinic and monthly paediatric visits.
A play group will be established in the future and ancillary programs like cooking classes are also planned.
The Child and Family Unit will be housed in a purpose-built facility at Maari Ma’s Argent Street premises. The building was constructed by Adelaide-based firm All Steel and transported to the city.
Maari Ma’s Bob Davis, who today celebrates his second anniversary as Chief Executive Officer, said the facility was an important addition for the organisation and he acknowledged the work of project manager Harry Prescott.
“There were a lot of non-Indigenous people involved with this project and we also thank them,” he added.
Practice Manager Kaylene Kemp, who has worked at Maari Ma for more than 13 years, said it was a “very proud day” for the organisation.
“I have lived in Broken Hill all my life and in the past there wasn’t a lot here for Indigenous people,” she said, inviting Maari Ma Founding Chairman William Bates to conduct a ‘smoking ceremony’ of the building to “ward off evil spirits”.