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First Peoples

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Australian maternity care systems have not adequately considered the foundations required to nourish healthy futures for Aboriginal families. These systems have not been designed in the right way, by the right people, to provide the best start in life for Aboriginal children. This has resulted in well documented unequal life course health outcomes experienced by Aboriginal people.

Key Findings:

  • The overarching recommendation is for a Culturally Secure Maternity Services Pathway for Aboriginal Women. This is a bold vision, aimed at challenging previous approaches which have not translated to significant improvements in Aboriginal maternal and child health outcomes.
  • Aboriginal women require equitable access to widespread availability of culturally secure models of maternity care provided by a culturally competent health system. This care should hold as its focus woman-centred principles that include continuity of care and carer, commitment to the employment of Aboriginal personnel in a range of health practitioner, diagnostic and support and administrative roles; and be integrated with culturally safe mainstream services.
  • A Culturally Secure Maternity Services Pathway for Aboriginal Women incorporated into the State’s health system planning will provide a clearly articulated long term direction for the delivery of maternity services. This approach will be integrated with all relevant services and agencies, including the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector.
  • In addition to improving the overall number of Aboriginal people in the maternity care workforce, in all roles, Birthing on Noongar Boodjar has identified an urgent need to improve the cultural competence of non-Aboriginal people providing care to pregnant Aboriginal women

This evidence has the potential to contribute to multidimensional, dynamic and sustained solutions. Expert stakeholders (including community members, researchers, policy makers, clinicians, and service providers) have been collaboratively examining the problems and pinpointing the suite of solutions necessary to resolve this fundamental aspect of Indigenous disadvantage.

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