Coast's first indigenous practice
THE FRASER Coast grand-daughter of South Sea Island blackbirders, kidnapped and sent to slave on our cane plantations, is about to open the Fraser Coast’s first indigenous medical practice.
Coralie Ober, who grew up with a Butchulla family in Hervey Bay and taught at Maryborough TAFE, is the chair of Galangoor Duwalami, our first primary health care service that targets indigenous patients.
The practice will open in Tavistock Street, Hervey Bay, in the coming weeks.
“This has been the dream, the strategy of the Korrawinga Aboriginal Corporation for 30 years but we had a great many other things to get going like housing, jobs and the resurrection of language and culture.
“We’ve been working on this primary health care service for two years and full on this past year.
“Now we’re at the point of signing up the doctor who has been involved all the way through and a tripartite model has been developed between the Fraser Coast Health Service, GP Links Wide Bay and ourselves.”
Ms Ober, who went to Hervey Bay High before she started nursing and who is now in charge of rolling out her personally devised Federal Government’s Indigenous Alcohol and Drugs screen training program across Australia, said it was “vital to get to mothers, babies and little kids” at the very beginning.
“We need to make them well and make them feel comfortable in accessing a service like this and mainstream programs to avoid chronic illness in later life.”
Galangoor Duwalami, which means a good meeting place, will run ante-natal care, post-natal care, chronic disease management, paediatric, child health and maternal health services.
A clinical nurse, outreach health worker and medical receptionist will complete the start up team.
The organisation is run by a board and has largely funded itself through the set up process.
A research fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane and a specialist in alcohol and drug education, Ms Ober will continue to direct the service while she studies for her Ph D.