TAFE course aimed at improving indigenous health

BY ADRIAN MILLER

THERE was a hint of sadness amidst yesterday's celebrations at the Gorrie Health Forum held at the Grafton College of TAFE as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students discussed issues relating to indigenous health.

Forming the final piece of assessment for class members who are completing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Certificate Four, the forum also honoured the memory of Christine Johnson, a class member who died before finishing the course.

Coordinator of Grafton Nursing, Ingrid Vet, said the course aimed to provide more indigenous health care workers for the community.

"We need the indigenous community to develop confidence in their own community about health issues," she said.

"The course is about creating social change within the indigenous community because it is also about drugs and alcohol, mental health, children and the elderly. It's really pulling it together and we hope to have more Aboriginal health courses in the future."

Master of ceremonies Luke McKenna said the day provided important information.

"(We're) identifying health issues in the indigenous community and we're presenting those issues to the elders and the broader community so they can take it away and know how to access support, such as doctors surgeries," he said.

Class teacher Ann Simpson said the course was an eye-opener for all involved and was already showing benefits.

"A lot of them are starting to commence work as teachers, teaching young people about community health as well," she said.

"Half of them have got jobs out of the course so far, and they haven't even completed it."

Class member Tashinda Roberts said she hoped to pass on everything she had learnt to younger members of the commu- nity.



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