Making a mark for indigenous health

Posted on: Thursday, 07 July 2011

A FITZROY-based indigenous health worker says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to seek healthcare if they can actually see the benefits first-hand.

Michael Honeysett, from Eastern Health’s Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, said there had been significant progress in some key indigenous health areas.

“In a general sense, we have made progress in areas like knowledge about diabetes and the importance of getting your kids immunised,” he said.

“We’re also now getting a full and proper comprehension about alcoholism.”

Michael says NAIDOC Week (July 3-10) is a good opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“It also gives us a sense of pride that we’re still here,” he said.

Michael, who works in Turning Point’s needle and syringe program, plays a key role in providing healthcare for people in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

He said some members of the indigenous community were more likely to take the next step and join a treatment program after seeing a family member or friend “doing well”.

“It might be that they actually see how well Uncle Mick is doing now,” Michael said. “We are a very visual people, so if something is seen to be working, it can encourage the next group of people to seek help.”