4 June 2024

TCHHS and Apunipima win Queensland Reconciliation Award

| Chisa Hasegawa
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TCHHS and Apunipima staff at the Queensland Reconciliation Award ceremony

A partnership to address the high rates of kidney disease in Cape York First Nations communities has won a Queensland Reconciliation Award. Photo: Supplied.

The Cape York Kidney Care (CYKC) program has won the Health and Wellbeing category of the Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

To address the high rates of kidney disease and kidney failure needing dialysis in First Nations communities, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service (TCHHS) partnered with Apunipima Cape York Health Council in 2019 to reach six communities: Weipa, Napranum, Mapoon, Aurukun, Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama.

TCHHS nephrologist Dr Tahira Scott said the innovative model of care was the first of its kind in Australia, with its success apparent.

She said the heart of the model was the involvement of First Nations health workers or practitioners.

“We recognise that partnerships with Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations like Apunipima can achieve real success in patient-centric health outcomes,” Dr Scott said.

“We’re providing a gold standard nephrology service in the bush, meaning those who see the CYKC team are receiving the same level of care you would receive in a city through using a different integrative model of care, which is culturally safe.

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“We are so proud to receive this reconciliation award and we believe this model is something that could be replicated in other non-urban health services around Queensland.”

Outreach clinics were held at Apunipima’s facilities in the six communities, which are run by First Nations staff.

Apunipima chief executive officer Debra Malthouse said this partnership showed the strengths of each organisation in directly addressing these chronic health conditions in Cape York.

“We are focused on providing comprehensive primary health care to the communities we serve,” she said.

“Our staff on the ground are able to provide the link between the community and the visiting outreach clinicians, making patients feel comfortable and supported through their healthcare journey.”

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