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Health researchers present at Thai conference

By Louise Errington

During a recent trip to Thailand, Rosemary Gundjarranbuy (centre) presented research into Indigenous health with colleagues Lawurrpa Maypilama and Dr Anne Lowell During a recent trip to Thailand, Rosemary Gundjarranbuy (centre) presented research into Indigenous health with colleagues Lawurrpa Maypilama and Dr Anne Lowell

Charles Darwin University researchers who specialise in Indigenous health have presented their work at a global health promotion conference in Thailand.

The team from the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing presented a paper which investigates how culturally appropriate education and communication can support Indigenous Australians to prevent and manage chronic conditions.

Rosemary Gundjarranbuy, Lawurrpa Maypilama and Dr Anne Lowell have worked on the project for the past two years in North East Arnhemland. It promotes culturally responsive communication and education practices related to chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

Principal Research Fellow Dr Lowell said the prevalence of chronic conditions in remote communities in the Northern Territory was particularly high, and that effective and culturally appropriate communication and education could significantly improve health outcomes.

“Our initial work explored education and communication practice related to chronic conditions from the perspectives of community members,” Dr Lowell said. “The research suggests that limited or no access to meaningful information is restricting their ability to make informed decisions about their health.

“This led to further work to develop an effective approach to improve understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of chronic conditions, and strategies for prevention and management.”

Dr Lowell said the program brought together western and Indigenous health knowledge in the production of a series of educational videos and workshops designed to share detailed explanations about chronic conditions in local languages.

“Participants are reporting that since taking part in the program they are making healthy changes to their diet, increasing their amount of exercise, and that they are going to local health centres for check-ups,” Dr Lowell said.

The “Sharing the full and true stories about chronic conditions” project is a partnership between the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing and Yalu Marŋgithinyaraw. The project is funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Health and Ageing.

For more information, visit W: www.yalu.cdu.edu.au/healthResources/.