Full and true stories about Aboriginal health

12-Sep-2014

CDU researchers Rosemary Gundjarranbuy and Lawurrpa Maypilama are helping Yolngu communities share health information

CDU researchers Rosemary Gundjarranbuy and Lawurrpa Maypilama are helping Yolngu communities share health information


A project aiming to improve access to health information for Yolngu communities of Northeast Arnhem Land has had resounding effects in the region.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous Charles Darwin University researchers helped develop the “Sharing the Full and True Stories about Chronic Conditions” project, which integrates Yolngu and Western health knowledge.

CDU Principal Research Fellow Dr Anne Lowell and researchers Dr Lawurrpa Maypilama and Rosemary Gundjarranbuy discussed the project’s success at recent conferences in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Twenty videos featuring residents speaking in Yolngu languages about ways to prevent and manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, have been produced as part of the project. During the three-year project, educational workshops run by Yolngu educators have also been held in communities and homelands.

Dr Maypilama said residents strongly supported the project because it helped local educators share in-depth health information to communities in their native languages.

“We worry about our Yolngu people dying young. We want to teach them from an early age how to get them healthy and to live long,” Dr Maypilama said.

“We are not millions. There is only a small amount of Yolngu around and we want to live for a long time.”

Ms Gundjarranbuy said residents were so eager to access health information they were actively seeking out local educators for information and resources.

“Yolngu need to speak to Yolngu people in Yolngu language because we understand each other,” Ms Gundjarranbuy said.

The project team worked with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous health experts to develop these resources.

The Yolngu community organisation, the Yalu' Marnggithinyaraw, managed the project in collaboration with CDU’s Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing. The Federal Department of Health and Ageing provided funding for the project.

Almost all the 10,000 residents living in Northeast Arnhem Land speak an Aboriginal language as their primary language.

To view videos and find out more about the project, visit W: yalu.cdu.edu.au/healthResources

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