A unique health program aimed at improving Aboriginal health will be introduced into the Hunter by Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative (Awabakal).
On Thursday 29 August, Awabakal CEO, Don MacAskill, signed a partnership with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) that will see the Deadly Choices program educate and empower young Aboriginal people in the Hunter to make healthy choices.
‘Deadly’ is a popular Aboriginal term for ‘awesome’ and with a clever play on words, also warns that not making a healthy choice, could be a deadly choice. Deadly Choices focuses on quitting smoking, getting regular health checks, eating healthily and exercising daily.
Don MacAskill said that Awabakal is already working across the broader community health sectors to ensure that Aboriginal health is viewed as a long-term commitment by the whole community and that Hunter was well positioned to integrate this program into existing Awabakal services.
“By introducing Awabakal Deadly Choices into the Hunter we are attempting to reconnect and empower our local community to make healthy choices about their future,” Don said.
“More than half the local Aboriginal population of about 25,000 is under the age of 25 and has one of Australia’s highest levels of tobacco use. Figures released by NSW Health indicate that chronic disease in our Aboriginal population is almost double that of the wider population.”
“In order to be successful we must look beyond political cycles with the ultimate aim of preventing chronic disease. We will do this by empowering young people to make good choices about not smoking, having regular health checks, eating well and exercising daily.”
To help promote the Deadly Choice program, Awabakal Co-operative member and Knights player, Timana Tahu, has signed on as an an Awabakal Deadly Choices role model in the Hunter.
‘We have all eaten the wrong type of food, been tempted to smoke, drink too much and not exercise, but once you are empowered to make the right ‘deadly choices’ you can really feel the benefits and improve your chances of a long and healthy life,” Timana said.
“I am really looking forward to helping our community get involved in Deadly Choices.”
Pictured | Institute of Urban Indigenous Health Deadly Choices ambassadors, Steve Renouf, and Scott Prince, with Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative (Awabakal) CEO, Don MacAskill, and Awabakal Deadly Choices ambassador, Timana Tahu
Awabakal has provided services to indigenous people living in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales since 1977.
Their services are delivered and predominately managed by professional Aboriginal staff experienced with and sensitive to the needs of the community.