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Perspectives of Indigenous people in the Pilbara about the delivery of healthcare services

Walker, B.F., Stomski, N.J., Price, A. and Jackson-Barrett, E. (2014) Perspectives of Indigenous people in the Pilbara about the delivery of healthcare services. Australian Health Review, 38 (1). pp. 93-98.

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Aim To identify Indigenous people’s views about gaps and practical solutions for the delivery of healthcare services in the Pilbara.

Methods A structured guide was used to interview three Indigenous language groups from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The responses were analysed with the use of content analysis. In the first stage, codes were developed by assigning names to small sections of the interview transcripts. Next, the most salient incisive codes were identified and developed into themes that captured the most important issues.

Results Many respondents said that there were insufficient health professionals near country, which was compounded by a lack of adequate transport to reach healthcare services. Moreover, respondents commonly indicated that they would be unable to secure adequate accommodation for themselves and any carer when needing to leave country to undergo medical care. The importance of secondary healthcare interventions was highlighted, particularly health promotion initiatives that improved diet and exercise levels and reduced substance abuse. Assuming responsibility for one’s own health was seen as integral to improving the overall health of communities. The respondents saw role models as the most important influence in leading people to take responsibility for improving their own health.

Conclusion This study provides Indigenous perspectives about gaps and solutions in healthcare service delivery in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Although initiatives have commenced to address the shortfall in health professionals and inadequate transport to healthcare, there are still gaps in service provision. Mobile health services were strongly supported as an integral measure to address these gaps.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
School of Health Professions
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright: © 2014 CSIRO
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