The Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Strategy is celebrating 10 years of service this week.
The program, which officially launched in Armidale in 2006, is run by a team of two midwives and an Aboriginal health worker and attempts to close the gap in Aboriginal maternity healthcare.
The team has seen almost 500 women for care and almost as many babies have been born during this time including six sets of twins.
NSW Health Northern Tablelands general manager Wendy Mulligan said over the past decade the initiative had been very successful.
“One of the issues that was raised [before the program started] was the fact that the Aboriginal girls having babies weren’t really having antenatal care,” Ms Mulligan said.
“We put a submission together, identified the need for it in Armidale and then we were really successful in getting the funding for it.
“It’s continued on from there and has just got bigger and better.”
Ms Mulligan said the program helps Aboriginal mothers with breastfeeding, checking babies birth weights and ensuring all steps of the clinical process are taken for the best possible outcome.
“We also make sure that they have antenatal checks and that they actually start those before 20 weeks,” she said.
“It’s been a really good program with really good outcomes.”
Aboriginal health education officer Catherine Faulkner has been working in the program since it started.
“It’s been lovely working with every single one of them and every midwife brings their own unique expertise to the service,” Ms Faulkner said.
“We found there was a gap that needed to be closed because we had girls turning up not booked, they had no ultrasounds ... our service picked all that up and catered for those needs.
We had girls turning up not booked, they had no ultrasounds ... our service picked all that up and catered for those needs.- Catherine Faulkner
“We work very closely now with the obstetrics clinic and a lot of the general practitioners around town too.”
Community midwife Maxine Ross said the team would present the maternity ward with gifts in celebration of the milestone on Friday.
“We’re giving maternity a framed print of a placenta and hand prints from kids at Minimbah,” Ms Ross said.
The service also extends to Inverell and Glen Innes.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.