Public Healthcare Award for Improving Aboriginal Health

The Baggarrook project team were awarded the 2019 Victorian Government’s Public Healthcare Award for Improving Aboriginal Health.

Annually, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) celebrates excellence, dedication and innovation in public health, health services and health care.

This year's winner in the category Improving Aboriginal Health is the collaborative partnership project Woman’s Journey: Baggarrook Yurrongi, Nurragh Manma Buliana led by Professors Helen McLachlan and Della Forster of the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University:

Three health services in Melbourne (Western Health, Mercy Hospital for Women and The Royal Women’s Hospital), along with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and La Trobe University have partnered on this project to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies:

A new culturally safe model of care has been implemented for Aboriginal mothers and babies, proactively offering caseload midwifery where women receive continuity of care from a primary midwife through pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. This is considered the ‘gold standard’ in maternity care, and it is associated with improved clinical and psychosocial outcomes. In particular, it results in fewer caesareans, fewer low birthweight infants and fewer neonatal special care admissions. Women also feel more satisfied, safer, more supported emotionally, and are more likely to commence breastfeeding. The model was community driven, and is an exemplar of effective partnering between the health, community and university sectors. The findings demonstrate an exponential increase in the number of Aboriginal women receiving caseload midwifery at the combined sites (from 34 to more than 360 women since the project commenced). Women have reported very positive experiences of the model including feeling safe and more trusting of their maternity care experience.

"Our team at JLC as well as our colleagues from VACCHO, Sunshine Hospital, the Women’s and the Mercy Hospital are so happy to have received this award. It’s really been a great partnership and so many people have contributed so much. And an especially big thank you to Fiona McLardie-Hore, our project co-ordinator," said Helen McLachlan.

The team is also proud that of the 55 finalists the Department of Health and Human Services chose to feature their project in a short video [EXTERNAL LINK]. The DHHS brochure 2019 Victorian Public Health Care Awards Showcase [EXTERNAL LINK] has some more details.

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