PREVENTING ACUTE RHEUMATIC FEVER IN ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMUNITIES
4 Oct 2018
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are most at risk of Acute Rheumatic Fever, an infectious disease with the potential to cause permanent heart damage. A Healthy Housing initiative could be the solution to this illness.
Maida Stewart, a Darwin local, has received a Churchill Fellowship because of her dedication to improving the welfare of her community through learning from the current Healthy Housing Initiative in New Zealand.
Maida will travel to Auckland, New Zealand to learn from the community on how they are combating Acute Rheumatic Fever through healthy housing solutions. She hopes to bring solutions back to Australia to help prevent the spread of the illness.
Maida, an Aboriginal Health Practitioner at Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, has always been motivated to give back to her community through her work.
“It is an honour to receive this Fellowship sponsored by Bob and June Prickett, I am looking forward to making connections with the Maori community in South Auckland,” said Maida.
“I hoping the Fellowship will give me the opportunity to raise awareness about the need to actively address housing issues and other environmental factors which greatly impact on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, so we can make some real improvements in this area.
“I look forward to developing longstanding partnerships with government and organisations in New Zealand and Australia, and bringing back more information about New Zealand’s Healthy Housing Initiatives as a preventative health measure to help develop similar measures in Australia.
“New Zealand has been successfully operating in this way, for many years, so I am hopeful Australia will also jump on board to enact these preventative measures.”
“This opportunity has the potential to achieve significant health improvements for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” said Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
“The Churchill Fellowship recognises new ideas, like Maida’s. It is a celebration of expertise, innovation, expanding knowledge and creating new and better ways of addressing issues that matter in Australia. We look forward to seeing what she is able to achieve as a result of her Fellowship experience.”