Aboriginal antenatal clinic launched at Liverpool Hospital

Aboriginal Liaison officer Kristy-Lee White, Binya Wiyangara Midwife Kaarina Paasila and Aboriginal Mental Health Worker for Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Service Heidi Duncan.
Aboriginal Liaison officer Kristy-Lee White, Binya Wiyangara Midwife Kaarina Paasila and Aboriginal Mental Health Worker for Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Service Heidi Duncan.

The Binya Winyangara (which means pregnant mothers in Darug language) Clinic was officially launched at Liverpool Hospital as part of South Western Sydney Local Health District's NAIDOC Week celebrations last week.

The antenatal clinic provides culturally responsive care to pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and connects them to health and community services.

The clinic's Aboriginal registered midwife Kaarina Paasila said: "It's important to make sure Aboriginal women are getting the right care and someone dedicated specifically to give them the confidence that they are being heard and looked after."

Ms Paasila is a finalist in the Aboriginal Nurse or Midwife of the Year category of the 2020 NSW Nursing and Midwifery Awards which will be held virtually on November 26.

She said it's important that Aboriginal women feel comfortable accessing care with someone who is "culturally aware."

"I feel so fortunate to be in this position to be able to offer continuity of care in a way that is culturally sensitive," she said.

"While I work with Aboriginal women during their pregnancies, I also help them a lot connecting with other services. I advocate for them and I help them navigate the system."

The District's chief executive Amanda Larkin said the growing range of Aboriginal health services demonstrates the district's determination to close the gap in health care and life expectancy for the more than 20,000 Aboriginal people across the region.

"I am very proud of our progress and new services such as the Binya Winyangara Clinic, which is providing outstanding culturally responsive care to Aboriginal women during their pregnancies," Ms Larkin said

This year's NAIDOC Week theme "Always Was, Always Will Be" recognises the history, culture and accomplishments of the world's oldest continuing culture. SWSLHD launched a Didja Know? Cultural Resources for staff members as part of their activities to celebrate NAIDOC Week.