In remote regions of Western Australia, good quality health care can often be a hit and miss affair, with many people traveling to big population hubs to get the treatment they need. For the people of Newman in WA’s Pilbara region access to health services is a big issue.
“Health has been a big challenge in Newman for a long time, particularly for Indigenous people, who have a cultural barrier to accessing services and often travel in from remote communities,” explained BHP’s Principal Community Sue Michoff.
BHP is investing $764,000 in the new Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) facility, opposite Newman Hospital.
PAMS is an Aboriginal controlled primary healthcare provider supporting communities located in the remote Western Desert region of the Pilbara.
“The new PAMS facility is going to deliver amazing outcomes, not only for Indigenous people but also the wider population of Newman,” continued Sue.
With the new facility, people will have access to GPs, a pharmacy, chronic disease and kidney dialysis specialists, a dietitian, child health nurses, and speech and occupational therapists.
“Until now, there has been no Aboriginal Medical Service in Newman,” said PAMS CEO Robby Chibawe.
“So this service fills a gap. We are building an appropriate cultural space for Indigenous people to access quality, timely health opportunities.”
To attract specialists to Newman, BHP has provided six houses to PAMS.
BHP is also partnering with PAMS to protect Aboriginal people who develop influenza or coronavirus symptoms, with $330,000 provided to support additional GPs for remote Indigenous communities in the Western Desert region.