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Understanding AMIHS – Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Strategy

09 December 2015

The AMIHS was developed by NSW Health to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal women and women with Aboriginal partners during pregnancy and birth by providing a service that is culturally sensitive, woman centred and provided in partnership with Aboriginal peoples.

The Strategy supports Closing the Gap and upholds the understanding of and respect for Aboriginal culture. It provides community based maternity care during pregnancy and some early postnatal care as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Care is given in a partnership between specialists, GPs, midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers, the mother and her family.

Bourke has two Aboriginal health staff who provide support in the AMIHS project.

Louise Brown is the Bourke Health Service Aboriginal Health Worker. Her role is mainly to work within the hospital and provide support for Aboriginal patients. Louise also helps Kelly Lienesch in the community providing support for Aboriginal mothers and mothers with Aboriginal partners. Recently Louise visited the new maternity section at Dubbo. She said “The Dubbo maternity unit is so beautiful and big. It is really lovely.” Having done the visit Louise now knows what the layout is and can explain this better to mothers booking in.

Louise also attends with Kelly the regular telehealth link between Bourke Health Service and the maternity team in Dubbo.

Kelly Lienesch is the Bourke AMIHS Aboriginal Health Education Officer. Her role is to work in partnership with the AMIHS midwife to provide antenatal care to pregnant women in Bourke and Brewarrina area.

Kelly conducts antenatal classes in partnership with Bourke Aboriginal Health Service. The classes include promoting breast feeding, birth plans, keeping well in pregnancy and supporting partners. Kelly said that partners are very welcome to be part of the classes and she would like to see more come.

“We will be running next year the Marang Dahli Eating Well Program so keep your eyes open for when this starts” Kelly said.

Did you know

If you have to stay overnight somewhere when travelling away for specialist medical services and you are able to stay with relatives, you can still claim for financial assistance through IPTAAS (Isolation Patient Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme). An allowance of $20 per night is available to assist with private accommodation. For more information ring 1800 ENABLE (1800 362 253).