THE Aboriginal Health Unit has launched a ‘groundbreaking’ program designed to improve the health and wellbeing of indigenous people released from prison.
Funded under the Close the Gap in Aboriginal Health initiative, the Midland-based program will connect prisoners inside some of WA’s largest jails with health services after their release.
It will also follow up with former prisoners to ensure they continue to attend health care appointments. Staff will work at Acacia, Wooroloo and Bandyup prisons.
A naming competition for the new program resulted in it being dubbed Kooda-miyara Bidi, which translates to healthy path in the Noongar language.
The North Metropolitan Health Service Aboriginal Health Unit has worked with the Department of Corrective Services and Serco to make the plan a reality.
The program primarily aims to address chronic illnesses, mental health issues and drug and alcohol misuse.
Director of Aboriginal Health Cheryl Hayward said staff will meet clients during their stay in prison and make referrals to local health centres once they are released.
“This is an important program that will establish a connection with health services from the ‘inside’ and help people to make a transition to the ‘outside’, and really ensure that there is some continuity in their treatment,” she said.