The role of empowerment through life skills development in building comprehensive primary health care systems in Indigenous Australia

Tsey, Komla, Travers, Helen, Gibson, Teresa, Whiteside, Mary, Cadet-James, Yvonne, Haswell-Elkins, Melissa, McCalman, Janya, and Wilson, Andrew (2005) The role of empowerment through life skills development in building comprehensive primary health care systems in Indigenous Australia. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 11 (2). pp. 16-25.

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This paper examines the potential contribution of empowerment through life skills development in building effective Primary Health Care (PHC) systems in Indigenous Australia. More specifically, it assesses the effectiveness of a Family Wellbeing (FWB) empowerment pilot program as a tool for 'engaging' Aboriginal people of Cape York to take greater control and responsibility for their health and wellbeing as part of a broader Cape York Partnerships Initiative. Preliminary findings from the pilot study demonstrated the acceptability of the program to both adults and school children. This follow- up study presents information which demonstrates the critical role that empowerment programs such as FWB may play in achieving the 'hardest parts' of the PHC ideal. The key features of the FWB approach that make it effective are: it starts small and focuses on people; it puts people before structures and works from the micro before broadening out to the macro. The paper highlights the importance of empowerment through life skills development as critical components of PHC systems. It also highlights the need for health professionals to work towards creating PHC environments that better support local Indigenous health and related socio-economic initiatives such as those currently being pursued by Cape York leaders.

Item ID: 708
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-7399
Keywords: empowerment; life skills; primary health care; Indigenous; family wellbeing; Cape York; control; Indigenous health and wellbeing
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© Australian Journal of Primary Health 2005. Author version.

Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 60%
92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 20%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 20%
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