Nearly one hundred Aboriginal people have been tested for COVID-19 at a Mount Druitt Hospital clinic.
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) provides access to specialised social support and culturally-specific resources at the clinic, which is run in collaboration with Kildare Road Medical Centre.
Social support includes providing temporary accommodation options for those who test positive and are living with vulnerable people, and the provision of essentials kits to allow safe self-isolation where possible.
The clinic also provides access to specialised services to link Aboriginal people with mental health and family and domestic violence support services within WSLHD and across other organisations.
At one stage 11% of all people attending the clinic identified as Aboriginal, which shows the success of the clinic in providing a culturally competent service according to WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala.
“People know if you feel sick, you should get tested, and it’s clear that the community feel comfortable enough to be going to the Mount Druitt clinic in droves,” Braiden said.
“Kildare Road Medical Centre is doing exceptional work with the Aboriginal community in Western Sydney. They have a reconciliation plan, welcoming spaces, artwork produced by local artists, and importantly, Aboriginal staff including doctors, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and administration officers.”
An informative pamphlet produced by WSLHD informs clinic attendees what to expect after they are tested, including the next steps about notification of test results and additional assistance.
The pamphlet has been picked up by NSW Health for use in other districts around the state.
Braiden said the district’s Aboriginal COVID-19 Management team is now thinking about the best way to communicate with extended family members who are unable to visit patients being treated in hospital or self-isolating at home.
They are also looking ahead to potential future issues, including how best to communicate with parents if there is an outbreak linked to a school, and any precautions or advice for regional travel.
Anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and arrange to get tested. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, fever, fatigue (unexplained tiredness) and loss of taste or smell.
To get tested, call your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
To protect yourself against COVID-19, exercise the following precautions:
- Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Maintain 1.5 metres physical distance from others
- Download and activate the COVIDSafe app
COVID-19 testing clinics are also available at Westmead, Blacktown and Auburn hospitals, Merrylands, Castle Hill, Riverstone, Bella Vista, and other locations. Find your nearest clinic here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/clinics.aspx
Getting tested is free and safe. Clinics use strict safety measures to prevent the risk of transmission.