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Dedicated team boosts care for District's mob

Partnership supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Three people standing apart walking towards camera carrying packages
SydneyConnect Image: The District’s Aboriginal Cultural Response Team

Sydney Local Health District has ramped up its COVID-19 response, setting up a dedicated team to provide enhanced care and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who live in the District.

The District’s Aboriginal Cultural Response Team has been established in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern to deliver additional support for Aboriginal people during the latest outbreak.

The District is now caring for an increasing number of Aboriginal people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, in the community, at Special Health Accommodation or as a hospital patient.

Many of them are under the age of 16.

Walter Towney, a business relationship manager with RPA Virtual Hospital and the District’s Digital Transformation Office, is coordinating the team.

“We’re working hard to ensure the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters – particularly in Glebe, Surry Hills, Redfern and Waterloo

“We want to show them that we care and that we’re here to support them throughout the pandemic,” he said.

The District has one of the biggest urban Aboriginal populations in NSW, and many have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 than the rest of the population.

The Aboriginal Cultural Response Team is working closely with clinicians at the RPA Virtual Hospital to contact people and offer extra support.

“Our District has extensive experience in caring for vulnerable people who often have complex health and social needs. We’re contacting people to see how we can further help them,” Mr Towney said.

Residents can be provided accommodation in the Special Health Accommodation, if they are unable to safely isolate at home.

The team is also collaborating with the Department of Communities and Justice, the City of Sydney, Souths Cares and community organisations.

It has also begun to distribute care bags, which include face masks, hand sanitiser and personal care products, and key messages about how to be COVID-safe. Food hampers donated by the City of Sydney, are also being delivered in the community.

The team will soon be joined by local Aboriginal community members who’ll champion COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The District has set up a COVID-19 testing clinic at the Redfern Community Centre which is open from 10am – 4pm seven days a week.

And, free Pfizer vaccines are available at a Koori Vaccination Clinic at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the age of 12.

To book, go to https://bit.ly/mycovaxvc35