The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre has been established to honour the memory and vision and continue the important work of the late Molly Wardaguga, Burarra Elder, Aboriginal Midwife, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker and Founding Member of the Malabam Health Board in Maningrida, Arnhem Land. This presentation will provide an overview of her life and goals and explain how the new research centre is aspiring to honour Molly’s vision. Sue and Yvette are the co-directors and in line with Molly’s ways of knowing and doing, they are working side-by-side as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers to improve the health outcomes for mothers and babies by doing research that will assist babies to get the best start to life.
Key to their approach is working in collaboration with communities on their priorities. One such priority is when babies are born too early: preterm birth. Preterm birth is a World Health Organisation priority area requiring innovation and research. Rates for Aboriginal babies have not changed in over 10 years and the Northern Territory has some of the highest rates in Australia. Fortunately, this team wants to share with you the work they have done with two Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and a tertiary hospital in Southeast Queensland. Published this year in one of the Lancet journals they have reduced preterm birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies by almost 50%. This extraordinary work has also led to the development of their innovative RISE Framework to support widespread scaleup.
The RISE Framework was built on research conducted in the Northern Territory which also saw significant redesign of maternity services. It has four pillars to drive important reform: (1) Redesign the health service; (2) Invest in the workforce; (3) Strengthen families; and, (4) Embed Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community governance and control.
Lecture held at Charles Darwin University on 18th September 2019