Aboriginal Newborn Identification Project

Improving identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in Victorian maternity services

The videos below have been developed for midwives, nurses and Aboriginal health workers to help them care for Aboriginal mothers and babies. They are part of the project resources that complement a guide to improving identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in Victorian maternity services.

The project closed in 2016, but other documents and resources from the project are still available for download. 

Caring for Aboriginal mothers and babies - newborn examination

Caring for Aboriginal mothers and babies - maternal examination

The guide was developed to improve identification of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander babies and to enhance care for families at maternity services.

As outlined in the Koolin Balit (2011), the Victorian Government committed to reducing the perinatal mortality rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as infant mortality rates, morbidity and low birth weights.

In Victoria, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander babies are twice as likely to be preterm and/or low birth weight when compared to non-Aboriginal babies. They are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Improving health and healthcare requires a sincere engagement with patients and families. Integral to this is an understanding of their cultural needs.

A recent study of identification rates of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander newborns in Victoria found that maternity services under-identify at a rate of 30–40%.

In 2015, approximately 2,0002 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander babies will be born in Victoria.

The resources provided with the guide will support health professionals in recognising Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander babies at their service and assist them when offering families referral to appropriate services.

This project builds on the good work and achievements of previous programs to improve care for Aboriginal families.

Implementing these resources presents an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and engagement with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and organisations.

The Aboriginal Newborn Identification Project - acknowledgements

The Aboriginal Newborn Identification Project was supported by the Victorian Government and the project team are proud to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of lands and waters across Victoria and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

The Maternity Services Education Program (MSEP) acknowledge the extensive input from the following organisations in the development and implementation of project resources:

  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Aboriginal Health Branch
  • Echuca Regional Health
  • Western Health, Sunshine Hospital
  • The Royal Women’s Hospital
  • Victorian Maternity and Newborn Clinical Network
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).
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