Mercy Hospital for Women was proud to begin NAIDOC Week celebrations on Wednesday 6 July with Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Di Kerr, conducting a Welcome to Country and traditional smoking ceremony for 50 guests before speaking about Aboriginal history and her experiences in the community. Celebrations continued at Werribee Mercy Hospital, including an official welcome to our newly appointed Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer Donna Duncanson. Donna will partner with patients to provide culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families.
NAIDOC Week (3-10 July) encourages Australians to acknowledge Indigenous history and recognise the contributions Indigenous Australians make to the country and its society.
This year's NAIDOC Week theme, Songlines - The living narrative of our nation - highlights the importance of Songlines to the existence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Chief Executive-Health Services Linda Mellors took the opportunity to highlight the importance of closing the Aboriginal health gap.
"Improvements to Aboriginal health are a priority for Mercy Health, and I wish to thank the Aboriginal Programs staff Marika Jackomos, Jo Pappas, Jodie Lovett and Kyra Booth, who show ongoing commitment to providing the best possible care for our mothers and babies," Ms Mellors said.
"Over the past 12 months, we've celebrated the birth of more than 130 Aboriginal babies at the Mercy Hospital for Women, developed the Nangnak Baban Murrup Clinic for Aboriginal women, as well as our Aboriginal Employment Program to provide further training and job opportunities.
"I'm also thrilled to welcome Donna to the Werribee Mercy Hospital community. Her role will be pivotal in connecting with Aboriginal patients and their families, and ensuring they feel comfortable here at the hospital.
"Aboriginal health is a priority for Werribee Mercy Hospital, and we're committed to supporting Indigenous communities in the area. We recognise the need to work together to provide culturally sensitive services to an increasing number of Aboriginal patients and their families.
"We've been working on finalising a specialised space at Werribee Mercy Hospital for Aboriginal patients and visitors to access, and we expect this to be finished later this year."