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Yamani meta and midwives partner for culturally safe maternity care

Published:  05 November 2021

A new, dedicated, midwifery service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums-to-be has been established by Townsville Hospital and Health Service in partnership with Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services (TAIHS).

The Indigenous Midwifery Group Practice program will be located at TAIHS’ Yamani Meta (Rainbow House). Indigenous midwifery group practice team leader Shauna Newman said the program would partner Indigenous women, or women excepting a baby who will identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with a single midwife through their pregnancy and beyond.

“This model of care will connect women with a known midwife through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period,” she said. “Yamani Meta offers a culturally safe space for women to receive care from conception until 6- weeks post-birth.

“Women can also connect with a First Nations family wellbeing worker based at Yamani Meta who can provide added support, information, advice, referrals and advocacy.” Shauna said research showed continuity of care improved health outcomes for First Nations mothers and babies.
“Having a dedicated midwife means women can build a relationship and develop trust,” she said.

“Women will have access to their midwife 24 hours a day. “The research also shows there are reduced rates of premature labour and better health outcomes
for mothers and babies when they access this model of maternity care.”

Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services chief executive officer Dr Stephen Hagan said he was delighted that Yamani Meta could play a role in delivering the program.

“The Yamani Meta centre offers a non-clinical, home-like environment which is somewhere that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women feel comfortable,” he said.

“The other benefit of seeing women here is it is centrally located and purposefully near other TAIHS service such as mums and bubs clinics, youth support services and the social and emotional wellbeing team.”

Ms Newman said they program would also offer appointments to women at the Kirwan Community Health Campus.

“If this option suits women better then we want it to be available to them,” she said.

“Women can connect with the program by talking to their doctor.”

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