Waijungbah Jarjums - video transcript
My name is Cassandra Nest. I am a Ngunnawal Woman with connections to the Fish River People of Pajong. I am a Clinical Midwife Consultant at Gold Coast University Hospital for the Waijungbah Jarjums service. And I also work in a joint appointment with Griffith University as the First Peoples Midwifery Lecturer. Waijungbah Jarjums was conceptualized with community consultation, it's a model of care that offers continuity of carer from conception to the first 1000 days. So that means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families get to know their midwife and child health nurse and health worker, from the moment they find out that they're pregnant until the baby is two years of age. It's the relationship that you form, that the midwife becomes part of the family, a sister an Aunty. It addresses the power imbalance as well. So coming into a hospital setting, there's power imbalances that we have to be aware of as clinicians, and having that known relationship addresses that power imbalance because you then can provide empowerment to the family to be self determining in their choices. So we know that continuity of care is the gold standard. There's multiple research articles out that will prove that, there's no questions about it, it improves birth outcomes experiences, midwife satisfaction. So the importance though, on top of that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is the little things; it's about having that relationship so that you do feel comfortable engaging with the service and know that you have someone that's constantly there that's got your back and will advocate for your wants and needs.
Dave Cox, proud Turrbal Man.
Purdey Cox, Bundjalung Woman. And yeah, our little son Boston.
We've got two older girls one 14 and one 10. And then yeah, Boston was our, surprise.
Surprise! It was a really great experience to be referred to the Waijungbah Jarjums program. When we had our 10 year old, we went through the mainstream system and we didn't feel like we were listened to very, very well. Didn't feel like our care was driven by what we wanted. Yeah, so Waijungbah Jarjums, gave us, hooked us in with a midwife that was indigenous and she became like a friend or an Aunty.
We went out to all of the women that had accessed Gold Coast University Hospital in the preceding two years to when the project started. And what we heard from that is that, pretty much the darker the woman's skin, the worse her experience was. So then we asked those women to, like, what their ideal service would be. The women then developed a service from that conception to the first 1000 days that they felt would meet their needs as the Gold Coast community on Yugambeh speaking country. So what that entailed was a continuity of care model for midwives, extended child health, connection to culture, country community. The program is huge and doesn't just offer mainstream service for midwife and child health. It incorporates every part of health and is founded on the philosophy that pregnancy is a normal part of many women's lives, but also is founded on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander definition of health which is that it encompasses the spiritual and cultural wellbeing of the person and the whole community as opposed to just an individualistic health based response.
It's like chalk and cheese. You know, if you if you want to have continuity of care, and you want to have a close relationship with your clinicians or your midwives, then definitely go with Waijungbah Jarjums because from the minute they enter your home, you're part of the family and they take a special interest in you and a lot of other hospitals don't do that.
You get the knowledge from the midwives to help you through harder situations. And you've always got that support that's right there when you need it.
Yeah, and I think most health clinicians, they come because they want to make a difference and on people's lives. And I think, you know, with First Nations or indigenous people, there are barriers there. And if they can extend that welcome to everyone, and help them have a better journey, you have better outcomes for the families and the children.
One of the things that I'm most proud of about the model of care that we've been able to help to develop alongside them is that we've got the strongest community advisory group, the members of that are so deadly, they're really supportive and embracive of the program. And I guess that's testament to the fact that they're actually the ones that have developed what they want it to look like, we've also been really, really fortunate to build a really strong relationship with the, with YRACA, which is the Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance. And so elders and traditional custodians of YRACA have been supportive of the program and they've been able to provide that sense of community with their with being included in the program. We've also been able to build a strong partnership with our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled medical service Kalwun and that's a true testament to their CEO Kieran Chilcott's vision, to be able to provide local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with culturally safe care. We get the most amazing feedback about how the program not only has improved outcomes, but that it's actually improved people's experiences of Gold Coast University Hospital, in accessing services across the board, the advocacy, but also the little things that we do that seem little but actually huge, like the men's groups and the women's groups, the yarning circles, the connection to country that we have through the Welcome Jarjums to Community Ceremonies. So the fact that we have people engaging 100% of our women accessed five or more antenatal visits. So the fact that people are engaging in our service is a testament to the fact that we're doing something good.
Jingeri wahlu wahlu jimbelungs bah Jellurgal which means welcome all of you friends to Jellurgal our dreaming mountain. My name is Craig Williams. I'm a Yugambeh Descendant, my connections are from my grandmother, the Grahams from the Gold Coast, which is Kombumerri or Kombu-merri. And from my grandfather's side is the Williams', which is the Mununjali Mob. Cass told us about, you know, the amazing initiative that she wanted to do was welcoming Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander families and their children, while they're on our traditional grounds, which is a, has been a traditional ceremony or a traditional way of life for 1000s and 1000s of years. It's virtually bringing back those protocols. So as traditional people, we thought that would be a fantastic way to connect those families to our country. There were two components, traditional components, the smoking, which is the cleansing. Now the other part was to connect them to country which earthing so a part of that was, was the ochre ceremony so we'd get ochre from Burleigh Headlands, so that was connected them to our dreaming mountain. And you know, there's so much significance around this mountain. So you know, there's ochre seams all over the Gold Coast, but this being a very significant spot. And you know, ochre comes from these areas as well. We thought it was very significant way to connect them to our country and our stories.
I'm Linda Biumaiwai, a Yugambeh language speaking traditional custodian based on the Gold Coast and belonging to the Mununjali people of Beaudesert.
Aunty Mary Graham
I'm Mary Graham, Kombumerri-Yugambeh and on my mother's side, Wakka Wakka.
So today was about connecting our babies to country and our country for us, is our mother. It's important for all of our children as well as adults to be connected to country and to their mother.
Aunty Mary Graham
Every place has its own dreaming story, a creative narrative, a spiritual narrative. So you're connecting up with the spiritual narrative via the land itself and ochre, and so on. It's really important for babies, new little jarjums to already have that because their spirit has to be firmly connected to the spirit of the place, that they're born here, they're born on, on Kombumerri-Yugambeh land. Even if they don't, if their parents come from somewhere else. What it really does is it brings people and countries together.
We can't have a tree without a root system on it.
Aunty Mary Graham
That's exactly right.
So, and that doesn't survive, so you need to have all of those connections for it to flourish, for its whole life.
He's going to have that sense of community, a sense of belonging, and just be able to have those relationships with, you know, with guys that have already gone through, guys and girls, that have gone through the program with him. And we can just hopefully follow that through. And they can have that relationship or that friendship all the way through their life.
This should be the model of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, there's no doubt in my mind that if we actively looked at implementing a model of care that's community led and governed that incorporates birthing on country in first 1000 days Australia principles, there's no, I have no doubt that we would be able to contribute to closing the gap more than what we have. The key to that is that it needs to be driven by the local community. And there needs to be a strong foundation of a Consumer Advisory Group, where any decisions about the service, there's that governance that they provide that, that support, and they get to continue to model the service.
My grandfather is stolen generation, so we've lost a lot of our family history, so trying to find more about where we're from. If my parents could have accessed this sort of service, it would have brought our family together a lot quicker. Like we would have had that belonging from a younger age, where Purds has had that, you know, the family's always been running the traditional ways, and that sort of thing where we've never had that. It wasn't until my late 20s that I really sort of found out more about where I'm from and, and always sort of felt lost. And since now we've got that sense of belonging and you know, the journey is only fresh, it's only, you know, still young, but with it's, yeah, it's a journey that I want to be on.
Yeah, I think for my mom, it would have been fantastic because she was the non-indigenous part of the relationship. My dad was the indigenous person. And I know that when she was in hospital, having the three of us, there was a lot of racism.
The impact that Waijungbah Jarjums has been able to have on the community, on um, Dave tells his story. Dave tells his story about having that disconnection that the stolen generation has impacted on his life. And it's heartbreaking. But it's so real. And to be able to actually be part of bringing families together, and using culture, to reconnect people to address our mental health issues that we have, because of that disconnection, to build fat babies, like all of these things, I can't put into words, the impact that it's had on me, but viewing the impact that it's had on the community. I can't word that, I guess the tearing up is a pretty good explanation, that it's overwhelming. I could never ever have imagined. I mean, you know, based off evidence and research that women want to have a voice and they want to be heard and they want continuity of care. But I could never have imagined the impact that seeing those babies and families walk through and have the ochre and have that connection and go through the smoke had on me on that day. Because you take sometimes you take that I take it for granted that connection that I have to my country and my culture. And it's, it's fostering that and other people that is overwhelmingly emotional, and highlights the injustice that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have faced and that we actually can do something to improve these outcomes and experiences by reconnecting people to the country, to the land and to their culture. We've had mothers of all experiences and the experiences in the difference in the models of care. It's phenomenal to read and it makes me teary every time I hear stories about, I felt advocated for I felt safe. Those are the things that yes, we want to improve outcomes. And we want to reach those KPIs because we know that that's how we contribute to closing the gap. But it's the experiences that doesn't get captured in a KPI about how women access services, how families access services, whether dad felt included. They're the things that to me as an Aboriginal woman. I know that we're going to improve outcomes if we can get people engaged in the service.
Listen to our podcast on a new model of care to improve engagement with the local First Nations community.
Visit the Waijungbah Jarjums page on the improvement exchange to learn more about setting up the service.
Visit the Gold Coast Health HHS website to learn more about the Waijungbah Jarjums model of care
Waijungbah Jarjums Evaluation Report
Visit the website to learn more about the achievements of Waijungbah Jarjums