Mapoon will this month get its long-awaited primary health care centre, designed in consultation with the community and operated by Apunipima Cape York Health Council.
The Thimithi Nhii Primary Health Care Centre will open on August 23, with the community invited to attend the festivities and walk through the facility.
Apunipima chair and Mapoon mayor Aileen Addo said the opening was fantastic news for the community.
“We’re growing as a community and there was an increasing need for a Primary Health Care Centre to work alongside Queensland Health to match that population growth,” Cr Addo said.
Apunipima currently delivers health services from Queensland Health’s premises, however Cr Addo said that limited Apunipima’s capacity to increase primary health care services in Mapoon.
“Community control was always the goal for the community and having a stand-alone centre will give Apunipima the opportunity to respond to community health needs in a way that the community want,” she said.
The local Mapoon health action team drove extensive community consultation to ensure the facility’s design can facilitate culturally appropriate health care, while meeting strict clinical standards.
Apunipima CEO Debra Malthouse said the Thimithi Nhii centre was designed by the community, would be staffed and run by the community and ultimately belong to them.
“From a health outcomes perspective, it’s vital for Mapoon to have their own health care, something that they own and control and can identify with,” she said.
“We are seeing more and more evidence that culturally appropriate primary health care driven and led by the community improves the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
The centre will offer medical and allied health services as well as health promotion and prevention programs, and social and emotional wellbeing activities.
Apunipima will continue to work with the Mapoon health action team as the clinic is established in the coming months to determine health priorities and assess key service delivery needs.
Mapoon resident and primary health care centre manager Debra Jia said she was excited about the opening and having the modern and spacious new facility to service the needs of her community.
“We want to nurture a friendly culture and offer a space where the community feels safe to come and see the doctor or the health worker regularly, or even just to stop in for a confidential chat in the aircon,” she said.
“This is a big step forward for Mapoon. The new centre will not only improve the health services available, but there are other flow-on benefits for the community like jobs and career pathways, so this is a big win all round.”
The federally-funded facility was made possible thanks to land granted by local Traditional Owner group, the Rugapayn Corporation.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 9 August 2022.