Metro North trials new Redbook cover for Indigenous families

Indigenous babies born in Brisbane north will be able to track their first year of healthcare with a unique record book.

The Redbook for newborns has been designed with a new cover by artist Ronald Abala (Wulukantha – little spirit man) especially for infants born within the Ngarrama maternity services across Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

The dedicated cover prompts healthcare providers to offer enhanced screening, additional immunisations and referral pathways within the community for children who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Midwife and nurse Kelly Smith said there were a total of 659 Indigenous births in Metro North in 2018 and the new cover would be used to assist accurate identification.

“Over 1,000 copies will be provided to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children over the next 12 months,” she said.

“Our aim is for the covers to be used as a visual prompt for health professionals to the identification of the child at regular antenatal and postnatal appointments,” Ms Smith said.

The covers are part of a broader campaign initiated in 2016 to improve the health outcomes of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

The Accurate Indigenous Identification campaign is designed to highlight the importance of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients to identify when accessing Metro North hospitals and facilities.

Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit Paul Drahm said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are underidentified in many health-related data collections.

“The accurate identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in our data collection systems help us to achieve improving health outcomes by supporting the measurements of the Indigenous health status and the effectiveness of intervention programs,” Paul said.

The initiative is part of a clinical focus area – Strong Start to Life – in the Metro North Hospital and Health Service Better Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2019-2022 which was launched at the Metro North Caboolture NAIDOC Family Fun Day in July.