by Kylie Gabutto
Celebrating 25 years of community informed health care in Cape York
Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima) is celebrating their 25th Anniversary. On 14th September 1994 Apunipima was established as a health advocacy organisation. The Cape York Land Council held a Health Summit at Pajinka Lodge, near Injanoo at the tip of Cape York.
The summit, attended by Traditional Owners, Elders and Community health leaders of 17 Cape York communities, included a key focus to address the worsening health outcomes of Cape York’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.
From these humble beginnings, Apunipima has grown from an initial membership base of 34 to almost 1000 in 2019.
From an advocacy beginning, today Apunipima delivers comprehensive primary health care services across 11 Cape York communities and covers the largest geographical area of any Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Queensland. Apunipima is a significant employer in Cape York with 30% of our team being made up of community-based employees.
Apunipima employs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, Health Workers, outreach Midwives, Allied Health professionals, a paediatrician and numerous GPs.
Aileen Addo, Apunipima’s Board Chair said, ‘This milestone is a great opportunity for us to acknowledge and reflect on how far our organisation has come, and also how much more work with the people of Cape York is needed to improve our health.’
Over 25 years, Apunipima’s model of care has improved health outcomes for the people on the Cape – from closing the gap on life expectancy to dramatic improvements in infant mortality. Apunipima is committed to expand and enhance their services to deliver greater health and wellness improvements across the Cape.
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Pajinka Wilderness Lodge – Health Conference, Injinoo (1994) . Image: supplied
Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this photograph may contain images of, or reference to, deceased people