Census data and local partnerships promote health in Orange NSW: Australia

It’s Men’s Health Week, and with just under two months until the 2021 Census, it’s an opportunity to highlight the importance of Census data to community organisations like Orange Aboriginal Medical Services (OAMS).

OAMS uses Census data to improve access to health services in the regional town of Orange, NSW.

Last year OAMS opened the Walu-Win Centre, which combines holistic and traditional medical practices to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Jamie Newman, proud Wiradjuri man and OAMS’ Chief Executive Officer, said Census data helped in understanding the needs of the local community and securing further investment from partners.

OAMS combined Census data with other local data to build a profile of the region, helping it to understand what was needed in the local community.

‘Improving access to health services through Walu-Win, and a more holistic and wellbeing focus is vital to closing the gap. We can’t close the gap without focusing on wellbeing for our people,’ Jamie said.

Adrian Dodson-Shaw, a proud Yawuru, Arrernte and Kaytetye man and Assistant Director at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, said Men’s Health Week is also an opportunity to highlight the new Census question on long-term health conditions.

For the first time, the Census will collect information about the prevalence of health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

‘The data gathered from this will provide vital health information, particularly at the regional and local level. This will help inform health policy and planning for local health and community services like OAMS.

‘With two months to go until the Census, OAMS is a great example of why it’s so important everyone in the community participates. Getting everyone to participate means we can get the right services in place,’ Adrian said.

The next Census is on Tuesday 10 August. Instructions on how to participate will be sent to households in early August.

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