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New courses conceived

To cater for Indigenous cultural requirements, CRANAplus has successfully adapted its Remote Emergency Care (REC) and Maternity Emergency Care (MEC) courses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers (ATSIHWs).

Michelle Bodington, one of our MEC Co-ordinators, describes her involvement with these courses.
I have had the pleasure of co-ordinating two MEC course specifically adapted for male ATSIHWs, both in Darwin but both significantly different from each other. The first course was for Health Workers and the second course was directed towards trainee Health Workers. The development of the course specifically for men was the result of a direct request from Nathan Aucote Aboriginal Health Worker Director, Central Australia Remote Health about response to health care emergencies. He said that male ATSIHWs believed they should increase their own awareness and skill in this area, which has traditionally been women's business. The two Darwin courses were the first to be held in the Top End, following a pilot course
in Alice Springs. Both courses in Darwin were facilitated by male midwives, but, during both, the male participants gave me permission to be involved. They stated that they were keen that I stayed, as they decided that, even though this was “women’s business”, they, as health professionals, were keen to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible. This meant that I was able to interact freely throughout the course, with no restraints due to cultural sensitivities. Christopher Wilson and Keppel Schafer were the two male facilitators who facilitated the bulk of the lectures to the participants on the first course and Keppel Schafer and Nigel Lee facilitated the second course.
Following the Darwin Male ATSIHW Course, one of the participants attended an emergency birth whilst on call at work. He said that he felt comfortable and confident assisting with the birth, and the MEC course certainly helped prepare him for this exciting opportunity.
The participants for both courses were interactive, interested and engaged and Kenton Winsley, the Aboriginal Health Worker Director/ Area Services Manager (Darwin Rural) believes that more male ATSIHWs will come to attend the courses after word of mouth from those who have completed the course. We certainly anticipate increased demand for these courses in the Northern Territory, and a future need to take them into other states around Australia. At the end of the course for trainee Health Workers studying at Batchelor Institute, we sat with the participants to gather more feedback about the course. Comments were made as follows:
Asked how they felt about being taught by female facilitators?
• The guys were good, you (Michelle) would be ok too but not someone (a female) we don’t know. (I was present during the whole course adding on information and helping – this was approved by the participants at the beginning of the course.)
Asked if they felt it was too much so early in their Health Worker training?
• Lots of new words but good
Asked how they would feel if we combined the lectures with female AHWs and then had separate skill stations? They commented:
• No, like it as it is – separate
• It is women’s business, so we want to be away from the others (women)
Other general comments were:
• Liked the videos, PowerPoints, skill stations, Red Flags etc
• Would like to do this course yearly

For information on this course please visit our website http://courses.crana.org.au/19-page- about-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander- health-worker-courses-crana.html or contact the MEC coordinator for ATSIHW male MEC courses michelle@crana.org.au