Closing the gap in Indigenous maternity care
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s Ngarrama Royal Midwifery Group are achieving incredible outcomes in closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums and their babies.
The small team of dedicated midwives and healthcare workers provide tailored care and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families throughout and after the journey of pregnancy. Since the service began at RBWH in 2011, higher numbers of women are attending regular appointments and more babies are being born at a healthier birth weight.
“The latest figures show that 100 per cent of women are attending more than five antenatal appointments during their pregnancy and only two per cent of babies are born underweight,” said Midwifery Unit Manager Janine Farquharson.
“Before Ngarrama began, over 10 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies were born at a low birth weight.”
Janine says the team’s collective dedication to providing culturally safe maternity care and the service’s continuity of care model is the driving force behind these outcomes.
“In 2014, we moved to a Midwifery Group Practice model which means women are supported by the same midwives throughout their entire pregnancy.
“This is important because it provides us with the opportunity to build safe and trusting relationships with our patients.
“Beyond the specialised advice and care we provide, it’s the relationships and connections we form that matter most. Over the course of a woman’s pregnancy, we get to know them very well, and they get to know us too.
“That’s what keeps so many of women coming back to have their second or third babies through Ngarrama,” she said.
Midwife Nicole Moller works as the Case Load Manager in the Ngarrama Service, where she manages all incoming patient referrals and transfers and becomes a familiar face for the families who come through the service.
She says that supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women through pregnancy has always been something she’s wanted to do.
“I identify as Aboriginal myself, so I have a passion for closing the gap and providing continuity of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” she said.
“We’re so proud of the results we’ve achieved in the Ngarrama Service at RBWH since we moved to a Midwifery Group Practice model.”
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s Ngarrama Royal Midwifery Group supported over 210 women through the service last year, many of who were repeat patients or family of other women previously supported through the service.