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The important contributions made to the Aboriginal health workforce in the Northern Territory (NT) have been celebrated in Katherine with the launch of the 'Year of the Aboriginal Health Worker'. The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, congratulated the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) and the senior Aboriginal Health Workers' network for initiating and promoting the idea.
'The 'Year of the Aboriginal Health Worker' recognises that Aboriginal Health Workers have played a vital role in providing essential health care services to Aboriginal people in the NT and throughout Australia for close to half a century. It acknowledges the significant role of the more than 280 Aboriginal Health Workers in the NT in caring for their own people and improving their health,' Mr Snowdon said.
Two of the Northern Territory's longest serving Aboriginal Health Workers, Jack Little and Kathy Abbott were honoured as co-patrons for the 'Year of the Aboriginal Health Worker'.
'Jack Little was first recruited as an Aboriginal Health Worker by the legendary Dr John Hargreaves,' said Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) Board member Paula Arnol. 'In turn, Jack has become one of the true legends of Aboriginal primary health care in the Northern Territory. He was a key health leader in the establishment of the Katherine West Health Board late last century.'
'Kathy Abbott is an Arrernte woman who was a trailblazer in Aboriginal health in Central Australia, being recruited by Trevor Cutter in the early 1970s. She was one of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress' first Aboriginal Health Workers, and went on to become a leading educator of new Aboriginal Health Workers through the Health Department. Kathy remains active as one of the Territory's most senior Aboriginal Health Workers.'
Ms Arnol said 'These leaders are an inspiration to new members of the Aboriginal Health Worker profession, and it is a great honour to have them as patrons for this important year.'