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The Environmental health books project has been developed by the Pilbara Meta Maya Regional Aboriginal Corporation (PMMRAC) in conjunction with the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health (CUCRH).
The purpose of the project is to empower four Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia to address local environmental health issues. The communities involved in the project are Goodabinya, Punmu, Warralong and Nyungu Ngalyapa Nganyjurruku Yandeyarra.
As part of the project, each community identified its prevalent environmental health problems and collectively decided what the solutions to these problems should be. A unique book was then produced for each community, illustrating the problems and their potential solutions. Although the environmental health problems were similar in each community, the books remain personal and contain photos of local people and details specific to individual places. Issues addressed by the books include dog management, personal hygiene, pests, refuse, sewage, food hygiene and unwanted car bodies.
An evaluation of the book's impact will be conducted after three to four months. The evaluation will investigate whether community members' knowledge and understanding of environmental health issues and solutions has improved and whether actions and behaviours have changed.
Depending on the success of the publications, additional books may be developed and distributed to the remaining Pilbara communities serviced by the PMMAC environmental health team. Early feedback indicates that community reactions to the project so far have been very positive and the books may prove to be a useful tool and strategy to help 'close the gap'.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract
Pilbara Meta Maya Regional Aboriginal Corporation
3 Yanana Street
Wedgefield WA 6721
PO Box 2680
South Hedland WA 6722
Ph: (08) 9172 5155