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A Nutrition needs assessment tool specifically targeting Victorian Aboriginal communities was developed to enable consistent collection of information relating to nutritional health. The tool was planned to be used to assist in developing a Victorian Aboriginal nutrition strategy.
Prior to the development of the draft Nutrition needs assessment tool the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service conducted a review of needs assessment tools and their use in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and undertook to identify all Aboriginal-focused nutrition programs and activities being conducted in Victoria.
Consultation identified that the tool should focus on prioritising needs and developing strategies for action rather than dwelling on the problems in the community. The preferred process to collect information was by the use of groups or workshops. Following the development of the nutrition needs assessment tool, three Aboriginal communities were selected to pilot for the pilot program trial.
Using the tool, communities were able to identify their local nutrition issues, and gaps in nutrition resources, services and programs that were being offered locally. It was hoped that local implementation plans could be developed based on the information collected. Reports would describe how the action areas identified in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan (NATSINSAP) needed to be modified to suit these local communities.
Organisations undertaking the work were Winda Mara Aboriginal Cooperative, Swan Hill and District Aboriginal Cooperative and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Fitzroy.