The rise of community-controlled health care

Jawoyn involvement in health began without government assistance, through a self-funded Aged Care project that included food voucher distribution, bush trips/ceremony, transport assistance, support for dialysis and advocating for the right to die on country.

This initiative, combined with the disaster of the Katherine floods in 1998, found Jawoyn Association increasingly at the coal-face of dealing with primary health care issues, including chronic disease, high mortality rates, the impact of acute hospitalisation and youth suicides in the region.

In 2000, Jawoyn began discussions with the Fred Hollows Foundation to explore ways to improve health in the region. The need for a focus on community nutrition was identified and a submission was made to the Federal and Northern Territory Governments  to conduct a Coordinated Care Trial over the Jawoyn communities. The submission was successful and in 2002 the trial officially commenced.

The novation of the trial agreement from Jawoyn to Sunrise occurred on August 1, 2003, following the incorporation of Sunrise Health Service under the Aboriginal Association’s Incorporation Act.

Sunrise Health Service became a fully fledged service in mid-2005, serving communities across Jawoyn lands.

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