For the first time in two years Koori Maternity Service (KMS) units from all over Victoria gathered on Wadawurrung Country for the 2022 Statewide KMS Forum.
The forum was a collaboration between VACCHO and the Maternity Services Education Program (MSEP) at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The MSEP is funded to deliver professional development workshops to the KMS workforce which is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous members.
It was an excellent opportunity for KMS staff to share knowledge, learn from sector peers and discover new development and training opportunities to further enhance their skills.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8, the two-day forum commenced with a Welcome to Country on the picturesque shores of Jan Juc beach led by proud Wadawurrung woman, Corrina Eccles.
KMS staff then made their way to the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Charlemont where they participated in a number of workshops and listened to presentations from VACCHO, HealthAbility, Safer Care Victoria, the Victorian Government’s Department of Health, Maternity Connect, Victorian HIV Service and Sexual Health Victoria.
Over the two-day forum there were meaningful yarns recognising the vital role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives and health practitioners have in ensuring healthy pregnancies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies. Other topics that were yarned about include:
• how to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for KMS healthcare workers
• providing holistic and cultural support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women throughout their pregnancy right through to birth
• how to culturally support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their partners to quit and the resources and training available to KMS staff
• nurturing young families and new relationship dynamics when a newborn enters the family
• Sexual health, STIs and HIV in pregnancy.
KMS staff from VACCHO Member organisations such as Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-Operative, Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation, Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation and Njernda were joined by their KMS peers from the Royal Womens Hospital, Northern Health and Peninsula Health.
VACCHO would like to give special thanks to the Maternity Services Education Program team at the Royal Women’s Hospital for all their effort and support in the lead up to and throughout the forum.