CREATING CHANGE: Some of the many Indigenous youth who participated at yesterday's 1 Deadly Step event.
CREATING CHANGE: Some of the many Indigenous youth who participated at yesterday's 1 Deadly Step event. Trevor Veale

Record numbers turn out to Close the Gap

A RECORD number Indigenous people yesterday participated in health screenings at the 1 Deadly Step initiative in Coffs Harbour as part of Close the Gap day to improve Indigenous health.

The initiative is a nine stage screening process developed by the Agency for Clinical Innovation delivering free chronic disease health checks, such as kidney and heart disease, in Aboriginal communities across New South Wales.

1 Deadly Step project officer, Scott Trindall said there was an 'excellent mix' of men and women screened.

A highlight of the day for Mr Trindall was that 40% of the turnout was male, who have been difficult to engage with the initiative in previous years.

He said the influence of Indigenous elders throughout the day served as a strong support base for their family members during the various health checks.

"The elders were very supportive. It was good for them to sit and support their other family members," Mr Trindall said.

Staff from the Mid North Coast Local Health District, Galambila Aboriginal Health Services and Ngurrala Aboriginal Corporation, North Coast Primary Health Network, NSW Country Rugby, and other partners delivered today's event.

A unique part of the program is the use of an iPad app to record and analyse each person's screening results. The app can provide a snapshot of an individual's combined chronic disease risk which can be accessed by their GP to develop targeted care plans. 

Mr Trindall said the success of today's event emphasises the importance of effective partnerships between various health networks across the Mid North Coast.

"It's very important to work in partnership and today was proof in the pudding," Mr Trindall said.

1 Deadly Step program ambassador Dean Widders said community members who participated in the event will have long-term benefits personally and throughout the Aboriginal community nationally.

"It's important that people take control of their health. By coming to the screening event you'll be ensuring the health of your family for the future, and helping to close the gap on Aboriginal life expectancy in NSW," Mr Widders said. 

For a photo gallery of the event, see Saturday's edition of the Coffs Coast Advocate.

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