Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS) is a community owned and operated organisation that’s been successfully providing medical and primary health-care services to the diverse Orange district since 2005.
Orange is a large city in central-western NSW, with a population of 42,000 (2001 Census). About 3.9 per cent of the population identify themselves as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, which is higher than the state average of 2 per cent. Many Indigenous people have moved to the Orange area from areas further out west, including Brewarrina, Walgett and Dubbo, as well as Cowra, Dubbo and Wellington.
A spokesperson for the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service says it is well regarded by the community and offers access to a range of health-care services in a culturally sensitive, effective manner.
“We are committed to providing a service that results in improved quality of life for people in our community,” the spokesperson says. “We are focused on a holistic and friendly approach to the wellbeing of our community members that is supported by values of self determination, community spirit, empowerment and ownership, cultural appropriateness, respect, trust, honesty and openness.”
Some of the programs offered at the centre include the Murundhu dharaa (Wiradjuri meaning: “I live, l breathe, house”), which is a midwifery-led maternal, child and family health-care initiative.
This program is among the first of its kind in NSW and the services include antenatal and postnatal care, birth support, childhood and adult immunisation, as well as women’s screening and children’s health checks.
‘In Depth’ is a Diabetes Education and Prevention in the Home program. The service includes home visits to clients and adult health checks. A GP presents education to clients about diabetes management, diet, exercise and blood sugar level monitoring.
“The objective is to maintain good health, to reduce the risk of ongoing infections, the possibility of renal disease and to continue education and monitoring of the client,” the spokesperson says.
Orange AMS also runs an oral-health program in local public schools where the students learn how to keep their teeth healthy with brushing, a good diet and drinking water. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are supplied by OAMS with the support of the schools.