Apunipima Opens Kowanyama Health Centre

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Atharpuch Family Health Centre in Kowanyama official opening took place on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.  This is Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s (Apunipima) third purpose built facility in Cape York. Over the last few years Apunipima has opened new facilities in the township of Coen and the community of Aurukun.

The services offered from Atharpuch Family Health Centre will initially focus on maternal child health, allied health and health promotion and prevention programs such as Tackling Indigenous Smoking, Core of Life. Apunipima will also deliver social emotional wellbeing activities through our Men’s Support programs. Apunipima will continue to work with the Kowanyama Health Action Team as the clinic is established in the coming months, to determine health priorities and assess service delivery needs into the future.

Key to the design and layout of the building was the consultation process. Extensive feedback was sought from key stakeholders to ensure that the building is supportive of cultural considerations, while meeting the clinical requirements for modern health service delivery.

Construction of the centre was funded by the Australian government’s Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Project, the same funding used for the previous two projects in Coen and Aurukun.

The construction tender was awarded to H.C. Building and Construction, a company that has extensive experience building in remote communities. Works commenced in September 2020, and continued through the wet season, the final fit out was completed in late May.

Vanessa Deakin, Kuuk Yak woman of the Kuuk Thaayorre Nation of Pormpuraaw, is the community based Primary Healthcare Manager. Vanessa will manage both Atharpuch in Kowanyama and oversee outreach services in Pormpuraaw.

Vanessa said “I want to acknowledge the hard work and enthusiasm of all who were involved in the planning, building and fitout of Atharpuch Family Health Centre. Special recognition must go to our community based Health Action Team who continue to provide feedback from the people of Kowanyama.”

Apunipima CEO Debra Malthouse said, “The opening of the Atharpuch Family Health Centre in Kowanyama is a crucial component of Apunipima’s commitment towards closing the gap in health for the people of Cape York. There is unquestionable evidence that community driven, community led, culturally appropriate primary health care is key to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Apunipima will continue to work with the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service to ensure that we are collectively able to meet the health needs of the Kowanyama community.”

A huge thanks to all staff involved with the planning of the build and the opening event.