A maternal health program co-designed by the team from the award-winning Good Start Program and the Pacific Islander and Maori communities will be available to expectant parents in Logan from February next year.
The Good Start Program is a community health service provided by Children’s Health Queensland which works to improve the health and wellbeing of Maori and Pacific Islander children and their families via a wide range of avenues. The maternal health program will provide a series of eight culturally safe and relevant workshops for mothers to learn about a range of topics from nutrition in pregnancy to birth choices and perinatal mental health.
Good Start Program Manager Sebastien Brignano said work began on the maternal health project two years ago, when high rates of gestational diabetes and low rates of seeking support were identified in the Pacific Islander and Maori communities.
“There was a need for resources which were effective for Pacific Islander and Maori communities, so our team worked to co-design a range of resources with 60 people from families in those communities,” he said.
“The team – who are all from Pacific Islander and Maori communities – spent hundreds of hours collectively working together to design leaflets about what to do in pregnancy with regards to nutrition, exercise, self-care and nutrition for the baby.”
The resources took six months to develop and are part of a broader project which also includes sessions for expectant parents. The sessions were piloted in 2017 in Logan and Deception Bay and will begin in Logan from February 2018.
The Good Start Program also has funding for healthcare professionals in Logan to be provided with tools to help support Maori and Pacific Islander communities.
“Understanding the differences in cultural approach and why these families often do not engage with maternal services is very important, and can help service providers assist them more effectively,” Sebastien said.
The team at the Good Start Program are working with Metro South Health on the project, and will also be a part of the Maternity Hubs located throughout Logan.
For more information about the Children’s Health Queensland’s Good Start Program, visit their website https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/chq/our-services/community-health-services/good-start-program/ .