Bowraville has been consistently kicking goals since the Jaanymili Barwunga community group came together as part of the Brokerage Solutions plan to help heal the hurting township.
And in spite of its recent GP loss, the town has achieved great things when it comes to health initiatives and services.
The best part of this story is the seeds of ideas and the determination to see those ideas come to life have all been borne from the community itself.
You may not realise, but Bowraville is now a national success story when it comes to self-determination and self-actualisation.
And through its groundbreaking innovation, it has been teaching politicians and public servants at all levels about new models of governance that rely on partnerships with communities.
Similar changes in approach have now been actioned with Community Transport and FACS, who now collaborate with Jaanymili Barwunga when making key decisions.
Last week, a small contingent took to the nation’s capital to share that health success with doctors, pharmacists and health professionals from all over the country at the National Medicines Symposium.
Luisa Eckhardt from the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) facilitated the Bowraville panel discussion which consisted of Tracy Baker from Integrated Primary Care MNCLHD, Tracy Singleton from Aboriginal Affairs, and David Taylor as a member of Jaanymili Barwunga and Principal of Bowraville Central School.
“It was a really empowering day,” David Taylor said.
“On the day we were a novelty as most other presenters were doctors, professors and lecturers from universities from around the world.
“The feedback we received from our audience was astounding: People were in tears and really impacted by our vision, our words and the three videos we showed featuring the town, the children and the impact of health reform.
“They were all giving presentations about projects worth $50 million, but we just did what we did here because we needed to, and they were just amazed.”
But the good news doesn’t stop there.
“Whilst we were in Canberra, Luisa and I met with Craig Dukes, CEO of Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) who were the key body at the Future Health Champions day,” David continued.
“He will be visiting Bowraville next week and has an announcement about AIDA's ongoing commitment to Bowraville and a mentoring program for students at Bowraville Central School.
“Craig, Luisa and I will then be attending the Health Innovations Awards Dinner [for the MNCLHD], at Opal Cove, where we are finalists.”
After the massive turnaround the tiny town has seen in the last 12 months, they are a shoe-in for the award.
David said that Jaanymili Barwunga is currently working on securing a bulk-billing doctor for the town and has high hopes. All he can reveal at this stage, however, is to watch this space closely.
And on June 22, kids, and elderly, Indigenous or pregnant residents will be able to receive a free flu vaccination shot which will be administered at Bowraville Central School, the mish, the Healthcare Centre and the Preschool.
“The [Jaanymili Barwunga] group has just gone from strength to strength – it’s just been so positive and healing,” Dave said.
“I can honestly say it’s the best part of my job, I just love it.”