Laramba Diabetes Project
: an evaluation

  • Margaret Tyrrell

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU

    Abstract

    In an effort to address the problem of diabetes in the remote Central Australian Aboriginal community of Laramba, the Laramba Diabetes Project was conducted over a two-year period in 1999-2000. Laramba, a pastoral excision situated on their traditional lands, is home to a group of approximately 300 Anrnatyerre (pronounced 'uhn-MUH-jarra') people.

    Evaluation was an integral part of the project from the time when project planning commenced in 1998. First Menzies School of Health Research, and later the Centre for Remote Health, was invited, as the evaluating body, to join a partnership with the National Heart Foundation, Territory Health Services and Laramba Community to conduct this Participatory Action Research project.
    The project had two distinct foci. One was the community intervention addressing primary prevention of diabetes, and the other was the care of people with diagnosed diabetes, addressing the secondary and tertiary prevention of diabetes. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed to evaluate these interventions. In keeping with the Participatory Action Research nature of this community-based project, the evaluation of process was considered to be particularly important.

    During the project, awareness of diabetes and good health was raised in the community. A large vegetable garden was established and is thriving. In the store it was noted that people's purchasing behaviour changed to include more healthy choices. Access for community members to specialist diabetes services was improved during the project. The health service as it currently operates, however, experiences some difficulties in the delivery of preventive health care. Although no significant changes in health outcomes were demonstrated following this two-year project, the community demonstrated an increased capacity to address health issues.

    Many members of the Laramba community are motivated to sustain the impetus and successes of the project. A submission for funding to continue training and activities has been successful and the continuing employment of Community-Based Workers is planned. Territory Health Services will support continuing visits of the Project Officer.

    Recommendations to sustain the effects of the project and progress the health of the community include continuing employment and training of Community-Based Workers, continuing support for the operations of the store, continuing provision of information and opportunities for the community to build on the successes of this project, and continuing monitoring of project effects. A further recommendation is that the community and the Health Centre work more closely together to address the prevention and management of chronic diseases.
    Date of AwardMar 2001
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDorothy Mackerras (Supervisor)

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