For thousands of years the Ngangkari – the traditional Aboriginal healers in Central Australia – have passed on their skills to young children. The idea of children being “doctors” is deeply embedded in Indigenous culture and life.
Now this idea is getting a new injection of life with the Young Doctors project.
The project employs respected community members to teach the traditional ways and the contemporary ways of creating healthy communities.
The young people become health leaders to their younger peers and their community
This helps create stronger communities and even opens up career pathways in health.
In each area the local language is used. In Utopia it’s Umbarkalya Doctors, in Dunghutti Country it’s Dhalayi Doctors.
They are taught by respected members of the communities, including Elders, over a fun packed but structured program.
The Young Doctors act as health ambassadors for their communities, particularly their peers.
“The best thing about this is that it puts aboriginal people in charge of their own situation”, says Dr Howard Goldenberg, whose extensive experience in remote communities has fuelled his passion for practical solutions to the challenging situations he has encountered.
The Young Doctors learn about the need for washing, cleaning noses, hand hygiene, wearing clean clothes, keeping the house clean, keeping the community clean, bush medicine and a whole lot more.