To explore health professionals’ views about Australian Indigenous people’s health and the delivery of healthcare to them in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
An open-ended questionnaire was used to gather information from health professionals located across diverse regions in the Pilbara. The responses were analysed with the use of thematic analysis. In the first stage, codes were developed by assigning names to small sections of the interview transcripts. Next, the most salient incisive codes were identified and developed into themes that captured the most important issues.
Twenty-eight health professionals indicated that the most important health issues were chronic diseases, substance abuse and ear disease. These health issues were often attributed to a cycle of poor health perpetuated throughout generations. Educational initiatives were thought to be integral to intervening in this cycle. Of particular importance in improving the effectiveness of educational initiatives was facilitating the participation of Australian Indigenous peoples to determine the content of such initiatives. The other main issues the health professionals identified were lifting the standard of Australian Indigenous housing and implementing strategies to improve the continuity of healthcare.
Educational initiatives need to be prioritised to improve the health of Australian Indigenous people in the Pilbara and the initiatives should be delivered with the involvement of the local community in order to increase the likelihood of sustained behavioural change. Innovative solutions are required to improve the continuity of healthcare in the Pilbara, including increased use of mobile services.