Australian Indigenous Wellness Program

Diabetes among First Australians has become the leading accelerator of mortality rates and is three times more prevalent among First Australians than other Australians. We work with local partner, Unity of First People of Australia (UFPA), to address this issue in remote First Australian communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Children playing basketball

About the program

The Australian Indigenous Wellness Program was established by Caritas Australia's partner, Unity of First People of Australia (UFPA),  a not-for-profit First Australian-run organisation, to address acute diabetes problems in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.

The program prevents the rising incidence of diabetes by working with the community to develop sustainable health plans. The basis of the plan is prevention, management, treatment and care of diabetes – and promoting a whole change of lifestyle and behaviour.

This project is particularly inspiring, as First Australians in remote areas are empowered through education and confidence-building to take control of their own health.

The entire community – the local council, local school, women’s groups and community store are all involved in the project, which is built around education and awareness raising, leading into lifestyle changes.

Program details

  • Issues: Indigenous rights; Health; Education
  • Partner Agency: Unity of First People of Australia (UFPA)
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: AU $150,000
  • Geographic location: Remote areas of the Kimberley region
  • When established: 2003

Audrey and kids from the Diabetes Management and Care program

Audrey’s story

Audrey is a Bardi woman from Djarindjin, a remote community 200km north of Broome in Western Australia.

As is sadly true of many First Australian communities, the rates of deadly ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure run high in Djarindjin. Just a few years ago the diabetes rates in Audrey’s community were well over 30 percent; many times higher than the Australian average.

Read Audrey's inspiring story »