Pictured (left to right): Stella Boyd-Ford, Public Health Nutritionist, HWQld and Elsie, Healthy Lifestyle Officer from Kubin
Since the first gathering of Torres Strait Island Regional Council’s (TSIRC) Healthy Lifestyle Officers in November, our Far North Queensland Hub, together with the Officers launched a holistic health and wellbeing program tailored to local communities.
The program, called KERIBA Way, which means ‘Our Way’, has been designed with TSIRC Manager for Health and Wellbeing Ella Kris, and has commenced in the communities of Erub and Warraber.
KERIBA Way includes health screening, yarning circles and activities around nutrition, physical activity, mental health, smoking, diabetes and gardening. It also includes daily walking groups supported by Heart Foundation Walking. The walking program is affectionally called ‘walking the Straits’ and involves accumulating enough steps to ‘walk’ to each island of the Torres Strait (almost 900,000 steps!).
TSIRC Manager for Health and Wellbeing Ella Kris said that individuals have the power to change their lifestyle for the better by being bold and brave community members.
“The aim of KERIBA Way is to keep the community healthy by empowering individuals to make changes by reconciling and restoring connection to self-worth,” Ella said.
Diabetes Queensland and The NDSS (National Diabetes Services Scheme) is supporting the program by providing Diabetes Yarning training to Healthy Lifestyle Officers using the “Feltman”, a culturally tailored visual aide for delivering diabetes education.
The Healthy Lifestyle Officers (HLOs) based on the outer islands of the Torres Strait lead the yarning sessions, which allows the Program to be delivered in Creole or local Language and tailored to each community.
Health and Wellbeing Queensland Public Health Nutritionist Stella Boyd-Ford provides support wherever needed, whether that’s content support, co-facilitating or just providing a helping hand.
“It is great to work with the HLOs and Ella as there is a rich exchange of knowledge and culture,” Stella said.
“I share what I know about nutrition, and the HLOs and Ella share with me knowledge of their culture, history, language, traditional foods and protocols, while guiding the whole process.”
We work together with the community to strengthen healthy habits and every day is unique and rewarding.”
The next community to roll out the program will be at Kubin on Mua Island.
Read about the first gathering of the Healthy Lifestyle Officers.
Sincere thanks to the collaborative efforts of those supporting this work:
• Torres Strait Island Regional Council
• Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service
• Torres Strait Regional Authority
• Heart Foundation Walking
• Diabetes Australia
• Diabetes Queensland
• Feltman® a diabetes teaching tool made by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Diabetes Victoria