Health Literacy

Over the past 20 or more years, ARDS has been working to increase health literacy in remote Aboriginal communities and improve health communication between health staff, patients and their families.


About our work

With support from on-staff doctors and health workers in remote clinics, our cross-cultural facilitators run community workshops in local languages exploring the biomedical concepts behind a range of chronic and infectious diseases, and increasing understanding about their respective treatments.

Topics we've worked on

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardio-vascular disease (heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure)
  • Mental health
  • Sexual health (men and women) including STIs and BBVs
  • Scabies and other skin infections
  • Middle ear infections
  • Germs and infectious diseases in general (through community microscopy)

Our work also includes partnerships with remote Aboriginal health services in order to provide professional development for Aboriginal health workers.

Resource development

We have also developed a large number of health-related resources including:

  • Plain English guides to help health professionals talk to Aboriginal people about their illnesses
  • Health education radio programs aired on Yolŋu Radio and available online
  • DVDs in local languages with English subtitles on topics ranging from cancer treatments, antibiotics and infectious diseases, to understanding the cardio-vascular system
  • Health education posters
  • The in-depth health dictionary in plain English to Djambarrpuyŋu: Dictionary of Anatomy: Dhäruk Mala ga Mayali’ Rhumbalpuy, which includes examples of pathophysiology for each entry
Map of ARDS Aboriginal Cultural and Creative Services Northern Territory

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