A superhero will travel through remote Indigenous communities in the Midwest and Goldfields to raise child immunisation levels above the national standard, thanks to a $20,000 GSK Immunisation Grant.
The new mascot has been deployed by Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local, armed with education materials and health professional assistants as part of the “Immunisations are for everybody” program, explains Program Officer, Kathleen Slootmans.
“Only 77.1 per cent of 12-15 month old Indigenous infants in the Midwest community, and 87.1 per cent in the Coolgardie region are fully immunised. Our aim is to increase this to 90 per cent within 12 months,” says Kathleen.
“Our new superhero mascot will be more relatable for children than the usual immunisation promotional materials. He’s a happy, colourful and muscular looking boy wielding an immunisation rocket that makes needles a bit less scary.”
The immunisation mascot will be officially launched on Tuesday 21 October as part of the Geraldton Regional Community Education Centre’s Children’s Week event, and his community-chosen name will be revealed.
“We’ll also be handing out our colour-in storybook which is targeted towards Indigenous children and their families. The story is based on a conversation between two children, their mum and grandmother on the importance of immunisation.”
The immunisation roadshow will begin on 26 November covering Carnarvon, Kalbarri and Shark Bay before heading to the Goldfields and Kalgoorlie region early next year.
“We’re running the roadshow in partnership with other local health agencies such as WA Country Health Service and Bega Garnbirringu Health Service, which already utilise a mobile clinic in remote and rural areas to deliver health services.”
“We’ll also link-in with schools, day care centres, private practices, community health centres, the Carnarvon Hospital, Carnarvon Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation and True Culture, True Care to plan out the best approach locally. Resources are often stretched so this grant is a good opportunity for us to link-up and reach as many children as possible across both regions.”
“Where we can’t provide immunisations on the day, we’ll at least be able to assist with consent forms and arranging future immunisation sessions.”
The GSK Immunisation Grants is one of Australia’s longest standing programs encouraging innovation and sharing best practice for immunisation providers.
Dr Mark Amies, GSK Vaccines Medical Director, said the grants are about enabling local solutions to local problems.
“We’ve seen some fantastic initiatives over the last nine years of the program and we’re proud to be able to support public health care,” said Dr Amies.
For more information about the winners visit www.immunisationgrants.gsk.com.au.