Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Services
The Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Service (AMIHS) was implemented in 2001 to improve the health of Aboriginal women during pregnancy and decrease perinatal morbidity and mortality for Aboriginal babies.
The Service is delivered through a continuity-of-care model, where midwives and Aboriginal Health Workers collaborate to provide a high-quality maternity service that is culturally safe, women-centred, based on primary healthcare principles and provided in partnership with Aboriginal people. AMIHS acknowledges and builds on the awareness, knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal families and communities about pregnancy and child health and its relationship to lifelong health.
In 2007, AMIHS was expanded from seven programs to over 30 programs with many more sites across NSW. Today, there are over 40 AMIHS sites in NSW, delivering services to mothers of Aboriginal babies in over 80 locations.
AMIHS midwives and Aboriginal Health Workers provide antenatal and postnatal care, from as early as possible after conception up to eight weeks postpartum. The care is provided in the community but is linked into mainstream maternity services to ensure that risk management and education are available to AMIHS teams.
AMIHS services include:
- Comprehensive and regular antenatal health checks
- Booking into maternity hospitals
- Smoking cessation programs
- Referral and support to access other services
- Health promotion and community development activities
- Postnatal checks and support
- Information on infant feeding and nutrition.
Smooth transition of care of the newborn and family to child and family health services ensures continuity of care for the child up until school age. NSW Health has implemented the Building Strong Foundations program (across 15 locations) to provide early childhood healthcare for families up until the child goes to school. Some BSF programs are co-located with an AMIHS, which allows a seamless transition of care for a family from the maternity service to the child and family health service.
A number of programs are being implemented to support AMIHS programs, including the Quit for New Life smoking cessation program in all AMIHS sites.
A key priority of the AMIHS program is effective training, recruitment and retention of Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal midwives which aims to ensure services are delivered by highly committed skilled teams that have strong relationships with the community. In line with this, AMIHS staff are supported by the Training and Support Unit for Aboriginal Mothers, Babies and Children.
Training and Support Unit for Aboriginal Mothers, Babies and Children
The Training and Support Unit for Aboriginal Mothers, Babies and Children (TSU) is funded by the Office of Kids and Families to provide high-quality education and support to the staff of Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Services and Building Strong Foundations for Aboriginal Children, Families and Communities services. The TSU provides training and support to ensure staff have knowledge and are skilled to provide sustainable, culturally appropriate maternity and child healthcare to Aboriginal mothers, babies and children..
Click here to access a map of AMIHS services.