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Assessing the quality of maternal health care in Indigenous primary care services

Alice R Rumbold, Ross S Bailie, Damin Si, Michelle C Dowden, Catherine M Kennedy, Rhonda J Cox, Lynette O’Donoghue, Helen E Liddle, Ru K Kwedza, Sandra C Thompson, Hugh P Burke, Alex D Brown, Tarun Weeramanthri and Christine M Connors
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (10): 597-598.

To the Editor: Improving access to appropriate, good-quality care in the antenatal and postnatal period is a key part of closing the acknowledged gap between Indigenous and other Australians in perinatal outcomes.1 Previous research in a large Aboriginal medical service in Queensland demonstrated sustained improvements in perinatal outcomes associated with a quality improvement approach.2 Here we describe patterns of the delivery of maternity care and service gaps on a broad scale, using data from baseline clinical audits in 34 Indigenous primary health centres participating in a national quality improvement intervention.3

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  • Alice R Rumbold1
  • Ross S Bailie2
  • Damin Si3
  • Michelle C Dowden4
  • Catherine M Kennedy5
  • Rhonda J Cox6
  • Lynette O’Donoghue2
  • Helen E Liddle7
  • Ru K Kwedza8
  • Sandra C Thompson6
  • Hugh P Burke5
  • Alex D Brown9
  • Tarun Weeramanthri10
  • Christine M Connors11

  • 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, NT.
  • 3 Centre for Chronic Disease, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 4 Ngalkanbuy Health Service, Elcho Island, NT.
  • 5 Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, Broken Hill, NSW.
  • 6 Curtin University of Technology, Perth, WA.
  • 7 Menzies School of Health Research, Alice Springs, NT.
  • 8 Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 9 Centre for Indigenous Vascular and Diabetes Research, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Alice Springs, NT.
  • 10 Public Health Division, Department of Health, Government of Western Australia, Perth, WA.
  • 11 Northern Territory Department of Health and Families, Darwin, NT.


  • 1. Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Healthy for Life program framework. 2008. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/h4l/publishing.nsf/Content/framework (accessed Sep 2008).
  • 2. Panaretto KS, Mitchell MR, Anderson L, et al. Sustainable antenatal care services in an urban Indigenous community: the Townsville experience. Med J Aust 2007; 187: 18-22. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Bailie RS, Si D, O’Donoghue L, Dowden M. Indigenous health: effective and sustainable health services through continuous quality improvement. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 525-527. <MJA full text>
  • 4. Bailie RS, Togni SJ, Si D, et al. Preventive medical care in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory: a follow-up study of the impact of clinical guidelines, computerised recall and reminder systems, and audit and feedback. BMC Health Serv Res 2003; 3: 15.
  • 5. Minymaku kutju tjukurpa: women’s business manual. 4th ed. Alice Springs: Congress Alukura and Nganampa Health Council, 2008.

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