The 15-week Young Doctors project trains Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school students, aged nine to 11, to be health ambassadors and positive role models within their communities.
When The Malpa Project is invited to a community, there is a gathering of Elders, respected community leaders, parents and educators to discuss ‘What do your kids need to know to lead strong, healthy and long lives?’
Selected school community leaders then develop the program to meet the needs of the local children, with Aboriginal traditional knowledge and ways of healing brought together with Western medicine.
Training Young South Australian Doctors
Sixteen new Young Doctors projects are rolling out across South Australia over the next 12 months – training 240 new Young Doctors. Programs have already begun in schools in Aldinga, Christies Beach, Blakeview, Munno Para and Salisbury Downs.
Program activities are aligned with the Australian School Curriculum and equip children with knowledge in nutrition, hygiene, environmental health, wellbeing and identity, health literacy and leadership.
The Young Doctors then spread their learnings to friends, family and the wider community.
The children are taught by respected members of their communities, including Elders, in a fun-packed but structured program.
Malpa is a Warlpiri word which means ‘friends on the journey’ and the idea of children being ‘doctors’ is deeply embedded in Aboriginal culture.
The Program Comes to Adelaide’s North
Students from Munno Para Primary School are soon to graduate as Young Doctors and have loved every week of their training.
“I liked dressing up as a nurse because I’ve never been a nurse before. I know how to help someone when they don’t wake up,” Jacob, 9
“I’ve liked trying the different foods we’ve had for our healthy snack. My favourite has been flat bread and creamy garlic dip,” Arron, 9
“I liked going to the hospital and learning about how to keep yourself safe,” Harlequinn, 10
“On our hospital tour I was a patient with a broken arm. James the nurse bandaged my arm…I liked him!” Tete, 10
“I’ve liked everything! My favourite activity has been learning CPR,” Jordan, 10
“My favourite part is the food! I liked the first aid training we did because I liked practising CPR on the dummies,” Stacey, 10
“I liked the CPR training we did for First Aid. The excursions to Woolworths and the hospital were fun,” Samual, 9
“I liked the hospital tour and pretending to be a nurse caring for the patients. I got to put the clip on their finger to check their heart rate,” Shaylah, 10
“I liked the excursion to the hospital because we got a tour of the hospital and I got treated like a person who is hurt. I’ve also like the different food we’ve tried,” Bailey, 9