Film, music and dance project to help address smoking amongst Aboriginal women

The Far West Local Health District has launched a project to engage with local communities through film, music and hip hop lyric writing to help raise awareness and reduce the incidence of Aboriginal women smoking during pregnancy.

Far West LHD has engaged Desert Pea Media (DPM) to work in the Broken Hill and Wilcannia Aboriginal communities to produce a series of radio grabs, short films, and a song and music video to focus on raising awareness around Aboriginal women and smoking during pregnancy.

The project is funded under the state-wide NSW Government initiative Quit For New Life (QFNL) Program that aims to address the issue of smoking during pregnancy.

Currently the rate of Aboriginal women who smoke during pregnancy in the far west of NSW is around 70% in comparison to non-Aboriginal women who smoke during pregnancy which is currently around 25%, said Ms Rebecca Crawford, Health Promotion Officer, Far West LHD.

“This demonstrates the need to change this alarming statistic and reduce smoking rates in pregnant Aboriginal women in the Far West as much as possible,” she said.

The project will involve DPM spending at least a week with Aboriginal communities in Broken Hill and Wilcannia to compile culturally appropriate perceptions of Aboriginal women and smoking during pregnancy. This is scheduled to commence in early May this year.

DPM is fast developing a reputation in creating and facilitating short films and music videos with Aboriginal communities addressing issues such as social justice and health. They have recently completed projects in Wilcannia, Broken Hill and Bourke to national acclaim.

Toby Finlayson, Creative Director, at DPM, says that he will be guided by the understanding of smoking issues as seen and perceived by members of the Aboriginal communities in Broken Hill and Wilcannia, in a localised context.

Rebecca Crawford said it is hoped that as many Aboriginal people participate as possible.

“We want as many Aboriginal people involved so we can explore ideas on how to reduce smoking in pregnant Aboriginal women. It is also a great opportunity for individuals to work with the DPM team who have worked successfully with different Aboriginal communities around the country and whose productions are critically acclaimed and have received a number of national awards,” said Ms Crawford.

Anyone who is interested in taking part in the project can contact Rebecca Crawford, Health Promotion Officer at the Far West Local Health District. Her number is 08 8080 1217 and email address is rebecca.crawford@health.nsw.gov.au.

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