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Health students making a difference in Bali

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

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Located right on our doorstop, Bali is one of WA’s favourite holiday destinations. Although a paradise for holiday goers, Bali residents are continually confronted with many dangerous health issues, without the education on how to prevent them.

Health promotion students from ECU teamed up with students from Victoria University and Bali's Udayana University for a three-week exchange program, where they investigated the health concerns plaguing Bali’s local residents.

One of the major health issues in Bali is the incidence of HIV/AIDS among Balinese locals, with a recent study finding 40 new cases of AIDS in one school alone, compared to the 101 cases reported nationwide in Australia in 2010.

Working with local HIV/AIDS Non Government Organisations (NGO)’s, Gianyar Regency Department of Health and Heartline FM Bali Community Radio Station, students worked to develop effective health promotion messages surrounding the prevention and transmission of the disease.

For health promotion student Sarah Mellis, the program was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The Bali Work Placement was a fantastic experience. Our meetings with the local government, different NGOs and local people were extremely interesting,” said Sarah.

“It was also great to work with the students from Udayana University as they were very knowledgeable about health promotion, could communicate with the Balinese people and were very passionate about the work.”

Students received training in radio communication and helped craft voxpops and community service announcements which will be played long after they leave.

“HIV/AIDS is an ongoing health issue in Bali,” said Health Promotion Lecturer Jill Darby.

 “This exchange program was a wonderful opportunity for students to see firsthand how to use health promotion techniques to engage the wider community, and share key health messages which will hopefully make a difference to the local residents.” 

The Bali Workplace Program was sponsored by a Commonwealth Student Abroad Subsidy with support from ECU International.

A final Bali placement will be undertaken in late January 2012 for ECU Health Science students. For further information contact Jill Darby.

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