Talking across borders: A national response to high rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections in remote Australia

Ms Jessica Thomas2, Ms Katy Crawford1

1Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, Broome, Australia, 2South Australia Health & Medical Research Insitute, Adelaide, Austraia


The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) have been commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health to work in partnership with five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak bodies across four states and territories and local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to implement a health promotion and a primary care enhancement project to raise awareness of STIs and BBVs across remote communities in Australia.


SAHMRI is working in partnership with Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA), Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of Northern Territory (AMSANT), Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and the Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS). Regional STI Coordinators are funded by the project and based within the peak health bodies in each jurisdiction.


Effective communication between project staff has been integral in the planning stage of this project. Technologies such as SharePoint and Skype have been used to closely collaborate despite immense geographical distance between positions. This has reduced the need for face to face meetings and therefore minimised travel expenditure.

The diversity in terms of remote communities across Australia in social, cultural and geographical aspects is vast. To embrace this diversity and support a community driven approach technologies have helped the team to communicate and collaborate. The team can be anywhere with mobile phone coverage and can access all project materials on any device without trawling emails looking for the most current version of a document.


Moving forward the Remote STI project will explore further technology to continue this cross border communication. Despite the availability of technology, there are still challenges in accessing this due to remote setting coverage limitations




Jessica Thomas is the National Coordinator for the Remote STI project based at SAMHRI in Adelaide. She his public health professional with experience in the implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs in rural and remote settings.

Katy Crawford is the Kimberley Coordinator for the Remote STI project based at Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service. She is a registered nurse with previous experience in public health, specialising in STI control.