Why Warriors: Corona Podcast in Yolngu Matha: Episode 2 - How to stop it spreading


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We’d like you to think about how Coronavirus could impact remote Indigenous communities.
Two minutes of your time now could help save many Yolŋu lives in the coming weeks.
Imagine these 2 things......

#1 I bet you’re currently learning lots about the Coronavirus from the media. Getting information from the government, scientists, international news plus stories from friends around the world. But imagine if all this vital information was in a language you didn’t fully understand? How would you feel if you knew there was something huge going on and you could see people panicking, but you didn’t really know why? Or what if you didn’t know something was going on....

How would this affect the choices you make for you and your family?

#2 I’m sure you’re aware that Australian Aboriginal people have the highest rates of Chronic Disease in the world. Existing health problems and crowded housing mean these communities are at particular risk from Coronavirus.

So what happens when #1 and #2 collide? When a very serious health event comes along and a highly at risk population, thousands of whom speak English as a second language, have a severe lack of information?

Pat Turner, the CEO of the National Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO), says this "If this virus gets into Aboriginal communities, it will be absolute devastation, absolute devastation without a doubt."

During the 2009 swine flu outbreak, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders made up 11% of all identified cases, 20% of hospitalisations and 13% of deaths (a death rate 6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.)

So understandably we’re really worried about what could happen with Coronavirus.

What Yolŋu people are desperate for is in-depth, medical information in a language they can understand. What Yolŋu call the “dhuḏi-dhäwu” – the deep true story.

As a result Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard Trudgen have created the first 4 podcasts telling the deep story around the Coronavirus in Yolŋu Matha.

Quarantine & self-isolation, restrictions on travel to communities, handwashing & good hygiene, and social distancing are all obviously important. However if Yolŋu don’t understand what the virus actually is and how it spreads, then people don’t really understand why these types of precautions are important.

This is difficult for most mainstream people to understand, but the majority of Yolŋu who are English-second language DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND GERM THEORY. So translating ‘please wash your hands’ into Yolŋu Matha is NOT enough. Once Yolŋu have the deeper story, then all the prevention information actually makes sense.

The Why Warriors team including Djiniyini Gondarra, Nikunu Yunupingu, Birijalawu Gondarra, Maratja Dhamarrandji and Richard Trudgen have been investigating the questions that Yolŋu have about the Coronavirus. They’ve been finding out what Yolŋu already know, and what their points of concern or confusion are.

These 4 programs are aimed at filling in the knowledge gaps that Yolŋu have in relation to the subject and other connected subjects which include; what IS a virus, how does Coronavirus move from one person to the other, is Coronavirus a lifelong sickness, and what’s an immunisation?

Effective, culturally-appropriate information is here. Now we really need your help to get the word out.

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