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Health Workers Djäkamirr Care Resources

Djäkamirr (Doula) MaternityWorkers

Starting in 2023, all Yolŋu pregnant women from Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island North East Arnhem Land will be offered djäkamirr (doula) care during their pregnancy journey (see map).

Djäkamirr (doula) care is being offered as part of maternity service redesign in the project called: To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat: Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw.

What is a djäkamirr?

A djäkamirr is a First Nations doula, also known as a childbirth companion. A First Nations word from the Yolŋu Matha language - djäkamirr means ‘caretaker’.

What is the djäkamirr scope of practice?

Djäkamirr (doulas) provide skilled companionship, information/education, comfort measures, ceremonial care, & support to Yolŋu women during pregnancy, childbirth & other outcomes (ie. miscarriage & termination of pregnancy). They provide support in the woman’s primary First Nations language (not English).

Djäkamirr (doulas) do not provide medical care, clinical assessments or make clinical decisions. They do not replace the need for a qualified First Nations Language Interpreter or a medical professional ie: midwife or doctor.

Where do djäkamirr practice?

Djäkamirr (doulas) work in relationship with a woman & support her where & when they are needed. This includes home, community, bush & clinical settings. Djäkamirr (doulas) have practice insurance.

Djäkamirr (doulas) will travel to Nhulunbuy, Darwin & beyond to support a woman including aeromedical evacuations, sit-down (waiting for baby) & childbirth.

What training do djäkamirr take?

Djäkamirr (doulas) are undertaking nationally recognised vocational education certificate training provided by the Australian Doula College. The training takes 12-18 months to complete & includes a First Nations Yolŋu curriculum co-delivered by Yolŋu Experts.

The quality training provided by the Australian Doula College is the only Government recognised doula certification in the World.  Otherwise, the doula Industry is not regulated.

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Photo Credit: Pat Josse

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Are djäkamirr paid?

During vocational education certificate training, djäkamirr (doulas) are paid a scholarship. When they graduate from training, they move into a paid work model.

While away from community, the djäkamirr (doulas) travel, accommodation & food is provided

by the Patient Assistant Travel Scheme (PATS). Any travel & accommodation enquires should be

directed to the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme who can be contacted during business hours

08 8987 0201.

How do I work well with djäkamirr?

Djäkamirr (doulas) are working in a foreign system with a foreign language, so please treat them

with kindness & respect. They will appreciate if you introduce yourself, explain your role &

share a little bit about where you come from & who you are.

As a health care professional, you are expected to respectfully work in multi-disciplinary teams with workers of different skill levels, responsibilities, scope of practice & confidence.  Djäkamirr (doulas) are part of this team & will be at different stages of their professional learning.  You can be a good team member by supporting their clinical experiences & making them feel welcomed. Remember djäkamirr (doulas) are experts in understanding & knowing the women they are supporting & can make your job easier.

Who supports the djäkamirr?

The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre & the Australian Doula College provide djäkamirr (doula) ongoing professional mentoring & educational support during their training & support experiences.

All djäkamirr (doula) travel & accommodation are the responsibility of Patient Assistance Travel (PATS) Scheme who can be contacted during business hours: 08 8987 0201.

A djäkamirr (doula) supervisor can be contacted all-hours 7 days a week: 0420 737 396. Please reserve out of hours calls for ONLY urgent needs or emergencies. The supervisor can’t assist with travel or accommodation enquires.

Galiwin’ku community based djäkamirr (doula) support can be accessed by email djakamirrsupport@cdu.edu.au

Need to know more?

For further information please contact Dr Sarah Ireland sarah.ireland@cdu.edu.au or mobile 0477 786 243.

Photo Credit: Pat Josse

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