BHP Donates $825K for Ear Health Services in East Pilbara

BHP Donates $825K for Ear Health Services in East Pilbara

Indigenous families in the East Pilbara will receive essential ear and hearing services on Country, thanks to a substantial donation from BHP. The resources multinational has gifted $825,000 to the Ear Science Institute Australia’s philanthropic arm, the Gift of Hearing, over three years. This funding aims to enhance programs, improve access, and reduce the need for travel. BHP Donates $825K for Ear Health Services in East Pilbara

Lucy Mitchell, Ear Science ear health coordinator, highlighted that BHP worked closely with the community, Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS), and other stakeholders. The funding is crucial for the success of the Healthy Hearing Outback program.

“With BHP’s support, we can expand and improve care on Country, boost community involvement, and ensure the program’s long-term sustainability for the Martu and Nyiyaparli peoples in the East Pilbara,” Mitchell said.

The donation will provide onsite and portable ENT and audiological equipment for the region. Additionally, it will fund the employment of two Martu community liaison officers to guide the project team serving the community.

BHP’s $825,000 contribution will expand the scope of services available on Country. It supports the purchase of specialist equipment, additional staff, and training for local healthcare providers, particularly Martu and Nyiyaparli clinicians.

BHP has a history of working with PAMS, having co-funded a new dialysis clinic in Newman managed by The Purple House. Since 2022, this clinic has enabled patients to receive dialysis treatment while remaining on Country.

“Thanks to that funding, our dialysis clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art technology,” PAMS stated. “Our specialist nurses are trained in dialysis treatment and oversee operations, with enough machines available to accommodate up to eight patients per day.”

BHP said that the prevention and treatment of ear disease and hearing loss through the Healthy Ears on Country program would improve long-term health outcomes for Indigenous people across the East Pilbara region. Indigenous children have the worst rate of ear health in the world, with nine out of 10 experiencing some form of ear disease. If left untreated, this could lead to permanent hearing loss and developmental and speech delays.

Meath Hammond, BHP head of corporate affairs WA, acknowledged the ongoing challenge of accessing quality health care for people living in regional and remote communities. “We are proud to partner with Ear Science to support the amazing work they do in the Pilbara,” he said.

The program will support the Martu and Nyiyaparli peoples living in Newman, Jigalong, Punmu, Parnngurr, and Kunawarritji. It is expected to treat more than 500 children living in these areas.

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