Bernadette O’Brien, who is a Diabetes Educator of the Kimberley region of West Australia, gave us an insight into the amazing work of BOAB Health Services.


 BOAB Health Services provide quality multidisciplinary primary health care services in allied health, mental health and care coordination for people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

It is the only non-government health service with a footprint across the entire Kimberley region.



Bernadette O’Brien described how BOAB is based in Broome, but covers communities as far as 1,000 Km away. She described how half the population is aboriginal, living in 120 communities with 30 language groups. BOAB covers 92 of these communities when requested. Some areas are very remote and get periodically cut off, and are generally dry and prone to bushfires. 

BOAB works in conjunction with The Heart Foundation and Diabetes W.A., treating mainly Type II Diabetes, Podiatry and mental health.

Bernadette described  how the original inhabitants were hunters and gatherers, and they were displaced when cattle farming took over their land. 

There is scant employment now, with little incentive to exercise , so poverty and illiteracy are common.  Changes in their diet has led to frequent obesity and Type II Diabetes, often with complications. Bernadette gave us an insight into how these can lead to cardiac and peripheral vascular disease, (often requiring lower limb amputation), renal failure (often requiring dialysis), blindness, neurological conditions and anaemia.


Bernadette described how nurses educate the communities in diet, hygiene and treatment of diabetes, but language and literacy problems make this difficult.






She described the Libre system of monitoring blood glucose levels, which provide the patients with results they can easily understand.  She hopes than more of these monitors will lead to an improvement in the treatment of Type II Diabetes. 


In closing, Bernadette said how much BOAB Health Services appreciated the support of Hawthorn Rotary, and the Foot-Care packs we sent them in recent years.