Hi, I’m Gabriel, an intern with Cultural Perspectives. Recently I was channel-surfing the TV and came across the ABC’s “Australian Story” documentary program.
“Australian Story” has covered the Heart of Australia health initiative a few times. Its mobile unit is the “Heart Bus”, invented by Dr Rolf Gomes nearly 10 years ago. It brings specialist cardiology and respiratory services to rural and regional areas of Queensland.
Queensland is a state of giant-sized farms, little towns, remote communities, and people doing it on their own. Sometimes they are many hours’ travel time away from big towns.
The thing about that state’s folk, I’ve been told, is that they’re tough. They won’t really let something like a twinge or two in the heart stop them, and if a job has to be done they’ll drop dead doing it. But this shouldn’t happen just because there’s a lack of medical services.
Rolf Gomes was a child when he migrated with his family from India to Australia. When he grew up he trained as an engineer. Then he took up medicine, and while a registrar in country hospitals he realised that a lot of folks had no access to essential health services – because they lived too far away.
So he built a mobile cardiology and respiratory unit, and set up a team to bring specialist heart and lung consultations to the Queensland outback. This is the Heart Bus, the informal name for Heart of Australia, a not-for-profit initiative set up by Dr Gomes.
It’s a terrific story of how one man realised something was missing, and found a solution. Did he have to do it? No. Was it solely his responsibility to take specialist medicine to faraway places of stark landscape and red dust where there were lone farmers, indigenous communities, and anyone else with a health concern? No. But he did it because he saw a need.
I didn’t know about Heart of Australia before watching that “Australian Story” program. But I was so glad I found it. We all have different skills, and may come from different places. We may change the course of our lives in mid-stream. We can still make a difference for the better. Australia has opportunities – and if there aren’t any, we can make them.
To learn more about “Australian Story”, please go to: http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4418731.htm
Heart of Australia: http://www.heartofaustralia.com/
This blog is contributed by Gabriel, our intern at Cultural Perspectives Group