Australians in remote communities will continue to receive vital preventative and primary health support thanks to the generous partner of a unique Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) program.
The pioneering RFDS Central Operations Healthy Living Program is improving the wellbeing of isolated South Australians and will now reach a key milestone through the $3 million commitment of the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
The Hong Kong-based philanthropic organisation pledged its financial support for the RFDS Healthy Living Program when it was launched in 2007.
The Li Ka Shing Foundation commitment was to fund the Program for a period of 10 years across three funding terms, subject to regular monitoring appraisals.
The RFDS Healthy Living Program is a key preventative and primary health program assisting communities to adopt regular exercise to reduce the risk of – or manage – chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“The RFDS Healthy Living Program has consistently provided high quality services to remote South Australians,” said Mr Peter Tulloch, speaking on behalf of the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
“The Li Ka Shing Foundation has confirmed its third term of the donation, extending its support until 2016 and fulfilling a decade of commitment to SA’s remote communities.”
RFDS Physical Activity and Lifestyle Advisors visit target communities monthly, conducting individual consultations and leading group activities tailored to address local health priorities.
RFDS Central Operations CEO John Lynch thanked the Li Ka Shing Foundation for its continued contribution to the innovative program.
“The RFDS Healthy Living Program has been successful for many reasons, including its long-term nature which is only possible through the generosity of the Li Ka Shing Foundation,” Mr Lynch said.
“From the outset, the Li Ka Shing Foundation and the RFDS were determined to deliver a program sustainable over a long period because that is the way to create generational change and make lasting differences to the health outcomes of those living in isolated areas.
“We are thrilled that we will see that through for at least a decade and hopefully even longer, because our commitment is undoubtedly helping individuals, families and entire communities to become healthier.”
The RFDS Healthy Living Program is strongly aligned to the Li Ka Shing Foundation and its commitment to education, healthcare, culture and community.
“The RFDS is an organisation well known for saving lives and improving the health of people in rural and remote Australia,” Mr Tulloch said.
“The Li Ka Shing Foundation is delighted to cooperate with the RFDS to provide funding for its meaningful RFDS Healthy Living Program.”
RFDS Central Operations General Manager Health Services Dr John Setchell said the Healthy Living Program took a unique approach to filling gaps in access to nutrition advice, health information and physical activity in remote areas.
“People in cities and larger regional communities can go to a gym, join a walking club or chat with staff at a community health service, but in many isolated places those things don’t exist,” Dr Setchell said.
“The RFDS Healthy Living Program took a 180-degree shift in thinking to develop ways of taking information and resources to the people. In doing so we have encouraged lifestyle changes to help people achieve happier, healthier and longer lives.”
The RFDS Healthy Living Program is among an ever-expanding range of non-traditional RFDS services including GP clinics, mental health and oral health services, the RFDS Rural Women’s GP Service and the RFDS Healthy Living Program.
Delivery of essential primary and preventative health care to people in rural and remote communities is a strategic priority of the RFDS beyond its traditional aeromedical emergency retrieval and patient transfer services.
Through its many services and programs, the RFDS helps more than 40,000 South Australians every year – someone every 20 minutes.
About the Li Ka Shing Foundation:
The Li Ka Shing Foundation was established in 1980 by global entrepreneur and philanthropist Li Ka-shing. Mr Li considers the Foundation to be his ‘third son’ and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. To date, the Foundation has granted over HK$13 billion (A$1.8 billion) in charitable donations, approximately 90 per cent in support of education reform initiatives and medical services in the Greater China region.
The Foundation supports projects that promote social progress through expanding access to quality education and medical services and research, encouraging cultural diversity and community involvement.
For more information on the Foundation, please click here
Pictured: RFDS Physical Activity and Lifestyle Advisor Jessica Thomas with members of an Indigenous men's cooking group established in Oodnadatta, SA, under the Healthy Living Program.