Northern Australia Primary Health Limited (NAPHL) Indigenous Outreach Worker Mettassa Zaro has been nominated for a Townsville Citizen of the Year award in recognition of his dedication to indigenous health.

He was shocked to receive the nomination as part of the Townsville Australia Day celebrations and wanted to share the accolaides with his team members.

“I’m grateful for the nomination. The work we do for our mob in the community is a team effort.

“I think it’s just a big reward that we get to help educate our mob on their health and prolonging their life.”

Mettassa was an award winning barista before he quit his job to follow his dream of working in indigenous health.

As part of NAPHL’s Integrated Team Care (ITC) program, Mettassa helps indigenous people to access health services and support. 

This includes attending appointments with clients who might be nervous about seeing a health professional, arranging transport to help people get to appointments, coordinating vital health care and ensuring health services are culturally appropriate.

“There was a point where I thought I needed to do more in the community and give back to the community,” Mettassa said.

“I got that opportunity through NAPHL to work with the ITC team.”   

The NAPHL ITC program, funded by the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN), works alongside the community to help overcome the disparity in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

 NAPHL chief executive Linda Kensington congratulated Mettassa on the nomination.

“We’re really proud of the work that Mettassa and the rest of the ITC team are doing to help overcome the disparity in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This is wonderful recognition of the dedication Mettassa has to our community and I congratulate him on this very worthy nomination.”

The Townsville City Council Australia Day Awards pay tribute to the special people in the community who have gone above and beyond to help improve the lives of others and contribute to a diverse, friendly and strong community.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Australia Day.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the ITC program.