First Nations doulas: Training needs and industry support in the Top End, Northern Territory, Australia

Elsevier, Women and Birth, Volume 36, May 2023
Ireland S., Kildea S., Roe Y., Moore S., Adair R.

Problem and background: First Nations doulas offer an innovative approach for strengthening capacity and increasing the Australian First Nations maternity workforce to improve access to services that produce optimal outcomes. Currently, there is no published evidence on the training needs and health sector industry support for developing a First Nations doula workforce. Question/aim: In the context of the ‘Top End,’ Northern Territory, Australia, the aim of this article is to document Industry feedback on the training needs and support for developing a First Nations doula workforce. Methods: Ten purposively recruited Industry representatives participated in a facilitated workshop using the Kaospiolit Vision Backcasting education design tool. Findings: Participants identified and reached consensus on almost all the underpinning skills, knowledge, mindset, and attitudes required to work as a First Nations doula. Overall participants indicated strong Industry appetite and support for formally developing the doula role. Discussion: There was participant consensus that accredited doula training would be a ‘game-changer’, addressing inadequacies and inequities in NT's reproductive and maternal health services for remote-living First Nations women. Conclusion: More research is required to explore First Nations doula practice in addressing perinatal inequities and workforce issues. Investigation is required to identify funding and appropriate workforce models.