Health Outreach Program

NE Arnhem Land

Providing allied health in remote Homeland communities

Our long term commitment to remote indigenous homeland communities is to provide a range of allied healthcare, health promotion and education where these services are generally unavailable or limited. Working together with local health organisations our volunteer physios and podiatrists are assisting to close the gap in health outcomes and helping to enrich the health of these communities.

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Current challenges in NE Arnhem Land

NT-map-NEThe poor state of Indigenous health today is a result of decades of neglect and inadequate services. The Yolngu people of NE Arnhem Land, at the top end of Australia’s Northern Territory, are among those to have suffered for this lack of services. They often go without treatment for long periods of time, risking unnecessary complications.

Inequality in service availability

Although essential health services are available, physiotherapy, podiatry and related allied health services are limited to the larger centres. People living in remote Homeland communities have little or no access to these services; with the closest practitioners located hundreds of kilometres away at a regional hospital.

Limited access

For many Yolngu, access by road is further limited by weather conditions, and medical teams are flown in to cater for the health needs of the Homeland community residents.

The Yolngu (in the Homelands) look forward to the physios’ arrival. They see their ‘hands-on’ treatment as more aligned with their own bush medicine.

Jeff Cook ~ Manager, Laynhapuy Health

What SOS is doing?

Physio services

We can’t offer a ‘quick fix’ solution, however SOS Health is working together with local health organisations in this remote region, to achieve health equality for the Yolgnu people over the longer term through the provision of regular physiotherapy, podiatry and related services.

Health Outreach Program

Our volunteer physios and podiatrists are already having a positive impact on the communities by providing assessment, interventions and treatment. The capacity to improve the physical health and quality of life for many in these Homeland communities cannot be underestimated.

Close the Gap

SOS Health Foundation is working to assist in Closing the Gap in health outcomes for people in remote indigenous communities by:

  • Increasing availability and access to physiotherapy and podiatry services.
  • Promoting meaningful partnerships with health service organisations to improve health outcomes for the Yolgnu people.
  • "I was honoured to volunteer in NE Arnhem Land and meet some of the most beautiful aboriginal people who still live in this vibrant country."

    Janetta Happe - Back In Motion - Hobart

  • "In order to ‘close the gap’ and ensure that all Australians have access to the same level of health care, this is what is needed."

    Brooke Adair - Physiotherapist, Australian Catholic University

  • "I was extremely busy and really felt I was able to significantly help by way of hands-on treatment, explanation of injuries, exercise prescription and advice."

    Nicole Tayler - Physiotherapist, Back in Motion, Tecoma (VIC)

  • "Diagnosing and treating lots of strains and sprains, and a bit of taping to keep them together. The kids, and the adults here (Gapuwiyak), love a bit of a bandage or strapping."

    Emma Hindaugh - Physiotherapist, Back in Motion, Bayswater (VIC)

  • "Each team member had different expectations, objectives and reasons for being involved. One of mine was 'if you never never go, you'll never never know."

    Michelle McDonald - Physiotherapist, Back In Motion, Mermaid Waters (QLD)

  • "Looking at the surrounds, I felt as far from Melbourne as ever, yet each person I met made me feel welcome and at home."

    Tom West - Physiotherapist, Back In Motion Sydenham (VIC)

  • "It (Health Outreach Mission) made me realise how not having access to Physiotherapy can turn a simple back or neck strain into a potentially unnecessary chronic issue."

    Anna Crosby - Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy (ACT)

  • "The doors are opened, the louvred windows tilted to catch any breeze and the fans turned on. The Yolgnu homeland health worker arrives and work begins for the day."

    Jim Griggs - Physiotherapist/Partner, CQ Physio Group, Rockhampton (QLD)

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Why volunteer with SOS Health Foundation

Focus on Allied Health

SOS Health Foundation was formed by physios to provide opportunities for physios and podiatrists and related allied health practitioners who want to use their skills and expertise to ensure quality services are available when and wherever needed, even in the most remote communities in Australia.

All organised for you

We make it easy for you to get involved. We plan your field itinerary and take care of all the details, including accommodation, cultural orientation, and program facilitation. You are free to focus on what you do best and enjoy the experience of serving the health needs of those who would otherwise go without, right here in your own backyard.

It’s an experience

We visit some of Australia’s most remote communities and locations, places that most people will never get to see. Volunteers join  our Health Outreach Program because they want to ‘give back’ to those less fortunate, and we can make that happen. What most people don’t expect is just how much they gain from the experience.

Sustainable impact

We work collaboratively with local organisations to ensure that we are hitting the most in-need areas and having the most effective long term outcomes.

How can you help?


Your skills are important to the Yolngu people. Opportunities are open to physiotherapists and podiatrists who can give of their time to make a significant contribution to the health and wellness of people in the Homelands. If you share our vision and values, and would like to use your skills and expertise where they are needed most, apply now.

This opportunity is open to fully qualified physios and podiatrists who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Each Health Outreach to NE Arnhem Land is for a one week period.  Longer periods can also be arranged.

Apply to Volunteer


If you are not in a position to volunteer but would like to help, why not consider making a tax deductible donation to this or one of several other initiatives by giving Online. Or, join a Work Place Giving program and make SOS Health the beneficiary, or, start or join a fundraising campaign in your workplace or social network.

Your contribution is important to maintaining sustainable services which significantly improve the health of disadvantaged individuals and communities in urban and remote Australia.



Donate to this project

Join a Fundraiser

SOS Health relies entirely on the generosity of supporters to exist, so every dollar helps.  There are many fundraising opportunities.

  • Get involved in work4significance during the month of May each year through your local Back In Motion Physio Practice
  • Start or join a Workplace Giving Program in your workplace.
  • Take part in a major public fundraising event and select the SOS Health Foundation as your charity of choice.
  • Participate in our SOS Health Foundation Golf Day which happens at the acclaimed Huntingdale Golf Course in Melbourne on the first Monday of December each year.
  • Do your own fundraiser and donate to SOS Health here




Fundraising events