Wa! Ningeningma arakba akina da! (Oh! Now I know, that's it!) : providing feedback to communities about studies of cannabis use in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory


The findings of a longitudinal research study undertaken in three Indigenous communities in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory reported that there were persistently high rates of cannabis use. It was also found that the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and cannabis dependence increased with more frequent cannabis use, resulting in a heavy burden on community finances and health services. This article reports the approach that was developed to providing feedback on the research to the communities who were the study populations, the process involved, and the implications. To achieve this, the prevalence estimates were translated using local concepts of life stages, numbers and quantities. The reaction of the local community to results presented in this way was characterised by the phrase used when understanding something for the first time: Wa! Ningeningma arakba da! (‘Oh! Now I know, that’s it!’). The authors conclude that to successfully disseminate research findings in these communities, it is critical to undertake comprehensive community liaison, to find common conceptual understandings and to build the skills of local indigenous researchers.

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