The three directors of Healthabitat (HH) met first in 1985 in the Anangu Pitjatjantjara Lands, north west South Australia.
Dr Paul Torzillo was the medical officer working at the Pukatja (Ernabella) health clinic for the newly formed Nganampa Health Council. Stephan Rainow had lived and worked in the area since 1977. He spoke the local Pitjatjantjara language, and, whilst trained as an anthropologist, had also worked on landscape and community development projects.
Paul Pholeros had been engaged as an architect by Nganampa Health Council to carry out additions to a small health clinic in Fregon. He was also involved with projects at Uluru and the Mutitjulu community in the Northern Territory.
They were ‘thrown’ together by Yami Lester, at the time, Director of Nganampa Health Council. Yami Lester saw that despite the Aboriginal (Anangu) control of the health service in the region and the improved treatment of illness, health had not improved. He proposed that medical services and a healthy living environment were both required to achieve health gain.
The three directors, of what years later was to become Healthabitat, were invited by Yami Lester and Punch Thompson to work with a team of local anangu to ‘stop people getting sick’ or in the local language ‘Uwankara Palyanku Kanyintjaku’. For reasons of brevity this became known as the UPK report.
Dr. Paul Torzillo