NACCHO #WorldDiabetesDay and Aboriginal Health : ACCHO Members IUIH and Apunipima have #EyesonDiabetes

eyes

Type 2 diabetes affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around three times as much as non-indigenous Australians – they also suffer from more complications and are more likely to die as a result of the condition.

By empowering and inspiring people to take control of their own health via creative and innovative ways such as the CGMS system, we can help reduce the toll of this disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘When you screen, people can find out if they are heading towards diabetes and can take steps to prevent it.  Screening can help identify diabetes early and help prevent complications. It is also an important management strategy to maintain good diabetes control.’

This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is Keep Your Eyes on Diabetes – a sentiment echoed Apunipima’s diabetes team on Cape York

 ” We know that untreated eye disease is a key contributor to preventable blindness among our community and is often caused by other diseases that affect our people such as diabetes and hypertension.

This campaign implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) with funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation will see more people checking in with our optometrists on a regular basis, so we can pick up and treat these diseases early, and close the gap in health outcomes in our community.”

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson says that the program will improve access to preventative eye health services and reduce rates of eye disease : See story 2 Below

dsc01290

To support World Diabetes Day (November 14)  Apunipima’s Diabetes Educators-  Bernadette Heenan and Cathryn Dowey – presented  at the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference on the benefits of continual glucose monitoring technology (CGMS) which allows Type 2 diabetes clients to ‘see’ when their blood sugar levels change and then alter their behaviour accordingly.

The team (which also includes Diabetes Educator Maureen Toner) is seeing health improvements among their clients thanks to their innovative approach

‘Continuous glucose monitoring involves the person with the disease, enabling them to see (via graphs) what causes their blood sugar to spike beyond a healthy rate,’ said Bernadette.

‘Giving people the power to see what behaviours impact their blood sugar levels gives them the information they need to make healthier choices – we are all about building capacity and supporting the person to make changes that are right for them and their families.’

While this process makes a difference to those suffering from the disease, there is a lot that can be done to prevent people getting diabetes in the first place.

For every person who is diagnosed with diabetes there is one undiagnosed. So the theme this year is screening.

‘When you screen, people can find out if they are heading towards diabetes and can take steps to prevent it.  Screening can help identify diabetes early and help prevent complications. It is also an important management strategy to maintain good diabetes control.’

‘If you are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent you are automatically in higher risk category for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you live remotely your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes go up again. It is vital that everyone in remote Cape York communities, kids, pregnant women, everyone get regularly screened.’

‘Getting in early means the disease and impacts – such as amputation, blindness and kidney failure

– can be prevented or managed.’

Eye health targeted in ‘Deadly Urban Eyes’ campaign

page-3-top

On 21 September, The Fred Hollows Foundation Founding Director Gabi Hollows launched a campaign to reduce rates of untreated eye disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South East Queensland.

deadly

Picture above : At the launch IUIH CEO Adrian Carson welcomed Gabi and Jaki to the Deadly Choices team by presenting them with a personalised Deadly Choices shirt with The Fred Hollows Foundation featured in the design saying, “We all know how deadly you have to be to get a deadly choices shirt.”

The campaign encourages community members to have regular eye health checks at their local Aboriginal Medical Service. The initiative is being implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) with funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation, and builds on their existing partnership across the region.

The initiative adds a new dimension to the hugely successful Deadly Choices social marketing campaign which has seen an average 50% year-on-year increase in the number of preventative health checks performed at IUIH’s 18 member clinics across South East Queensland.

Regular eye health checks play an important role in reducing the rate of untreated eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. People who have their eyes checked as part of the initiative will receive a Deadly Eyes gift pack, including sunglasses, lens cloth and spray, as an incentive.

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson says that the program will improve access to preventative eye health services and reduce rates of eye disease. “Both IUIH and The Fred Hollows Foundation are committed to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can access quality eye health services,” he said.

“We have significantly expanded our frontline eye health services over the past year so that they are now fully integrated across our 18 IUIH member clinics across South East Queensland. Integration of these services into the IUIH Model of Care means we are connected to community and able to refer quickly to specialist services if and when they are needed.”

According to Ms Hollows, the partnership is a successful model for bringing eye health care to communities in South East Queensland, “The Deadly Urban Eyes campaign is a great program that will make a difference in the vital eye health care sector,” she said.

The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program Manager, Jaki Adams-Barton, said the Deadly Choices Eye Check for South East Queensland was an important component of the work The Fred Hollows Foundation is doing Australia-wide, “Our program focuses on reducing rates of cataracts, diabetic retinopathy uncorrected refractive error and trachoma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Getting your eyes checked regularly is key given 94% of vision loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is preventable or treatable if caught early,” said Jaki.

page-6-diabetes-ad

 

 

NACCHO welcomes feedback/comment:Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s