Aboriginal Health : Our ACCHO Members #Deadly good news stories #NACCHOagm2017 #NSW #TAS #QLD #VIC #WA #NT #SA

1.1 National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference abstracts / Expressions of Interest close 21 August

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day registrations

2.WA : Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) officially launches the ‘Pink Box’

3. 1 NSW : Armajun Aboriginal Medical serice  very active campaign in testing the ear health of preschool and school-age Aboriginal children

3.2 NSW : Governor of NSW visits Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services

4. NT : Miwatj Health had a HUGE presence at the 2017 Garma Festival

5.VIC : KIRRAE Health Services at Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve funded to fight ice

6.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Mt Isa supports another cataract blitz

6.2 QLD : Jobs and health benefits in $120M boost for Indigenous infrastructure

7.TAS : Tasmanian Aboriginal Health Workers out to break HEP.C stigma

8. Deadly Choices QLD trains up the Nganampa health team

9. View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 5 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ? 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday

1. National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference abstracts / Expressions of Interest close 21 August

NACCHO is now calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Member Services for speakers, case studies and table top presentations for the 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference. This is an opportunity to show case grass roots best practice at the Aboriginal Community Controlled service delivery level.

In doing so honouring the theme of this year’s NACCHO Members’ Conference ‘Our Health Counts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’.

NACCHO Conference Website

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO National Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day registrations Darwin NT

Register HERE

2.WA : Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) officially launches the ‘Pink Box’

Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) have officially launched the ‘Pink Box’, a free vending machine that allows a discrete way for women to obtain sanitary products.

In partnership with Share the Dignity charity, the suppliers of the Pink Box, the launch took place at DYHS head office in East Perth.

Mrs Gail Yarran delivered the Welcome to Country followed by Jenny Bedford, DYHS’s new CEO who officially opened the launch. The audience listened to speeches from Maternal & Child Health worker, Jillian Taylor and the Founder of Share the Dignity charity, Rochelle Courtenay before the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

Also see : Indigenous girls missing school during their periods: the state of hygiene in remote Australia

3. 1 NSW : Armajun Aboriginal Medical serice  very active campaign in testing the ear health of preschool and school-age Aboriginal children

This time last year, Harrison Faley was struggling to make sense of daycare.

Stuck hearing as if he were underwater, his parents thought he was simply a typical, inattentive two-year-old. But in reality, otitis media, a very common middle ear disease for young children, was blocking his conductive hearing.

Report from HERE

“We were alerted by his daycare that his speech was lagging a bit and he was getting constant ear infections,” mother Harnah Faley recalled.

“The specialist asked us to wait until he had all his teeth, and when that happened we had him tested again, and he was down to 10 per cent function.”

Within two months, Harrison had grommets (tiny tubes) inserted to allow air to reach his middle ear.

“The improvement was pretty much instant,” Mrs Faley said, adding that along with his hearing, Harrison’s speech and development progressed significantly.

“If you ask him, he got the potatoes out of his ears,” she said.

Harrison was just one of 51 children to have a free ear check up at the Inverell Shire Public Library on Tuesday, August 1 as part of the first local otitis media awareness day.

Two audiometry nurses were present to do the screening, one from Armajun Aboriginal Health Service.

Of those screened, 25 per cent had middle ear fluid and a further 22 per cent had a Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which can lead to otitis media.

Only half the children screened on the day had a ‘normal’ reading for ear health.

Although Aboriginal children are ten times more likely to have otitis media and 70 percent more likely to have recurring otitis media; there was a higher percentage of ‘normal’ readings in Inverell’s Aboriginal children (13 per cent of those screened).

Organisers believe this was due to Armajun’s very active campaign in testing the ear health of preschool and school-age Aboriginal children in this area.

Hearing Support Teachers from the NSW Department of Education talked on factors that contribute to otitis media and how parents can help reduce the risks.

The morning period was very busy, with one local preschool bringing twenty seven students aged 3-5 for screening. The rest of the children were brought in by their parents or grandparents throughout the day.

Library staff were proactive and kept the children entertained with craft activities as they waited. Volunteers from the Inverell branch of Quota International also helped make the day a success.

With so many children having indications of either otitis media or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, conductive hearing loss teacher Beverly Walls said it was a timely reminder to parents to be vigilant when their children complain of ear ache or have difficulty understanding instructions.

3.2 NSW : Governor of NSW visits Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services

Another great afternoon at our Batemans Bay clinic with community and His excellency David Hurley, Governor of NSW and wife. Pictured above with CEO Robert Skeen .Many thanks to Aunty Muriel Slockee for her Welcome to Country and the deadly Koori Choir from the Batemans Bay Primary School. Another thank you to Marty Thomas who enchanted all on the Didgeridoo.

4. NT : Miwatj Health had a HUGE presence at the 2017 Garma Festival

Did you pay us a visit at Garma 2017!?

Miwatj Health had a HUGE presence at the 2017 Garma Festival. From Clinicians, to our Raypirri Rom team, we were everywhere!

Our clinic was a great success, with 26 staff assisting over the four days, including 3 Aboriginal Health Practitioners and an admin staff member from Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). Thank you to everyone to dedicated their time (and long weekend) to help provide a much needed service for the festival.

Miwatj Health would also like to thank Captain Starlight for coming all the way from Darwin to entertain the children; the clinic would not have been the same without you.

Our #YakaNgarali Team also went out to Garma to educate community members on the harmful affects of smoking. They tested approximately 40 people using the Smokerlyzer (check out our videos to see how the Smokerlyzer works), while also quizzing participants of the festival to gain a greater understanding of their knowledge around smoking facts.

Overall, we had a super successful weekend and cannot wait for Garma 2018!

5.VIC : KIRRAE Health Services at Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve funded to fight ice

KIRRAE Health Services is one of just 13 Victorian community groups to receive state government funding to help in the fight against ice.

The health service based at the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve will receive $10,000 for an early intervention and prevention program targeting males aged eight to 17.

The state government funding is aimed at tackling ice through “a range of localised activities, including workshops, forums, social media, music events and education programs aimed at sporting communities”.

Kirrae Health Services will use the funding through its Koko Blokes program. “Koko” is a Kirrae Whurrong word meaning “younger brother”.

The program deals with positive role-modelling and issues around drug and alcohol use, domestic violence and respect.

6.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Mt Isa supports another cataract blitz

Seventeen patients were in Mount Isa this month for the north-west Queensland city’s latest “cataract blitz”.

Not –for-profit organisation Check UP funded the North west Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) to provide the eye surgery, targeted at Indigenous people form remote communities.

It follows a cataract surgery “blitz” last October. Patients travelled from Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Normanton, Cloncurry and Camooweal this month. Their pre-surgery clinics were conducted by telehealth, a first for cataract surgery, according to outreach coordinator Amy Davy.

“Providing Telehealth as an option for our patients from outlying communities reduces the number of trips or length of stay during their surgical procedures, so we’re pleased with the success of this, and will be utilising telehealth in similar situations,” she said.

Ms Davy praised the work Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Gidgee healing’s Blake Fagan, who provided transport for the patients, and NWHHS Indigenous liaison officer Melissa Nathan, who assisted the patients through their eye surgery.

Visiting ophthalmologist Andrew Foster conducted 19 operations in 2 days, completing a cataract surgery every half hour.

“This blitz” is a very good system for getting patients treated,” he said.

“Doing it in a group like this is very effective as they support each other, and know each other. It works very well, with no “fail to attends”.

Dr Foster is based on the Sunshine Coast and flies into Mount Isa every month to do eye surgery.

6.2 QLD : Jobs and health benefits in $120M boost for Indigenous infrastructure

Indigenous communities across Queensland are set to benefit from critical infrastructure upgrades, with a $120 million boost over four years to improve water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure.

Visiting Mornington Island, Aurukun and Pormpuraaw this week, Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mark Furner said the Indigenous Councils Critical Infrastructure Program funding was vital for the health of communities.

“I’m extremely proud to announce the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to strengthen indigenous communities has been backed with our $120 million investment,” Mr Furner said.

“The program is about ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities have infrastructure to improve living conditions and provide a sustainable future.

“This funding will be tailored to each community, supporting the infrastructure they need now and into the future, helping to close the gap on disadvantage.

“One of the great things about this program is that the councils actually develop the skills locally to manage the infrastructure and projects moving forward.”

Minister Furner said for councils in remote locations, access, distance and logistics meant the cost of the projects could be up to seven times higher than mainland and metropolitan areas.

“The level of funding provided for the Indigenous Councils Critical Infrastructure Program is crucial to meet the additional challenges many of these communities face.

“Communities will be pleased to know that the first stage of project approvals are already underway and some of the most vital infrastructure projects will commence shortly.”

On-site condition assessments have been conducted to help prioritise projects that are necessary to the health and safety of communities and designed to meet the specific needs of each location.

7.TAS : Tasmanian Aboriginal Health Workers out to break HEP.C stigma

By Jillian Mundy

Don’t be shamed to be screened or treated for hepatitis C. It is now curable in as little as eight weeks with the latest medicine, which is really available in Australia. That’s the message Aboriginal health worker Aaron Everett and land manager Jarrod Edwards want to spread. The two Tasmanian Aboriginal men, spoke at the second World Indigenous Peoples, Conference on Viral Hepatitis in Alaska thi month, want to break the stigma around viral hepatitis.

Mr Edwards is keen to share the journey of his own diagnosis treatment and recovery from hep-C. “I want to encourage other Aboriginal people to get screened and if they test positive have the treatment, “he told the Koori Mail.

“The advances in the treatment have come a long way and the side –effects I got don’t exist now”.

Mr Edwards encouraged people to also talk about hep-C to break the stigma. He said he was shocked when an Aboriginal health check in 2006 returned positive for the illness.

“I was an intravenous drug user at the time, but I was always really clean and careful with injecting equipment. I really don’t know how I got it. The diagnosis hit me for a six,” he said.

At first he did not seek treatment attributing the reluctance to his lifestyle.

“It was a stigma thing. I felt dirty,“ he said. “It was a long journey though. It took me five years.

“It was the holistic, community approach of the Aboriginal health service that gave me the ability to begin my healing journey, which included working on country”.

Mr Edwards said treatment at the time took 12 months and included weekly injections, daily pills, anti-depressants and regular visits to a psychiatrist.

There were also side-effects such as hair loss, fatigue to the point of passing out and very fragile and dry skin.

Mr Edwards has no doubt that without treatment he would be dead. “My liver would have packed it in,“ he said.

Mr Edwards is now cured and, coupled with his lifestyle changes, is proud to be a father and productive member of his community.

He also attributes his healing to the support of his partner, Aboriginal health practitioner Candy Bartlett.

“I wanted to have a long-term relationship, a family, a home of our own and be able to come back and on country”, he said.


These days Mr Edwards urges people not hesitate in seeking treatment.

“Don’t be ashamed of it. It doesn’t matter how you got it; just go and treat it,” he says.

Mr Everett, one of the clinical team working with patients during screening and treatment for hepatitis C at the Aboriginal health service in Hobart, said people are often shamed about the virus.

“it’s not a highly spoken about virus, because of the stigma on how it might have been contracted, often through sharing injecting equipment,” he said.

Mr Everett wants people to be open about being screened and treated, to help break the stigma surrounding viral hepatitis and in turn help eliminate it.

“Come in and be checked. Don’t be ashamed. It is not a death sentence,“ he said. “But it’s a different story if left untreated, especially when combined with an unhealthy lifestyle or other health issues it can be an extra burden, yet can be totally cured.”.

New direct-acting antiviral medicines which were added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) last year have revolutionised hep-C treatment by increasing the cure rate to close to 100% and reducing treatment duration and side-effects.

Viral Hepatitis is usually transmitted through the re-use of contaminated injecting equipment. It can be spread through unscreened blood transfusions and inadequate sterilisation of medical equipment (highly unlikely in Australia these days), It can also be transmitted sexually, from mother to child and through contaminated sharp grooming equipment.

People with hepatitis can be unaware, and unknowingly pass on the virus.

The conference Mr Edwards and Mr Everett are attending aims to ensure Indigenous communities around the world are given the same access to prevention, testing and treatment as other people.

The World Hepatitis Alliance aims to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030

8. Deadly Choices QLD trains up the Nganampa health team

Just like the Nganampa Health Service staff, you can eat healthy and be the best version of yourself.

Some great photos from when Deadly Choices were up in Umuwa to share their experiences, wisdom and host training for the Nganampa team

Please share


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