NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #COAG Alice Springs 5 of 5 Posts : 1. Download or Read COAG Communique includes #Indigenous Health Roundtable #MyHealthRecord #Cancer #Hearing #Dental funding #Obesity #MentalHealth #Womens #Mens Health Strategies 2020 -2030 2.Download or Read Press Conference Transcript Ministers @GregHuntMP @KenWyattMP

 ” The Federal, State and Territory Health Ministers met in Alice Springs yesterday (2 August ) at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. 

The meeting was hosted by the Hon Natasha Fyles, the Northern Territory Minister for Health. The meeting was chaired by the Ms Meegan Fitzharris MLA, Australian Capital Territory Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

On Wednesday 1 August Health Ministers held a Roundtable with Indigenous leaders to listen to what is important to Indigenous people and to talk about how we can work together to improve health and healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve equity in health outcomes.

A separate communique has been prepared for the Indigenous Roundtable.

Following the meeting the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care launched the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards – User Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

See full COAG Health Miinisters Communique Part 1 Below or Download HERE 

CHC Communique 020818_1

On Wednesday 1 August, COAG Health Council (CHC) members met with Indigenous health leaders for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Roundtable.

All Ministers welcomed and valued this momentous opportunity to hear collectively from Indigenous health leaders. 

The COAG Health Council welcomed Minister Ken Wyatt, the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health to the meeting and expressed its deepest thanks to those Indigenous Leaders from across Australia who participated.” 

See full COAG Health Miinisters Indigenous Health Rundtable Communique Part 1 Below or Download HERE

CHC Indigenous Roundtable Communique_010818

 ” So there’s work that we’ve centred our attention on, working very closely with the community-controlled health sector across the nation, because these are two very significant illnesses that prevail within Aboriginal communities – avoidable blindness, avoidable deafness.

But we also want to look at some of those other underlying issues that impact on a child in their early years – crusted on scabies, we’ve just committed a substantial piece of work around to tackle that issue and look at solutions.

But the underlying social determinants are absolutely critical. But with the state and territory health ministers meeting here in Alice Springs, it means we will have a very serious discussion around the way in which the Commonwealth and state and territories work in partnership with Aboriginal people, not for us to deliver programs to them.

Because often change will only come when families have the ownership, when communities are those who determine the priorities that are needed, that then are given the level of support and resourcing that is important in the way that we’ve done with Purple House.

Ken Wyatt Greg Hunt Press Conference Alice Springs see Part 2 Below or Download Transcripts of both 

Before meeting

Press Conference 1 . pdf

 ” The best health comes from the community.

The best health comes when Indigenous communities and Indigenous leaders are able to take control, and that’s what they want to do.

They are saying – particularly through the ACCHOs – that we are able to help our own people if you give us the support and the tools, and that’s why the workforce plan is fundamental, coupled with additional support for research by and into Indigenous health.” 

Minister Greg Hunt after the COAG meeting

Greg Hunt Ken Wyatt Alice Springs Indigenous Health Press Conference

NACCHO COVERAGE THIS WEEK

1 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download @GrattanInst #MappingPrimaryCare ‏Report : Reform primary care to improve health care for all Australians says @stephenjduckett

2 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COAG meeting Alice Springs : Time for COAG Health Council to address the Indigenous funding myth & ‘market failure’ says Ian Ring

3 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COAG : Indigenous Health Leadership , Ministers @GregHuntMP @KenWyattMP and Australia’s Health Ministers gather in #AliceSprings to shine a spotlight on #Indigenous health

4 of 5 NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Deadly Good News stories : Features #NT @DanilaDilba @EvonneGoolagong @DeadlyChoices #QLD @IUIH_ #SA @Nganampa_Health #WA @TheAHCWA #VIC @VAHS1972

 

Major items discussed by COAG Health Ministers today included:

1.National collaboration to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 

Health Ministers held a strategic discussion on national collaboration to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The wide-ranging discussion covered the impacts of potentially preventable rates of eye disease, ear disease, kidney disease, crusted scabies, Rheumatic Heart Disease, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) and mental health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Ministers identified opportunities for collaborative action to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes that builds on the work already underway across Australia.

Roundtable Report

Ministers acknowledged the breadth and depth of Indigenous health knowledge, experience and leadership represented at the Roundtable, as well as the proven record of Aboriginal controlled health organisations in improving the health and wellbeing of indigenous Australians.

Indigenous leaders spoke of the importance of mutual trust and respect, the need to increase cultural capability and eliminate racism in all health settings and services, and the importance of cultural safety in improving the health and wellbeing of indigenous Australians.

Ministers welcomed this message and agreed that cultural safety in providing healthcare to indigenous Australians was essential.

Ministers agreed to progress cultural safety training within their own jurisdiction and committed to explore the requirement for cultural safety training in health professionals registration.

Ministers agreed to progress initiatives to implement a Safe Patient Journey through the health care system within their own jurisdiction and committed to explore the requirement for cultural safety training in health professionals and tasked the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to develop options  for the next CHC meeting in consultation with national bodies and indigenous health workforce representatives.

Indigenous leaders clearly outlined the importance of a workforce plan to guide action and inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to a successful career in health.

Ministers agreed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Plan with a first draft to be considered at the CHC’s next meeting, to be followed by consultation.

Ministers agreed to work with Indigenous leaders to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan.

Ministers acknowledged the many successes and achievements in Indigenous health outlined during the Roundtable and welcomed the expressions of hope for the future. Equally, Ministers acknowledged the challenges faced by indigenous people across urban, rural and remote communities.

Ministers acknowledged the experience of Indigenous people in health settings and noted the importance of a safe clinical and cultural health journey for Indigenous people.

Recognising the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander  health and medical research and researchers, Commonwealth, states and territory Health Ministers commit to working together to strengthen Indigenous led health and medical research. This should include an enhanced focus on specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical research to improve outcomes for the community.

In recognition of the significant value of continuing to build mutual trust, respect and understanding, Ministers committed to an annual dialogue with Indigenous health leaders with the next Roundtable to occur in 12 months’ time. Further, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health has been established as a standing item on every COAG Health Council meeting.

Ministers further strengthened the accountability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by agreeing to invite the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Health to every COAG Health Council meeting thus embedding consideration of these matters in all health discussions.

Ministers acknowledged the strong contribution by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in advancing improvements in Indigenous Health and the achievements of the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Ministers concluded a strategic discussion in the CHC meeting on Thursday 2 August by reaffirming their commitment to addressing gaps in Indigenous health outcomes.

The summary themes from the discussion are listed below:

  • Develop a National Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan that provides a career path, national scope of practice and builds more balance of indigenous and non-indigenous people across all health professions, make health an aspirational career for Aboriginal people. This should include a specific focus on a national scope of practice for Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners.
  • Trust, hope, faith and strong relationships important to ensure services meet needs.
  • Need for deep listening at all levels.
  • Important to recognise and share the good things that are already happening and some of the recent positive announcements.
  • Tap into the centres of excellence that are already operating and build on success.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are invested in success and seek same investment from non-indigenous partners.
  • Need to have different approaches for urban, regional and remote communities to reflect the diversity of local needs, resources and capability across all settings.
  • Primary health care services critical to wellbeing to prevent the need for subsequent acute services, tackling chronic disease essential.
  • Make sure cultural capability and cultural safety are within legislation and policy frameworks.
  • It is important that there is collaborative, needs based planning and implementation rather than vertical disconnected programs, and funding needs to be long term to support sustainability.
  • Need a range of measures: personal health interventions as well as community strategies such as supply reduction of hazards.
  • It is important that other determinants such as housing, electricity and water are addressed.
  • In recognition of the importance of connection to country, services should also be on country where safe and appropriate.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait community leadership is critical to success

2.Mandatory reporting requirements by treating practitioners

Health Ministers approved a targeted consultation process for amendments to mandatory reporting requirements by treating practitioners. The targeted consultation process will seek feedback on proposed legislation that strikes a balance between ensuring health practitioners can seek help when needed, while also protecting the public from harm. The consultation process will involve professional bodies representing each registered health profession, consumer groups, National Boards and professional indemnity insurers. The

results of the targeted consultation process will inform a Bill to be presented to the Queensland Parliament as soon as possible.

Western Australia is not included in this process as its current arrangements will continue.

3.Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Health Ministers welcomed advice that all 15 health practitioner National Boards, their Accreditation Councils and AHPRA have partnered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders and organisations to sign a National Registration and Accreditation Scheme Statement of Intent to achieve equity in health outcomes.

This joint commitment aims to ensure a culturally safe health workforce, increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the registered health professions along with greater access to culturally safe health services.

This work will reach over 700,000 registered health practitioners, over 150,000 registered students and the 740 plus programs of study accredited through the National Scheme. The launch was held on traditional lands of the Wurundjeri Peoples of the Kulin Nation in Melbourne, Victoria with a Welcome to Country and a traditional smoking ceremony.

4.Update on 2016-17 determination of national health reform funding

Health Ministers received an update from the Commonwealth Health Minister on the process and timing of the 2016-17 determination, and of the importance of rapidly setting the 2016-17 determination of the national health reform funding to provide certainty for hospital services into the future. Health Ministers also noted the work on improvements to the reconciliation process for inclusion in the next National Health Reform Agreement.

Ministers welcomed the appointment of Michael Lambert as the Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool.

5.Private patients in public hospitals.

Ministers agreed to commission an independent review of a range of factors regarding utilisation of private health insurance in public hospitals to report as soon as possible but no later than 31 December 2018.

6.Progress update on the National Health Reform Agreement

The Commonwealth Minister for Health provided an update on drafting of the National Health Reform Agreement. The Council noted the importance of a dispute resolution process.

7.National approach to hearing health

Minsters recognised that 3.6 million Australians currently experience hearing loss and that the prevalence of hearing loss is expected to more than double by 2060. Ministers discussed the economic, social and health impacts of hearing loss, particularly for the 90 per cent of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in some remote communities who experience otitis media infections at any time. Ministers agreed to further consider a national approach to hearing health, following the Commonwealth’s response to the House of Representatives Inquiry Report ‘Still Waiting to be Heard’ expected later this year.

8.Public dental funding arrangements 

Ministers noted that the current National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services for Adults will end on 30 June 2019, and that the State and Territory public provider access to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule will end on 31 December 2019.

Ministers agreed that securing sustainable and fair future funding arrangements is critical to providing timely access to public dental care. Ministers agreed to commence formal negotiations to achieve fair, long-term public dental funding arrangements, including extension of access to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

9.Mutual recognition of mental health orders 

Ministers discussed the important issue of ensuring continuity of care for mental health consumers moving between jurisdictions with different legislation. Ministers agreed that work to ensure interoperability of mental health legislation between states and territories, as part of the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is prioritised.

10.Recognising Continuity of Care for Consumers of Mental Health Services

The Council discussed and agreed to South Australia’s proposal that the COAG Health Council monitor the ongoing transition to the NDIS of mental health clients and to identify any emerging services gaps that need to be addressed in order to ensure continuity of support.

Ministers agreed that the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council work with the Disability Reform Council Senior Officials Working Group and provide advice at the next COAG Health Council on actions to resolve interface issues between health and disability services.

11.Obesity – limiting the impact of unhealthy food and drinks on children

The Queensland Minister led a discussion on a suite of actions to improve children’s diets and prevent child obesity with a focus on health care settings, schools, children’s sport and recreation, food promotion and food regulation.

The development of cross-sectoral initiatives with education and sport and recreation sectors was noted. Health departments were tasked with developing national minimum nutrition standards for food and drink supply in public health care facilities. The Queensland Minister presented a national interim guide for reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink marketing. This guide was endorsed by Ministers, noting that the guide is for voluntary use by governments.

Health Ministers noted the voluntary pledge made by the Australian Beverages Council Limited to reduce sugar across their portfolio of products by 20% on average by 2025.

12. Implementation of National Cancer Work Plan – Additional Optimal Cancer Care Pathway

Health Ministers endorsed the Optimal Cancer Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is the first OCP under the National Cancer Work Plan that specifically addresses the needs of a cultural group. It is critical that cancer service systems are culturally responsive and competent to address the current and growing disparities in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians relative to non-Indigenous Australians. This OCP is designed to provide culturally safe and responsive healthcare, including acknowledging how social determinants can impact health outcomes. This OCP is to be used in conjunction with the 15 tumour-specific OCPs.

The OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was developed collaboratively by Cancer Australia in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Cancer Council Victoria. Ministers also gratefully acknowledge Aboriginal leadership in development of this pathway with input from an Expert Working Group and from Cancer Australia’s Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control, as well as feedback from many Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations and peak groups during the public consultation phase.

13. Public disclosure to support hospital and clinical comparisons

Ministers agreed to commit to create a data and reporting environment that increases patient choice through greater public disclosure of hospital and clinician performance and information.

Ministers noted it is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) role to facilitate consistent and timely reporting of health and welfare statistics and performance information, including the publication of the MyHospitals and MyHealthy Communities websites following the cessation of the National Health Performance Authority.

All jurisdictions agreed to work with the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer in his investigation of the issue around a number of women being diagnosed with cancer, which may be linked to breast implants. This includes the role all jurisdictions play in reporting information to track the use of implants.

14.National Action Plan for Endometriosis

Ministers noted that the National Action Plan for Endometriosis has been finalised and was launched on 26 July 2018. All states and territories will be working with the Commonwealth toward implementation of the plan.

15.National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 and National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030

Ministers noted that the Commonwealth is developing a National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 and a National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. Both Strategies are expected to be finalised and launched in early 2019.

16. Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs

Ministers noted the work being undertaken by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs. It was agreed that the Commonwealth release a detailed report of the activity of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs including specific fee transparency options before the next COAG Health Council meeting so that decisive actions can be agreed.

17. Digital health

Jurisdictions reaffirmed their support of a national opt out approach to the My Health Record. Jurisdictions noted clinical advice about the benefits of My Health Record and expressed their strong support for My Health Record to support patient’s health.

Ministers acknowledged some concerns in the community and noted actions proposed to provide community confidence, including strengthening privacy and security provisions of My Health Record.

Part 2Press Conference Alice Springs

GREG HUNT: 
It’s a real honour to be here at Purple House with Ken Wyatt, Indigenous Health Minister, but of course the first Indigenous Minister in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia.

And then Sarah and her team, all of the members of Purple House. Purple House is about saving lives and protecting lives.

It’s about closing the gap so as in Indigenous Australians have a better shot at better kidney health. As the Chief Medical Officer was just explaining, dialysis means that the machines do the work of the kidneys where the kidneys have been damaged, and that means that people can help expel the toxins, can have a healthier life and deal with some of the challenges and they can be on dialysis and manage their lives for literally two decades or more in some cases, as Brendan was setting out.

Today, I am delighted to announce that the Australian Government will under the National Health and Medical Research Council. These projects will cover things such as lung function, reducing smoking during pregnancy, improving the health of blood and Ken will talk to you in particular about point-of-care testing in dialysis.

It’s about ensuring that whilst we clearly have not closed the gap yet, which is why we asked together – the Council of Australian Governments – to come to Alice Springs and to focus on Indigenous Australia. Whilst we haven’t closed that gap, we are making progress, important steps, but a whole lot more to go.

This funding builds on what we’ve done in supporting Purple House and builds on what we’ve done in supporting additional remote dialysis. I’ll ask Ken to talk about those, but today is a critically important day for investment in Indigenous health, research and training and improved outcomes. Each one of these projects, each one of these 28 projects has the potential to save lives and improve lives. Ken?

KEN WYATT:

It’s great to be here. I was in Darwin and I heard an elder from Tiwi Island talk about living life and enjoying it fully, until he had to go to Darwin, and he said when he went to a Royal Darwin Hospital he thought he was going for a prescription and tablets that would allow him to go home.

He said he never realised he would be married to a machine and never return to country. And what’s great is Purple House now provides that opportunity for elders and senior people within the community and younger ones who experience renal failure to go back to the point of where they grew up. Point-of-care testing makes it easier now to identify where we have renal problems and start to address the needs of individuals.

The $23 million that the Australian Government, the Turnbull Government have provided to Purple House means that the purple bus will reach further out into remote and isolated communities, but more importantly an increase in the number of dialysis point of access that enables both the use of chairs and other support programs that are important.

Over a period of time we’ve seen senior Aboriginal people make a decision to disengage from dialysis in regional hospitals, go back to country and die on country. This now changes that. This gives an incredible opportunity for people to spend time with their family, for culture and law to be passed on through those who have that task.

But more importantly, to keep families together and I think that the combination of the work that the Turnbull Government, and in particular Minister Hunt in his strong commitment to looking at the research that is required to close those gaps, has made an incredible difference. And it’s great having you here as well because you have also been an advocate and I’d like to invite you to make a couple of comments as well.

GREG HUNT:
Okay. We’re happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: 
Well, if I may kick it off. Minister Hunt, we’ve heard a lot of concerns about privacy issues regarding My Health. What benefits though are there in digitising health records?

GREG HUNT: 
Well, enormous benefits, and I have to say that the Northern Territory is one of the nation’s leaders on that front and I’ve been discussing this with the Northern Territory Minister, who’s been a great advocate and it crosses party lines.

But when you have a mobile population and they may not have their own records as most people don’t, they don’t carry their records with them, if they’re a mobile population, or if the medical community is moving, then what this does is it marries up your history and your chronic conditions and your medicines across the different points of care.

So this gives every Australian the capacity to have their health care system with them, if they want it. And in Indigenous Australia, and in particular in the Northern Territory, we see that this area is leading the nation in terms of engagement with the population on digital health. So for Indigenous Australia it’s going to be a real game-changer.

JOURNALIST:
Are you confident, Minister, that the changes you’ve made address the privacy concerns?

GREG HUNT: 
Yes, these are changes which come directly from the advice, request and sensible proposals put forward by the AMA and the College of GPs and really we’re doing two things, one, we are lifting Labor’s 2012 legislation to the same level as the practise of the last six years, which is an ironclad legislative guarantee that no health records will be released without a court order.

Secondly, once somebody seeks to have their record deleted, it will now be cancelled and fully deleted forever from the record so. If you seek to have it cancelled, if you seek to opt-out after a record’s been created, it’s gone forever, rather than the 130 years which was put in under Labor’s legislation.

JOURNALIST: 
Labor says the opt-out period should be put on hold. Will you do that?

GREG HUNT: 
That’s not the advice of the medical authorities who are very clear that they want this done this year, so we’ve extended by a month and we’ve worked with the medical authorities. I understand that Labor at the moment is being, shall we say, a little bit curious because only a few weeks ago they were welcoming this as a long-overdue step and when the legislation went through, unanimously, through the Parliament they praised this as an important and vital step forward.

JOURNALIST:
The Women’s Legal Service in Queensland says you haven’t done enough to address new concerns around My Health Record and that it may risk the safety of women fleeing abusing partners. Have you heard of those concerns and are you doing anything on that front?

GREG HUNT:
Yes, I’ve asked the head of the Digital Health Agency to talk with them and meet with them as a matter of priority. The advice I have is that there are very, very strong protections, but we’re always working with different groups and these have been raised and so the head of the Digital Health Agency will meet with and talk with those groups and take their concerns very, very seriously.

JOURNALIST:
Minister, what else is the federal government doing to help ensure that Indigenous people can live a healthy life in remote communities?

GREG HUNT:
Well, there’s a comprehensive program and I’ll ask Ken to address this in more detail. But you have of course the health treatment, and these 28 new projects are each about improving health in different areas, whether, as I say, it’s in relation to smoking rates for pregnant women, point of care for dialysis, whether it’s improving outcomes in relation to lung function.

But we’re also working through the education system on activity, on diet, and then of course there’s economic development, because you cannot escape the social determinants of health, they are a reality. That’s why Indigenous Australia has worse outcomes, because there are challenges that are unique to that community and we have to have a comprehensive program.

Now, Ken has, as much as any person in Australian history, helped drive that forward and he’s being supported on the ground. I have to say, Jacinta was one of the motivating sources for the COAG meeting to be here in Alice Springs. Ken?

KEN WYATT:
Some of the priorities that we’re working on are premised on rheumatic heart disease and the impact that that has from birth through to later adult life. The increasing number of people living with renal failure and certainly our research is showing that the onset might be as early as 19 years in males.

So there’s work that we’ve centred our attention on, working very closely with the community-controlled health sector across the nation, because these are two very significant illnesses that prevail within Aboriginal communities – avoidable blindness, avoidable deafness. But we also want to look at some of those other underlying issues that impact on a child in their early years – crusted on scabies, we’ve just committed a substantial piece of work around to tackle that issue and look at solutions.

But the underlying social determinants are absolutely critical. But with the state and territory health ministers meeting here in Alice Springs, it means we will have a very serious discussion around the way in which the Commonwealth and state and territories work in partnership with Aboriginal people, not for us to deliver programs to them. Because often change will only come when families have the ownership, when communities are those who determine the priorities that are needed, that then are given the level of support and resourcing that is important in the way that we’ve done with Purple House.

On the ground approaches work far better than if we try and tackle them from capital cities, and so this whole focus means that we bring health and health thinking and design and planning much closer. Our roundtable this afternoon with the Indigenous leaders is a reflection of us seeking their advice to look at what are the directions that we need to seriously consider, given the geographic diversity of our nation.

JOURNALIST:
Minister Wyatt, do you think there’s been enough done to explain, I guess, My Health? I mean, you’re here at Purple House where many languages are spoken other than English. Are you confident that the message is getting out there to those regional communities where English is perhaps third or fourth languages?

KEN WYATT:
Look, I think our Aboriginal health workers who are employed by many organisations, including state and territory health systems, provide that front line interaction. Because I once made a comment to a group of Aboriginal health workers in New South Wales that power doesn’t sit with the director or with the minister, the power of change and impact sits with the Aboriginal health workers who understand the families, understand the communities, that can speak language and understand the nuances of the relationships within a community. I think that’s where our best opportunity lies.

JOURNALIST:
Minister Wyatt, I think everybody would agree the syphilis epidemic is very high, too high, in Indigenous populations. What’s your plan to bring down those numbers?

KEN WYATT:
Well when that was first raised with us there were two steps we took. One is the Chief Medical Officer undertook a piece of work with the Australian Health Minsters’ Council because the predominance of that work in terms of surveillance, treatment, and the provision of treatment, really reside with state and territories. But also, Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations play a key role. James Ward has also developed community awareness materials that are pragmatic and practical and kids can relate to the messages in the materials that he has produced.

But also having the community-controlled health services now turn their attention to point of care testing, but more importantly around some of the messages of why it’s important to practice safe sex. The other avenue we use which is a great one is through some of the big sporting events – Adrian Carson in Brisbane will be holding a rugby knock out carnival in Townsville. Now, at that they’re anticipating somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 people will turn up along with all of those playing, so it gives a great opportunity for the community-controlled health sector to get some of those messages into the community.

But our strategic approach is working with the jurisdictions and with the Aboriginal communities in making sure that we entrench a practice of identification of STIs, including HIV and blood-borne viruses where they may prevail, but then providing the level of treatment that is important in eradicating the challenge that we’ve had. We’ve seen this outbreak across the top end of Australia and certainly the level of commitment that we’ve had from states and territories has been tremendous.

JOURNALIST:
Is that going to be a similar approach for HLTV-1 virus?

KEN WYATT:
Yes, we’ve set aside through the AHMAC process $8 million, which will be part of a process of a round of discussions involving Aboriginal community-controlled health services, key researchers, but also the jurisdictions in identifying the priorities. We have to ascertain the extent of the spread of the virus and not only consider that, but consider research that’s been done overseas.

I’ve certainly read some of the research out of Japan in terms of transmission points, but we need to have a look at what is the challenge here in Australia. I know it was something that was identified in the Fitzroy Valley in the 80s and 90s and certainly I want to compliment my own department and Minister Hunt’s department on the work that they’ve been doing with our state and territory colleagues and the community-controlled health sector.

GREG HUNT:
Thank you very much.

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