NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COVID19 #CoronaVirus and #Influenza @NSWHealth and @ahmrc hosting webinar on what ACCHO’s can do to protect our communities.

We know ATSI people bore the brunt of the flu pandemic in 2009 and had largely been overlooked in planning undertaken to that point.

We are hopeful that the lessons have been learnt and that ATSI people are not only engaged in the planning but also in the governance/decision making on appropriate and proportionate responses to COVID-19.”

Menzies School of Health Research epidemiologist Andrew Ross said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians needed to be involved in outbreak response planning.

A spokeswoman for National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said all its members and affiliates were “being provided with all the latest available information” and holding regular meetings.

From the Australian 3 March : See full report Part 2 Below

Part 1 :NSW Health and the AH&MRC will be hosting a webinar this Wednesday 4th March 2020 from 12-1pm.

This webinar will focus on coronavirus and influenza and what you and your service can do to protect your communities.

The following people will be speaking and there will be an opportunity to raise and discuss concerns and needs that you have:

  • Reuben Robinson, CEO, Galambila Aboriginal Health Service
  • Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, NSW Health
  • Kylie Taylor and Kristy Crooks, Hunter New England Public Health team

The link to participate in the webinar is here:

For further information please contact Megan Campbell, Centre for Aboriginal Health on

Read previous NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Corona Virus articles here

Part 2 : Fears are growing that Indigenous people who “bore the brunt” of the 2009 swine flu pandemic could be hit again if novel coronavirus spreads uncontrollably in Australia.

Research published in the wake of the 2009 A(H1N1) swine flu outbreak showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 11 per cent of all identified cases, 20 per cent of hospitalisations and 13 per cent of deaths, despite being just 3 per cent of the population. ATSI people were 8.5 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Although there have been no known cases of COVID-19 among the indigenous community to date, Australia on Monday recorded its first person-to-person transmission. Indigenous people and remote community residents have been designated high-risk due to their generally poorer health and greater disadvantage compared to mainstream Australians.

Scott McConnell, an independent MLA representing a vast seat stretching from near Alice Springs to the Top End coastline, said he had been inundated with calls from constituents worried about the potentially-deadly virus striking their families.

“They are really concerned about what they are hearing in the media, and they are concerned that they are not hearing from the government or indeed the community-controlled health sector,” Mr McConnell said.

“These are places where everyone goes to the same store and shares bathrooms, and there are poor levels of hygiene anyway. Everyone is concerned that if coronavirus does get into their communities, they don’t know what to do.”

The majority of indigenous Australians live in coastal regions, often within reach of major hospitals. However, the most disadvantaged people usually inhabit remote communities spread throughout northern and inland areas of the continent.

The federal government’s COVID-19 response plan talks about tailoring strategies to help at-risk groups, including indigenous people and remote community residents but gives little detail about what those strategies might be.

Research on the swine flu pandemic published in 2015 called for ATSI people to be “prioritised” in future planning.

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said people in her state could “feel confident that local health authorities are leaving no stone unturned in keeping them safe from novel coronavirus”.

She did not respond to questions about what if anything was being done to prepare and protect the indigenous community in particular.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said her government was “paying particular attention to vulnerable Territorians such as those in remote communities due to the high levels of chronic illness” but did not explain how.

A spokeswoman for WA Health Minister Roger Crook did not answer to questions, nor did another for the federal Health Department.

A spokeswoman for National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said all its members and affiliates were “being provided with all the latest available information” and holding regular meetings.

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