The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 (the taskforce) met for the second time on Tuesday, 10 March 2020.
The taskforce provided significant input into the development of the national primary care target action response, with insights on workforce planning, cultural safety, the importance of prompt access to test results and the practicalities around maintaining service continuity when demand increases.
The Taskforce also agreed the preparation of culturally appropriate and consistent advice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services and Communities is a priority, together with the identification of the infrastructure, equipment and overall capacity to provide a the swift response required to address COVID-19.
For remote communities, the taskforce discussed the importance of involving all community service organisations, such as Local Councils, Land Councils, schools and not just health services, in the development of local COVID-19 preparedness and response management plans.
In addition, the plans will need to include local protocols for respiratory clinics where appropriate and ready evacuation procedures for the very sick.
The Taskforce also acknowledged the importance of an appropriate and proportionate urban and regional response given the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in those areas.
Members provided very comprehensive advice on a range of associated issues that also require attention including the provision of the Influenza 2020 vaccination in a timely manner.
Co-chaired by the Department of Health and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the taskforce includes Public Health Medical Officers and leaders from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector, Aboriginal Health Services, state and territory government public health and medical officials, Aboriginal communicable disease experts, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.
The taskforce will next meet on Thursday, 12 March 2020.
2. NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Corona Virus News Alerts
3. Current examples of media coverage and information sharing (NT)
ABC News report on Monday 9 March 2020 by @SowaibahH on Aboriginal community concerns about the COVID-19/Coronavirus in the NT, particularly across Arnhem Land ( see Video below )
Information for NT Aboriginal communities:
• There are currently no suspected cases of COVID-19 in any Aboriginal communities in the NT.
• Residents should stay alert but carry on with normal activities.
• There is no risk to eating traditional animals and plants.
• The virus is not spread by mosquito bites.
• The virus is not spread on the wind.
The most important thing for everyone to remember is to maintain hygiene by:
• Washing your hands
• Avoid shaking hands with people who may be sick
• Stay at a distance of 1.5 m away from someone who is sick
• Coughing or sneezing into your elbow
• Don’t go to crowded places if you’re sick
• If you get sick, go to your health clinic
More information and updates: https://securent.nt.gov.au/