NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: ‘Put people above profits’ – open letter opposing Dan Murphy’s NT store

‘Put people above profits’ – open letter opposing the Darwin Dan Murphy’s store

A group of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations have published an open letter to the chairman of Woolworths urging him to abandon plans to construct a Dan Murphy’s liquor megastore in Darwin, describing it as the “willful and deliberate destruction” of community health.

The letter, which is reproduced in full below, has been signed by 45 leaders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations, including Pat Anderson from the Lowitja Institute, NACCHO chair Donella Mills, AMSANT CEO John Paterson, and Deborah Di Natale from NTCOSS.

We ask that you spare our community that fate. We ask that you put people above profits. We ask that you take the time to actually listen to what we’re telling you.

At no point has Woolworths engaged meaningfully with our community about building this Dan Murphy’s store. If you had, you would know the depth of our concern and opposition.’

To read the open letter to the Chair of Woolworths, Gordon Cairns, click here.

Pat Turner receives the prestigious AHHA 2020 Sidney Sax Award

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) awarded the 2020 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australian healthcare to NACCHO CEO Pat Tuner.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact Australia’s health system and communities, Pat Turner, played a significant leadership role in ensuring that governments worked in partnership with communities, and placing culture at the heart of preventative measures, were key to successfully keeping communities safe. In comparison to the devastating incidence of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities abroad, rates of COVID-19 in First Nations peoples in Australia remain proportionately lower than the rest of the population. 

“Our sector has developed unique models of care, grounded in community control and cultural authority. 

“By adhering through these models to the principles of the original Alma Ata Declaration for comprehensive primary health care, community-controlled health services ensure that health and wellbeing are improved through collective public health action as well as individual clinical approaches.

“As we all know from the Ottawa Charter of 1986, prevention is as important as treatment. Health promotion in the hands of the people themselves is more effective that the efforts of visiting experts who have little community connection or understanding.  Through employment, engagement, empowerment and social action, community-controlled health services are a proven mechanism for Aboriginal people to take responsibility over their health matters.

“Yet improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing through primary health care takes place in challenging circumstances.

Despite this, we have great news.  Evidence points to the community-controlled primary health care sector as highly cost-effective when primary, secondary and tertiary prevention are integrated, and directed according to community need and prioritization.”

To read Pat Turner’s inspiring speech at the event click here.

AMA raises alarm on health impacts of Climate Change

With bushfires having already started and the last devastating summer season still fresh in the mind, a major report confirms that Australians are being increasingly exposed to intense heatwaves and bushfires.

The findings of the MJA-Lancet Countdown on health and climate change, released in the Medical Journal of Australia today, demonstrate the need for urgent action from the Australian Government to limit the health risks of rising temperatures.

The report tracks progress against 12 indicators relating to climate change and health, and is released alongside the global Lancet Countdown report.

AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said it was just a few months later that the Australian population was abruptly reminded of just how severe the health impacts of climate change can be.

“As detailed in the Countdown report being launched today, the 2019-20 bushfire season resulted in 33 tragic casualties, and smoke pollution is estimated to have caused 417 excess deaths along with thousands of hospitalisations for cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

Dr Khorshid said medical practitioners were directly confronted with the health impacts of the fire season.

“GPs in fire-affected areas rushed to provide adequate care for their patients – often in very difficult circumstances,” he said.

Patients needed care for breathing issues, injuries and wounds, and chronic conditions – but most commonly, for the stress, anxiety, and trauma that result from life-threatening emergencies.”

To read the full AMA media release click here.

trunks of charred trees shooting new green leaves after the 2020 bushfires

Image source: National Bushfire Recovery Agency – Journey to recovery publication.

Lessons to reduce progression of chronic kidney disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Lessons learned from a periodontal intervention to reduce progression of chronic kidney disease among Aboriginal Australians.

The Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin releases a journal that you can read here.

New Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Journal

The first edition of the new Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Journal via Edith Cowan University (ECU)’s Research Online institutional repository is out.

In October, the HealthBulletin transitioned to a new automated manuscript management system and joined ECU’s repository of online peer-reviewed journals. As a result, the Journal is now more visible and accessible to researchers and readers throughout the world. The remit of the Journal remains the same: to facilitate access to information to support those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Reflecting the wide range of readers – policy makers, service providers, researchers, students and the general community – the HealthBulletin keeps people informed about recent research and promotes knowledge exchange.

Kidney Health Australia announce the opening of their 2021 research funding grants

Kidney Health Australia Research is offering awards to support research focused on ‘Preventing the progression of chronic kidney disease’. The grants scheme offers a once only amount up to a maximum of $50,000 and will prioritise research in the following three areas:

  • basic science
  • psychosocial
  • clinical science/population health

Consumer and community engagement

In line with its consumer focus, the Kidney Health Australia Research grant program will prioritise projects that clearly demonstrate consumer and/or community involvement or engagement at some or all stages of the research cycle. This includes:

  • Consumer input into research priority setting, conception, design and conduct of research ideas and studies
  • Consumers as part of the research team
  • Consumer input in dissemination of research findings
  • Consumer and community involvement in research translation and knowledge implementation

For further information, please click here where you will find the guide to applicants and application form. 

Applications are open now and will close on 5 Feb 2021. Successful applicants will be announced mid-March 2021.

Aboriginal painting of kidneys by Norm Stewart Yorta Yorta of kidneys

Kidneys of the Dungala by Norm Stewart – Yorta Yorta.

Industry attacks on new alcohol guidelines put profit before public health

New guidelines for alcohol consumption will help Australians understand the serious health effects of drinking alcohol, and industry attacks on them have no credibility, AMA President,
Dr Omar Khorshid, said today.

The updated Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), recommend that healthy people
drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week.

The previous Guidelines allowed for 14 standard drinks per week. “Drinking alcohol has a range of health effects, both in the short and long term,” Dr Khorshid said.

“Many Australians are unaware that alcohol consumption can contribute to cancer and cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, liver and digestive disease.

“It’s important that these Guidelines are not interpreted as ‘safe’ or ‘allowable’ levels of alcohol consumption, but as a way to reduce your level of risk.

“As the NHMRC says, people drinking alcohol within the Guidelines lower their risk of dying from an alcohol-related disease or injury to one in 100. Not drinking alcohol at all is the best
way to reduce your risk of alcohol-related harm.

“The response of alcohol industry groups to the updated guidelines has been to attack the NHMRC’s credibility.

The AMA supported the updated Guidelines in a submission to the NHMRC in February.

The AMA Position Statement, Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-related Harms, is here.

Aboriginal hands holding can of Bundaberg Rum & cigarette

Image source: ABC News website.