- RHDAustralia optimistic despite AIHW report
- Vaccinations more important than ever
- Child eye health messages for parents
- Time for cultural health determinants health approach
- Hopes for increased healing commitments
- EOIs sought for Justice Policy Partnership
- Save the Date
RHDAustralia optimistic despite AIHW report
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is rare in most high-income countries yet in Australia it persists in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, causing grief and heartache for many families and communities. A report released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown that the burden of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) continues to grow in Australia.
The disease is a consequence of ARF, stemming from an abnormal immune reaction to untreated Group A streptococcal (Strep A) infection in the throat or on the skin. The report shows that the rate of definite or probable ARF notifications from health services increased from 67 per 100,000 in 2015 to 81 per 100,000 in 2019.
Vicki Wade, who began the Champions4Change program in RHDAustralia – a culturally responsive support program for people living with ARF and RHD – understands that the key to changing the trajectory of ARF and RHD in Australia is to put people at the centre of care and ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have agency to drive change. “While the numbers show the burden of disease continuing to increase, I’m optimistic that there’s a growing movement of community-led solutions centred around people and culture that is beginning to shift the tides of inequity.”
To view the AIHW report Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in Australia click here.
Vaccinations more important than ever
Viruses like influenza (the flu), COVID-19 and pneumococcal pneumonia can be dangerous, but there are ways to protect yourself and your mob. After more than a year of social distancing and isolating, it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect yourself against vaccine preventable diseases this winter. Getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re unwell will help keep you and your family strong and healthy this winter. Download The Lung Foundation Australia’s Vaccination Tracker and talk to your doctor or community healthcare worker about getting vaccinated to protect yourself and your mob. To view the Lung Foundation Australia’s Protect your mob website page click here.
Child eye health messages for parents
In a partnership between the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Vision Initiative, we have co-developed a series of social media messages for parents, giving a number of tips to help care for children’s eyes. The messages that accompany the tiles were developed in consultation with members of the Aboriginal community in Victoria, facilitated by VACCHO.
The colourful social media tiles, featuring artwork by Tamara Murray, are accompanied by culturally appropriate messages, each with a unique focus, and a call to action: that if your child has any problems with their vision, speak to someone at the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. You are invited to download the tiles here and share them with your community.
Time for cultural determinants health approach
In an Croakey article titled On the Federal Budget, it’s time for a reframe Melissa Sweet examines ways in which budget measures as a whole could contribute to better health for all over time. Among the recommendations is to embed a cultural determinants of health approach into policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with flexible implementation to enable responses tailored to individual communities, and governments should resource Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to effectively develop and implement cultural determinants of health programs that meet the needs of their communities.
To view the article in full click here.
Hopes for increased healing commitments
The Healing Foundation will be looking for strong evidence of the Government’s commitment to greater healing efforts for First Nations peoples, especially for Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants, in Tuesday’s Federal Budget announcements.
The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth said the Government had engaged strongly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and during special events like the Anniversary of the Apology and would like to see this goodwill and support continue into the long term with strong policies and partnerships and major reforms.
In its ‘Healing the Nation’ Pre-Budget Submission 2021–22, The Healing Foundation detailed the need for new funding for a range of initiatives to progress healing for Stolen Generations survivors – including reparations, tailored trauma-aware and healing-informed support for ageing and ailing Stolen Generations survivors, and better access to historical records for survivors; and a National Healing Strategy to address the impacts of intergenerational trauma.
To view the Healing Foundation’s media release click here.
EOIs sought for Justice Policy Partnership
The Coalition of Peaks are looking for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with relevant experience and expertise who may be interested in joining the Justice Policy Partnership under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
If you have professional experience in the justice sector, on-the-ground knowledge of justice in the community, academic qualifications, lived experience of the justice system, or family experience of the justice system or deaths in custody, and want to be part of an historic opportunity to work in partnership with governments to improve outcomes for our people, please submit an EOI by 17 May 2021.
More details are available on to Coalition of Peaks website. Applications close Monday 18 May 2021.
National Families Week
National Families Week is held every year between 15 and 21 May, coinciding with the United Nations International Day of Families on 15 May. This day is observed by the United Nations to mark the importance that the international community places on families as the most fundamental units of society, as well as to show concern about their situation in many parts of the world.
All Australians, including community organisations, schools, councils, companies and individuals are invited to participate in National Families Week each year. The enduring theme is ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’.
This theme continues to highlight the important role families play as the central building block of our communities and deliver the message that community wellbeing is enhanced by family wellbeing. For more information click here.