- Uluru Statement from The Heart recognised
- Young people lining up for COVID-19 vaccines
- Funding gives hope to vulnerable cardiac patients
- Time for governments to phase out cigarette sales
- PSA launches Reconciliation Action Plan
- NACCHO Chair: Federal Budget lacks sustainability for Indigenous health
- New HIV health promotion project receives grant
- Key Thinkers Forum – Racism in Health
Uluru Statement from The Heart recognised
In a media release on 31 May 2021, the Lowitja Institute urged the Australian Government to embrace the Uluru Statement from The Heart, which marked its fourth anniversary as it was honoured with the 2021 Sydney Peace Prize on the eve of National Reconciliation Week.
Lowitja Institute Dr Janine Mohamed congratulated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders Professor Megan Davis, Professor Noel Pearson and Pat Anderson AO, who accepted the award on Sorry Day on behalf of the many individuals and communities involved in bringing to life the Uluru Statement from The Heart in May 2017.
The Sydney Peace Prize was awarded to the Uluru Statement ‘for bringing together Australia’s First Nations Peoples around a clear and comprehensive agenda; for healing and peace within our Nation and delivering self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, that enables Australia to move into the future united and confident.’
“It is important to recognise that reconciliation is a journey, not a destination, and it requires both courage and humility from leaders in all sectors,” Dr Mohamed said.
You can view the media release here.
Young people lining up for COVID-19 vaccines
Young people across the NT have seized on an opportunity to get vaccinated earlier than expected, with many making bookings and rolling up their sleeves.
Earlier this month, the NT government announced anyone aged 16 and over living outside the Greater Darwin region would be eligible to make a booking. Government figures show nearly one in six people aged over 16 have now received a first dose of the vaccine, while in remote communities, 12 per cent of those aged over 16 had received their first jab.
More than 10,000 Territorians have now been fully vaccinated.
The government said there are more than 30 locations where people can receive a jab, and NT Health staff were this week in more than a dozen remote and regional areas from Pirlangimpi in the Tiwi Islands to Harts Range in Central Australia.
Read the full story by ABC here to find out more.
Funding gives hope to vulnerable cardiac patients
A Curtin University research team has been awarded almost $1.5million in Federal Government funding to coordinate Australian trials of a high-flow oxygen delivery strategy to reduce complications for vulnerable cardiac surgery patients, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The project, led by Associate Professor Edward Litton from the Curtin School of Population Health, was successful in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) 2020 International Clinical Trial Collaboration grants.
Partnering with a clinical trial team in the United Kingdom, the team will test whether high flow oxygen delivered through nose cannula, rather than traditional oxygen therapy via mask, can improve outcomes and reduce hospital stay times for at-risk cardiac patients, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Lung complications following cardiac surgery are common, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients suffering disproportionately worse outcomes,” said Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran. “This study will allow the team to establish trial sites in Australia, to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to have them actively participate in the study.”
Read more about the project in the National Tribune here.
Time for governments to phase out cigarette sales
This World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, 148 health organisations signed an open letter calling on governments to work towards phasing out commercial cigarette sales.
Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) and The University of Queensland School of Public Health were both signatories to the letter. Menzies senior research fellow Dr Marita Hefler said it was time to begin planning for a world after tobacco. “Cigarettes are uniquely dangerous. No other product that causes early death when used exactly as intended is allowed to remain available for sale,” Dr Hefler said.
The University of Queensland School of Public Health Associate Professor Coral Gartner said that Australia has been a global leader in reducing smoking. “We were the first country to introduce cigarette plain packaging and our hard-hitting public awareness campaigns about the dangers of smoking, graphic warning labels, tobacco taxes and smoke-free areas have reduced smoking to historically low levels,” said Dr Gartner. “It is time for cigarettes to be treated the same way as other equally dangerous products like asbestos, and leaded paint and petrol.”
A substantial number of Australians still smoke daily, and smoking-related harms disproportionately impact some population groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
PSA launches Reconciliation Action Plan
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is delighted to announce the launch of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) framework.
Last Friday, 28 May, PSA’s RAP received formal endorsement from Reconciliation Australia. The RAP framework will provide the PSA with a structured approach to advancing reconciliation throughout the organisation. The first stage in this plan, Reflect, will help PSA gauge where it stands in relation to reconciliation action. By the conclusion of Reflect, the organisation will have influenced positive cultural change across the organisation.
PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, stressed the importance of this strategy. “PSA is delighted to launch our RAP, as it signifies an important milestone for the organisation. PSA’s RAP will build on current reconciliation initiatives within the organisation, driving reconciliation through awareness and action.” “As the peak body representing pharmacists, Australia’s most accessible workforce, PSA is ideally placed to improve medicine safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, particularly in rural and remote communities.”
You can read the full story in the National Tribune here.
NACCHO Chair: Federal Budget lacks sustainability for Indigenous health
While the federal Budget 2021–22 invested money in some significant reforms in Indigenous health across a range of settings, NACCHO Chair Donella Mills says the Budget lacked what it always does – detail and longevity.
“We welcome that there’s been specific mentions but what we didn’t see is the detail, so we need to work through that implementation in detail with the community,” Mills told the National Indigenous Times. “But we really don’t know what that’s going to look like and what the involvement will look like on the ground.”
Mills says while the big announcements look great, they won’t do much without effective implementation. The Government’s big-ticket health item was the $17.7 billion allocated to reforming the aged care sector, and $630.2 million of that is going toward improving access to services in regional, rural and remote areas, including “those with Indigenous backgrounds”.
Mills says this accessibility for Indigenous people needs to be designed with Indigenous involvement. Following the success in preventing COVID-19 from entering Indigenous communities, Mills said “This speaks to our expertise … We know our mob, we know how to protect our communities, we’re best placed to protect our communities. We really want to see a commitment to make sure our ACCHOs are sustainable into the future, to make sure community-control is in the future.”
You can read the full article by the National Indigenous Times here.
New HIV health promotion project receives grant
The Gilead Getting to Zero Grant Program 2021, announced 25 May, is a global initiative supporting projects aimed at getting to zero new HIV infections.
Two Australian projects received a grant from Gilead Sciences Australia New Zealand – one focussing on overseas born gay and bisexual men and the second on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The second Australian Grant recipient is a new project by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) in partnership with the Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA) to develop, a new program of HIV health promotion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and workforce capacity building materials for health workers engaged with Indigenous people.
Rates of HIV and STIs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain disproportionately high when compared with non‑Indigenous people, with the rate of HIV diagnoses in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now over two times the diagnosis rate in Australian-born non-Indigenous people.
“Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will benefit greatly from HIV programs crafted specifically for them and by them. This is an important initiative that we warmly welcome,” said Colin Ross, Chair of Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA).
You can read the full story in the Star Observer here.
Key Thinkers Forum – Racism in Health
Free online webinar
1:00–3:30 PM (AEST), 7 July 2021
By Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney
The current models of practice are not working to effectively “Close the Gap”. Despite a growing willingness and need to consider new proposed models of practice, there remains a deep-seated resistance to identifying and addressing institutional and systemic racism and racist attitudes, including unconscious biases held by individuals. How can we get the ‘r’ word on every agenda?
Panel Members (facilitated by Prof. Tom Calma AO):
- Carmen Parter
- Karen Mundine
- Leilani Darwin
- Raymond Lovett
Register for this FREE event here.