NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Racism linked to poorer health

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Racism linked to poorer health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who have experienced discrimination have poorer health and wellbeing outcomes regardless of their age, where they live and their gender, according to a new national study. It’s the first national study outlining the experiences of racism and health outcomes among Indigenous Australians. Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) analysed data from more than 8,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults from the national Indigenous-led Mayi Kuwayu Study, collected between 2018–2020.

“These results highlight the breadth and extent of just how bad racism is for our mob’s wellbeing,” ANU Associate Professor Raymond Lovett said. “Across the board, we found consistent links between racism and poor mental health, physical health and cultural wellbeing. “Experiencing discrimination is linked to negative outcomes ranging from low happiness to heart disease.” Discrimination was linked to all negative outcomes examined in the study. These included, but are not limited to, pain, poor life satisfaction, psychological distress, anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

“We found these negative outcomes were increasingly common as the extent of discrimination increased,” lead author Dr Katherine Thurber, from ANU, said. “Discrimination experiences were pervasive, with almost six-in-10 participants in the study reporting having experienced discrimination in their everyday life.”

To view the ANU’s media release click here.

brick wall with mural of Aboriginal people, with 2 Aboriginal men walking past

Image source: The Young Witness.

Census data used to determine need

Last year, Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS), opened a purpose-built wellbeing and rehabilitation centre in Orange, NSW. The name of the centre – walu-win – comes from the Wiradjuri word for ‘healthy’. Jamie Newman, proud Wiradjuri man and OAMS’ CEO, said they use Census data to understand needs of the local community and help secure further investment from partners. walu-win’s services include health, housing and employment, which are vital for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to thrive.

OAMS combined Census data with other local data to build a profile of the region, helping it to better understand what was needed in the local community. The centre combines holistic and traditional medical practices to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. “Improving access to health services through walu-win, and a more holistic and wellbeing focus is vital to closing the gap. We can’t close the gap without focusing on wellbeing for our people,” Jamie said.

Walu-win’s Manager, Zara Crawford, describes salu-win as a hub for a variety of health outcomes. “We often see clients more than a GP would, which could be about something that is stressing them out socially or emotionally, through to developing exercise and nutritional programs. That’s our day-to-day service and that’s what we mean about being holistic.” Jamie and Zara believe participation in the Census is an important conversation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities ahead of this year’s count.

For further details about how Census data and local partnerships promote wellbeing at the new walu-win Centre in Orange click here.

image of the Walu-win Centre in Orange NSW

New walu-win Centre in Orange NSW.

Making CTG data more accessible

The Productivity Commission has today launched a new Closing the Gap Information Repository, making available the most comprehensive data set for measuring the 17 targets agreed to in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said the new website is another step towards delivering on the Government’s commitment to share data and support more informed decision making by all parties to the National Agreement. This delivers on the Morrison Government’s 2020–21 Budget commitment of $10.1 million to provide independent oversight and accountability of progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

To view the media release click here.

piece of paper with graph 2016 - 2021

Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Advance redress payments now available

Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse who are older or terminally ill will be able to access advance payments of $10,000 under proposed changes to the National Redress Scheme. Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston announced the plan as part of the Morrison Government’s initial response to the Final Report, Second Year Review of the National Redress Scheme (the Final Report) prepared by Independent Reviewer Ms Robyn Kruk AO. I would like to thank Ms Kruk for her work on the Final Report which outlines how the Scheme can be improved and deliver a better experience for survivors, Minister Ruston said.

To view Senator Ruston’s media release click here. In another media release the Healing Foundation welcomed the Australian Government’s advice that it supports making advance payments to elderly or terminally ill survivors.

Eunice Wright in wheel chair holding sign with 'stolen' written on it at rally in Melbourne

Stolen Generation survivor Eunice Wright. Image source: ABC News website.

Future of primary care – much to discuss

The Primary Health Reform Steering Group has circulated a discussion paper to stakeholders seeking feedback on its recommendations to inform the Australian Government’s Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan. Croakey columnist and contributing editor Associate Professor Lesley Russell has written an overview of the paper’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as identifying important omissions.

One such glaring gap is the absence of any discussion around the sector’s role in planning, preparing and responding to climate change and its health impacts. Yet, there is an extensive literature that could have informed such a discussion, dating back to a 2007 paper by the late Professor Tony McMichael and others arguing that “primary health care has an important role in preparing for and responding to these climate change related threats to human health.”

To view the full article in the Croakey Health Media click here.

dark outback signpost against pink blue cream sky of dusk

Image source: Croakey Health Media website.

Victoria leading the way on CTG

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams says Victoria is leading the way on Closing the Gap, using self-determined solutions to tackle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. The Victorian Government is delivering an additional $5 million to support reaching the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

The new funding builds on the $3.3 million announced in 2020, when Victoria became the first state or territory to provide funding to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. This funding has been vital to making some of the significant progress highlighted in the Victorian Government Aboriginal Affairs Report 2020 possible.

To view the Victoria State Government media release click here.

shadow of child cast over Aboriginal flag on the ground

Image source: The West Australian.

Martumili art for Newman Health Service

Health Minister Roger Cook said the Newman Health Service is set to become home to a series of artworks by local Martumili artists when the brand new hospital and health service is completed in 2023. The $61.4 million McGowan Government redevelopment project, which includes a $15 million contribution from BHP Iron Ore (BHP), will provide Newman and the surrounding communities with a modern, fit-for-purpose facility delivering care closer to home and on Country.

The incorporation of artwork by local Aboriginal artists is part of the State’s commitment to ensuring Aboriginal people can receive care in a culturally safe and welcoming facility that meets the needs of the community. Artwork for the main entry screen of the Newman Health has been awarded to Manyjilyjarra woman Mulyatingki Marney whose piece tells the story of Minyipuru, or the Seven Sisters, and embodies Aboriginal notions of interconnectedness between spirituality, land and self.

To view Minister Cook’s media release click here.

portrait of Mulyatingki Marney & photo of her from waist down sitting painting

Manyjilyjarra woman Mulyatingki Marney. Image source: Spinifix Hill Studio.

New kidney unit location ‘despicable’

The decision by the Queensland Government to establish a new Kidney Transplant Unit in Townsville ahead of Cairns has been labelled as “despicable and appalling” by Cairns Mayor Bob Manning. “We were originally told that Cairns had been slated to get this unit, but then we were told that people from the State Government got involved who were in favour of it being in Townsville – it became political,” Cr Manning said.

“We took up the matter in support of a number of Indigenous councils and communities who indicated they found it hard to take the matter forward. As part of that, we did an analysis with clinicians from within the hospital and we were given assurances that the right place for this facility was in Cairns.” Cr Manning said he was shocked to learn of the decision to establish the kidney unit in Townsville. “This is possibly the most despicable act I have seen. This decision is despite that clearly the greatest need is in this region – the facts support this.”

To view the Cairns Regional Council’s media release click here.

arm of Aboriginal man linked to dialysis with red black white tartan blanket over lap

Image source: newsGP.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via NACCHO’s communication platforms.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting to the NACCHO website and once approved it will go live.dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

Go Dry This July

Dry July Foundation is the registered charity behind the Dry July campaign. Dry July is a fundraiser that encourages you to go alcohol-free in July to raise funds to help improve the comfort, care and wellbeing of people affected by cancer, whether it’s a lift to a life-saving appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, connection to an informative voice, access to therapy programs or a bed close to treatment.

Since the first Dry July in 2008, the Dry July campaign has raised over $60 million dollars for people affected by cancer. Funds raised through the Dry July campaign are distributed to cancer organisations across Australia. These organisations provide support services to cancer patients, their families and carers. Like the Dry July Foundation, these organisations depend on the generosity of the community through campaigns like Dry July.

Having a month off alcohol also has great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! So you’re not only helping others, you’re helping yourself. It’s a win-win!

For more information click here.yellow bottle top with black text 'Dry July' against blue background, 'v' in word 'July' is an empty beer glass