- NACCHO Medical Advisor on vaccine rollout
- COVID-19 vaccine provider resources
- Health staff shortages in remote communities
- NDIS fighting trust deficit
- Indigenous bowel screening resources
- Closing the walkability gap
- Abstracts for rural health conference
- New process for job advertising
- Save the Date
NACCHO Medical Advisor on vaccine rollout
NACCHO Medical Advisor, Dr Jason Agostino spoke on National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) on Thursday (15 July 2021) last week about the COVID-19 rollout. Dr Agostino said it is important to reinforce that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 16 years and over are eligible to get a vaccine now and that a lot is being done to make sure that both types of vaccines are available within Aboriginal medical services across the country and also via other GPs.
Up until now there has only been AstraZeneca within clinics, that’s the vaccine predominately for people over the age of 60, unfortunately more than 90% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under the age of 60 and they’ve had to go to Pfizer which hasn’t been around. Dr Agostino said that in the last few weeks there has been more Pfizer getting into communities and health services in the city and the hope is to get more and more Pfizer out there into people’s arms as soon as possible. To listen to the interview in full click on the YouTube link below.
On Sunday 11 July 2021, Dr Agostino also spoke on 3RRRFM’s weekly medical show Radiotherapy with presenter Kent Goldsworthy about the vaccine rollout. You can listen to that interview here.
COVID-19 vaccine provider resources
The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared a suite of assets for vaccine providers. The main purpose of the resources is to support healthcare workers in their work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
The pack of resources includes:
- updated guidance on TGA advertising restrictions, explaining how you can inform your patients about different vaccine brands availability in your clinic. This includes social, posters and web content
- a video animation in plain English that could be sent to patients’ emails or used in clinic waiting rooms explaining what to expect on vaccination day, side effects and the need for two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
- a suite of talking points talking points designed for healthcare workers to assist them with having conversations with patients about COVID-19 vaccines
- updated social resources with suggested captions to use across social media networks
- a summary of general COVID-19 vaccine communications available on the website that have been developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including social content, posters, fact sheets and videos
- general Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources (social, posters and community announcement script), reminding people of the importance of following restrictions, staying home if feeling unwell, and getting tested
All resources are available for download here via WeTransfer.
You can browse other communication assets, such as videos with Indigenous community leaders and testimonials by real people, and many other resources here.
Health staff shortages in remote communities
COVID-19 border closures and lockdowns have caused a shortage of healthcare workers in remote Indigenous communities, fuelling fears the vaccine rollout to some of the country’s most vulnerable people is being slowed down. In northern WA the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) has been dealing with increasingly severe staff shortages as its retention rates plummet.
“In our remote communities we do tend to rely on nursing and medical staff being on a fly-in fly-out roster,” medical director, Palawa woman Lorraine Anderson said. “Generally those staff have not always come from WA, there have been people from all the states and territories across Australia and in a few cases even outside Australia.” Since the pandemic began KAMS’s staff attrition rate has more than doubled from 37–85%. In some of its clinics the figure is as high as 100%, meaning the entire original workforce has been replaced.
The number of job vacancies has also increased from an average of 10–50 – more than 10%of the total KAMS workforce. Dr Anderson said rolling lockdowns and constant changes to travel restrictions were taking a toll. “18 months down the track our staff are actually getting very tired of that, it’s wearing people down, it’s very difficult on family situations and relationships,” she said. Dr Anderson is hopeful staffing issues won’t affect the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley as KAMS prioritises the jab, but she says workers won’t be able to offer the standard of primary and preventative healthcare she would like as a result.
To view the full Brisbane Times article click here.
NDIS fighting trust deficit
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed last week that the controversial NDIS independent assessments proposed by the Federal Government are “dead”. Reynolds said she was sorry that some of Australia’s most vulnerable people had been stressed by the possible impact of the independent assessments, which disability advocates have fought hard against for months.
Associate Professor Jen Smith-Merry and Associate Professor Mary-Ann O’Donovan, from the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Sydney commented on the issue. “The proposed implementation of the NDIS Independent assessments has been abandoned in its current form and this is a great victory for all the people with disability and supporters who have campaigned against it.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which runs the NDIS, contracted our team from the University of Sydney to externally validate the findings of their pilot inf independent assessments. Our team included people with qualitative and quantitative methods expertise, lived experience of disability and understanding of the broader policy and service context around the NDIS. By requesting this validation work, the NDIA acknowledged that the process and findings of the evaluation they conducted may be questioned in terms of credibility and trustworthiness. This request for external validation reflects the need for the NDIA agency to counter the general mistrust towards it in the sector.
To view the full article in Croakey Health Media click here.
Indigenous bowel screening resources
The Australian Government Department of Health has a range of resources for families and communities regarding Indigenous bowel screening. Its collection contains resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) including information about bowel screening, video stories, community songs, fact sheets, posters and more.
You can access the collection of resources, including the SA Health Making tracks: Health Screening for Bowel Cancer video (below) here.
Closing the walkability gap
Indigenous inequality in Australia has long been known to the public and policy makers. Yet, successive local, state, and federal governments have failed to effectively make a noticeable change in Indigenous health and wellbeing. These inequalities include shorter life expectancy, poorer general health and lower levels of education and employment. Less known is transport inequality and its health implications for Indigenous people.
Walking is a healthy form of physical activity and is proven to reduce rates of chronic disease. Neighbourhood walkability is associated with the number of trips people can make on foot. People living in areas with lower walkability tend to walk less. University of New South Wales’ research shows that 70% of the Indigenous population in the City of Sydney live in neighbourhoods with lower-than-average walkability. This has the potential to aggravate Indigenous people’s health issues, potentially widening the health gap with non-Indigenous Australians, instead of closing it.
To view the full article click here.
Abstracts for rural health conference
If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of people who live an work in rural or remote areas of Australia the 16th National Rural Health Conference will be of interest to you. The conference will be held in Perth next year from Monday 30 May to Wednesday 1 June 2022 with the theme is Bridging social distance; Rural health innovating & collaborating.
Abstracts close Sunday 8 August 2021. For more information about the abstract process click here.
For further information, including details about early bird registration which open on 4 October 2021, you can access the conference website here.
New process for job advertising
NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.
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 and go live on the NACCHO website.
Stress Down Day
Stress Down Day, a fun and easy initiative designed to raise awareness around stress in the workplace, and an opportunity to raise vital funds for Lifeline locally. Lifeline relies on fundraising and donations to help cover the cost of providing local crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Research shows that 90% of Australians feel stressed – with 74% of people reporting being stressed from work.
For information about Stress Down Day click here.