More than two in five children who died while known to Queensland’s child protection system were identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The shocking statistic was revealed as the Queensland Child Death Review Board examined the deaths of 55 children known to that system. The leading causes of death were fatal assault and neglect, and natural causes.
Board Chair Cheryl Vardon said she was deeply concerned about the number of deaths involving children who identified as Indigenous.
“Of the deaths reviewed by the board, 23 children – more than 40 per cent – identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, as did half of the children who died by suicide,” she said.
“Research presented to the board highlighted the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences on children, most notably the disturbingly high rate of mental health issues and drug and alcohol presentations, self-harm, and exposure to suicides among Indigenous children. This strongly indicates that more must be done to improve the livelihoods of Indigenous children, improve their mental health and prevent the deaths of children known to the system,” said Vardon.
You can read the article in the Brisbane Times here.
Silhouette of Indigenous children sitting on a fence. Image credit: AI / Rusty Stewart. Feature image source: AbSec website.
New telehealth service for remote communities
The Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) who oversees delivery of primary healthcare across the vast Kimberley region in the north-west corner of Western Australia is currently deploying the Visionflex ProEX telehealth system across the region. KAMS Medical Director, Dr Lorraine Anderson, expects the Visionflex telehealth system will transform the delivery of primary healthcare to Aboriginal communities in the region.
Visionflex CEO and Co-founder, Mr Mike Harman, said: “Bringing health services to remote communities around Australia is a huge challenge and KAMS has been a leading example on how this can be achieved in the Kimberley region of Australia. The area covered by KAMS and the number of communities they work with is staggering when we remember that this is one of the most remote regions in the world.
“We know for sure that the health outcomes are better when people can be treated in community,” said Dr Anderson. “They feel comfortable in the community clinic with one of the clinicians… We’ve got people who can translate; we’ve got family who can support; and it makes a big difference: it’s more acceptable and it’s safer for people.”
You can read the story in the PR Wire here.
Visionflex has produced a case study that you can download here.
Image source: 2021 case study – Visionflex telehealth: Helping Kimberley Aboriginal people stay in community.
Inquiry into delivery of GP and primary health services
Call for submissions: The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the provision of general practitioner and related primary health services to outer metropolitan, rural, and regional Australians. The committee will be examining the state of GPs and related services in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas. It will consider Government reforms and policies, including the Stronger Rural Health Strategy, geographical classification systems, GP training reforms and Medicare rebates, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on doctor shortages.
The committee is seeking submissions from a wide range of people and organisations, including individuals with first-hand experience delivering or accessing GP and related health services in outer metropolitan, rural and regional areas of Australia.
Submissions close: 30 September 2021.
For more information download the Senate Community Affairs References Committee media release here.
Wirraka Maya Health Services Aboriginal health practitioner in training Rachial McCahon administering to patient Sherie Councillor. Image source: National Indigenous Radio Service.
Inaction on climate change risks our health
The AMA is alarmed at the IPCC’s latest findings on dangerously rising global temperatures and is warning government inaction on climate change risks the health of Australians. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has called for the government to listen to and act on the scientific findings of climate experts, as it has relied on medical experts to respond to COVID-19.
The IPCC’s Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, released 9 August, provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades. It finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.
“The IPCC has sounded the alarm on rising global temperatures and ignoring the clear evidence of rapid increases in global temperatures will ultimately affect the health and wellbeing of Australians. Climate change is a health emergency and as we have seen with the COVID emergency, the best way to deal with it is to listen to the science and act on the evidence and advice of the experts,” Dr Khorshid said.
You can download the AMA media release here.
The IPCC’s Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis report can be viewed here.
‘Changing’ by the artist Alisa Singer – “As we witness our planet transforming around us we watch, listen, measure … respond.” Image source: IPCC.
$2.6 million in research grants
A total of 14 new Indigenous-led research projects worth $2.6 million will be funded under the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ (AIATSIS) Indigenous Research Exchange grants program, The Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP announced today.
“The research grants will support a wide range of projects, and notably all will be led by Indigenous people, with half led by Indigenous organisations,” Minister Wyatt said.
Projects supported by this round of funding include research into the strengthening of cultural law to improve resilience from natural disaster; improving sexual health education and support for mental health and suicide prevention measures; policy reforms in child welfare; and better mechanisms for how communities engage with government on complex social issues.
You can read the media release here.
Practical guide to self-determination and justice
Tuesday’s launch of Passing the Message Stick is the result of a two-year research project to change the story for First Nations self-determination and justice, building public support to create transformative change. This practical guide shows that when narratives centre on strength and capability, First Nations advocates and changemakers, and their allies, can build majority support for self-determination and justice. Passing The Message Stick has been led by a Steering Committee of pre-eminent First Nations advocates, and supported by GetUp, Original Power and Australian Progress.
“As First Nations people, we’re the first storytellers and we need to share our truth. This guide shows us how to express this fundamental truth, and tell a story that is ours, inspired by the messages shared by past movements and campaigns our communities led and won,” said Passing The Message Stick report co-author and GetUp First Nations Justice Campaign Director Larissa Baldwin.
“This research project is an offering to all First Nations advocates working towards self-determination and justice for our people,” said Passing The Message Stick Steering Committee member Dr Jackie Huggins AM.
Find out more on the Passing the Message Stick website.
Easing burden of dementia
Improving the impact of high dementia rates on Indigenous Australians and communities is the focus of a University of Queensland-led telehealth project with a global track record of success.
Partnering with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and Metro South Health, DementiaECHO is facilitating ‘round-table’ learning between Indigenous health services and a specialist dementia team from the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
“The prevalence of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is one of the highest in the world, with rates three to five times higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts,” UQ Centre for Online Health Director Professor Anthony Smith said.
You can read more on The University of Queensland‘s website.
Artwork by Mandy Draper.
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.
Kids at School, Not in Jail webinar
Amnesty Eastern Suburbs Group would like to invite you to a free online forum marking National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, Zoom Webinar: Kids at School, Not in Jail from 6:30PM–8:00PM AEST, 12 August 2021. A great list of speakers will explain why current extreme punitive measures for children, which disproportionately impact Indigenous children, don’t work and what should be done instead. Some of the most experienced educationalists will share their experience and knowledge so that we can all be part of the solution.
- Maggie Munn is an Amnesty International Indigenous Rights campaigner.
- Pamela Nathan is a Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Sociologist at CASSE Australia. CASSE works with marginalised Aboriginal communities in Central Australia to help relieve the effects of trauma.
- Dr John Davis is an Educator, Principal Lecturer, and CEO of The Stronger Smarter Institute. Stronger Smarter Institute is transforming education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
- Auntie Stephanie Armstrong is an Educator and Cultural Advisor.
The event, organised in collaboration with the In My Blood it Runs team, offers attendees a free online screening of the film for the week prior. The film is about ten-year-old Dujuan, a child-healer and a good hunter who speaks three languages, intelligent yet ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police.
Register via their email address email@example.com for links to the film and the online forum.
Kids at School, Not in Jail webinar image. Credit: Amnesty Eastern Suburbs Group.