- Wake up call – COVID-19 can affect mob!
- Elder calling on community to get vaccinated
- COVID vaccine blitz in southern NT
- Increased access to rural and remote GP services
- Blueprint to end RHD
- SA unveils new Closing the Gap plan
- Quitline Aboriginal Liaison Team
- New process for job advertising
- Save the Date
Wake up call – COVID-19 can affect mob!
As efforts intensify to deal with the NSW COVID-19 outbreak Pat Turner AM, CEO of NACCHO joins The Conversation podcast to discuss politics with Michelle Grattan.
On western NSW, where there are hundreds of cases, Turner says crowded and bad housing make it “almost impossible to isolate and quarantine”. People in Wilcannia are “having to isolate in tents – in Australia in 2021”.
In WA First Nations communities, the low vaccine coverage “is a very significant concern to all of us. It has by far the lowest uptake, with less than 10% of its population 12 years and over fully vaccinated.”
“I would think that the first death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people […] has been a wake up call for some, especially those who didn’t think that COVID would affect them. The reality is sinking in for many of those,” Said Ms Turner.
You can listen to the podcast by The Conversation below.
Elder calling on community to get vaccinated
Adnyamathanha Elder Cheryl Coulthard-Waye is imploring local Indigenous communities to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The Aboriginal people need to get the COVID vaccine, not just for their own safety but for the community. There are no guarantees that COVID will not spread to our community, and put our people at risk,” she said.
Ms Coulthard-Waye is all too familiar with what diseases has meant for Aboriginal peoples in Australia, and does not want to unnecessarily lose community members.
“Back in the old times when our ancestors all died of measles, chicken pox and Spanish flu they could not be immunised,” she said.
“But they can now, and I want people to stop and think about our ancestors. It is the choice we can make for the sake of our people.”
You can read the article in The Transcontinental Port Augusta here.
COVID vaccine blitz in southern NT
Australia’s largest Indigenous health organisation has launched a six-week COVID vaccination blitz, as figures show 79 per cent of its central Australian town-based clients are unvaccinated.
Donna Ah Chee, CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) which is based in Alice Springs, said she was extremely worried that thousands of the organisation’s clients were unvaccinated.
“It’s not a case of if the Delta strain will come here, it is a case of when,” Ms Ah Chee said.
Ms Ah Chee said that one of the obstacles the CAAC was trying to overcome was vaccine hesitancy.
“We want to see 50 per cent of our town clinic people over the age of 16 to have at least had one dose. So that’s about 2,400 additional people.”
You can read the article in the ABC News here.
In a related article in the Croakey Health Media, Ms Ah Chee talks about how Aboriginal communities across Australia must be safe before we open up. She maps out the risks and responses needed for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Central Australia, estimating that “every 30 people vaccinated has the potential to save a life should COVID-19 spread in the Aboriginal community in Alice Springs”.
You can read the article in Croakey Health Media here.
Increased access to rural and remote GP services
A new exceptional circumstance review for the Department of Health’s Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification will help regional and rural areas respond to unforeseen workforce and population changes which may be impacting access to local GP services. Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie said the DPA classification allows government to identify regions where locals face an increased challenge to access a GP. The DPA system assesses regions annually, using the most up to date available data to support approvals for priority access to internationally-trained doctors and bonded doctors.
“I have heard loud and clear the concerns that the current approach is not capturing current or emerging local pressures, sudden and unexpected changes and unmet demand,” Dr Gillespie said.
You can read the media release here.
Blueprint to end RHD
Implementation of a blueprint for ending rheumatic heart disease is likely to bring wider health benefits, given that the social, cultural and environmental factors involved are also responsible for many other health conditions common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
That’s according to an analysis by Vicki Wade and Catherine Halkon, who also examine intersections between the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the RHD Endgame Strategy: The blueprint to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia by 2031.
The authors are from RHDAustralia based at the Menzies School of Health Research, and the Telethon Kids Institute. Their analysis is timely as the COVID outbreak in western NSW provides a powerful reminder of the wide-ranging benefits of addressing determinants of health such as overcrowded and poor quality housing.
You can read the article in Croakey Health Media here.
SA unveils new Closing the Gap plan
The State Government has revealed its new plan to stamp out what the Premier describes as “institutional racism, discrimination and unconscious bias” across the public sector as part of a nationwide revamp of the Closing the Gap strategy.
The plan, estimated to cost several million dollars to implement, contains over 200 commitments from South Australian Government departments – some of which are already in train – to address Aboriginal inequality.
You can read the article in the In Daily here.
Quitline Aboriginal Liaison Team
In 2019 the Quitline Enhancement Project was moved across to Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) employing two project officers to be a part of the Quitline Aboriginal Liaison Team (QALT). The QALT Project Officers focus on promoting the Quitline and providing information about the Quitline service to primary health care services who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia (WA) to support and promote Quitline referrals and overall reducing the prevalence and incidence of smoking rates within WA.
Their primary focus is to support the non-Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) recipients in the South West & Great Southern regions although they do provide support across state – wide of Western Australia.
They have a range of great resources including brochures and booklets that can be ordered online here.
If you want to begin your quit journey call the Quitline 13 78 48.
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.
Sound Scouts – Hearing screening tool for individuals and school screening programs
NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) and the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) of NSW invite you to attend the free webinar: Sound Scouts – Hearing screening tool for individuals and school screening programs.
Founder, Carolyn Mee will introduce the Sound Scouts hearing screening app explaining the rationale behind its development, the rigour involved in ensuring it is fit for purpose (evidence based), how to use it and the supporting software developed to assist in wide scale hearing screening. The webinar will also include a live question and answer session.
This webinar will be hosted on Rural Health Pro’s Digital Venue, you will receive the link to the Digital Venue within your confirmation email.
12 – 1pm AEST, Wednesday 29 September 2021