- Expanded vaccine choice for over 60s
- Full community control for Palm Island company
- VACCHO Vaccine Vans hit the road
- Pharmacist guidelines for vaping prescriptions
- Now is the time to be vaccinating
- Culturally appropriate NDIS services trial
- Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making pilot
- Health scholarship opportunity closing soon
- Steady pipeline of doctors program
- New process for job advertising
- Save the Date
Feature image source The Conversation: Cecil Phillips, 62, receiving his COVID-19 vaccination by registered nurse, Sam Parimalanathan, at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern. Photograph: Isabella Moore
Expanded vaccine choice for over 60s
The Minister for Health has announced people aged 18 and over are now eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia. This includes Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Previously, AstraZeneca was the only vaccine available, outside of remote areas, to those aged over 60 years.
The expansion of COVID-19 vaccine choice may help to address the approximately 20% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population over 60 years who have not yet been vaccinated.
For further information visit the Department of Health’s website here.
Full community control for Palm Island company
This week saw a major step towards self-determination for the Palm Island community with the transition of the Palm Island Community Company (PICC) to full community control. The Queensland Government and the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council have now transferred their shareholding in PICC to enable a community-controlled organisation that is fully owned by community members.
PICC has been operating since 2008 and has grown into a large professional organisation delivering a wide range of community services with a workforce of nearly 150 employees, who are overwhelmingly local Palm Islanders. In August, PICC took on responsibility for Palm Island primary health services, amalgamating their existing health centre with the Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) primary health centre to create an integrated community-controlled Aboriginal Medical Service.
The Palm Island Mayor and past chairperson of PICC, Mislam Sam said: “this is a hard-won achievement for the Palm Island community. Our community and our elders and leaders have worked for decades for self-determination, and we are proud to finally have local control over services, especially health, that support our families and employ local people.”
PICC services include:
- an integrated Aboriginal medical service
- community services, including in the areas of family well-being, early childhood, healing, disability, child protection, domestic violence, men’s groups, children and youth activities
- social enterprises, including a mechanics workshop, fuel supply and a community shop.
To view the media release click here.
VACCHO Vaccine Vans hit the road
The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) have launched dedicated Vaccine Vans. The vans, which will travel through Greater Shepparton and Latrobe Valley, are crucial in making the COVID-19 vaccine available to the Indigenous community who’ve faced barriers accessing the vaccine so far.
“Building on the hard work of ACCHOs across the state – the vans will boost support of COVID-19 vaccine delivery to community members during regional residencies across Victoria over the coming weeks,” said VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher.
Gallagher stressed the urgent need for this initiative and vaccinating the community given the record high case numbers in the state, and the plans to open up restrictions as vaccination rates improve. “We must be mindful of the fact that risk factors for COVID-19 are disproportionately higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.
“[This is] due to a combination of factors including pre-existing health concerns, pressing mental health and wellbeing issues, and people living in overcrowded or transient accommodation.”
To view the National Indigenous Times story in full click here.
Pharmacist guidelines for vaping prescriptions
In December 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced that from 1 October 2021, a prescription will be required to access liquid nicotine for inhalation (vaping), following a change to its scheduling.
To manage these legislative changes, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), with support from the Commonwealth Department of Health, has developed guidelines and education to support Australian pharmacists through the transition.
Claire Antrobus, Manager, Practice Support and project lead, explained why such support is required. “From today, a prescription will be required to access nicotine vaping products. When nicotine vaping products are prescribed under the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or the Special Access Scheme they can be dispensed through local pharmacies.
“As a result of these legislative changes, we are likely to see patients presenting to pharmacies, to access nicotine vaping products via prescription. PSA has worked with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Section, Quit Victoria, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists to develop guidelines and education which equips pharmacists with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage the transition.
“These guidelines outline the pharmacist’s role in providing smoking cessation support and key requirements for dispensing nicotine vaping products, including counselling and safety considerations.
To view the full article click here.
Now is the time to be vaccinating
According to the peak Aboriginal health body, NACCHO, the vaccination gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people is partly due to the low coverage among the younger population.
NACCHO medical adviser, epidemiologist Dr Jason Agostino, said almost 90% of the Indigenous population is under 60, and many of them had only recently become eligible for vaccination. “This is really an issue about immunisations for younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Dr Agostino, said. “If we look at the over-60 population, more than 70% have had a first dose nationwide and in ACT, NSW and Victoria it’s about 85%.”
Agostino said he was “quite confident” that the ACT, Victoria and NSW would reach a fully vaccinated rate above 80% for the 12 and over population before the end of October. But he said states which have had very few Covid cases, such as Queensland and WA, should be dramatically lifting their vaccination rates now, to avoid a a situation like the one unfolding in Wilcannia, which now had more than 156 cases in a population of 720 people.
“It’s so important, because starting to lift your vaccination [rates] during an outbreak is not the ideal time,” he said. As you’ve seen in western NSW, in the space of six weeks, they’ve had almost 1,000 cases and they’ve had five deaths in that region. Now is the time to be vaccinating.”
To view The Guardian article in full click here.
Culturally appropriate NDIS services trial
The WA Government will fund a trial of culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal NDIS participants in the Kimberley. The Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (BRAMS) will undertake research and consult with specialists and Aboriginal people to develop a culturally competent model of allied health service delivery for the region over 18 months.
There will be a particular focus on developing techniques and resources that can be used by allied health professionals who work with Aboriginal NDIS participants. A six-month ‘Community of Practice’ will also be set up to test and learn from the practical tools and resources created by the project.
To access the media statement in full click here.
Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making pilot
Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk has announced Wungening Aboriginal Corporation (Wungening) as the successful Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) for the Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making (AFLDM) pilot in Mirrabooka.
Through the pilot, Wungening will enlist independent Aboriginal convenors to facilitate a culturally safe process that supports Aboriginal families to make decisions about how to best keep their children safe and connected with their community. AFLDM aims to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in the child protection system by promoting greater participation and self-determination for Aboriginal families and to provide input into decisions regarding their children.
To view the media release click here.
Health scholarship opportunity closing soon
The opportunity to apply for a scholarship is closing soon. The scholarship supports students studying in a number of health disciplines including additional scholarship places for Mental Health studies.
Attached are a couple of web banners for your use. If you require any adjustments to the artwork, please contact Sam. The social media caption is: ‘DON’T MISS OUT! Scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying, or intending to study, entry-level health courses. The scholarships are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.
Visit here to find out more and apply, closes Monday 11 October 2021.
Steady pipeline of doctors program
A new locally-led medical program, the first of its kind, could be launched as early as 2023, to build a steady pipeline of doctors into regional, rural, and urban areas in the Northern Territory. Charles Darwin University has joined Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) in its aspirations to establish the CDU/Menzies Medical Program, as a part of a new Northern Australian Health Workforce Alliance to support the health workforce needs of the Northern Territory and, more broadly, northern Australia. The opportunity to expand general practice and rural medicine training, consultant medical training and health research will be enhanced through such an Alliance.
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.
World Cerebral Palsy Day
World Cerebral Palsy Day, marked today Wednesday 6 October, is a movement of people with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and their families, and the organisations that support them, in more than 75 countries. CP affects more than 17 million people worldwide. Another 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with CP. It is the most common physical disability in childhood. CP is a permanent disability that affects movement. Its impact can range from a weakness in one hand, to almost a complete lack of voluntary movement:
- 1 in 4 children with CP cannot talk
- 1 in 4 cannot walk
- 1 in 2 have an intellectual disability
- 1 in 4 have epilepsy.
The World CP DAY movement’s vision is to ensure that children and adults with Cerebral Palsy have the same rights, access and opportunities as anyone else in our society. It is only together, that we can make that happen.
The report Comparing risks of cerebral palsy in births to Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers concludes that those of Indigenous heritage may be the subject of greater under-ascertainment of CP than those without Indigenous heritage and Indigenous children are at significantly greater risk of CP, particularly postneonatal CP, and their impairments tend to be more severe.
The theme of World CP Day this year is Because every person living with cerebral palsy is a reason to strive for change.
For more information click here.
COVID-19 vaccine update for GPs webinar
The latest in the Australian Government Department of Health’s series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs webinar will be held from:
11:30am–12:00pm (AEST) tomorrow, Thursday 7 October 2021.
At this webinar, you’ll be provided with the latest information on the vaccine rollout. GPs and all health professionals are welcome.
Joining Professor Michael Kidd AM this week will be Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health and Dr Clara Soo
Practice Principal, Hobart Place General Practice and East Canberra General Practice, Canberra.
This week’s GP webinar will have a slightly different look and feel as it will be held via webex. This will enable guests from other locations to join the GP webinar panel. If you’re unable to view this webinar live, you can view it on-demand using the same link, within a few hours of the live stream ending.
When you’re ready to join, use this link.