NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Vax rollout to WA mob continues to suffer

feature tile text 'WA ACCHOs work to break through COVID-19 vaccine misinformation' & image of road sign with kms to Fitzroy Crossing etc

Vax rollout to WA mob continues to suffer

The vaccine rollout to WA mob continues to suffer as Aboriginal Medical Services work to break through misinformation about the vaccine. The Federal Health Department’s weekly breakdown of Indigenous COVID-19 vaccination data by geographical area shows that nine of the nation’s 16 least vaccinated regions are in WA.

The State’s highest vaccination rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is in the inner suburbs of Perth, where 49.25% of those eligible have received their first jab and 36% have received a second.

However, it’s WA’s south-west, the Bunbury region, that’s the next most vaccinated area in the State. In the region, 37.28% of eligible Indigenous people have received one vaccine dose, and 24% are double jabbed. Those numbers lift the south-west above any of Perth’s outer suburbs, Mandurah, the Wheatbelt and the far Outback areas – regions which have the lowest rate of vaccination anywhere in the nation.

Lesley Nelson is the CEO of the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS), which provides medical services to mob throughout the region. Despite the south-west leading most of Perth’s metro areas for vaccination rates, Ms Nelson is still deeply concerned that there aren’t enough vaccines in arms. “We’ve had good uptake in Bunbury, but we are still well behind the goal of 80%,” she said.

To view the National Indigenous Times article in full click here.

5 female SWAMS staff standing in line in front of large tree

SWAMS staff. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

QLD borders open without community consultation

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) Chair, Matthew Cooke expressed ‘profound disappointment’ that the state government had not consulted with the Indigenous community before setting a date to open the state’s borders.

The state’s borders are set to open to domestic travellers at 70% vaccination, expected on 19 November 2021. As of October 20, Indigenous vaccination rates in Queensland sits at 40% with a single dose of a vaccine and 30% double dosed, with the general population at 58% and 73% respectively.

Cooke called for an urgent meeting with the Premier to address the impact that reopening would have on Indigenous people, who are vaccinated at a rate 30% lower than the general population. “She didn’t even consult her own Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer before releasing that new COVID vaccine plan for Queensland and setting the date on opening borders, and she has not reached out to the peak health body in Queensland for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health,” he said.

To view the full article in the National Indigenous Times click here.

QAIHC Chair Matthew Cooke.

Top 3 vax questions answered

Dr Lucas De Toca, COVID-19 Primary Care Response First Assistant Secretary, Department of Health (DoH) has answered the Top Three questions received across DoH channels:

  1. What is Ronapreve and how can it help treat COVID-19?
  2. My child is feeling anxious after lockdown, how can I best support them as they return to school?
  3. If I need one, how long do I need to wait before I can receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose and where can I get one?

You can listen to Dr Lucas De Toca answering these questions in the below video and access a transcript of the video here.

ACT resists compulsory vax for prison staff

The ACT government is resisting compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for staff at Canberra’s prison despite calls for a jab mandate from an Indigenous health leader.

“We acknowledge in the ACT public service that the AMC is an example of a high risk setting, if we were going to consider such a measure,” ACT health minister Ms Stephen-Smith told the ABC. “But it is very different to disability support work or healthcare work or residential aged care in that correctional services officers are not providing close personal care to detainees.”

Julie Tongs, the CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, threw her support behind the ACT’s jab mandate for all healthcare workers, earlier this month. But says the mandate doesn’t go far enough and is calling for all prison officers and detention staff be vaccinated.

“I have been advocating since the very beginning of the COVID pandemic for special measures to be adopted to ensure that people detained in the AMC and other places of detention in the ACT, namely Bimberi and Dhuwal, to be accorded the highest possible levels of protection against the virus,” Ms Tongs says.

To view the CanberraCity News article in full click here.

image of inside of Alexander Maconochie Centre

Alexander Maconochie Centre. Image source: ABC News.

Pharmacist reconciliation journey continues

A group of companies have had the first meeting of the Reconciliation Action Plan Health Industry Network. The new network has been formed out of the Pharma Australia Industry Group (PAIG) and currently includes over 20 companies from the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors.

The goal is to create a regular forum for sharing lessons and learnings between organisations on their own reconciliation journey. Fiona Sheppard, the co-chair of PAIG and diversity, equity and inclusion Leader at J&J, helped establish the new RAP Health Industry Network after receiving positive feedback on the PAIG sessions focused
on reconciliation.

“Across the industry, we are all at different stages of our reconciliation journey. Through this collaborative network, we hope organisations across the pharmaceutical and medical device industries can have open discussions, share knowledge and reflect on learnings to help each other progress meaningful action around reconciliation with Indigenous communities,” she said.

To view the BioPharmaDispatch media release in full click here.

Image source: Retail Pharmacy.

A man for the mob

Dedicated to community and built for opportunity, Indigenous business Minbaringu Services is making a difference through what they do and who they are. Operating in the Pilbara, Minbaringu provides electrical services; heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC); PV solar power; and environmental and waste management services.

Minbaringu is led by director Richard Walker, who leads by example with his strong values on Indigenous employment and community connection. A man with a passion for mob and Country, he has maternal and paternal links to Ngarluma and Ngamal communities.  “I didn’t want to bring kids in, chew them up and spit them out. Now, Minbaringu is Indigenous-owned, and we have Indigenous tradies working for us,” he said.

“One of the biggest things for me with the business is how we support the community, particularly with mental health and youth suicide,” he said. “We want that big brother relationship; it doesn’t have to be getting involved in their personal business but it’s making sure support is there. We know that if we do this internally, that flows our into their communities, and their families.”

“I lost a couple of close friends and a family relative to youth suicide. That really shook me and affected me when I was a young fella,” he said. “I’ve lost too many friends. I’ve lost too many people to this. I want to make a change.”

To view the National Indigenous Times article in full click here.

Minbaringu Director Richard Walker sitting on stump in grass field, town in background

Minibaringu Director Richard Walker. Image source: National Indigenous times.

New camp kitchen for healing camp program

Shields for Living, Tools for Life cultural healing camps are a genuine alternative to youth in NT detention. Thanks to donors who have contributed to a funding campaign for CAASE’s bush kitchen trailer, the target $50,000 has been raised.

We are enlisting the support of the youth in detention to create artwork to personalise the bush kitchen and take on their cultural healing camps on Country!! The bush kitchen will provide a mobile home – kitchen and camper and shade shelter – catering for bush food and cold foods.

The CASSE team is very excited to hit the road with this bush kitchen next year. We have up to a dozen country camps to deliver on Country in five remote communities and some day camps at Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA). The bush kitchen will be stationed like a mobile cafeteria!

To view the story in full click here.

old camp kitchen, new trailer kitchen

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.

Children’s Week 2021

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia held around the fourth Wednesday in October. In 1996 it was decided to adopt a permanent theme: “A Caring World Shares” as a reflection of Children’s Week aims while at the same time acknowledging the designated year on national posters and other printed materials.

Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood. It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities. Thousands of children and their families around the country are involved in activities and events during “The Week” through the participation of schools, playgroups, childcare, kindergartens, cultural groups, libraries, departments and community groups.

The Children’s Week National Theme for 2021 is: Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others.

Children’s Week 2021 will be held between Saturday 23 October – Sunday 31 October 2021.

For more information about Children’s week click here.

group of Aboriginal children & Children's Week logo vector world with 4 children

Indigenous kids at Nhulunbuy, NT. Image source: Huffpost.