NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: FOR ALL OF US vax video launched

FOR ALL OF US vax video launched

The next phase of the Australian Government’s vaccine communication campaign launches today, with the message ‘we’re almost there Australia’, reminding people that with increasing vaccinations we are able to return to a more normal, free life.

To further encourage First Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Government is also launching a new project entitled “For all of us’. The project features a number of high profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who have come together to encourage their mob to get vaccinated.

Model Samantha Harris, musician Baker Boy, chef Nornie Bero, street artist Tori-Jay Mordey and renowned didgeridoo player and vocalist William Barton all encourage further vaccination uptake and seek to combat vaccine hesitancy. The project conveys the simple message ‘For our past, for our future, for all of us. Get vaccinated for COVID-19’.

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner said today, “I applaud this video which is very positive about the strength of cultural heritage and highlighting our young people and our future. They are our future. We all have to work together to protect everyone in our families and communities, and especially our young so they can grow and enjoy good health and happiness. COVID-19 vaccinations will prevent serious illness and loss of life. Let’s do it for everyone.”

To view Minister Hunt’s media release in full click here.

Mob’s first dose rates rise

In an interview earlier this morning on ABC News Lieutenant General John Frewen DSC, AM, Coordinator General of the National COVID Vaccine Taskforce said hesitancy and misinformation have contributed to low Indigenous vaccination rate, however “encouragingly over the last fortnight the first dose rates for Indigenous Australians has exceeded the national first dose rate.”

To view the interview in full click here.

Image source: ABC News.

Keeping mob safe an ongoing issue

The head of Sunraysia’s largest Aboriginal services organisation says keeping the Aboriginal community safe from COVID-19 will be an ongoing “slow burn” issue, after seeing a “significant increase” in positive results in rapid testing numbers. Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) CEO Jacki Turfrey said “I’m starting to see a significant increase in positive testing again, through my clinic,” Ms Turfrey said.

“We use the rapid testing cartridges. If they come up positive, they have to be retested. Some of those positives come back as false positives, so that number can reduce. And then from there, they then have to go into Kirby Institute in Melbourne, where they’re further tested, and some of the numbers can reduce again. What I see live-time here in my clinic (is) a very good indication of what’s going on, but it’s not a perfect system.”

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the Victorian Government would provide additional support to make vaccinations available to “priority” and “at-risk” communities. Professor Sutton said Star Health and VACCHO had partnered to deliver two fixed vaccination sites with assisted transport.

To read the Sunraysia Daily article in full click here.

MDAS CEO Jacki Turfrey

MDAS CEO Jacki Turfrey. Image source: Sunraysia Daily.

Guidelines for care of kids with COVID-19

Doctors are being urged to familiarise themselves with new “living” guidelines for the clinical care of children and adolescents with COVID-19 in anticipation of rising paediatric cases as restrictions ease and borders open. New consensus guidelines from the Paediatric and Adolescent Care Panel of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium have been released and will be updated in near real-time here. A guideline summary has also been published in the MJA.

Guidelines co-author, Associate Professor Asha Bowen, Program Head of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, said guidelines were designed to be useful no matter how far away a patient and their doctor might live and work from a paediatric intensive care unit. COVID-19 was “on the whole … not a disease of childhood”, she stressed, saying parents should be reassured about the safety of sending children back to school with appropriate safeguards.

Guidelines co-author, Dr Lorraine Anderson who is the medical director for the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services in Broome said “We are very concerned about infection in all Kimberley residents, as we have a low rate of vaccination and a high rate of chronic disease. Aboriginal children have a higher rate of chronic disease also – asthma, rheumatic heart disease and renal disease —which could potentially see them more susceptible to becoming sick with COVID-19,” she added.

To view the MJA Insight article in full click here

Image source: StreetSmart website.

Targeting men for community health roles

Growing up on the Tiwi Islands, Jahdai Vigona said he became passionate about improving the lives of Aboriginal people. “I’m doing something that I love. I’m giving back to my community, my people, and I am working towards something that’s bigger than me,” the 20-year-old health researcher said.

Mr Vigona was one of 20 Aboriginal men who recently attended a training workshop, hosted by AMSANT in Darwin. The workshop, Pathways into Health and Community Services, was aimed at increasing the take-up of Indigenous men working among their own people to improve health outcomes in NT Aboriginal communities.

Speakers at the workshop emphasised the importance of Aboriginal people being involved in delivering health services in ways that suit Aboriginal culture and the way of life in communities. “Anyone can go into communities but it just doesn’t translate the same because we (Indigenous men) know what our people here need,” Mr Vigona said. “We want our people in these spaces,” he said.

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

Health researcher Jahdai Vigona said he wanted to see more Aboriginal men like him become health workers. Photo: Hamish Harty, ABC News. Image source: ABC News.

Free on-line Archie Roach concert

To celebrate and say thanks to the rural health workforce, Rural Health Pro on behalf of NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) will be hosting free online concerts for rural health professionals. Health professionals are invited to enjoy two special evening concerts with individual performances from iconic Australian musicians Archie Roach and Daryl Braithwaite.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and campaigner for the rights of Indigenous Australians, Archie Roach, is one of Australia’s most treasured performers. He has been recording award winning albums for almost 30 years.

The online concert initiative is part of a wider campaign, #RuralPositive, which RDN will be facilitating during the month of November to bring health and industry partners together, along with the general public, to thank and praise rural health professionals.

“The concerts are one way of saying thank you, and we hope that as many rural health professionals as possible will kick back at home, or in the office with their colleagues, and sing along to these two Aussie icons,” RDN Director Service Delivery, Mike Edwards said.

To register click here.

Flinders NT Health Scholarship available

Flinders University has established a new scholarship to support health students and grow the NT medical workforce, continuing the University’s commitment to medical education in the region. The Flinder NT Health Scholarship will support two Flinders NT students – enrolled in Paramedicine, Remote Health Practice or Medicine – per year with $5,000 each, with the aim to reduce inequity and allow them to achieve their studies to the best of their abilities – without the burden of financial pressures.

Demonstrating a commitment to the University’s Reconciliation Action Plan, one scholarship per year will be awarded to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student.

Applications for the scholarship will open late 2021. For more information visit click here and to view the Flinders University media release in full click here.

NT paramedic students standing in front of ambulance

Paramedic students.

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.