NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: COVID-19 fears for APY Lands

feature tile text 'fears APY Lands will be left to fend for themselves if covid-19 outbreak in Adelaide' & image of 3 Aboriginal youth on mountain looking out on APY Lands

Photo in feature tile: APY Land Council. Image source: SBS NITV.

COVID-19 fears for APY Lands

The general manager of SA’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands is concerned remote communities will be “left to fend for themselves” in the event of an outbreak in Adelaide. The SA government intends to lift border restrictions on Tuesday 23 November, when 80% of residents are expected to be fully vaccinated.

The APY Lands have been subject to strict lockdowns every time there has been an outbreak in SA to avoid COVID-19 spreading to its vulnerable, isolated Indigenous population. “Our lockdowns are fairly intense, in that we close fuel [stations] to stop people moving, and the police also install roadblocks because [we don’t want] people travelling from one community and taking it to the next,” APY general manager Richard King said.

“If we do get major outbreaks all at once in Adelaide and it overwhelms the health services, the services are really going to be focused on urban populations,” Mr King said.

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

aerial view APY Lands

Only 61% of APY residents under 50 have received two doses of the vaccine. Photo: Carl Saville. Image source: ABC News.

Living with COVID-19 requires caution

The Consumers Health Forum has welcomed the Federal Government’s additional support for community-based care for COVID cases but urges Australians to take care as Australia transitions to ‘living with COVID’ arrangements.

“The easing of lockdowns and opening of borders mean that even with an overall decline in pandemic risks, significant challenges for both hospitals and primary care doctors and nurses in the community will continue. Consumers need to play their part in avoiding infection by continuing with sensible anti-COVID precautions,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

To view the CHF media release click here.

globe with mask surrounded by covid virus cells in red

Image source: Newshub website.

Aged care for mob best practice study

There is a growing number of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and an unmet demand for accessible, culturally safe aged care services. The principles and features of aged care service delivery designed to meet the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must be understood to inform aged care policy and primary health care planning into the future. Yet to date, this is an area that has not been extensively explored.

A recently published paper Aboriginal community-controlled aged care: principles, practices and actions to integrate with primary health care examines this particular topic.

For more information about the study click here.

The Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Law and Culture Centre in Balgo, WA, offers employment and care for elderly members of the community. Image source: Aged Care 101 website.

Future of dispensing discussion paper

The AMA has released The future of dispensing, a discussion paper on Australians having affordable and accessible medicines into the future, and it explores alternative dispensing models for medications. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the discussion paper aims to consider how, where and why medicines are dispensed in Australia and to promote discussion among health professionals, doctors and consumers.

“The AMA earlier this year launched its Vision for Australia’s Healthwhich outlines a blueprint for the future of the Australian healthcare system that is based on the core principles of access, sustainability and patient empowerment that is led by medical practitioners,” he said. “To that end, a good starting point is to consider three simple questions: how, where and why do we dispense medicines in Australia?

“Pharmacists have and will continue to have a critical role in the provision of health care in Australia, and we want to ensure we are making the best use of our highly-trained pharmacist workforce. We need to separate out issues around the business of owning pharmacies, as opposed to the role of pharmacists in general, and to restart the discussion about who can own pharmacies, and where they are located.”

To view the AMA’s media release in full click here.

3 staff at chemist prescription desk

Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central. Image source:

More rural renal services for Queensland

Infrastructure upgrades at Ingham and Charters Towers Hospitals will deliver eight renal chairs to bring care closer to home for patients receiving haemodialysis for renal failure and kidney disease.

The new chairs are being funded through a $4 million injection of funds from the Queensland Government’s Rural and Regional Renal Program. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said ‘‘Patients in Charters Towers and Ingham currently travel up to an hour and a half for a four to five-hour treatment session at Townsville University Hospital. These brand-new, four-chair units will relieve the pressure of disruptive travel on patients living with renal failure and kidney disease and their families.”

Minister D’Ath said establishing these units in rural communities would further the Queensland Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

To view the Minister D’Ath’s media release in full click here.

3 Aboriginal women receiving dialysis

Patients in the dialysis unit at Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation, Yarrabah, Qld. Back-front: Shanelle Graham, Millicent Smith, Myrtle Barkley. Image source: Cairns Local News.

Nor Mor Smok program

Nor Mor Smok is a program run by Torres Health Indigenous Corporation with the aim of reducing smoking rates across the Torres Strait region. The program includes elements such as:

  • the Yumi Kazi program for pregnant mothers and growing families
  • a women’s program for girls and women of all ages
  • a men’s program for boys and men of all ages
  • a youth program for all children aged 11 to 18 years.

Nor Mor Smok is funded under the national Tackling Indigenous Smoking Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

For more information about the Nor Mor Smok program click here.

Youth suicide attempt aftercare services

Children and young people living in Western Sydney and the Mid-North Coast engaging in serious self-harming behaviour or having ongoing thoughts of suicide can now access practical, non-clinical support in their communities to help their recovery.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the newly opened Blacktown and Coffs Harbour-based services are part of an innovative trial of child and youth-specific Aftercare services by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. “Coming out of acute care can be really overwhelming, so it is critical to connect these vulnerable young people with the right support outside of the hospital setting so they can reconnect and reengage with their family, friends and community,” Mrs Taylor said.

To view the media release in full click here.

hand being held in another's hands

Image source: Black Dog Institute.

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.

University entry courses info session

The University of Melbourne’s Department of Rural Health is holding an information session for those who would like to know more about its unique courses that can provide an entry to University for those with experience working in Aboriginal health and/or community development.

The information session will explain what the Specialist Certificate in Empowering Health in Aboriginal Communities will involve, pathways for further study, and support with studying.  During the information session you canmeet the teaching staff and some of the current students and ask questions you might have.

To register for the information session at 4:00 PM (AEDT) Tuesday 16 November 2021 click here.

Image source: University of Melbourne website.

Project ECHO info session

Children’s Health QLD HHS is excited to announce that our Project ECHO hub is supporting the launch and delivery of a new virtual and interactive learning network focused on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids throughout Queensland.

Project ECHO is a model used to deliver interactive, online, collaborative case-based learning for free. Professionals from all streams, sectors and settings, caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are most welcome to attend the information session.

You can register here to attend the information session to be held from12:00 PM-1:00 PM Tuesday 23 November.

For more information on Project ECHO, you can visit their website here and If you have any questions or concerns, you can email the ECHO team here.