NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ACCHO to host allied health student training

feature tile text 'QLD ACCHO thrilled with funding for much needed allied health services and training opportunities' & Goondir health worker & child with headphonesa

Image in the feature tile from the Goondir Health Services Community Wellbeing Centre website.

ACCHO to host allied health student training

The Federal Government is providing $2 million over two years to the University of Queensland to expand allied health student training opportunities in St George, in rural Queensland. Through the South Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) University Department of Rural Health, in Toowoomba, allied health students will participate in intensive high-quality rural education experiences.

The project will fill gaps in health care through a student-led clinic, operated from the ACCHO Goondir Health Services Community Wellbeing Centre, which has agreed to host SQRH staff at the centre. The investment will provide staff and support infrastructure to deliver health and wellbeing services to the local community.

Member for Groom, Garth Hamilton said “This is a terrific local initiative and partnership building off the strong established RHMT facilities here in Toowoomba. I’m pleased the health services at this clinic is a partnership with local ACCHO Goondir Health Services, and other community stakeholders. This great initiative will support chronic disease prevention and management for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members. The clinic will also support the Goondir adolescent wellbeing program by offering age-appropriate healthy eating, fitness, and positive peer engagement programs.”

Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, a former rural doctor, said the SQRH will employ several allied health clinical academics and administrative staff who will be located at the Goondir Community Wellbeing Centre in St George. “Goondir has agreed to collaborate with SQRH to provide cultural mentoring support to students and staff,” Minister Gillespie said. “Student recruitment will preference students from a rural background, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin or those with a demonstrated commitment to rural practice.”

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

Goondir Health Service QLD CEO Floyd Leedie speaking with press

Goondir Health Service CEO Floyd Leedie at the announcement of funding for the much needed Allied Health services and training opportunities in St George. Image source: Goondir HS Facebook post 3 February 2022.

Yarrabah passes 90% vax milestone

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service chief executive, Suzanne Andrews announced yesterday that the critical 90% first vaccination level in the Yarrabah community had been achieved. “This is a critical milestone to achieve and a credit to the way the local community has embraced the vaccination message. Our second vaccination level continues to grow and we are only days away from reaching the 80% double vaxxed milestone,” she said.

Ms Andrews also praised the dedication and commitment to the vaccination rollout of all the Gurriny staff and Queensland Health employees. “This has been a total team effort, community, Gurriny and Queensland Health, all pulling together to keep our mob safe. In October we commenced with a door-to-door vaccination drive. This initiative was spearheaded by our Community Care Health workers and proved to be very successful in lifting our vaccination levels. Community healthcare is exactly that, working in the community to improve the health outcomes. Our outreach teams are in our community on a daily basis. This daily contact has been essential in educating our community about COVID as well as lifting the vaccination rates.”

CHHHS executive director COVID-19 vaccine program, Dr Don Mackie, welcomed news that the single-dose vaccination rate in Yarrabah had increased to more than 90%. “About three months ago, Yarrabah was singled out as having one of the lowest vaccination rates in Queensland,” Dr Mackie said. “To go from there to where we are now, is a great achievement. This is a result of the hard work of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service, together with Queensland Health staff at Yarrabah, our First Nations COVID-19 Response team, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, and our other health partners. “Let’s keep the good work up, and get more than 90% of the community double-vaxxed. We need to ensure that people in our communities have the best protection from serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19.”

male & 2 female Gurriny Yealamuck employees with thumbs up

Gurriny Yealamucka employees, Jilara Murgha, Dr Matt Durden, Heather Robertson all celebrating the 90% milestone . Photo supplied by GYHS.

NT communities put selves into lockdown

Maningrida’s health service, Mala’la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, passed on the request from Traditonal Owners and Nja-Marléya Leaders in a social media post on yesterday. “With positive cases of COVID-19 now across all camps in Maningrida, Traditional Owners and Nja-Marléya Leaders are urging everybody to stay at home to help stop the virus from spreading more,” the post reads.

“Please stay at home unless you have to: Get medical help (ie. go to the clinic), buy food (only 1 person going to shop), provide care for someone who can’t look after themselves, escape family violence, leave in an emergency.”

To view the Katherine Times article in full click here.

aerial view of Maningrida

aningrida has put itself into lockdown to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Image source: Airlines-Airports website.

Quarantine camps for rough sleepers

Quarantine facilities have opened in regional SA to house people with COVID-19, or have been identified as close contacts and are unable to isolate safely at home. The Port Augusta Regional COVID Accommodation facility caters for around 100 people including Aboriginal people unable to return to their homelands and communities in the far north.

“[The Port Augusta] hub will be instrumental in looking after these guys if they test positive,” said Glen Wingfield, heritage manager for the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation. Mr Wingfield said the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation gave permission to SA Health to develop a hub on their land in Port Augusta to look after the COVID-19 positive community. Over on the west coast, the COVID Accommodation Support Centre has opened to provide the same services in Ceduna, on Wirangu Country at Emu Farm.

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

view of covid-19 quarantine facility Port Augusta SA

The Port Augusta quarantine facility will provide healthcare, shelter, culturally appropriate food, and interpretation services. Photo: Tyson Shine, ABC News.

Darwin visitor accommodation for Mob

The Federal Government has committed $10 million towards a new Darwin Visitor Accommodation Precinct to provide lodging and more flexible options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people sleeping rough. The $10 million commitment to the precinct will complement the NT Government’s $30.15 million investment, expanding the project to support more Territorians from remote and very remote areas when they need to visit Darwin.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said a memorandum of understanding signed with the NT Government will allow the development of a new accommodation facility at Batten Road. “Darwin is a significant regional centre and a lot of people come into town for medical appointments, meetings, visiting family and often can’t find suitable places to stay,” Minister Wyatt said.

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

homeless man lying on pavement Darwin

Before COVID-19, the NT’s rate of homelessness was 12 times the national average. Photo: Danielle Bonica, ABC News.

Regional NSW allied health training expands

Charles Sturt University will expand allied health student training and placements across the Riverina region with a grant of $1.87 million under the federal government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program, announced yesterday in Parkes.

Charles Sturt, in partnership with the Western NSW Local Health District and Primary Health Network, identified opportunities to increase local training and student placements across allied health disciplines, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, exercise physiology, speech pathology and podiatry. This has the added benefit of improving residents’ access to healthcare. The funding will allow Charles Sturt to provide intensive, high-quality rural education experiences in Forbes and Parkes through its Three Rivers Department of Rural Health which is based in Wagga Wagga.

Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor, Professor Renée Leon, said “Part of that support and training will include a half-day cultural immersion experience with Indigenous Elders, cultural understanding support by Aboriginal Health Workers, and cultural safety/rural readiness training from the Clinical Educator,” he said. “Indigenous students can access Charles Sturt’s mentoring program to support them through an exciting and valuable program of study.”

To read the Charles Sturt University news story in full click here. You can also watch a film below showcasing the stories of Charles Sturt University First Nations students, health professionals in community, and elders. The film shares how they have overcome healthcare struggles, societal determinants, and barriers towards their studies and daily lives.

Be aware of cancer early warning signs

As we mark World Cancer Day, the Australian Government is urging all Australians to be aware of the early warning signs of cancer and take part in free screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. It is also a timely reminder of the steps all Australians can take to minimise cancer risk factors including tobacco use, obesity, and exposure to UV rays.

Cancer can take a long time to develop, and screening can find cancer in the early stages. It can also find changes to cells before they become cancer or identify infections that may cause cancer in the future. Early detection and treatment gives people the best chance of survival. This year, World Cancer Day is about understanding and recognising inequities in cancer care across the globe. Here in Australia, there are differences in the incidence of cancer and survival outcomes across the population.

To view the media release in full click here. You can also watch the Finding Cancer Early – Aboriginal Education Video produced by the Cancer Council of WA below.

Free weekly stroke and recovery webinars

In response to the strain on the health system from COVID 19, Stroke Foundation has developed a Stroke & Recovery Webinar for survivors of stroke, carers, and their families and friends. The aim is to provide education about stroke and information about how to access community services to help fill the gaps we’ve seen happening.

If you know someone who has recently had a stroke and has been discharged from hospital without the information that they need, or have questions please join the webinars on Wednesdays at 11am ASDT. You can register for upcoming webinars here.

Aboriginal Elder, black beanie with Aboriginal flag, red singlet

Image source: Australian Stroke 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 Cancer Day

World Cancer Day held every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we are all working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live. Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history. For more information about World Cancer Day click here.

Cancer is one of the most serious health threats affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their second leading cause of death. Research from The Australian Institute of Health and welfare has found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are 1.1 times as likely to be diagnosed with cancer as non-Indigenous Australians (2009–13 figures) and have lower five-year relative survival compared with on-Indigenous Australians (2007–14 figures).

Cancer Australia launched a Yarn For Life – It’s OK to talk about cancer campaign in 2019, specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You can access information on the Cancer Australia website about Yarn for Life here. This site includes videos, posters, case studies and important information about talking about cancer.tile text ' world cancer day 4 feb, close the care gap' & cartoon drawing of Aboriginal dr & Aboriginal patient

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