NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Cultural birthing practices needed

feature tile text 'putting culture at the centre of health and wellness results in better outcomes' & image of baby in a coolamon wrapped in red cloth & fur

Cultural birthing practices needed

Indigenous women are disadvantaged when it comes to culturally safe maternity care and often experience racism when accessing mainstream services, which causes distrust and disengagement. The lack of a midwifery-led continuity of care (CoC) model has had a profoundly negative impact on the outcomes of mothers and babies, many of which can be prevented. Indigenous neonates are twice as likely to die within the first year of life than non-Indigenous babies due to premature birth and low birth weight. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Indigenous mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth, at a rate of 17.5 in 100,000 births, compared with non-Indigenous women at 5.5 in 100,000.

Nationally, Indigenous midwifery is in crisis, with less than 300 practising midwives. The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives is working with national bodies and government to highlight the urgency and work towards increasing the number of Indigenous nurses and midwives across the country. A 2014 study found that Indigenous women felt more comfortable and were more likely to access maternity care when they were being cared for by an Indigenous midwife because they felt a deeper connection and understanding linked to our shared intergenerational trauma from invasion.

Indigenous women have described their personal experiences across most mainstream services as “racist, judgemental and not safe”. If women are feeling this way about mainstream services, then this is a systemic problem, not an Indigenous problem. If systems are not safe or approachable we cannot continue to blame women for not accessing crucial maternity care or for their outcomes. Racism within mainstream services exists and it’s partly why our women refuse to access these services.

To view the Guardian article in full click here.

Aboriginal mother holding baby, standing outside house

Photo: Dan Peled, APP. Image source: The Guardian.

Dialysis 1,000s kms from home

Three years ago Richard Kanari left his job in the NT and moved to WA to be close to his family and community while he looked after his ailing wife, Kathryn Jackson. Mr Kanari made the decision to move with the confidence that Ms Jackson could be treated at one of the kidney clinics close to home. But for the past year, dialysis unit closures in remote communities have left Ms Jackson and many others with no option but to relocate thousands of kilometres away from home for treatment. “There’s a lot [of people] here [Kalgoorlie] from the community,” Mr Jackson said. “The family wants to stay close.”

Dialysis units across several remote communities including Warburton and Wanarn have been closed due to staff issues, a direct result of harsh remote life and border restrictions put in place by the WA government. This has forced patients to relocate to various centres across the state, with many transferred to either Perth or Kalgoorlie.

Patients transferred to clinics in other states, such as Docker River in the NT, have been left in indefinite isolation because of WA’s hard border policy, with many not being able to see family for months. Luckily for Mr Kanari, he and his family have been able to visit Ms Jackson despite long, 14-hour trips back and forth between the land and Kalgoorlie.

To read the ABC News article in full click here.

external image of Kalgoorlie Health Campus, emergency & arrow

Kalgoorlie Health Campus. Image source: ABC News.

Struggling with COVID in overcrowded homes

The community of Yarrabah in Queensland’s far north has a population of 3,500. There’s just under 400 homes in the community, and they’re bursting at the seams. On average 10 people live in a three bedroom home. At Emma Costello’s home there’s nine adults and four children. When her son, Jeremiah, tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks ago Ms Costello feared the worst for her family. “We all got a shock and were all scared a bit for our own health,” she said.

Overcrowding in Yarrabah is something that has long concerned the local health service, Gurriny Yealamucka, and as COVID-19 cases began to appear in early January, those concerns were amplified. The virus has ripped through 300 households, infecting more than 700 people since January. Gurriny Yealamucka senior medical officer Dr Jason King said there was a lot of work being done on the ground in the lead up to the Queensland border reopening to prepare for a potential outbreak. One of the major preparations undertaken in Yarrabah was boosting vaccination rates. In August just 20% of residents were vaccinated so Gurriny Yealamucka staff decided to go door to door with the jab. They managed to raise the vaccination rate to 70% by the time the virus entered Yarrabah in January. It’s now sitting at 83.7%.

“Families are doing their best isolating, which is hugely challenging for houses with 3 bedrooms with 10 people living in them,” Dr King said. “But to the credit of the community they’ve really come along with that message and are doing a fantastic job of looking out for each other and coming to us when they need help.”

To view the SBS NITV news article in full click here.

view of street in Yarrabah

The community of Yarrabah in far north Queensland has recorded more than 700 cases of COVID since January. Image source: NITV The Point.

NASH PKI certificates expire March

Healthcare organisations have until 13 March 2022 to renew and install their new NASH certificate for continued access to digital health services like electronic prescribing and My Health Record.

Healthcare organisations can check if their NASH Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate needs to be renewed via Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS).The Australian Digital Health Agency has developed resources to support healthcare organisations during the renewal process, including:

You can also visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website here for additional information and resources.

vector image computer keyboard, wooden surface, computer screen with lock surrounded by a circle & time running out

Image source: AMA website.

Nurse Generalist Framework consultation

Public consultation on the National Rural and Remote Nurse Generalist Framework (the Framework) is now open. The intent of the Framework is to describe the unique context of practice and core capabilities for remote area nursing practice, and rural nursing practice.  The Framework is designed as a tool and guide and will benefit Registered Nurses in rural and remote practice settings, their employers, education providers, health administrators and nursing and midwifery colleagues working in health care in general.

The development of this Framework has been led by the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner and the Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner, Adj. Prof. Shelley Nowlan, together with an expert Steering Committee.

For further information about the Framework and how to provide input click here.

nurse Joella Ashwin, Ngangganawili AHS, Wiluna, WA

Joella Ashwin, Ngangganawili Aboriginal Health Service, Wiluna, WA. Image source: The Citizen.

Helping older hospital patients return home

WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said the first of five partnerships with Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs) to deliver care for older Aboriginals leaving hospital care has begun in Bunbury. The Transitional Care Program (TCP), jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments, is a long-standing program which provides care to older people for up to 12 weeks after their hospital discharge, including social work, nursing support, personal care and allied health care. It ensures that people who no longer require hospital care have the necessary supports in place to safely return to the community and ensure hospital beds are available to patients with acute care needs.

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

3 Aboriginal women Elders sitting in green plastic chairs outside, Kapululangu

Elders at Kapululangu, Balgo, WA. Image source: Zohl de Ishtar Blog.

Torres News February 2002 edition

Torres News have issued the February 2022 edition of their newsletter. The lead story Teamwork ensures food security ok – for now looks at how Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) have managed to keep 4-6 week’s worth of stock in most of their Torres Strait Island stores despite staff shortages, the wet season and king tide delivery issues as well as COVID. You can view the twelve page newsletter on-line here.

inside of Community Enterprise Qld Store Thursday Island

CEQ Store – IBIS Main Store. Image source: CEQ website.

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.

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