NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Easy to follow videos on how to use RATs


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Easy to follow videos on how to use RATs

Indigenous Medical Supplies (IMS) have developed a number of COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RAT) easy to follow instructional videos. The videos are designed to help show customers very clearly how to:

  • perform their children’s RATs at home
  • use the RATs for adult home use
  • use the RATSs within a clinical setting

IMS Managing Director Mervyn Fernando said “This initiative particularly hits home to me, having experienced the regrettable effects of not knowing or understanding diseases at a young age, particularly the major conditions that impact the lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Having access to professional health information and supplies has been our IMS focus over the past three years, and we will continue to drive this message and make it happen.”

By representing minority groups such as Aboriginal families in the videos IMS aims to achieve:

  1. greater engagement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  2. greater awareness of the importance of providing professional health information to the most vulnerable peoples
  3. education and understanding of how to correctly use and dispose of COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits
  4. better protection and better health outcomes

The RATs come in two types; professional and self-test and are TGA Approved under the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia.  All instruction videos will be available in the coming weeks and will be easy to follow with many in other languages.

For more information about the IMS RATs visit the IMS website here. You can also view one of the IMS videos below.

Uncle Col talks to mob about COVID-19

The Department of Health has released three videos of Uncle Col Watego talking to mob about COVID-19. In the first video, Uncle Col talks about how COVID-19 is going to be around for quite a long time, so we need to fully understand the facts about COVID-19 to best protect ourselves. “There’s a lot of mis-information about COVID-19. I believe COVID-19 is not a theological debate issue, it’s not a cultural issue, it’s not a spiritual issue. It’s a health issue,” says Uncle Col. He encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

In the second video Uncle Col talks about how the COVID-19 vaccine will protect you and it will protect your family and loved ones. “If I can encourage you to do anything… get vaccinated! Keep yourself and your family, your faith and your culture safe,” says Uncle Col.

In the third video Uncle Col talks about how we get to gather in much larger groups again. He asks that we maintain the health regulations by wearing a mask, sanitising and keeping our social distance. Uncle Col says that if you’re not feeling well to go and get tested. “Stay isolated in a safe place and wait until you get a negative result back. That way you’ll be keeping yourself, your family and your loved ones safe.”

VACCHO CEO on post-COVID-19 recovery

Jill Gallagher AO, a Gunditjmara woman, CEO of the VACCHO, and former Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner has written an Opinion Piece for The Age in write she writes: It’s been a tough couple of years. I think I can say that without any fear of contradiction, and there might still be difficult times ahead as this pandemic seems determined to hang around for a while yet. Our collective response to COVID has highlighted many of our society’s strengths, but the experience has also deepened existing divides and splintered the community in unpredictable and unsettling ways. It’s clear that we need to take the time to heal and repair the damage.

But as we dust ourselves off and start to rebuild our economy and make sure people and communities are at the heart of it, we need to make sure that First Peoples aren’t left behind again. It’s time to get back to the basics of what works. For the Aboriginal community, what works best for us is when we’re in the driver’s seat making the decisions that affect our lives, our communities, and our land. We’re all too familiar with the negative outcomes we get when politicians who don’t know us or understand our culture try to impose their unfair policies on us – our kids are locked up at a higher rate, our health suffers, and our education falls behind.

To view the Jill Gallagher’s opinion piece published in The Age yesterday click here.
close up of Aboriginal flag in wind

Photo: Ben Plant. Image source: Brisbane Times.

COVID-19 vaccine update for Primary Care

The latest in the series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for Primary Care, providing the latest information on the vaccine rollout, will be held from 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM (AEDT) Thursday 24 February 2022.

The panel this week will be: Professor Michael Kidd AM (Chair), Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health and Dr Steph Davis, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health.

GPs and all health professionals are welcome to attend the webinar and can join using this link. If you’re unable to view this webinar live, you can view it on-demand using the same link, within a few hours of the live stream ending.

HIV prevention, treatment uptake barriers

Six Australian health and medical researchers are set to receive a share of $22.9 million, to further ground-breaking research that will improve health and treatment outcomes for Australians and their families. $5.6 million is being made available to support five projects through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Project scheme. The research projects have also attracted more than $16.3 million from more than 60 funding partners, bringing the total to $21.9 million.

The Partnership Project scheme provides funding for researchers and partner organisations to work together to define research questions and undertake the research, which can lead to break throughs in treatment and prevention.

Researchers at the University of NSW will receive $1.2 million to identify the barriers to the uptake of HIV prevention and treatment programs in Australia. The project links HIV diagnoses from 1997–2025 with nine other national datasets to track and analyse missed clinical opportunities for HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and usage, HIV treatment uptake and adherence, and HIV-related morbidity and mortality. Outcomes from their research will be used to develop tailored HIV programs, to achieve the elimination of HIV transmission in Australia.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said by partnering researchers with organisations and experts in the field, means we can work together to achieve better health outcomes for Australians now and into the future.

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

PrEP tablet bottle & blue tablets on wooden surface

PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Photo: James Hancock, ABC News. Image source: ABC News website.

Climate change impacts on ‘sea country’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold the knowledge of past responses to climate change, but their ability to continue to add to this body of knowledge is limited. Past generations were able to freely move and adapt to a changing climate. Today, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are being impacted and will continue to be impacted by climate change rely on Western management systems, imposed through colonisation, to address the issues they face.

The indirect impacts—as a result of ocean acidification, temperature increases on the sea surface and species redistribution—will influence traditional and economic resources, along with culturally important species and practices. Many communities will lose significant cultural sites and species, resources, spiritual connections and food sources. This will have numerous flow-on effects, including impacts to mental health and wellbeing.

Adequate weaving of Indigenous knowledge in marine and coastal management must involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander processes and protocols and move beyond only including Indigenous knowledge as content.

To view the article written by marine ethnoecologist Mibu Fischer in full click here.

single plant grown from sandbank with water flowing either side

Photo: Julie Burgher, Flickr.

Impacts of eating disorders among mob

According to 2015 data, in Australia roughly 1 million people are living “with an eating disorder at any given time.” Many people with eating disorders or disordered eating seek professional help, including inpatient hospital treatment or traditional therapy. However, stigmas surrounding eating disorders stand as barriers to seeking help, especially among marginalised communities such as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Furthermore, the economic impacts of eating disorders among Aboriginal people show that the consequences of eating disorders are far-reaching.

A 2020 study found that “up to 27%” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had eating disorders compared to 9% of the entire Australian population. This preliminary data has garnered the attention of the Butterfly Foundation, an Australian charity working to prevent eating disorders and provide equitable access to treatment for all. The organisation has established a national eating disorder helpline and runs several body image and eating disorder campaigns.

To view the Borgen Magazine article in full click here. Garra Mundine, a proud Wiradjuri, Bundjulung, Kamilaroi and Yuin woman from Dubbo NSW, shares here story about her eating disorder in the video below.

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.

International Family Drug Support Day

International Family Drug Support (IFDS) Day first started in 2016 to draw attention to the importance of families affected by alcohol and/or drugs, including the benefits of supporting families. When families are given education, awareness and tips on coping and keeping safe, the outcome for everyone is improved.

From small beginnings it has grown to international events in most Australian major cities and several overseas. The overall theme for the FDS events is Support the Family-Improve the Outcome. This year there is a particular focus  on the results of our ‘Voices to be Heard’ survey which collected information on the views of families around drug policy. The results will be presented to Federal and State governments on Thursday 24 February 2022.

Tony Trimingham, Founder and CEO of FDS says “Any family anywhere, regardless of background, economic and other circumstances can be affected by drugs. We hope this annual event will reach members of the community and change some of the negative attitudes that exist.” Tony quoted one mother (Viola) saying “The weight of the world was on my shoulders. We were so ashamed and alone – then we found support and things changed” and a father (Carlos) saying “What a difference it made being able to talk and have someone listen with empathy, and not tell me I was a bad parent or my approach was wrong. I can ring anytime and get stuff off my chest.”

For more information about International Family Drug Support Day click here.

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