NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ACCOs best placed to support kids

feature tile text 'ATSI CCOs best placed to support children & families' & image of Aboriginal mother & baby daughter

Image in feature tile is from the SNAICC – National Voice for Children profile: Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Ltd., and Mater Mothers’ Hospital Birthing in Our Community.

ACCOs best placed to support kids

Today SNAICC launched National Voice for our Children – 11 profiles showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations (ACCOs) who are successfully working with children and families to prevent them from coming into contact with the child protection system. Eight of the 11 profiles are of programs run by NACCHO Members.

From 2020 to 2021, SNAICC – National Voice of our Children identified good practices of early intervention and family support programs that are being delivered by ACCOs across the nation. These profiles demonstrate how community-controlled organisations are achieving positive results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families, including supporting these children to be kept safe from harm, uphold their right to grow up within their own family and community, and access critical health and early education services.

“These profiles highlight how our people are providing culturally safe and supportive environments. They are connecting children and families to culture and Country, and breaking down the barriers that prevent access to the supports and services that families need,” SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle said. “The programs build on the existing strengths of our families and cultures to provide nurturing care for children. They help to ensure children receive education, develop a strong sense of identity, and enjoy healthy living that is that is so crucial in a child’s early years.”

You can view the 11 profiles here and SNAICC’s media release in full click here.

Aboriginal women sitting around meeting mat

Image from: the Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation Nabu Aboriginal family preservation and restoration program publication – one of the SNAICC – National Voice for our Children profiles.

National Close the Gap Day launch

The Australian Human Rights Commission and Reconciliation Australia are delighted to invite you to the launch of the 2022 Close the Gap Campaign report “Transforming Power; Voices for generational change”, produced by the Lowitja Institute.

The report showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led community initiatives, that recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, provide genuine opportunities for decision making and that strengthen and embed cultures.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see and hear keynote speakers and panel members talk about how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their allies, are working to address health equity and equality.

The report will be launched on National Close the Gap Day during the  webinar from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM AEDT Thursday 17 March 2022. To register for the webinar click here. The webinar is FREE, but registration is essential.

ACCHO leads way on RHD awareness

ACCHO Apunipima Cape York Health Council (ACYHC) is tackling the endemic issue of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) in Cape York communities. RHD is a leading cause of serious illness and death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly young people, and Apunipima’s RHD Prevention Project is aimed at decreasing the rates of ARF and RHD in Cape York communities.

Commenting on RHD in community, Apunipima CEO Debra Malthouse says, “RHD is a completely preventable disease, and to see so many families and communities here in the Cape affected deeply by this is just heartbreaking. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have the highest reported rates of ARF and RHD in the world. This is Australia, this should not be happening here.”

ACYHC’s comments on the issue of RHD in Cape York communities, come as this important issue has been thrust back into the spotlight this week with the ABC Four Corners Heart Failure episode. To read ACYHC’s media statement in full click here and you can watch one of ACYHC’s ARF and RHD awareness videos below.

Long COVID: sustained disadvantage

An article Long COVID: sustained and multiple disadvantage published in The Medical Journal of Australia earlier this week points out that from an equity perspective, the over‐representation of chronic conditions among disadvantaged (and often racialised) populations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increases the risk of both COVID‐19 acute severity and long COVID. People with long COVID have reported significant stigma, difficulties in accessing services and returning to full time work, trouble maintaining important relationships and life roles, and barriers to engaging in activities of daily living.

Australian data confirm this. The infection risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) is associated with age, immune status, and certain pre‐existing non‐communicable diseases such as obesity, asthma etc. One of the few predictive models available for long COVID has found associations with age, body mass index, female sex and the number of symptoms experienced within the first 7 days of infection. Each of these factors is already profoundly driven by the social determinants of health and health inequity.

The enduring effects of long COVID in groups that already experience disadvantage and inequality will make livelihoods more perilous. Those who were worse off across many determinants of health inequity will be even worse off after only partially recovering. This will be particularly true for populations with intersectionally determined comorbid conditions, such as socio‐economically disadvantaged groups, Indigenous communities, people with varying abilities (or disabilities) in residential care, vulnerable older people etc.

Mental health hospital visits slashed

Hospital attendances by people in police custody have been slashed by two-thirds since the start of a new pilot program aimed at helping people experiencing a mental health crisis. Geraldton was last year selected to take part in a pilot program offering specialist care after the Police Mental Health Co-Response (MHCR) initiative was successfully introduced in Perth in 2016.

The program has now reached the six-month mark and sees two police officers, one authorised mental health practitioner and one Aboriginal mental health worker on call from 1pm to 11pm, Monday to Saturday.

Sgt Johansen said the initiative has been hailed a success by Geraldton police and the community. “The community is happy there is a service to assist whilst in a crisis, and police are pleased to have a mental health professional on duty with the ability to provide assistance,” he said.

To read The West Australian article in full click here.

Sergeant Nathan Johansen in front of Geraldton Police Station

Sergeant Nathan Johansen in front of Geraldton Police Station. Photo: Tamra Carr, Geraldton Guardian. Image source: The West Australian.

AMSANT launches CQI eLearning module

AMSANT is pleased to announce the launch of the new CQI eLearning module, which has been created in collaboration with the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC). John Paterson, CEO of AMSANT said “We are proud to lead the NT CQI Strategy and to support both Aboriginal Community Controlled and NT Government Primary Health Services to provide high quality health care to Aboriginal people in the NT.

The RAHC modules provide free, high quality and easy-to-access education on health issues prevalent in the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health context. The CQI eLearning module is available to all Health Professionals (HPs) and anyone interested in remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The CQI eLearning module introduces Health Professionals (HPs) to continuous quality improvement. It provides important information and practical strategies for improving the quality of care provided to individuals, their families and the wider community.

To view AMSANT’s media release in full click here.

COVID-19 vax 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 10 March 2022.

The panel this week will be Australian Government Department of health staff, Professor Michael Kidd AM (Chair), Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, who will discuss updates on vaccines and the new COVID-19 oral anti-viral medications.

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.

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.

Safe Sleep Week

Safe Sleep Week is back for 2022, acknowledging the importance of safe sleeping environments in protecting infants and young children. Held from Monday 7 – Sunday 13 March 2022, Safe Sleep Week is a timely reminder to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to ensure they are complying with regulations around safe sleep and engaging in best practice.

Safe Sleep Week is an annual national awareness campaign held by Red Nose with the intention of saving lives. During Safe Sleep Week Red Nose will provide practical advice to parents and caregivers to help reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy (including SIDS and fatal sleep accidents).

In 2022, Red Nose is focusing on the six safe sleep recommendations, a series of easy to understand pieces of advice which reduce the risk of harm to babies, with a particular focus on the accessibility of language around the six safe sleep recommendations.

For more information about Safe Sleep Week click here and to access information on safe sleep in early childhood services click here.

sleeping Aboriginal baby

A baby sleeps at Gurdorrka Palmerston Indigenous Village, a community in Darwin. Image source: UNICEF Australia website.