NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Newman dialysis clinic brings elders home

Newman dialysis clinic brings elders home

Aboriginal elders living across the country to access dialysis treatment can now return home to Newman after a new clinic opened in the town this week. The $1.9 million clinic is the first of its kind in Newman, located more than 1,100km north of Perth in WA’s Pilbara region. The service will allow dozens of Martu and Niyiyaparli elders to come home after moving from the Western Desert to places as far away as Alice Springs, Perth and Broome to get consistent access to the lifesaving blood treatment. Before the clinic opened, some people had chosen to die at home rather than suffer the trauma of family separation for long periods.

Local leaders hope the return of the elders and their knowledge will help young people address social problems in the town and maintain strong cultural bonds in the community. Niyiyaparli woman Sue Bung said she had returned after being forced to take a “one-way trip” to Perth in 2018. “I still can’t believe I’m home. You just can’t believe it because you’ve been in the city for so long,” she said. “Just to get out of the city and be home with that red dirt, I’m so happy.”

To read the ABC News article ‘Game changing’ dialysis clinic brings elders living across the country back home to Newman, WA in full click here.

QLD Health Minister concedes ‘system failed’

A disease eradicated from cities decades ago is still killing remote Indigenous people at a third-world rate. In an emotional address Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has conceded the state has failed remote Indigenous children suffering from rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Yesterday at the delayed launch of a $7.38m investment to end the preventable disease Minister D’Ath responded to the deaths of Adele Sandy, Betty Booth, and Shayaka George, who were turned away from the Doomadgee health centre before  dying of RHD.

Minister D’Ath said “We failed these kids, the system, the whole system. I’m not going to criticise the health workers at Doomadgee. They do an incredibly hard job. But this system failed.” Statewide, $4.5m will be spent during a three-year period and 10 northern Queensland communities most severely impacted will receive $2.88m for “specific actions.” “I want to make sure (funding) is actually delivering services,” she said. “We need First Nations health workers on the ground, going into these communities, educating the communities” Minister D’Ath said. Minister D’Ath stopped short of guaranteeing patients presenting to remote health centres with RHD symptoms would receive vital signs observations.

The above text is extracted from an article ‘This system failed’: Cash to end rheumatic heart disease deaths that appeared in the Cairns Post today.

Mother of an 11-year-old rheumatic heart disease suffer Lynette Bullio at the announcement of a strategy to end the preventable disease. Ms Bullio is pictured here with Cairns and Hinterland Health Service cardiologist, Dr Ben Reeves. Photo: Peter Carruthers. Image source: Cairns Post.

Youth running program builds leadership skills

Lungka Kija man Seymoure Farrer credits a running and leadership program with helping him to see a more positive future — not just for himself, but for other young Indigenous people in his Kimberley community. Mr Farrer and Karajarri man Wynston Shovellor-Sesar have been chosen from about 130 applicants from around Australia for this year’s 12-person Indigenous Marathon Project squad.

Every year, the Indigenous Marathon Foundation selects a group of young Indigenous men and women, aged between 18 and 30, to take part in the world-famous New York Marathon in November. It’s an honour the two Kimberley men carry proudly, and an opportunity they do not intend to waste. “I’ve seen, over the years, previous participants and the positive changes it made in their lives,” Mr Farrer said. “I’ve been struggling with mental health. I want to build a lot more confidence and a healthier lifestyle, so I can come back to my community and show people what I’ve learnt.”

To view the ABC News article Kimberley runners eye New York Marathon as they hone leadership skills to inspire Indigenous communities in full click here.

Every year, 12 Indigenous runners from around Australia are selected for the marathon squad. Photo: Charlie Lowson. Image source: ABC News.

Smoke- and vape-free pregnancy campaign

Tomorrow the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence will host the launch of the Talking About Tobacco Use Team’s (TATU) outdoor media campaign with a live artwork projection, DJs, music about smoke-free lifestyles and interactive workshops. The TATU team has designed a fleet of buses in the Sydney region to raise awareness and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples smoke- and vape-free pregnancy.

Smoking while pregnant increases both the risk of complications during pregnancy and harm to the baby. Passive smoking – breathing in second-hand smoke – exposes non-smokers to serious health risks. Helping people to quit smoking, or – even better – to never start, is the focus of the campaign, says Steven Davis, Manager, TATU. “[Not smoking means] people can enjoy a better quality of life without the long-term harmful effects on health that tobacco and vape use inflicts. Our TATU program reaches 17,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 9,000 First Nations households across 626 sq kms.”

To view The South Sydney Herald article Redfern launch of smoke- and vape-free pregnancy campaign in full click here.

Talking About Tobacco Use team’s (TATU) interactive youth workshop. Image source: The South Sydney Herald.

Holistic approaches to improving health

A recent article Health Media Holistic approaches to improving physical and mental health by Cate Carrigan explains how a recent Equally Well 2022 Symposium put the spotlight on efforts to improve the physical health of people who have a mental illness, as well as the urgent need for such efforts. The article reports on the role of lifestyle medicine, as well as how the holistic approaches to health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have influenced the language of healthcare in Australia. In her article Ms Carrigan explains why clinicians need to have lifestyle medicine as a ‘go-to’ part of their toolbox; provides an overview of the evidence and barriers to implementation; and outlines First Nations strengths; and system problems.

To view the Croakey Health Media article in full click here.

Dr Sam Manger helping to establish a native, cultural garden at Pangula Mannamurna in Mount Gambier, SA. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

Nurse Georgie Baker leads by example

Proud Indigenous woman Georgie Baker spent the better part of 20 years focusing on raising her four children, working in a range of casual roles to support her family. It wasn’t until her eldest daughter was graduating high school that she decided it was time to put herself first. As the first in her immediate family to complete tertiary studies, she’s now a role model in her community, helping to promote Indigenous health as a fully-qualified Enrolled Nurse. “I was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I tried everything, from being a taxi driver to a flower farmer and a school cleaner,” Georgie said.

Georgie’s children played an important role in her decision to realise her career goals. “I’m proud to be able to set an example for my children and community and show them that no matter what age you are, or what experiences you’ve had, your goals can still be achieved,” she said. Drawing on her years of experience caring for others, she decided to pursue a career in nursing, completing her Diploma of Nursing at TAFE Queensland. “I needed a career and I chose nursing because I just knew I could do it. Its not always a glamorous job and a lot of people shy away from nursing for that reason alone, but it really doesn’t bother me — I’m a mother of four so I’m used to dealing with anything,” Georgie said.

To view the Leading by Example article on the TAFE Queensland website in full click here.

Georgie Baker. Image source: TAFE Queensland.

Transgrid Indigenous Award finalists

Three young Sutherland Shire residents are finalists in the Transgrid Indigenous Achievement Award, part of the 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards. Since the creation of the 7News Young Achiever Award – NSW/ACT in 2014, it has applauded the leadership, vision, excellence and commitment of young people, whilst highlighting their efforts and success.

The purpose of the NSW/ACT Young Achiever awards is to acknowledge, encourage and most importantly promote the positive achievements of all young people up to and including 29 years of age. One of the finalists, Seaneen Wallace, 26 of Caringbah joined the NSW Health Aboriginal Population Health Training Initiative at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network in 2020. She has since led the development and implementation of an Aboriginal Health Impact Statement, which ensures that new or existing policies consider the context and implications for Aboriginal people and help identify and improve barriers.

To view the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader article Three Sutherland Shire finalists in Transgrid Indigenous Achievement Award in full click here.

Seaneen Wallace, a finalist in the young achiever awards, is passionate about improving Aboriginal health. Image source: St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.

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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