NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Including and sharing with mob essential

The image in the feature tile is of NACCHO CEO and Lead Convener Coalition of Peaks Pat Turner AM. Image source: Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) Facebook page, 1 April 2021.

Including and sharing with mob essential

Earlier this week NACCHO CEO and Lead Convener Coalition of Peaks Pat Turner AM delivered a keynote address – Including and Sharing with Us: The only way forward – at the Voices for the Bush Conference 2022. Ms Turner shared some reflections on key policy opportunities and ideas about ways of working together for the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, saying “As specified in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, responsible decisions at every level must be made in partnership. At this conference, I encourage you to glean best practice and commit to change. Expand your discussions with a positive acknowledgement of community control, and the rights we have as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to shape our own destiny, to partner with you as equals in innovation, technology and service delivery.”

“In the twenty-first century, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are not asking for anything more than what mainstream Australians already take for granted. We seek re-entry into knowledge from which we have been structurally excluded. We deserve to make decisions in partnership about policies and programs directly affecting us. We don’t need rescuing. We don’t need another thought bubble dreamt up by people who don’t know us and who don’t partner with us.”

“We WILL get better health by improving housing, water quality, water quantity and environmental health programs. BUT these improvements require a significant shift in how decisions are made, how policies are funded and how programs are designed. Australia’s Gross Domestic Product puts us in the top 10% of all the world’s countries. We have the economic and financial resources to do this. We can close this gap.”

You can read Pat Turner’s keynote address Including and Sharing with Us: The only way forward in full here.

Image source: Australian Communications Consumer Action Network website.

Systemic racism in prisoner healthcare

The death of a 19-year-old Aboriginal man in a West Kimberley prison has been labelled “preventable” by the West Australian Coroner. Miriuwung and Gajerrong man Mr Yeeda died from a heart attack at Derby Regional Prison on 3 May 3 2018. Mr Yeeda had rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and was overdue to see a cardiologist for assessment prior to his sentence beginning in 2017. However, the referral from the Prison Medical Officer didn’t progress to an appointment. If Mr Yeeda had seen a cardiologist, it’s believed he would have received urgent cardiac surgery to replace his aortic valve, a surgery the coroner found could have been lifesaving.

The Principal Solicitor and Director of the National Justice Project George Newhouse, who is representing the family of Mr Yeeda, said the coroner had failed to address the contribution of systemic racism in his death. “The coroner has failed to address the systemic racism in WA’s justice and healthcare systems which led to Mr Yeeda’s death,” he said. “Unless culturally-appropriate healthcare delivered by Aboriginal medical services is provided to prisoners, we will see more needless deaths like that of Mr Yeeda.”

To read the SBS NITV article WA Coroner finds Mr Yeeda’s death in custody ‘preventable’ in full click here.

Miriuwung and Gajerrong man, Mr Yeeda. (Photo approved and supplied by Mr Yeeda’s family.)
Image source: SBS NITV website.

Mob with disability face racial-ableism

In an article published in The Conversation earlier this week, John Gilroy, an ARC Research Fellow in Indigenous Health, Disability and Community Development at the University of Sydney said, “the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has not properly focused on the ideological foundations of the NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities. Instead, government has been heavily focused on actuarial studies of the “market” to ascertain where disability service gaps exist in these regions.”

“The NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] is a model that attempts to blend the “for profit” values of the business sector with the “not for profit” values of the charity sector. Business profits are only achieved where there exists a “supply” and “demand”. Reports have repeatedly shown the NDIS has not yet fairly benefited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote, rural, and regional communities because the absence of local services. This is because there is no “business market” compared to the metropolitan regions and can be seen in provider shrinkage in areas such as East Arnhem land. This is geographic discrimination and racial-ablism.”

“All of the money spent on the Royal Commission should have been spent on grounded community initiatives under the NDIS in regional, rural, and remote communities. These could have included advocacy programs, secondary and tertiary education programs, long-term government service funding agreements, training of NDIA and allied health staff, Aboriginal employment in the NDIA, and Aboriginal-owned and operated disability support programs. It is not time for another inquiry and another report. It’s time for action.”

To view The Conversation article Indigenous people with disabilities face racism and ableism. What’s needed is action not another report (which includes the video below) in full click here.

Palliative care kits for on Country care

Culturally-appropriate palliative care kits will be rolled out across Australia to help Indigenous families care for their dying loved ones on Country. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote, rural and urban areas will be more able to die at home while maintaining a connection to their community. “First Nations people’s culture involves complex social structures with strong links to their homeland,” Professor Liz Reymond, director of Caring@home, said yesterday.

“Most Indigenous Australians tell us they would prefer to finish up on Country in their local culture with those they love. This kit will help them realise this outcome with more access to symptom control.” Reymond said it would also allow dying people to be with their mourning families during end-of-life care, instead of in a hospital, often 100s of kms away.  The Palliative Care Clinic Box contains information packs for medical professionals, and a training video to teach carers how to safely give pain relief medicines.

To read the Aged Care News article Indigenous palliative care kits to be distributed for on Country care in full click here.

Image source: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

Increased stroke awareness needed

The Stroke Foundation is calling for increased stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to bridge the divide in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. As part of National Stroke Week (8–14 August 2022), Stroke Foundation is highlighting the inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples who are impacted by stroke. Stroke Foundation CEO Sharon McGowan said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to be hospitalised from stroke and 1.3 times more likely to die.

“The statistics are quite shocking when it comes to stroke in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and that’s why we need to share them in order to make a change,” Ms McGowan said. “Stroke is the sixth leading cause of death in Indigenous Australia, and the burden of disease for stroke is 2.3 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. One-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are at high risk of stroke, that’s despite 80% of strokes being preventable through managing your blood pressure and adopting a healthy lifestyle.”

To view The National Tribune article Shining spotlight on Indigenous Australians health outcomes during National Stroke Week click here. You can also access the Stroke Foundation’s Our Stroke Journey – Helping our mob after stroke booklet here.

Raise the Age petition – add your voice

Across Australia, children as young as 10 can be arrested by police, charged with an offence, brought before a court and locked away in a prison. Every day a child spends in prison can cause lifelong harm to that child’s health, growth and development. First Nations children are even more at risk.

Children belong in schools, playgrounds and with their families, not behind bars.

The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) is a member of the Raise the Age alliance. Alongside 120 other member organisations, they support raising the minimum of age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years.

It’s been two years since the launch of a national campaign to raise the age and calls on state and territory leaders to act continue. Make a difference and sign the Raise The Age petition here.

Enhancing digital health tools for NT mob

A new project led by NT Health and the ​Menzies School of Health Research aims to develop virtual care models that meet the specific needs of Indigenous communities in the NT. The three-year project under the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) will evaluate how existing and emerging technologies could be best deployed in remote Indigenous communities.

It will identify the preferences of consumers and healthcare providers regarding virtual care, as well as address the lack of knowledge in deploying digital tools. “Recommendations will be based on needs and preferences identified by both consumers and health professionals, with a particular focus on integrating multiple professional groups working in remote [primary healthcare service],” explained Menzies professor John Wakerman.

To read the Healthcare IT News article Northern Territory project to enhance digital health tools deployment in indigenous communities in full click here.

An example of a digital health tool is iBobbly, a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 15 years and over. Image source: Black Dog Institute 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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