NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: NACCHO to share insights on response to COVID-19


Feature tile: Dr Jason Agostino

The image in the feature tile is of NACCHO Medical Advisor Dr Jason Agostino – it appeared in an ABC News article Indigenous people at risk of missing out on crucial COVID-19 treatment, peak health body says published on 18 January 2022.

The NACCHO Daily Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly. The content included in these new stories are not necessarily NACCHO endorsed.

Health Committee to hear from long COVID patients

The House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport will hear from Australians living with long COVID and other post-viral illness at a public hearing tomorrow Friday 17 February 2023 at Parliament House in Canberra. The Chair of the Committee, Mike Freelander MP, said, “Listening to Australians living with long COVID about their experiences, journey to diagnosis and treatment is a key role of this inquiry. The committee appreciates the time taken by many people with long COVID who wrote to us to share how the condition has deeply impacted many aspects of their lives. Our next public hearing will unpack some of the issues raised in these submissions in more detail  so we can consider how to better support long COVID patients now and in the future.”

The committee will also hear from the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC), the NACCHO and a roundtable of experts jointly organised by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Deputy Chair of the Committee, Melissa McIntosh MP, said, “The roundtable convened by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences will bring together experts in areas such as infectious diseases, epidemiology, immunology, mental health and public health. This is a great opportunity for the Committee to hear from individuals at the forefront of COVID research and treatment.”

The committee will hear from the DHAC about what the Government is doing to respond to the new challenges for Australia’s healthcare system presented by long COVID and repeated COVID infections and is also looking forward to hearing from NACCHO with its valuable insights into the primary care response to COVID-19 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

To view the article Health Committee to hear from long COVID patients and hold roundtable with experts published on the Business Acumen Magazine 2022 website yesterday click here.

Stethoscope & small wooden blocks with Long Covid letters

Image source: Oregon Health News – Blog. Creator: Jikaboom. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

NACCHO Strong Born campaign launch

Strong Born is a communications campaign designed to raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural and remote communities. This campaign is part of the National Information Campaign for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and is supported by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

You can find more information about FASD programs and resources on the NACCHO website here.

You are invited to join NACCHO for the free online launch of the Strong Born campaign.

Speakers include:

Pat Turner – NACCHO CEO and Dr Sarah Hayton -NACCHO Executive Director

Caterina Giorgi – FARE CEO

Dr Robyn Williams – FASD Researcher, Curtin University

Emily Carter – Marinwarntikura CEO, Sue Thomas – Strategic Priority Lead – Marinwantikura and Jadnah Davies – Marulu Team – Marninwantikura

When: Wednesday 22 February 2023

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM AEDT

To register click here.

Strong Born Campaign Launch tile with text: Campaign Launch Wednesday February 22 2023 3PM - 4PM AEDT Register at

Regional health delivering poor outcomes

The Parliamentary Inquiry into outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW found that residents in rural, regional and remote NSW:

  • Have significantly poorer health outcomes, greater incidents of chronic disease and greater premature deaths when comparted to their metropolitan counterparts (Finding 1);

  • Have inferior access to health and hospital services, especially those living in remote towns and locations and Indigenous communities (Finding 20);

  • Face significant financial challenges in order to access diagnosis, treatment and other health services compared to those living in metropolitan cities (Finding 3)

The inquiry also found inequities when it comes to the provision of health services to rural, regional and remote NSW, in particular:

  • There is a critical shortage of health professionals across rural, regional and remote communities (Finding 9); and

  • There has been a historic failure by both state and Federal governments to attract, support and retain health professionals, especially doctors and nurses in rural, regional and remote areas (Finding 11).

These findings were echoed today in a report from the Australia Institute: The Unlucky Country, Life Expectancy and Health in Regional and Remote Australia.

To view The Beagle article Regional Health : promises, mediocrity, tardiness and inequity delivering poor outcomes in full click here.

yellow road sign stethoscope 368k red road soil flat plain

Image source: The Medical Journal of Australia.

To Voice or not to Voice, that is the question

As debate around the Indigenous Voice to Parliament ramps up in political circles, not for profits have been quietly cementing their own positions on the issue. In the case of the Fred Hollows Foundation, the path was clear. CEO Ian Wishart told Pro Bono News the foundation had taken its lead from the venerable Fred Hollows himself, who he described as “a true ally to First Nations people”.

“As a not for profit working in more than 25 countries, we have a powerful chance to lead conversations on achieving equity in health outcomes. It’s not only appropriate, it goes back to our roots advocating for those who are needlessly blind and vision impaired,” Wishart said. He added that Hollows “believed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander control, ownership and leadership of health services was vital to achieving equitable health outcomes” and advocated for this “as far back as the 1970s”.

“The foundation’s support of broader social justice reforms, such as the Uluru Statement from the Heart, ensures that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to a meaningful say on decisions that affect them. A constitutionally enshrined Voice is the only form of constitutional change that has wide and broad support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Wishart said.

“Following in Fred’s legacy, the foundation has a responsibility as a non-Indigenous organisation to act as an ally and amplify and support the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, leaders and organisations calling for social justice reform. We are delighted that so many other social sector organisations and businesses are joining in the cause. We believe it is our responsibility to be a strong voice for justice and reconciliation.”

To view the Pro Bono News article To Voice or not to Voice, that is the question in full click here.

orange wall with orange megaphone attached

Image source: Pro Bono News webpage – 15 February 2023.

Bush food diet to manage Type 2 diabetes

A new study will test whether diets that closely resemble those consumed by First Nations people in pre-colonisation times can help drive Type 2 diabetes remission in Indigenous people. The research, led by Ngarrindjeri Elders in SA’s Coorong, along with Flinders University and the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network (RMCLHN) will use the ketogenic diet to boost health outcomes.

Ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrate intake and promote the consumption of fats to induce the body to use fat as its principal energy source.  The diets have become popular in recent years as a way to lose weight, although the first ketogenic diets were developed in the 1920s.

Boandik, Ngarrindjeri, Narungga and Kaurna woman and RMCLHN director of Aboriginal health Sharon Wingard said the study provided an opportunity for Aboriginal people to learn from their ancestors for better health outcomes. She said the typical diet of Ngarrindjeri people, which included hunted meat and fish and bush tucker such as saltbush, was typically low in carbohydrates and high in fats.

To view the ABC News article Keto-style bush food diet could be key to helping Indigenous Australians to manage Type 2 diabetes in full click here.

Aerial shot of the Coorong, near the Murray Mouth in SA

The Coorong, near the Murray Mouth in South Australia, was an abundant source of fish and other meat for Ngarrindjeri people. Photo: Prue Adams, ABC Landline:.

Marathon kicks off Wiradjuri woman’s dream

After a “once in a lifetime” journey, Wiradjuri woman Hayley Pymont wants to use the achievement of crossing the finish line of the New York Marathon to chase down all six major world marathons and “create change” around mental health. The 28-year-old, who grew up on Dharawal country, has celebrated completing the Indigenous Marathon Project [IMP] with a “return to community” event at Warilla near Wollongong.

The project was founded by Australian champion runner Robert de Castella who travelled to the Illawarra for the event. “Hayley is graduate 127 and we have 132, and each and every one of them has had a graduating ceremony like this where I am privileged to see the impact each of the graduates has had on family, friends, and community,” Mr de Castella said. The six-month health, well-being, and leadership journey prepares the participants to run in the 42-kilometre New York Marathon.

To view the ABC News article New York Marathon kicks off study dreams and plans for all six majors for Wiradjuri woman Hayley Pymont in full click here.

Hayley Pymont in training for the New York Marathon, as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project. Photo: Anna Warr. Image source: Illawarra Mercury - 6 August 2022.

Hayley Pymont in training for the New York Marathon, as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project. Photo: Anna Warr. Image source: Illawarra Mercury – 6 August 2022.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website Current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *