NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: First Nations to guide health regulation process

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The image in the feature tile is from an RACGP Twitter post on 27 March 2020 about racism being unacceptable and harmful, for patients, staff members in practices, health services and doctors in training.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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.

First Nations to guide health regulation process

First Nations representatives will be central to regulatory decisions about medical practitioners, nurses and midwives where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are involved under a new process being rolled out. Details about a new culturally safe process being implemented to consider such matters are being released as part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the National Board’s commitment to eliminating racism from healthcare.

A minimum of two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, plus practitioners from each of the relevant profession and community members, will together make decisions about matters concerning culturally safe health care and racism in line with the legislation governing health practitioners in Australia. The Indigenous experts will make decisions with other Board representatives about any notification involving Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander Peoples. In the most serious matters, this will include the decisions about whether to refer a practitioner to an independent Tribunal.

A proud descendent of the Darumbal and Juru clans of the Birra Gubba Nation with South Sea Islander heritage, Associate Professor Carmen Parter, is an Ahpra Board member. As co-Founder and Director at the Learning Centre for Systemic Change and Research and the inaugural Co-chair of the Indigenous Working Group of the World Federation of Public Health Association, A/Prof Parter said elevating Indigenous involvement in the consideration of matters concerning race was “real and significant action. Racism is the biggest public health issue that Australia faces today and no-one wants to talk about it or do anything about it.”

To view the National Indigenous Times article Indigenous representatives to guide vital health regulation process in full click here.

Associate Professor Carmen Parter

Associate Professor Carmen Parter. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

ACCHO now home to life-changing equipment

The North Coast Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health (NCACCH) Gympie clinic is now home to a life-changing digital retina scanning (DRS) device. The machine, donated by St John Ambulance on Monday 20 March, will provide preventative treatment against glaucoma. Diabetes occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nearly five times more than non-Indigenous Australians, and diabetic retinopathy can increase the risk of an individual developing glaucoma.

NCACCH Gympie practice manager Katrina Johnston said this diagnostic tool is especially important, as it will aid in Closing the Gap in life expectancy. “We know that diabetes is probably one of the major chronic conditions that affect our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients,” Ms Johnston said. “If we can get on top of it early and be more proactive than reactive, it makes our lives a lot better.”

Ms Johnston also said the newest addition could potentially be added to the annual health check the clinic provides. “It’s not just about our diabetic patients, every Indigenous person is at risk,” she said.

To view the Gympie Today article NCACCH receives ‘life-saving’ equipment in full click here.

new DRS with St John Ambulance & NCACCH (Qld) staff

The new DRS with members of St John Ambulance and NCACCH staff. Image source: Gympie Today.

Mob urged to get vaccinated against measles

NT Health is issuing a warning about measles ahead of the upcoming Easter holidays following a rise in cases overseas and interstate. Measles outbreaks are occurring in the USA and Europe, while the virus remains common in countries across Asia, Africa and in the Middle East. Cases of measles have recently been diagnosed in returned overseas travellers in other Australian states and territories, as well as in NZ.

The most recent cases of measles in the NT were in 2019, when 31 were recorded. Vaccination is the best protection against measles and help to prevent outbreaks from occurring. Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are required for immunity against measles and are given to children in Australia at 12 and 18 months of age.

To view the NT Government media release Public health alert: Territorians urged to get vaccinated against measles ahead of Easter holidays in full click here.

While this media release is for the NT the advice is applicable across Australia for anyone born after 1966 without two documented doses. Measles is highly infectious and while most don’t become seriously unwell, because of potentially large numbers of cases, there are likely to be some with more serious complications.

close up photo of vaccination being administered into arm

Photo: Beawiharta: Reuters – file photo) Image source: ABC News.

The Voice is Aunty Eunice’s ‘little ray of hope’

Ngarrindjeri elder Aunty Eunice Aston knows how important is is to have your voice heard, as she remembers living through the harsh government policies forced upon Indigenous people. Born in 1959 in Point McLeay Mission, now known as Raukkan, she was exiled from her birthplace as an infant, unable to legally return until she was about 15-years-old. At the time, Aboriginal people who received exemption certificates were promised access to the benefits of Australian citizenship that they were otherwise denied. This included access to education, health services, housing and employment, but to apply for and hold an exemption, individuals were required to relinquish their language, identity and ties to kin.

In her time growing up, she experienced all of what Australia had to offer Indigenous people at the time, which consisted of racism and forced assimilation. Under protection and assimilation policies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were treated harshly, which has had an intergenerational effect that continues to this day.

Aunty Eunice says the effect has stunted the growth of Indigenous people which she hopes a Voice to parliament can start to rectify. “Sometimes I get really bewildered by the state that we‘re in and then I see a little ray of hope with the Voice … that’s a ray of hope for me,” she said.

This story featured in the Gold Coast Bulletin article The Voice is ‘my little ray of hope’, says Aunty Eunice Aston here.

Ngarridnjeri Elder, Aunty Eunice Aston at Murray Bridge, overlooking the Murray, with her son Gordon Rigney

Ngarridnjeri Elder, Aunty Eunice Aston at Murray Bridge, overlooking the Murray, with her son Gordon Rigney. Photo: Dean Martin. Image source: Gold Coast Bulletin.

Long fight for clean drinking water finally over

An Indigenous community that has fought for decades for basic utilities despite being just a five-minute drive from Alice Springs finally has access to clean drinking water. American company Source Global has installed its hydropanels in Irrkerlantye, with the innovative solar-powered technology capturing water vapour from the air, turning it into liquid and adding minerals to make it safe to drink.

Australian basketball legend Patty Mills has previously partnered with Source to bring drinking water to six other remote communities. Mills and Source founder Cody Friesen headlined an event in New York last week to spruik the technology during the first United Nations water conference held in almost half a century.

Children’s Ground chief Jane Vadiveloo agreed, saying it was “unacceptable that so many remote Indigenous communities in Australia still face significant challenges in accessing this essential resource”. Describing clean drinking water as a “basic human right”, she said: “There are real solutions that can work to solve these problems now.”

This story featured in the The Chronicle article Alice Springs community wins decades-long fight for access to clean drinking water here.

Irrkerlantye (White Gate) Traditional Owner Felicity Hayes standing with river in background

Irrkerlantye (White Gate) Traditional Owner Felicity Hayes teaches the younger generation at Trephina Gorge near Alice Springs. Photo: Riley Walter. IMage source: The Chronicle.

Seasonal respiratory and other challenges webinar

Benchmarque Group (TBG) is offering a FREE webinar Seasonal Respiratory & Other Challenges: Influenza, RSV & Meningococcal B. presented by TBG Trainer John Gullifer alongside a guest speaker from the Immunisation field.

Benchmarque Group’s first Webinar for 2023 focuses on the practical aspects of immunisation for our upcoming winter season, including a:

  1. brief review of the essentials of influenza vaccination
  2. an explanation of RSV, the clinical picture of the infant infected with RSV and treatments available to protect against infection
  3. when the long anticipated RSV vaccine coming

The webinar will be held from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM AEST Monday 17 April 2023 – it will go for 1 hour with 45 mins of content and 15 minutes of Q&A. This webinar will not be recorded.

Make sure to put this date in your diary and register here to join the Seasonal Respiratory & Other Challenges: Influenza, RSV & Meningococcal B Webinar.

tile: woman with head on pillow blowing nose, text ' FREE Webinar'

Sector Jobs

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