NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Ticking clock for climate action

feature tile photo of parched Australia earth; text 'Lowitja Institute CEO calls for International climate action to guarantee survival of Indigenous communities and their lands'

The image in the feature tile is from an article Australian Indigenous leaders say ‘need to be’ at climate table published in Al Jazeera on 18 November 2022.

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.

Ticking clock for climate action

On Tuesday 18 April 2023, Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor, Janine Mohamed delivered an intervention to the United Nations (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Twenty-Second Session in New York City, calling for strong action to guarantee the survival of Indigenous communities and our lands. In her address, Adjunct Professor Mohamed urged the UN and member nation states to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and convene a meeting to discuss decolonised approaches and actions.

“Climate change has a significant impact on our peoples’ health and wellbeing, and on our physical health, our social and emotional wellbeing, and our spiritual wellbeing, by disconnecting our peoples from Country and culture,” Professor Mohamed said.

Professor Mohamed said it is critical to highlight at the international level the urgent need to hold governments to account for their roles in climate change. “There is a clear connection between climate change and colonisation. There is a ticking clock for action and we want nation states to act with urgency.”

You can view the Lowitja Institute media release Lowitja Institute CEO calls for an international commitment to climate action through decolonisation in full here.

2 images; Lowitja Lowitja Institute CEO Adj Prof Janine Mohamed

Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Checklist for cheaper medicines

The AMA has released a Checklist for Cheaper Medicines, calling for government action to help patients afford essential medicines as cost-of-living increases continue to bite the household budget.  AMA President Professor Steve Robson said the checklist included measures the federal government could take, some of them immediately, to help reduce the cost of medicines for Australian households — without necessarily raiding the taxpayer hip pocket.  


“Research tells us patients are skipping medications because of the cost of living — that just shouldn’t be happening,” Professor Robson said. Professor Robson said the AMA would like to see a recommendation from the independent expert body, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) finally put in place — to allow patients to receive two months’ supply of certain medications when they visit the pharmacy. 


“There’s a cost and inconvenience of travelling in every month, and this can lead to people not taking their medicines when they should — allowing patients to fill two months of their repeats will help them with medication adherence and save them a visit to the GP every six months.  

You can view the AMA’s media release Checklist for Cheaper Medicines — Helping patients afford medicines as cost-of-living soars  in full click here and the Cheaper Medicines checklist here.

pharmacist's hand checking box of medicine

Image source: AMA website.

Language loss heavily impacts health

There are more than 7,000 languages in the world, but this great diversity is threatened as more and more languages aren’t taught to children and fall into slumber. The findings are alarming: we’re losing languages, we’re losing language diversity, and unless we do something, these windows into our collective history will close. Language is very special to humans; it’s part of what makes us who we are.

Sadly, the world’s Indigenous languages are facing an endangerment crisis due to colonisation and globalisation. We know each language lost heavily impacts the health of Indigenous individuals and communities by severing ties to ancestry and traditional knowledge. Without sustained support for language revitalisation, many people will be harmed and our shared linguistic window into human history, cognition and culture will become seriously fragmented.

The UN declared 2022–2032 the Decade of Indigenous Languages. Around the world, grassroots organisations including the Nugukurr Language Centre (NT) and the Noogar Boodiar Language Centre (WA) in Australia are working towards language maintenance and revitalisation. To get a feel for what this can be like, check out an interactive animation ‘My Grandmother’s Lingo’ by Angelina Joshua, who is from the remote NT Ngukurr community in SE Arnhem Land, here.

To view The Conversation article Research on 2,400 languages shows nearly half the world’s language diversity is at risk in full click here.

2 images, entrance to Ngukurr Language Centre; ATSI kids lying on tummies in a circle listening to ATSI person reading book

Image source: Ngukurr Language Centre website.

Flu is serious, keep you mob safe

Influenza is serious and it can make mob really sick.

Prepare for winter this year with a flu vaccine. Flu shots are FREE for all Aboriginal people aged 6 months and over.

Book your vaccine today through your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service.

Please note that some providers may charge an administration or consultation fee. Ask your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker if this applies to you.

More information you can visit the NSW Government NSW Health webpage Influenza is serious. Get your flu shot today. here.

You can view The Beagle article Influenza is serious: keep your mob safe in full here.

Addressing health inequity for children

Over $2m in funding has been awarded to support the Providing Enhanced Access to Child Health Services Evaluation (PEACH-E) project. As an initiative of The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN), PEACH aims to address equity to health services for children and young people from priority populations through early identification and supported and enhanced care.

“Inequity means Aboriginal children are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than their non-Aboriginal peers, children with disabilities are twice as likely to have more than four hospital admissions than their non-disabled peers, children living in Out of Home Care are two to three times more likely to die during childhood, and children from refugee and CALD backgrounds have eight times higher chronic disease rates than their peers”.

PEACH-E will evaluate the effectiveness of PEACH by comparing health outcomes for children from priority populations receiving care from SCHN with those from non-priority populations, as well as comparing outcomes and costs for children who receive care through PEACH with those of national controls for improving health access and outcomes among priority populations. Significantly, it will also co-design a framework to expand the project from a Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) service to one that can be rolled out across NSW and to other major children’s hospitals Australia-wide.

To view The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network article Strengthening outcomes for children from priority populations in full click here.

young girl having throat examined by a doctor

Image source: SCHN website.

Black Burnout: how to combat worker stress

For Indigenous workers the tension between kinship and familial responsibilities and those of the workplace are often keenly felt. Strong family ties have been a key to survival for many Indigenous peoples, but financial and emotional obligations to large family networks can cause stress.

And workplaces can be alienating when you’re one of few, or the only, Indigenous staff member. This can also create extra burdens, “There’s this kind of work that’s just expected of us. Can you do this acknowledgement? Can you sit on this RAP? What’s your perspective on the Voice? All of those miscellaneous cognitive loads, that is still creating an emotional response in the body.” says Caroline Kell.
In the latest episode of the BLA.C.K Medicine podcast, available here, Mikayla and Caroline yarn about black burnout, what causes it, and how it differs from burnout felt by other communities.
SBS Audio tile text ; Black Burnout: How Indigenous Workers Combat Stress; play tab; inserted tile SBS BLA.C.K Medicine

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.

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