NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Tues 9.5.23

feature tile vector of 12 ATSI women, text 'Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit - We Are The Change - National gathering brings "a necessary First Nations gender lens" to everything from housing to education, healing and economic development'

The image in the feature tile is from the Australian Human Rights Commission website Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit. We are the change. 9–11 May 2023 webpage.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is 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.

Gathering has a “necessary First Nations gender lens”

First Nations women have the right to move beyond “holding society together, healing, reducing harms and violence, and guaranteeing cohesion and healthy environments for everyone” and be free to imagine “gender justice”, the social justice commissioner June Oscar says. More than 900 First Nations women are meeting in Canberra this week, the first national gathering of its kind, to bring “a necessary First Nations gender lens” to everything from housing to education, healing and economic development. “There has never been a national action plan or approach to realising the rights of First Nations women and girls,” the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Oscar said.

For the past five years, Oscar, a Bunuba woman from the Kimberley, has been developing the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (women’s voices) program. Oscar has consulted more than 2,000 Indigenous women across the nation to identify their greatest needs and aspirations. The Wiyi Yani U Thangani report found that Indigenous women are managing the social health and wellbeing of First Nations communities largely through unpaid and unrecognised work at home, in communities and on country. Without adequate formalised support in place, women are caring for children, elders and those with disabilities, often in overcrowded housing. They are delivering frontline crisis services, supporting family to navigate courts and child protection, as well as maintaining culture.

Oscar says the conference will help design the establishment of the First Nations Gender Justice Institute, based at the Australian National University, to make sure women and girls have a say on the policies and systems that govern their lives and the lives of those they are supporting. “Our vision for the First Nations Gender Justice Institute is that it should be a dedicated independent space for women and girls to talk about issues that affect them and their communities … such as leadership and self-determination, such as women’s knowledges in culture, language, country and water rights, lifting women and their families out of poverty,” Oscar says.

To view The Guardian article National gathering of First Nations women aims to bring ‘gender justice’ to Indigenous issues in full click here. You can watch a livestream of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit below.

Supporting access to medicines webinar this THURSDAY

All ACCHO sector staff are invited to participate in a free webinar hosted by NACCHO and the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Office of Health Technology Assessment.

Topics include:

  • How do communities get access to medicines, medical products and services?
  • Medicines and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC): How does it work?
  • Medical products and services and the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC): How does it work?
  • NACCHO’s consultation and advocacy activities in Health Technology Assessment
  • How can ACCHOs get more involved in Health Technology Assessment?

Panel members include NACCHO representatives and experts from PBS and MBS committees.

The webinar ‘Have your say on HTA – Getting involved with the funding of medicines and medical services’ was first held on Thursday 4 May.

If you missed it, you can register here for the second webinar being held this:

Thursday 11 May: 12.30pm-1.45pm (AEST)

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Stephens via email here.

NACCHO tile text 'Hear from the experts to imprve accdess to medicines and medical services for community in the upcoming webinar: Have your say on HTA - Thursday 11 May: 12.30pm-1.45pm (AEST)

Review of funding for mental health services

The Department of Health and Aged Care currently funds mental health and suicide prevention services commissioned through Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the Integrated Team Care (ITC) program which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live with complex chronic conditions and is also commissioned through PHNs.

Ninti One and First Nations Co are undertaking a review of sector funding arrangements a service capability for both programs and the purpose of this review is to explore how the government can best align with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap in the delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention services and the ITC program.

Ninti One and First Nations Co are seeking to learn more from you about your perspectives on current and future commissioning arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Services and the ITC program via a survey response or submission. Your insights will contribute to evidence to inform the review. The survey consists of both multiple choice and free-text and may take approximately 20 minutes to complete, depending on how much information you wish to provide.

You can find out more about the review here and access the survey here.

The survey will remain open until COB Friday 19 May 2023.

Ninti One Limited & First Nations Co logos

An Australia without the RFDS is unthinkable

One of Australia’s most iconic organisations is the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). The RFDS was founded by Reverend John Flynn in Queensland in 1928 and since then it has been an integral part of the landscape – and skies. Reverend Flynn recognised that vast distances and poor communications created intolerable difficulties for the sick or injured in the regions. Almost 100 years on, and even with exponential advances in technology during that time, the RFDS continues to serve a unique purpose – the ability to bring medical care to the most remote parts of Australia, by integrating an airline with intensive care medical services.

Growth in the primary health areas of the organisation means the RFDS helps fill the gap of providing basic GP and dental clinics in locations where it is challenging – or almost impossible – to attract medical professionals to live permanently. In 2022, RFDS facilitated a total of 606 GP and nursing clinics and 151 dental clinics in remote WA. This provided accessible primary care to 8,427 patients who may have otherwise found it challenging to access health services, simply because of where they choose to live.

The RFDS is part of Australia’s broad national health system, and works closely with governments, industry, Aboriginal medical services, primary health networks, local hospital districts, GPs and rural and remote communities.

To view the Business News article An Australia without the Royal Flying Doctor Service is unthinkable – let’s keep it flying high click here.

RFDS dental assistant & dentist, ATSI patient & patient's mother

L-R: RFDS dental assistant Wendy Andrews, dentist Vincenzo Figliomeri, Sonya Williams (standing) and patient Chervina Wongawol. Image source: Business News.

WA prisons mental health emergency

Content warning: This article contains reference to suicide. Please refer to the services at the bottom of this article for support.

A series of suicides in WA’s Serco-operated Acacia Prison will be highlighted by human rights lawyers and a bereaved family this week as the WA Coroner examines the death of nineteen-year-old Noongar and Wirlomin man, Stanley Inman Jnr. On 11 July 2020 Mr Inman was found in a critical condition in a prison storeroom and he died in hospital two days later.

His sister has said she attempted to speak to an Aboriginal Liaison Officer about her concerns regarding her brother’s mental health just days before his deaths. In a statement, Mr Inman’s family said on Monday: “We as a family have stood alongside those other families also affected by this great epidemic and injustice against Indigenous men, women, youth, and children of this country. We simply just don’t understand how to others he has just become a statistic.”

National Justice Project chief executive and Principal Solicitor, George Newhouse, has called on the WA Minister for Corrective Services, Bill Johnston, to take urgent action to address the “mental health emergency” unfolding in WA prisons. “How many more suicides will it take before the WA government acts? We need Aboriginal Medical Services available in prisons to provide the culturally safe care that WA prisons are incapable of delivering,” he said.

To view the National Indigenous Times article WA prisons mental health emergency under the microscope at inquest into death of Aboriginal teenager in full click here.

black and white blurred image of person behind bars

Image source: ABC News.

If this article brought up anything for you or someone you love, please reach out to, call or visit the online resources listed below for support:

13YARN – 13 92 76,

Lifeline – 13 11 14,

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636,

MensLine – 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

VACCHO backs state’s drug reforms

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) welcomed the passage of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2023 last Thursday night. The new law will make the North Richmond Safe Injection Room facility permanent and widen eligibility criteria to provide “vital lifesaving healthcare to vulnerable members of the community”, VACCHO said.

The proposed amendments to the Bill are based on recommendations of an independent review of the facility by renowned public health researcher John Ryan. The Fatal overdose among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Victoria 2018–2021 report states a majority of the fatal overdoses amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were unintentional. VACCHO Executive Director of Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Sheree Lowe, said this year’s Coroners Court of Victoria report demonstrated that Aboriginal families in Victoria “continue to be severely impacted by addiction”.

“The North Richmond initiative is one important part of a multifaceted services system to help manage the complex forms of trauma that lead to addiction. This service along with holistic supports are required to provide important life-saving support to community,” Ms Lowe said. VACCHO noted in a statement on Friday that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience fatal overdoses at a rate more than three times higher than non-Indigenous people. “In 2023, the significant disparity between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people should not exist,” the organisation said.

To view the National Indigenous Times article Victorian Aboriginal health peak body backs state’s drug reforms in full click here.

VACCHO HQ Melbourne - external view

VACCHO HQ Melbourne. Image source: VACCHO website.

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 *