NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Important conversations about bowel cancer screening

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.

Important conversations about bowel cancer screening

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 50 to 74 are urged to do a free bowel cancer screening test. Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer and one of the most common cancers impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, if detected early, almost all bowel cancers are treatable. Approximately one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are completing their bowel cancer screening tests as part of the national program. Wuthathi and Meriam man John Paul Janke is advocating for more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take up the free test, part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening program.

“As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we need to have important conversations about our health.

“Bowel cancer screening is something that is simple, free and easy to do. We need to encourage our brothers and sister to participate, there’s absolutely no shame in looking after your health and wellbeing,” Mr Janke said.

All eligible Australians aged 50 to 74 receive the free bowel cancer screening test in the mail every two years, or through their healthcare professionals. Replacement kits can be ordered through your local health clinic.

For NACCHO Bowel Cancer Screening resources go here.

To read the full Canberra Weekly article click here.

Improving access for patients and attracting medical professionals to the regions: RACGP tours WA

Last week, RACGP President, Dr Nicole Higgins toured WA to discuss doctor shortages, workforce challenges, and culturally safe care. Derbarl Yerrigan Aboriginal Health Service was on the list of stops, the ACCHO providing expertise on how to best provide care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. RACGP WA Chair, Dr Ramya Raman said, “many of us, including myself, have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and we need to be understanding and respectful to the cultural aspects, as well as being able to manage some of the health conditions in a culturally sensitive manner.”

Attending other health services throughout the state, RACGP said the main concerns raised about rural healthcare include improving access for patients, and how to best attract medical professionals to the regions. COVID-19 exacerbating workforce challenges, and creating changes across general practice, which are expected to be felt for years to come.

“There is a level of isolation that many practitioners, medical students, as well as nursing and allied health staff and other colleagues are feeling. There’s a sense of burnout,” Dr Raman said.

Read the full News GP article RACGP tours WA to discuss doctor shortage here.

National Road Safety Action Grants Open

Grants to help reduce road fatalities and injuries are now open. On Friday 28 July Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator Carol Brown announced the opening of the National Road Safety Action Grants Program. The program will deliver key non-infrastructure commitments critical to the delivery priorities outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30 and National Road Safety Action Plan 2023-25.

The program will provide funding across five key focus areas critical to reducing fatalities and serious injuries on our roads:

  1. Community Education and Awareness, including workplace road safety.
  2. Vulnerable Road Users
  3. First Nations Road Safety
  4. Technology and Innovation
  5. Research and Data

Applications for the first two focus areas (Community Education and Awareness, and Vulnerable Road Users) are now open. The program is open to a range of organisations including not-for-profit and research, as well as local, state, and territory governments.

Application for the next two streams (First Nations Road Safety, and Technology and Innovation) are expected to open later this year.

Applications for focus areas one and two close Friday 25 August.

For more information go here.

Image source: The Conversation.

AIDA and AMA sign agreement to help close health gap.

The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) have signed a memorandum of understanding, cementing a shared commitment towards tackling serious health inequalities affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to empower future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors.

“Clinical safety is cultural safety, and it is essential we continue to improve outcomes for our people. By uniting in purpose, we can continue to unlock endless possibilities through our work towards a shared vision of a culturally safe healthcare system,” said AIDA President, Dr Simone Raye.

AMA President, Professor Steve Robson said the new agreement would unlock further collaboration with AIDA and foster growth of a culturally safe expert medical workforce.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a right to affordable and culturally safe healthcare, no matter where they are in Australia,” he said.

Read more here.

AIDA President Dr Simone Raye and AMA President Professor Steve Robson. Image source: AIDA Facebook.

What does ‘Culture First’ mean to you? SEWB Gathering 4 gets underway.

The fourth Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) Gathering is in full swing, kicking off yesterday Monday 31 July and is on until Wednesday 2 August in Darwin. Delegates from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, community organisations, leaders, and experts from across Australia joining forces to discuss social and emotional wellbeing topics, centered around the theme ‘Culture First.’ The upcoming referendum was a key discussion yesterday, with the question ‘How does the Voice and political issues impact on SEWB?’

Taking to the podium Professor Tom Calma said, “I emphasis youth because this referendum is about the future. Young Australians will be a driving force in this referendum, they have been spared the miseducation and misinformation that was received by their parents and grandparents.”

Image source: Centre of Best Practice Facebook.

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.

Key Date: World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week runs from Tuesday 1 August to Monay 7 August. The global campaign aims to raise awareness among decision-makers, workplaces, and the wider community about the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits.

Key messages of the campaign include:

  • Breastfeeding is easier when everyone steps up to support mothers.
  • Women everywhere need paid maternity leave.
  • Breastfeeding is easier when workplaces provide support and dedicate time and space to breastfeed or express milk.

NACCHO’s Strong Born Campaign, in collaboration with the National FASD Campaign Working Group, aims to raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the harms of drinking alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Messaging surrounding breastfeeding includes:

“No alcohol during pregnancy or when breastfeeding is the safest way for mum and baby.”

“If breastfeeding bub, they can get charged up too and get really crook.”

Strong Born Campaign resources are available here.

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