NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Community investment key to reducing diabetes

feature tile Central Australia dialysis patients Selina & Rhonda Bob exercising; text ' ACCHO sector has shown what can be achieved through investment in community driven solutions'

The image in the feature tile is of Selina and Rhonda Bob (who spend 16 hours a week on dialysis, but are doing everything in their power to live a healthy lifestyle) as they appeared an article Diabetes rates in Central Australia among highest in the world, new research shows published by ABC News on 6 August 2022. Photo: Xavier Martin.

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.

Community investment key to reducing diabetes

Climate action must be accelerated

This week, leaders from around the world are in New York for the United Nations (UN) Climate Ambition Summit. To coincide with the summit, The Australian Institute has coordinated an open letter, signed by over 220 leading climate scientists and eminent experts, calling on the Australian Government to follow the science and stop new fossil fuel projects. The letter with the title ‘Australia Must Accelerate Climate Action, Not Climate Annihilation’ will appear as a full-page ad in the The New York Times.

The letter opens with “World leaders convene this week at the UN Climate Ambition Summit in recognition that the global community must accelerate efforts to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate change.” The letter continues “The UN Secretary General, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Energy Agency (IEA), and scientists from all over the world have made it clear there is no room for new gas, coal and oil projects in the global carbon budget. Yet, in Australia, over 10,000 miles from where leaders will meet to demonstrate their commitment to climate action, vast areas of the continent are covered by coal, gas and oil production and licenses.”

“In this – the ‘decisive decade’ for climate – there are over 100 new coal and gas projects in development in Australia according to official data. If all these projects proceed, research by The Australia Institute shows they would add a further 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to the atmosphere every year – roughly the equivalent emissions of the entire Russian Federation, the world’s forth-largest polluter. Accelerating the pace and scale of climate action means an end to new fossil fuel approvals and subsidies. As the world’s third largest exporter of fossil fuels, Australia has a special responsibility to stop fueling the increase in global emissions caused by Australian fossil fuel production, both in Australia and overseas.”

For more information about The Australia Institute’s open letter you can visit their website here.

banner text 'The Australia Institute Research that matters. Australia Must Accelerate Climate Action, Not Climate Annihilation'

MyMedicare webinar for GPs and Practice Managers

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC) is hosting webinar tomorrow Thursday 21 September 2023 from 12.30pm–1.30pm about the MyMedicare practice and patient registration processes. The webinar aims to help organisations prepare for patient registration from 1 October 2023.

If you’re interested you can register for the webinar using this link.

If you can’t attend the webinar live, you can watch the recording whenever it suits you best at this link. The recording will be available within the week following the live webinar.

Panellists will include:

  • Simon Cotterell PSM – First Assistant Secretary, Primary Care Division, DHAC; and
  • Tara Welsh -Practice Manager, Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM).

Representatives from Services Australia will facilitate a system demonstration.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them during the webinar and share your thoughts in the comments.

You can invite friends to the webinar using this link.

tile text 'MyMedicare - session for GPs and Practice Managers'

Common dermatological conditions webinar

The AH&MRC Public Health Team are hosting a webinar Identification and Management of common dermatological conditions in primary care. The webinar, being held from 3.30pm–4.30pm on Wednesday 27 September 2023, will provide valuable knowledge and insights into common dermatological presentations in primary care and clinical management of these presentations, for anyone working in ACCHOs. Topics of focus include identifying and managing cutaneous fungal infections, eczema and its common complications, and rare entities not to be missed.

The webinar will feature a panel of fantastic presenters including Dr Dana Slape, Dr Rhiannon Russell and Dr Victoria Snaidr.

  • Dr Dana Slape is a Larrakia Dermatologist, who works in a variety of settings across priority communities in urban and rural areas including the local Aboriginal Medical Service at Tharawal, Campbelltown Hospital, Darwin Hospital, and custodial facilities for children, women, and men across NSW and the NT.  Dana is the first Aboriginal dermatologist and is deeply committed to growing the First Nations specialist health workforce.
  • Dr Rhiannon Russell is a Dermatology Registrar and proud Worimi woman. She currently works in the Western Sydney region at Liverpool hospital. She hopes to return to the NSW South Coast where she is connected to the community through her training as a medical student and junior doctor. She is committed to growing the First Nations medical graduates through her mentorship at Wollongong University.
  • Dr Victoria Snaidr is a dermatologist with a special interest in rural and remote medicine. Prior to gaining her Fellowship of the Australasian College of Dermatologists (FACD), Victoria was a GP whose interest and experience specifically in Aboriginal health was founded after working as a GP in remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia, and further cemented during her years working at Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. Victoria is currently working as a dermatologist in the central Sydney area and Gosford.

Audience input is welcome, including asking questions and/or offering examples of how things may be working in your ACCHO.

To participate in this webinar, you can register here. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the webinar details and instructions on how to join – please check your spam/junk mail for the confirmation email.

If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the AH&MRC Public Health team by email here.

tile Aboriginal dot art; text 'AH&MRC Dermatology Webinar'

High blood pressure risk for NT mob

In a first-of-its-kind study, screening has detected concerning levels of a major hypertension risk among young people in Australia’s Top End. Associate Professor Jun Yang has previously confirmed that primary aldosteronism (PA), a hormonal condition, is a significant yet often undetected contributor to high blood pressure (hypertension). However, there is currently no available data on the prevalence of PA within Australian First Nations communities.

Through a partnership with Professor Gurmeet Singh from the Menzies School of Health Research, Dr Yang and her team successfully conducted PA testing in pre-existing groups of young individuals, Australian First Nations communities, and non-Indigenous residents residing in the NT.  A/Prof Yang believes the results are concerning in themselves, but also potentially open a window into broader issues of public health for Indigenous people. “We found positive tests for PA in over a quarter of the urban-residing participants of the Cohort studies who were tested,” she said. “Australian First Nations people are known to have high rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but this is the first time this type of testing has been done in these communities. PA is a highly modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and correct identification will enable appropriate targeted treatment.”

Lead author and PhD candidate Dr Elisabeth Ng said the “timely detection of primary aldosteronism is particularly important for Australian First Nations people due to their high rates of heart and kidney diseases, both of which may be associated with having too much aldosterone”. “Targeted treatment to block aldosterone action or remove aldosterone excess may be a lifesaver.” The next steps are to establish a process of appropriate screening process across the Top End.

To view the National Indigenous Times article High blood pressure risk revealed in Top End First Nations communities in full click here.

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 – Dementia Action Week 18–24 September 2023

Each day during this year’s Dementia Action Week – 18–24 September 2023 NACCHO has been sharing a range of information and resources that may be of use to the ACCHO sector.

In September last year an article, available here, about a study into the high prevalence of dementia among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, was published in The Lancet. The authors of the study said it is likely that historically recent exposure to modifiable risk factors underlie the high dementia rates, and a large proportion of dementia may be potentially preventable.

The researchers said dementia is, and will remain, a major challenge for First Nations populations. Their largely theoretical study estimated that half the burden of dementia in First Nations residents of the Torres Strait and NPA may be due to 11 potentially modifiable risk factors. They said the results make a clear case for governments to invest in preventative health, health promotion, and education, to reduce the largest contributing factors while fostering protective factors already present. The protective factors include good levels of social contact, low alcohol abuse, and levels of education that are improving across generations.

You can find out more information about Dementia Action Week 2023 on the Dementia Australia website here. You can also watch the below video The Fading Moon – it is one of a series of videos and other resources, available here, developed by Dementia Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Leave a Reply

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