NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Everything you need for the NACCHO 2023 Members’ Conference

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.

Everything you need for the NACCHO 2023 Members’ Conference

The NACCHO 2023 Members’ Conference website is now live with everything you need to know in one spot! Head on over to see the program, check out the presenters and sponsors and register if you haven’t already!

Conference ticket prices increase from 1 October 2023.

This year’s conference is in beautiful Noongar Boodja and include three deadly events:

  • NACCHO Youth Conference – 23 October
  • NACCHO AGM and EGM – 24 October
  • NACCHO Members’ Conference – 25-26 October

The Conference is an annual gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector leaders from across the country. With over 400 delegates expected each year, the conference brings opportunities for attendees to network, learn, influence and celebrate our ongoing drive to self-determination.

Visit the NACCHO Conference website for more information and to register here.

AWAHS sets breast screening record

Across NSW only 35% of Aboriginal women aged 40-74 participate in breast screening every two years as recommended, but now in Albury the results are at an all-time high of 80%, the highest in the state. It comes after a mobile clinic was stationed at Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS) for three days in August, offering Aboriginal women a convenient location to have their mammogram. AWAHS also provided a free bra fitting and bra giveaway event, resulting in more participation of Aboriginal women being screened for breast cancer in three days than over the previous 12 months.

AWAHS Acting CEO, Catherine Coysh said many women who screened for the first time were scared that screening would be painful, however left the mobile van smiling and relieved.

“We are pleased that this event has encouraged so many Aboriginal women to screen for the first time and hopefully they’ve overcome their concerns and will continue to screen every two years,” she said.

BreastScreen NSW Director, Veronica Scriven said of the 89 women who screened at the event, 64 were screening for the first time, with the majority of women who had been screened before overdue for their two-yearly breast screen.

“When breast cancer is found early, it’s easier to treat and most women recover and get back to their normal lives.

“We want to ensure Aboriginal women are supported in accessing breast screening and are thrilled to see so many women access this life-saving service,” Miss Coysh said.

Read the full National Indigenous Times article here.

Representatives from Support the Girls, AWAHS and BreastScreen NSW. Image source: BreastScreen NSW.

Growing awareness about risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding

Red Shoes Rock, a global awareness campaign giving voice and support to those affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, has been making a high-visibility splash across Australia this past month. Many activities across FASD Awareness Month have highlighted the progress that is being made to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The Red Shoes Rock campaign was started a decade ago by RJ Formanek, an adult with FASD living in Canada. He decided to wear red shoes to stand out and start a conversation about his invisible disability. Now, the movement has spread across the globe, including Australia, with people wearing red shoes and cities lighting up monuments to help raise awareness.

Foundation of Alcohol Research & Education (FARE) CEO, Caterina Giorgi writes: caused by prenatal alcohol exposure, FASD is a lifelong disability. People with FASD can experience challenges such as developmental delay; impaired speech and language development; learning problems; and difficulty controlling behaviour. This is why the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends that people should not drink any alcohol when pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

September has been an opportunity to raise awareness of FASD and the need to create supportive communities for alcohol-free pregnancies. However, it is also an opportunity to acknowledge progress that has been made in preventing and diagnosing FASD. Providing support, as well as the need to continue to take action. This includes NACCHO’s Strong Born communications campaign, designed to raise awareness of FASD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Read the full article here.

Image source: FARE.

MyMedicare Webinar for ACCHOs

On Friday 29 September, NACCHO is hosting a webinar with the Department of Health and Aged Care for information on the MyMedicare practice and patient registration process. This aims to go into greater detail on how aspects of MyMedicare specific to the ACCHO sector.

MyMedicare is a new voluntary patient registration model that will formalise the relationship between patients, their ACCHO or general practice, general practitioner (GP) and primary care teams. MyMedicare will give patients and their care team access to new MBS items and new blended funding.

Registration in MyMedicare is voluntary for patients, practices and providers. MyMedicare patient registration opens on 1 October 2023 and will be available to patients with a Medicare card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Card. ACCHOs and Aboriginal Medical Services can register in MyMedicare as a practice to be ready for patient registration from 1 October.

In this webinar the department will provide information to be MyMedicare ready and will answer your questions. There will be a focus on issues that impact the ACCHO sector including hub and spoke practice registration and the interaction of MyMedicare registration with the Practice Incentive Payment – Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP – IHI).

Register here.

Further information about MyMedicare can be found here.

Calls to Protect the human rights of people with disability

With the final report of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability being delivered today, Thursday 28 September, the Federal Government is being urged by People with Disability Australia (PWDA) to enact national human rights legislation to address long-standing inequalities. In a statement, President of PWDA, Nicole Lee said, “our laws must change so that disabled people have equal access to human rights just like everyone else.”

Once released, First Peoples Disability Network Australia said they will address the report and advocate for necessary actions.

“Our experiences as First Nations people with disability deserve full representation in the DRC’s final report. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough – we need to be heard.”

PWDA has outlines 10 actions Australian governments must take in response to the DRC, including:

  1. Address the drivers of and end segregation of people with disability in all settings and contexts.
  2. Ensure all people with disability enjoy legal capacity and equality before the law.
  3. End all forms of forced treatments and restrictive practices, including seclusion and restraint.
  4. Ensure people with disability, particularly women and girls, enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights on an equal basis as others.
  5. Urgently address indefinite detention and deprivation of liberty of people with disability, particularly First Nations people with disability, people with intellectual disability, and people with psychosocial disability.
  6. End discrimination against migrants and refugees with disability
  7. Urgently address the over-representation of people with disability living in poverty and ensure an adequate standard of living and social protection.
  8. Ensure full participation of people with disability, including through their representative organisations, in all matters that affect them.
  9. Implement a full Disability Royal Commission Redress and Reparation Scheme.
  10. Undertake reform of Commonwealth, State/Territory laws to ensure compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Read the full Croakey Health Media article here.

Image source: Unspalsh.

Digital inclusion crucial for access to services and informed decision-making

Research by RMIT University has found a significant gap in digital inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, compared with other Australians. According to The Mapping the Digital Gap 2023 Outcomes Report, about 43% of the 1,545 First Nationals communities across Australia have no mobile services, some with only a shared public photo or no telecommunications access. Nationally, the gap in digital access between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians is 7.5 points out of 100. The gap widens significantly to 24.5 points for remote communities.

Lead investigator and Senior Research Fellow, Dr Daniel Featherstone said with government and other services increasingly moving online, it is crucial that all Australians can effectively access and use digital technologies.

“We use these technologies to access essential services for health, welfare, finance, and education, participate in social and cultural activities, follow news and media, as well as connect with family, friends, and the wider world.

“Improving digital inclusion and access to services is critically important to ensure informed decision-making and agency among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Read more here.

Gangan co-researcher Djamika Ganambarr uses public phone which the primary means of phone communication for most Gangan residents. Image source: RMIT University.

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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