NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Shingles vaccine now free for Indigenous people over 50

The image in the feature tile is from Unsplash.

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.

Shingles vaccine now free for Indigenous people over 50

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50 can now get the shingles vaccine for free, as of Wednesday 1 November. Immunocompromised adults and all people over the age of 65 will also be eligible for the vaccine. The new, free vaccine provides around 10 years’ worth of protection from shingles and previously costed up to $560.

On NITV and SBS World News, NACCHO Medical Advisor Dr Megan Campbell said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are more likely to get shingles and are more likely to get it at a younger age.

“The new vaccine is safer and more effective than the last one we had,” she said.

“And more importantly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can get a free two-dose course from the age of 50.”

Watch it on NITV here and on SBS World News here.

Image source: ABC News.

Black Rainbow on preventing Indigenous LGBTQIA+SB suicide

Black Rainbow Founder, Dameyon Bonson spoke at the 2023 NACCHO Members’ Conference session LGBTQIA+SB and Inclusivity in ACCHOs on how the National Indigenous LGBTQIA+SB Volunteer Suicide Prevention Organisation came to be, and why it is needed. Mr Bonson shared a story of how he saw a funeral notice for a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy who died by suicide. Mr Bonson explained. “I said to myself ‘what if this young fella was gay? Or questioning?’ What services could he look at and go ‘I can go there, and I’ll feel comfortable and safe there.’” Now, Black Rainbow does just that – provides a safe space to pursue positive health and wellbeing for the LGBTQIA+SB Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, while acknowledging that racism and homophobia are significant determinants of health.

“It [Black Rainbow] was created so that if any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, no-binary, sistergirl, or brotherboy felt lonely or isolated, they could get online and see themselves reflected positively,” Mr Bonson said.

In its early days, Black Rainbow leveraged social media to gain traction, claiming the space where the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI+SB people had predominately been within sexual health conversations. Expanding the conversation, Mr Bonson used Twitter to “champion the work that needed top be done and raise money.”

“I thought I’d given the organisations enough time to do what you’re funded to do, and you haven’t done it.

“Well guess what? The black fellas gonna do it…the black gay one’s gonna do it,” he said.

Learn more about Black Rainbow here.

If you are feeling stressed, not sleeping well, or have increased anxiety and depression you can seek immediate help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:

Black Rainbow Founder Dameyon Bonson speaking at the 2023 NACCHO Members’ Conference.

QAIHC urges Indigenous-led reform on deaths in custody

Following the death of 16-year-old Aboriginal boy Cleveland Dodd in the Unit 18 youth detention facility at Perth’s adult Casuarina Prison, the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has renewed its call for urgent prison reform to improve the health, well-being and safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. QAIHC urged immediate action to address the lack of cultural safety faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in custody in Queensland, stressing that “without immediate action to address systemic racism within the criminal justice system, similar tragedies will continue to occur”, in a statement issued Wednesday.

QAIHC noted it was encouraged by recent remarks by federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler at the NACCHO Members Conference in Perth, where he committed his department to reviewing access and cultural appropriateness of healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody, but warned that a review without the input and involvement of Australia’s Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation sector would be incomplete and ineffective.

“ACCHOs understand the unique needs, challenges, and solutions our communities require, and it is critical that the ACCHO sector is involved in a review and in the ongoing delivery of healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody,” said QAIHC CEO Cleveland Fagen.

“We must increase access to culturally safe, effective, and relevant care and support within the justice system, in alignment with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.”

Read the full National Indigenous Times article here.

Brisbane youth detention centre. Image: Darren England (AAP).

VACCHO supports decriminalisation of public drunkenness

VIC will decriminalise public drunkenness on November 7, in a decision that has long been lauded by Indigenous and health experts. The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) welcomed the proposed abolishment of the law. VACCHO CEO, and Gunditjmara woman, Aunty Jill Gallagher said, “The abolition of Public Drunkenness laws was a key recommendation of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody because of its dangerous and discriminatory impact.”

Ms Gallagher told the National Indigenous Times, “The repeal of these laws is vital for the betterment of the health and safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and indeed all Victorians.”

The role of groups like cohealth will focus on supporting intoxicated people in a wide range of areas. Street based health teams, which will include a nurse and an alcohol/drug worker, can help people with as little a task as charging their phone to sitting with them whilst they wait to get home.

The last port of call would be transporting them to a sobering centre – such as the new alcohol sobering centre on Cambridge Street (not yet open) – which would need the person’s consent. Other options still include care at a medical facility if they are too intoxicated to give consent or are a danger to themselves to the community.

Read the full article here.

Image source: National Indigenous Times.

International Indigenous Disability Research Conference

An International Indigenous Disability Research Conference, a first of its kind, is set to be held at the University of Syndey this month. The symposium aims to explore and bring to light what the international platform of Indigenous disability research looks like under the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The objective is to develop a strategy for the university research centres in how they engage in the Indigenous research space on a global scale.

The symposium will address three questions:

  • What does the international disability research archive look like on a global scale?
  • How can scholars respect and empower Indigenous people with disability in research and research translation that is culturally respectful for Indigenous people?
  • What does decolonization/Indigenisation mean in disability research?

The event is being hosted by the Centre of Disability Research and Policy and the University of Syndey. It will also be supported by the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and the University Disability Inclusion Action Plan. It will be held on November 22 and November 23 at the Susan Wakil Health Building on the Camperdown campus.

Register here.

‘Welcome Baby to Bourke’ recognised

Welcome Baby to Bourke has won the Secretary’s Award at the 25th annual NSW Health Awards. With no operating birthing unit in Bourke, expectant mothers need to travel to Dubbo to deliver their babies. Welcome Baby to Bourke is an initiative to welcome babies born away from Country back into the region. Pat Canty, WNSWLHD Manager Aboriginal Health Partnerships and Community Engagement in the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Directorate, said this award belongs to all our babies and parents of the Bourke Community.

“Thank you for the support we have received from our community and partners. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible. To be recognised by this prestigious award is a dream come true. This event is so important to the babies and our families in the community. This is something very special,” Mrs Canty said.

Read more here.

Image source: ABC News.

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 *