NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: 107 ACCHOs have signed up to deliver COVID-19 vaccines – Pat Turner

107 ACCHOs have signed up to deliver COVID-19 vaccines: Pat Turner on ABC The Drum

Pat Turner AM, CEO NACCHO and Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks was on the panel of speakers for the ABC The Drum last evening and spoke on a couple of topics including the First Nation’s success with COVID-19 and the vaccines rollout, COVID-19’s northern exposure to PNG outbreak, the Federal Government launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in Canberra today encouraging people to move to regional Australia and the Closing the Gap update amongst others.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Pat said, “Experience from other First Nations in US and Canada shows high vaccine uptake occurs when the rollout is led by First Nations peoples and there is community control. Due to our success in controlling the outbreak we’re in a position which allows our services to have a flexible approach to the vaccine rollout.

“Just as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were on the front foot with controlling COVID-19, we are on the front foot with the vaccine. We have advocated to ensure our communities are among the first to be offered the vaccine. We know the devastation COVID-19 can cause due to the high number of people with chronic conditions like diabetes and the potential rapid spread in crowded housing.

“We have 107 ACCHOs who will participate in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout from 1b in late March. This includes many rural and remote ACCHOs, ensuring all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have access to the vaccine if they choose to, regardless of location.

“We need flexibility in the way the vaccine is delivered in communities, especially in remote and very remote setting. NACCHO has been working with the Australian Government to ensure that, where appropriate, this flexibility exists. While the focus remains on those at highest risk – people over 55 or with chronic medical conditions – ACCHOs can also vaccinate family members and household members of those at high risk. A remote vaccine working group is considering a whole of community strategy – including all non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in the community.

“ACCHOs are highly experienced at vaccine roll-out. Five year old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the highest coverage of vaccine uptake in the country and in 2020, almost 80% of people over 65 had the Fluvax.

“We have ensured there is targeted monitoring of safety of the vaccine among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the AusVaxSafety program.

“The Australian Government has announced over $14 million in funding to support the roll-out of the vaccine in ACCHO. However, services are yet to receive this funding.

“We know that the best information comes from locally developed communication materials from the ACCHO sector. This was key to the success of the COVID-19 response.

“The communication materials developed by the Government are a good source of factual and up to date information, but we need to support our services to adapt these to local communities needs.

“NACCHO has worked closely with the Government, including the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) to ensure that restrictions on medicine advertising do not stop our sector from doing what they do best – developing and distributing effective health promotion and engagement campaigns for their communities.”

Nyikina Nyul Nyul nurse Emily Hunter was the first Kimberley person to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Nyikina Nyul Nyul nurse Emily Hunter was the first Kimberley person to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Photo: Erin Parke. Image source: ABC News website.

National Close the Gap Day 2021

“It will be two years since the historic Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect and we are seeing a radical change across the country.

“The new formal partnership agreements between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled representatives are being strengthened or set up in every state and territory to share decision making on Closing the Gap.

“The Priority Reforms in the National Agreement need to be embedded into the way governments work – in their policy development, program and funding guidelines and decision making. Our purpose together is to share decisions on how to improve the life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

To watch the full episode of ABC The Drum click here.

General Practices join the Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine rollout

More than 1,000 general practices will join the COVID-19 vaccination program from next week further strengthening the Commonwealths capacity, and ensuring an efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across the country.

Services will come online from 22 March and progressively increase in number to more than 4,000 by the end of April – as part of Phase 1B of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program.
This staged scale up will align with the supply of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, and as more vaccine becomes available more services will come online.

Over 100 Aboriginal Health Services and 130 Commonwealth operated GP-led Respiratory Clinics, who have been instrumental partners in the COVID-19 response to date will also be progressively added as additional vaccine providers.

This rollout for Phase 1B complements the significant vaccination program underway to protect our most vulnerable citizens in Phase 1A, with approximately 200,000 vaccinated by the end of Tuesday.

Australians eligible for Phase 1B will be able to find a vaccination provider through the new national vaccination information and location service, at the Department of Health website.

This will enable people to locate their nearest general practice providing General Practice Respiratory Clinic vaccinations and link through to their online booking system or phone number to make the appointment.

To read the full media release by the Hon Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health and Aged Care click here.

ATAGI statement in response to European decisions about the Astra Zeneca vaccine

Australia’s regulatory body for vaccines Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) issued a statement to not suspend Astra Zeneca vaccine yesterday.

The benefits far outweigh any unfounded links.

Read the ATAGI statement here.

gloved hand administering vaccine to upper arm

Image: SBS website.

Could we mix and match different COVID-19 vaccines?

The COVID vaccine rollout is now underway in Australia and around the world. It’s incredible we’ve been able to develop and produce safe and effective vaccines so quickly — but the current crop of vaccines might not protect us forever. Fortunately, researchers are already developing and testing booster shots. So what are booster shots, and when might we need them?

The first time you give someone a dose of vaccine against a particular infection, it’s called a prime. You’re getting your immune response ready to roll.

Each time you give another dose against that same infection, it’s called a boost. You’re building on immunity you already have from the first dose.

To read the full article in the Conversation click here.

Facebook-based social marketing to reduce smoking in Australia’s First Nations communities

Interesting research paper released in the Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin: Facebook-based social marketing to reduce smoking in Australia’s First Nations communities: an analysis of reach, shares, and likes. By Hefler M, Kerrigan V, Grunseit A, Freeman B, Kite J, Thomas DP (2020).

To view the journal articles click here.

Therapeutic Goods adverse events following immunisation

This instrument specifies certain therapeutic goods information relating to adverse events following immunisation that may be released to specified bodies and persons for the purpose of ensuring meaningful and effective participation in meetings on vaccine safety to support the safety, quality and safe use of vaccines in Australia.

To view the information click here.

medical tray of COVID-19 vaccine syringes

Image source: Surf Coast Times.

National Anti-Racism Framework plan launched

Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan has launched a plan to establish a National Anti-Racism Framework and has called on the Federal Government to support and implement it. Commissioner Tan released a concept paper detailing key components that need to be included in the Framework and will soon commence a series of roundtables with peak anti-racism organisations to progress the plan.

The plan was launched ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, also known in Australia as Harmony Day, which occurs this Sunday. Commissioner Tan said: “Racism is an economic, social and national security threat to Australia, and we need to treat it as such. Too many Australians are regularly the targets of racism. “It is time we dealt with the scourge of racism in the same way we deal with the scourge of domestic violence, or the scourge of child abuse. On those issues we have longstanding national frameworks, signed onto by all governments with three-year action plans.

To read the media release by the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Concept Paper for a National Anti-Racism Framework click here.

Close the Gap Campaign Report 2021: Policy Brief

Since 2010, the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee has developed an annual report on action that needs to be taken to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We often repeat our recommendations, and we remain steadfast and persistent in the expectation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing will be respected and understood. The time for governments to deliver has long passed.

The Leadership and Legacy Through Crises: Keeping our Mob safe report presents solutions and showcases the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, youth and organisations throughout critical health crises in 2020.

The report features strengths-based examples in addressing the most complex of challenges. These include climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing need for social and emotional wellbeing services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as a result of these events, and pre-existing effects of colonisation and inter-generational trauma.

Read the Close the Gap policy brief here.

Effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an entirely preventable permanent disability. FASD includes a range of physical and neurological impairments, occurring due to brain damage caused by exposing a fetus to alcohol during pregnancy. As a spectrum disorder, FASD manifests in a range of ways, and conditions can range from very mild to severe.

Senate Community Affairs References Committee report on effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Tabled 17 March 2021.

The committee received a wealth of information and evidence throughout the inquiry and thanks all those who participated, especially those with lived experience who had the courage to share their experiences and knowledge with the committee. As a result, the committee has made 32 recommendations, which aim at significantly improving the prevention, diagnosis, and management of FASD.

Effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of FASD, strategies for optimising life outcomes for people with FASD and supporting carers, and the prevalence and management of FASD, including in vulnerable populations, in the education system, and in the criminal justice system.

To read the full report released by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, click here.

Aboriginal woman holding pregnant belly with hand on top and hand below

Image source: UNSW Sydney National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre.

Hearing loss and treating middle-ear infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Identifying hearing loss and treating middle-ear infections in Indigenous children in their first four years would change lives forever, says Australia’s first Indigenous surgeon, Dr Kelvin Kong.

Describing himself as a proud Worimi man, Dr Kong said early intervention – such as checking children’s ears at every opportunity – would contribute to closing the gap in education, employment and health between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Read the full article here.

Australia’s first Indigenous surgeon, Dr Kelvin Kong

COVID-19 crisis in PNG amid vaccine rollout concerns in Australia

Australia has announced emergency COVID-19 support for Papua New Guinea (PNG) in response to fears of a “looming catastrophe” that could devastate the nation and its healthcare system and that also threatens communities in the Torres Strait and Far North Queensland.

Amid dire warnings from PNG and Australian health experts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that Australia would urgently supply 8,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from Australia’s stock to start vaccinating PNG’s essential health workforce.

Torres Strait Regional Council Mayor Philemon Mosby told ABC radio today that it could be “catastrophic” for local communities if the emergency wasn’t handled properly; however, others are hopeful the crisis can be averted, including National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) CEO Pat Turner.

“Our people are very much aware in the Torres Strait about the dangers of COVID and they’ll be taking every precaution,” Turner told ABC TV’s The Drum, saying she had “every confidence that Queensland Health will be able to manage this and control the movement of people, with the cooperation of the Torres Strait Island leadership”.

Read the full story released in Croakey here.

safe effective free vaccines Department of Health banner orange tick in white circle, blue background, circles with vector image of different people's heads, text ' safe effective free

Image source: Australian Government Department of Health.

Do you work with or employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers or Practitioners?

Diabetes is a significant health issue facing Indigenous Australians.  The delivery of culturally safe health services, including by appropriately skilled Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners, is vital to efforts to reduce the present and future burden of diabetes.

Marathon Health are currently looking at diabetes-specific educational opportunities for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.  We want to know where they get the information they need to enable them to provide diabetes care.

Your participation in this brief survey is entirely voluntary and your time is greatly appreciated.  The results will be used to inform current availability of diabetes-related education and to identify opportunities in this area.

Please click the link to the survey to get started here.

 

Community-led action – the key to Close the Gap – AHHA 

The 2021 Close the Gap Campaign report, released today, highlights the importance of strength- based, community-led approaches to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

‘While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to show resilience in the face of poorer health outcomes, the effectiveness of strength-based, community-led action could not be clearer,’ says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association spokesperson, Dr Chris Bourke.

‘The case studies in this year’s report showcase the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations throughout some of the biggest challenges of 2020, from bushfires to pandemics.

‘Community Controlled Organisations and Health Services successfully kept Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and the rate of COVID-19 cases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was six times lower than the rest of the population. These community-led organisations will have a significant role to play in rolling out the COVID vaccine this year.

‘In July 2020, the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, signed by all Australian governments and the Coalition of Peaks, signified a new way forward with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in control at the decision-making table for the first time.

‘The recommendations in this year’s report call for structural reform, self-determination and ongoing investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-led initiatives.
‘This year’s report solidifies the importance of the power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations, to deliver culturally safe care and localised solutions,’ says Dr Bourke.

AHHA is a member of the Close the Gap campaign, an Indigenous-led movement calling for action on health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Close the Gap Campaign report is available online.

Aboriginal painting by Adam Hill white hand reaching down to middle of page with words Close the Gap and black hand reaching up to the words

Close the Gap campaign poster by Adam Hill. Image source: ResearchGate.

First Nations women left behind in cervical cancer elimination

Australia is tracking to become one of the first countries to eliminate cervical cancer, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will miss out unless we act urgently to change this, according to a new study from The Australian National University (ANU) and Cancer Council New South Wales (CCNSW). Lead researchers, Associate Professor Lisa Whop (ANU) and Dr Megan Smith (CCNSW) and colleagues are calling for inequities to be addressed.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common sexually transmitted infection and is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer and 90 per cent of anal cancers and genital warts. To reach elimination, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a strategy with three targets to be met by every country by 2030.

Read the full media release by Australian National University here.

vector image of microscope over female reproductive organs

Image source: MedPage Today website.

Closing the Gap vital to ensure health equity – AMA

The disparities between the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians continue to fall by the wayside and closing the gap is vital to
ensure health equity in this country, AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said today.

On National Close the Gap Day, the AMA encourages all Australians to take meaningful action in support of achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
by 2032.

The AMA has actively called on the Government to address health inequities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, that stem from the social and cultural
determinants of health.

“Closing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people is everyone’s business: it is a national issue in which every individual,
organisation and group in Australia can play a role,” Dr Khorshid said.

“Every person’s health is shaped by the social, economic, cultural, and environmental conditions in which they live.

“Addressing the social and cultural determinants of health is vital if we want to see vast improvements in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This is a national priority.

Read the AMA media release here.

Images: mivision The Opthalmic Journal website and AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: NACCHO CEO hits the airwaves to comment on government policy impacts

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner speaking on The Drum

NACCHO CEO hits the airwaves

Earlier this week NACCHO CEO Pat Turner spoke to ABC The Drum about COVID-19 and the rollout of vaccines, the Industrial Relations Reform, employment and economy and the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

Pat Turner also spoke to Patricia Karvelas on ABC Radio National Drive about the Closing the Gap report and the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations Apology.

To view the ABC The Drum program featuring Pat Turner as a panellist click here and to listen to Pat Turner being interviewed on ABC Radio National Drive click here.

portrait of Pat Turner for RN Drive with Patricia Karvelas 13.2.21

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM, RN Drive with Patricia Karvelas. 15 February 2021

 

NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner, ABC The Drum, 15 Feb 2021

Danila Dilba to deliver 26,000 vaccines

In the traditional language of the Larrakia people, “Danila Dilba” refers to the dilly bag used to carry bush medicines. It’s also the name of one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal health services, which is about to undertake the biggest challenge it’s ever faced.

“It’s absolutely unprecedented in terms of scale, logistics and, I would say, importance as well,” said Andrew Webster, the head of clinical governance at Danila Dilba. Dr Webster is overseeing the mission to inoculate at least 13,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Darwin. They are among Australia’s most susceptible to the dangers of COVID-19.

To view The Aboriginal health service tasked with delivering at least 26,000 COVID-19 vaccines article click here.

Danila Dilba registered nurse Taylor Matthews opening medicines fridge

Registered nurse Taylor Matthews says it will be “very tough” to vaccinate all of Danila Dilba’s clients. Image source: ABC News.

COVID-19 vaccines common questions and answers

The Australian Government will shortly begin rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations. While details are still unfolding, you will be able to find the answers to many of your questions in the COVID-19 vaccines common questions factsheet here.

This Q&A document, together with vaccine-related information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, can be accessed via the Australian Government Department of Health’s website.

The Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) in collaboration with NACCHO have prepared a community engagement kit that has useful information on what the Government is doing to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

To support communication with your stakeholders, networks and communities, a suite of resources have been developed, including:

  • newsletter article content
  • social media content
  • a script for videos
  • an editorial example
  • a poster
  • radio and social media advertising content.

Here is a guide that will provide you with the list of resources that are available in the COVID-19 vaccination community engagement kit.

To download the entire kit of resources click here.

Image source: Australian Government Department of Health

The EarTrain Program is here

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have much higher rates of middle ear infection compared to other children. The EarTrain program is a response to these statistics. It is delivered across Australia by TAFE NSW and is funded by the Australian Federal Government. EarTrain is a Closing the Gap initiative available until June 2022.

This program is delivered through an interactive online training platform with an option to register for practical skills workshops. During the practical skills workshops, you will learn to develop audiometry skills and use equipment appropriately. For further information about the EarTrain program click here.

Program eligibility – if you are a primary health care professional providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, you are eligible to participate in the EarTrain program. To register to participate click here.EarTrain banner, text deliver by NSW Government TAFE NSW & photo of Aboriginal man, woman & two young girls

Remote GPs urged to update AOD skills

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is encouraging more rural and remote GPs to update their skills using the latest research to support patients with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use problems in their communities. Under the $7.9 million initiative funded by the Federal Government the RACGP is delivering the Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program, which is tailored to meet the needs of GPs in all corners of Australia. The program encourages participation from rural and remote GPs and includes essential skills training to provide an update for GPs wanting to improve their approach to conversations about alcohol and other drug use.

To view the RACGP’s media release here.RACGP banner text Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program Training GPs to help people tackle alcohol & other drug use racgp.org.au/AOD, blue background, pills, beer

Trust in government soars during pandemic

It has become accepted wisdom that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen trust in government rise across countries. But by how much? And why should it matter?

To answer these questions, a representative online survey was conducted in Australia and NZ, with a separate sample for WA, in July 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey discovered a dramatic increase in trust in government. Indeed, 80% of Australians and 83% of New Zealanders agreed government was generally trustworthy, up from 49% and 53% respectively in 2009.

Moreover, this level of trust is far higher than found in studies carried out in several other countries.

To view The Conversation’s article Trust in government soars in Australia and NZ during pandemic in full click here.

NZ PM Jacinta Atdern & PM Scott Morrison standing 1.5m apart, both at lecterns, city in the background

Image source: The Conversation.

24/7 support for remote and rural health workers

Remote and rural health workers make a difference to people’s lives every day, supporting those who may be at their lowest ebb, and keeping the communities in which, they live healthy and safe. But who helps the health workers when the stresses of work, and life, become too much?

The CRANAplus Bush Support Line is a 24/7 telephone service offering free psychological support for this critical workforce, and their families. For decades, the service has been a lifeline for those facing personal or work-related challenges while delivering essential health services beyond Australia’s major cities.

With Australia’s remote and rural communities reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and natural disasters including bushfires, drought and flooding, the provision of easily accessible, meaningful support for health workers has never been more important, says not-for-profit organisation CRANAplus, which provides the Bush Support Line as part of its suite of services for the remote, isolated and rural health workforce.

To view the article 24/7 support service offers a lifeline to remote and rural health workers in full click here.CRANAPlus banner, text Lend you an ear. Give you a hand. Bush Support LIne 1800 805 391 Available to remote and rural health workers and their families, CRANAPlus logo ' text CRANA plu Improving remote health www.crana.org.au

Grants to develop or grow NDIS services

Not-for-profit organisation, Community Business Bureau (CBB) are offering free consultancy services, for up to five organisations to help them develop a new or grow an existing NDIS service. The grant round is currently open, and applications close at 1:00 PM (ACDT) Friday 26 February 2021.

While applications are open to any organisation that provides or wishes to provide NDIS services – CBB are particularly welcoming applications from:

  • Organisations operating or wanting to operate in rural and remote communities in SA, WA, the NT and Queensland.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

For more information, or to apply click here.

rear view of older Aboriginal woman in wheelchair looking at white clouds against a blue sky

Image source: Power to Persuade website.

Mental health impacted by impaired vision

Dr Peter Sumich, Vice-President of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists and a cataract and refractive surgeon, spoke to newsGP following the release of new research published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Dr Sumich said ‘There is no doubt – and there’s plenty of research to back it up – that people who have cataracts or low vision have more depression, more social isolation, less independence, more falls and fractures and less ability to drive. Those things all work together to play on your mental health.’

Melbourne Laureate Professor Hugh Taylor, the past president of the International Council of Ophthalmology, the Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne and previous Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne says GPs should assess visual capability as part of their health checks and that it is a mandatory part of the 715 health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Professor Taylor said it is also imperative that clinicians ensure any patient who has diabetes receives regular eye examinations. ‘For non-Indigenous Australians, that should be an eye exam once every two years, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that needs to be once a year,’ he said.

To view the newsGP article Impaired vision linked to lower mental and physical health in full click here.

Aboriginal woman with poncho in Aboriginal flag colours, walking cane on road with man assisting

Image source: mivision The Ophthalmic Journal website.

Collaboration sought to shape health policy 

The University of Sydney’s Sustainability, Climate and Health Collaboration (SCHC) is seeking collaborations with various partners to shape policies and practices that could promote people’s health and wellbeing under changing environment and climate. One of SCHC’s focused research areas is Indigenous health promotion. A current SCHC student member is Matilde Petersen – Research Assistant and MPhil candidate at School of Public Health. Matilde is involved in projects on climate change and health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and a glossary project on climate change and health to promote multisectoral collaborations.

You can access the University of Sydney’s website here for further information about how to get involved.

Aboriginal man conducting controlled grass burn

Image source: Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation – Russell Ord.

The big issues in outback health provision

In a series of webinars called Outback Conversations, members of The Outback Alliance and key stakeholders from diverse sectors have discussed a range of issues and challenges that have been identified following the first outbreak of COVID-19.

During The Outback Alliance Outback Conversations Webinar #2 – Health Frank Quinlan, Federation Executive, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and John Paterson, CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance in the NT (AMSANT) explored questions such as: What have been the big issues in health provision? How has the disruption in supply chains, personnel or internet access impacted remote communities? and How do we continue to protect people in the Outback?

To view the webinar click here.

Outback Conversations webinar tile, red dusty outback image, insert image of woman looking at arm of one of 2 boys sitting on the edge of a ute, text Webinar #2 - Health with Frank Quinlan, Federation Executive Royal Flying Doctor Service, John Paterson, CEO - Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT

Image source: The Outback Alliance website.

Vital to combat COVID ‘vaccine hesitancy’

“The rollout of COVID vaccines has been hastened because of the emergency nature of the pandemic, and that’s led to some vaccine hesitancy which is understandable,” Dr Aquino said. “So the Australian government, and pharmaceutical companies need to effectively communicate why these vaccines are safe, and comparable to any vaccine developed outside of the pandemic. “They need to cut through the misinformation from the anti-vaxxer movement to mitigate the growth of that movement. Because the reality is the way these vaccines have been developed for COVID is still scientifically, evidence-based, and they have to go through a stringent regulatory process. Australia is one of the strictest regulators in the world, which is why we haven’t already started rolling out the vaccine like in other countries.”

To view the Illawarra Mercury article It’s vital to combat COVID ‘vaccine hesitancy’, says UOW bioethicist in full click here.

male health professional holding syringe in front of his face

Image source: Illawarra Mercury.

Indigenous Health Research Fund webinars

The Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Indigenous Health Research Fund (IHRF) was announced in February 2019 to provide $160 million for research to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. An Expert Advisory Panel was appointed in September 2019 to provide advice to the Minister for Health on the strategic priorities for research investment through the IHRF. The Expert Advisory Panel provides their advice on priorities for research investment through the IHRF by developing a Roadmap and Implementation Plan.

The Roadmap is a high level strategic document that includes the aim, vision, goal and priorities for investment for the IHRF. To support the Roadmap, the Implementation Plan outlines the priorities for investment (short, medium and long term), evaluation approaches and measures, supporting activities, and collaborative opportunities. The Roadmap and Implementation Plan are used by the Department of Health to design and implement IHRF investments via Grant Opportunities promoted through GrantConnect.

Consultation has now opened on the Roadmap and Implementation Plan for the IHRF. The Expert Advisory Panel will host two Indigenous Health Research Fund webinars on 23 and 30 March 2021 where you can provide your feedback.

Aboriginal woman in lab coat with microscope and beakers with yellow blue & red liquidr

Image source: Research Professional News Australia & NZ website.

Collingwood’s challenge is everyone’s challenge

As an Aboriginal doctor, cardiologist, and researcher, Burchill said he is often asked for solutions on how to Close the Gap for Aboriginal health outcomes. Since heart disease is one of the major drivers of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, you might think the solution lies in our interventions – heart pills, stents for blocked coronary arteries, pacemakers, and so on. The truth is that we can only close the gap by preventing heart disease in the first place. That begins with us understanding that health starts in the places we share our lives – our homes, schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods, clubs and communities.

If we apply this lens to Collingwood it becomes clear that systemic racism isn’t only a threat to the culture of an organisation but also for the health of those working within it.

To view Associate Professor Luke Burchill’s paper in full click here.

brick wall mural of Adam Goodes

Footballer Adam Goodes experienced one of the most malignant national displays of systemic racism. Image source: The University of Melbourne Pursuit webpage.

Location negotiable across Australia – TAFE NSW

Teacher Audiometry – EarTrain Program (PT casual) – (Targeted) x multiple positions

The TAFE NSW Digital Team is looking for individuals with current industry experience and knowledge in Audiometry and Ear Health Prevention to join their team on a part time casual basis.

EarTrain is an online training program for primary health care professionals to identify and manage otitis media and other hearing conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The program is delivered across Australia by TAFE NSW and is funded by the Australian Government. EarTrain is a Closing the Gap initiative available until June 2022.

To view the position description and to apply click here. Applications close 11:59 PM Monday 22 February 2021.EarTrain program banner, face & shoulders of Aboriginal girl sitting on lounge with headphones & huge smile, text EarTrain & logo - Aboriginal painting of ear, 'Enhance Health Service Delivery'

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – February 2021

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is held each year in Australia to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is still the deadliest women’s cancer. Every day in Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and three will die from the disease. While there is no exact cause for most ovarian cancers, there are factors that may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, such as increasing age, hereditary and other factors.

The symptoms of Ovarian cancer may include:

  • increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • abdominal or pelvic (lower stomach) pain
  • feeling full after eating a small amount
  • needing to urinate often or urgently

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s speech at the Ovarian Cancer Australia Teal Ribbon Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament house yesterday can be accessed here. and the joint Minister Greg Hunt and Senator Marise Payne’s media release announcing a further $1 million to Ovarian Cancer Australia can be read in full here.

Ovarian Cancer Australia banner: teal ribbon & text 'Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month & Aboriginal red line drawing of female uterus, fallopian tubes & ovaries, inside a white circle surrounded by purple dots against dark cream background

Image sources: Ovarian Cancer Australia; Graphic from Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre Yerin News, Edition 13, February 2019.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Cancer screening saves lives! It helps to keep our communities strong, safe and healthy

Cancer screening saves lives! It helps to keep our communities strong, safe and healthy

It’s really important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to keep taking care of our health, even during a pandemic.

COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind and the safety of our communities has been a major priority. Cancer screening may have been put off or forgotten during this time.

However, cancer screening really does make a big difference to the health of our community members and families. When cancer is found early, treatment can be a lot more effective.

National screening programs are available in Australia for breast cancerbowel cancer and cervical cancer.

For further information about the campaign click here.

 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report: Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia 

The consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in Australia. This report consolidates the most recently available information on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Australia, and includes key trends in the availability, consumption, harms and treatment for vulnerable populations. Further, information on a range of health, social and economic impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use are highlighted.

This release includes data relating to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic up to November 2020.

For other data and information from this period, please see our AIHW COVID-19 resources.

Aboriginal hands holding can of Bundaberg Rum & cigarette

Image source: ABC News website.

The 2021 Antimicrobial Academy -Improve antibiotic use and management of infections in your community

An exciting opportunity exists for 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care professionals to enroll in the inaugural Hot North Antimicrobial Academy 2021. 

The Antimicrobial Academy is a fully subsidised 9-month online program for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health care workers (pharmacists, doctors, nurses or Aboriginal Health Practitioners) to build on their understanding and expertise in antibiotic resistance and to support further leadership of antibiotic use in our communities.

Further details available via the HOT NORTH Website, Opportunities Page, Antimicrobial Academy click here

The deadline for the submission have been extended till Sunday 20 December 2020. Please email statewide.ams@health.qld.gov.au or medicines@naccho.org.au or call (07) 3646 1886 for further information.

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre & Hot North Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North Antimicrobial Academy 2021 banner

IHF Young Executive Leaders: Call for 2021 applications now open

Young executive leaders who have proven outstanding merit in healthcare management can have the chance to exchange with peers on capital healthcare issues, as well as to interact with talented thought leaders from all around the world. Through IHF Young Executive Leaders program, participants will build sustainable relationships and expand their network internationally. As a group, they will discuss current trends, challenges and opportunities for the young healthcare leaders of today, creating an environment for vibrant and exciting dialogue.

Through the IHF Young Executive Leaders program, participants will build sustainable relationships and expand their professional network. As a group, they will discuss current trends, challenges and opportunities for the young healthcare leaders of today, creating an environment for vibrant and exciting dialogue.

Through this program, the 2021 cohort will share experiences and work together on a topic related to the 2021 IHF World Hospital Congress which will take place in Barcelona with the overarching theme “PEOPLE ON BOARD: TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE. Blending Agility, Responsiveness, Resilience.” 

Young executive leaders wishing to join the IHF YEL initiative can submit their applications until 25 January 2021.

For further info click here.

Award for Don Dale youth detention centre in the NT shows Indigenous-led, youth-justice solutions work

Amnesty International Australia welcomed the news that Danila Dilba – which took over the health services at Don Dale youth detention centre in the Northern Territory – has won the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) Justice Without Borders International Award.

“This shows us that our people know what’s best for them, and Indigenous-led solutions like Olga Havnen and her team’s program at Danila Dilba are available to governments around the country,” Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advisor, Rodney Dillon said.

“The solutions to youth offending – and actually addressing the over representation of Indigenous people in Australia’s jails – are already there. We just need our State and Territory Governments to listen to the experts, like the IJJO.

“All the evidence shows that diversion, and getting kids out of watchhouses and bail houses is what’s effective on youth crime.

“With the right wrap around services in place, like those Danila Dilba provide, there is simply no reason not to raise the age of criminal responsibility.”

Danila Dilba Health Service logo

 
NSW – Armajun Aboriginal Health Service, Full Time – Glen Innes
 
Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Caseworker (Aboriginal designated position)

Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent?

Do you already live in the Glen Innes district or looking for a tree change away from the hustle of the city and the pandemic? Are you looking for a cooler climate? Do you want to hike through the Washpool National Park, which offers wilderness walks, camping, and horse riding in stunning World Heritage surrounds? Do you want to learn to fossick for sapphires and topaz?

Do you possess formal qualifications in health, welfare, social work, alcohol and other drugs or related area at a TAFE level (Certificate IV minimum) or above and/or have substantial experience in any of these areas?

Would you like to become part of a great team providing culturally appropriate primary health care services to Aboriginal people and communities living in Glen Innes and surrounding districts?

Glen Innes offers an attractive lifestyle including a well serviced and friendly rural community, laid back living, short commuting times, affordable housing, easy access to NSW north coast beaches and larger regional centres, and terrific recreational and sporting facilities. The Glen Innes district has a deep cultural and spiritual significance for traditional owners, the Ngoorabul people.

Applicants must obtain a job package and address the selection criteria in the position description as well as attach a current resume to their application. 

On-going applications for this position will be accepted.

Job Package: Belinda Butler bbutler@armajun.org.au  0267 219 777 Enquiries: Jenny Ryan jryan@armajun.org.au   0267 219 777  www.armajun.org.au

NSW – OzChild in Blacktown/Campbelltown

Aboriginal Practice Lead

The position will be a part of our Dhiiyaan Mirri (family of stars), OzChild’s Bridging Cultures Unit (BCU) and will support their Functional Family Therapy Child Welfare (FFT-CW), Multi systemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) and Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) Teams at Blacktown and Campbelltown. The position will be based a min of 2 days per week at each location, however this can be flexible based on need.

The Aboriginal Practice Lead Position within OzChild will work to ensure that participating First Nation families can benefit from these Evidence Based Models (EBMs), and from time to time other programs that OzChild may deliver in the future. The Aboriginal Practice Lead will also facilitate access and receive support in a timely and culturally responsive manner.

Working with OzChild’s Teams, for the effective delivery of OzChild Services to First Nations Children, Young People and their Families /Kin /Carers, the Aboriginal Practice Lead will contribute from intake through to completion (when required) to the provision of culturally responsive services and a culturally safe working environment through consultation and engagement with OzChild staff, First Nations Peoples, stakeholders and relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

To apply for the position click here.

Cairns, Adelaide or Alice Springs – CRANAplus

Professional Officer, Workforce Development Nursing

A senior position in our Workforce Development programs, driving initiatives to support Nursing across remote and regional Australia.

This position is responsible for professional knowledge contribution, project management, and industry networking to strengthen resources and pipelines encouraging and supporting nurses in rural and / or remote practice.

Be sector aware and reactive to the needs of the remote health workforce.

  • Contribute professional knowledge and experience to a range of projects and priorities engaged by the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, including contribution to the development of consultation papers and position statements.
  • Strategic and operational management of CRANAplus programs, including remote areas nurse (RAN) certification program and RAN standards, fellowship, awards, and scholarships, conference abstract committee, and other programs identified in the annual busines plan.
  • Develop and drive Continuous Professional Development initiatives, including:
    – Author or curate clinical articles or updates for the quarterly CRANAplus Magazine
    – Professional Services guest presenter webinar series
    – Contribute to the development of on-line or e-resources for CRANAplus members and wider community stakeholders
    – Participate in the delivery of professional development workshops, as required, to remote workforces.

To submit your application, please email your resume to kati@crana.org.au, outlining your alignment to the above four criteria. This position will close as of Monday 11 January 2021.

For the position description click here.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Promotion  “Live Healthy. Live Long. Live Strong.” @KenWyattMP Officially launches the world’s first, Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network – Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) @TonicHealth_AU

” Engaging with our people in a culturally sensitive way is vital and SWAMS is always looking for new and innovative ways to do this on a large TV screen in our waiting rooms.

 After all we service more than 10,000 clients and average 50 new patients every month. Delivering important national and local health campaign messages and promotions via a digital TV channel saves lives. 

We can then follow up the patients with advice, clinical options and promotional material. We know that giving patients advice in their own language assists with their understanding of their health conditions and what services they can request from our clinical team.

Aboriginal Community Control even in health messaging is important and we will certainly make use of the offer to create our own unique promotional content.

I welcome the assistance provided from NACCHO to the Aboriginal Health Television Network about our needs, expectations and hopes that this service will help thousands of patients obtain the care they deserve in our health settings and WA hospitals.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson ( and NACCHO board member ) is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV. See Full Speech Part 2 below 

  • Community Member Greg Vinmar
  • Federal Member for Forrest and Chief Government Whip, the Hon. Nola Marino MP
  • NACCHO Board Member for WA and South West Aboriginal Medical Service CEO, Lesley Nelson
  • Tonic Health Media Executive Director, Dr Norman Swan
  • Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP   (Front)

Media Coverage view HERE

Read previous NACCHO articles about Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV)

View Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) website

www.aboriginalhealthtv.com.au

“The new network is an exciting step forward, built on local engagement, including local production of health and wellbeing stories, to reach the hearts and minds of our people and our families,

AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities,”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM spoke about the importance of AHTV from the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) in Bunbury, Western Australia, which is one of first 50 initial locations to install AHTV. It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019. See full press release Part 3

WATCH AHTV HERE

Today the world’s first, Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network – Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) was officially launched by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP.

The Federal Government in July 2018 committed $3.4 million over three years to develop the targeted, culturally relevant AHTV network, which is expected to reach a First Nations’ audience of over 1.2 million people a month.

“The fundamental idea behind AHTV is to provide engaging, appropriate and evidence informed health content to Aboriginal people while they are waiting to see their health professional,” says Dr Norman Swan, Co-Founder of Tonic Health Media who is developing this not for profit network.

“We have evidence that this period in the waiting area is a time when people are most open to information which can improve their health and offer relevant questions to ask their health professional when they see them in the next few minutes.

“Our aim is to offer AHTV as a free, fully maintained service to all Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Australia – around 300 locations. And it is already being rolled out, with SWAMS as one of our first. We know that our targeted messaging can make a big difference.

There’s nothing like knowledge to give people control over their decisions.

“AHTV, guided by its Advisory Group of highly respected Aboriginal health leaders and researchers, will continue to work closely with Aboriginal Peak Health Bodies and ACCHOs, to develop and deliver culturally relevant health messaging and lifestyle content.

“We are also partnering with third party content producers who specialise in Indigenous content to acquire and produce culturally relevant content,” Dr Norman Swan said.

Tonic Managing Director Dr. Matthew Cullen says the partnership is an important step towards Tonic’s goal of improving health outcomes for all Australians.

“AHTV provides a unique opportunity to communicate with Aboriginal audiences at the point of care when patients, their families, carers and health service providers are strongly focussed on health and wellbeing,” said Dr Cullen.

Aboriginal Health TV Advisory Group member, Associate Professor Chris Lawrence, says the delivery of a culturally relevant TV network that connects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will improve health outcomes.

“Australia has always been a world leader in health promotion. AHTV signals a new era in how health promotion messages are told and delivered to one of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

“AHTV builds on this using digital technology to help close the gap, and improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians,” said Associate Professor Lawrence.

These sentiments were echoed by South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson who is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV.

“Health promotion is a huge part of what we do at SWAMS, and we welcome any opportunity to communicate these important health messages to our clients,” Ms Nelson said.

“The fact that the content has been tailored to suit our local Aboriginal community means that our clients will benefit from health information that is relevant, culturally sensitive and meaningful to them. I strongly encourage Aboriginal Medical Services nation-wide to jump on board this fantastic initiative,” Ms Nelson added.

Jake Thomson, a proud Aboriginal man is playing a lead role in bringing AHTV to Indigenous communities. Belonging to the Wiradjuri Nation and growing up in Western Sydney, Jake is the Community Relationships Manager for AHTV.

“AHTV not only offers culturally relevant content, but it gives a voice to every community. By having the information they need, it will enable our people to consciously make the right choices, which in turn will lead to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Jake said.

And that’s exactly the aim of AHTV. Its tagline “Live Healthy. Live Long. Live Strong.” is the message they are here to deliver.

Part 2 : South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) CEO Lesley Nelson ( and NACCHO board member ) is proud that SWAMS is one of the first locations in Australia to have AHTV.

It is always a pleasure to welcome the Indigenous Health Minister to our South West Aboriginal Medical Service and staff from the Aboriginal Health Television Network. (Acknowledge any other VIPs in the audience).

Minister, this world first Aboriginal Health Television Network will assist our 70 staff who are based in six clinics to discuss with our patients’ topics like diabetes, dental health, sexual health, tobacco cessation, men’s and women’s health and heart health.

Engaging with our people in a culturally sensitive way is vital and SWAMS is always looking for new and innovative ways to do this on a large TV screen in our waiting rooms. After all we service more than 10,000 clients and average 50 new patients every month.

Delivering important national and local health campaign messages and promotions via a digital TV channel saves lives. We can then follow up the patients with advice, clinical options and promotional material.

We know that giving patients advice in their own language assists with their understanding of their health conditions and what services they can request from our clinical team.

Aboriginal Community Control even in health messaging is important and we will certainly make use of the offer to create our own unique promotional content. I welcome the assistance provided from NACCHO to the Aboriginal Health Television Network about our needs, expectations and hopes that this service will help thousands of patients obtain the care they deserve in our health settings and WA hospitals.

On behalf of the South West Aboriginal Medical Service and NACCHO I welcome the launch of this new world first service in our community by the Minister.

Part 3 NEW TV NETWORK CHANNELS GOOD HEALTH TO FIRST AUSTRALIANS

A new digital television network now rolling out across the nation aims to help Close the Gap in health equality by revolutionising the way hundreds of thousands of First Australians receive health information.

Today’s official launch of the Aboriginal Health TV (AHTV) network at the South West Aboriginal Medical Service in Bunbury, Western Australia, is backed by a three-year, $3.4 million commitment by the Liberal National Government, to ensure First Australian patients can access relevant health stories and advice at local treatment centres.

“The new network is an exciting step forward, built on local engagement, including local production of health and wellbeing stories, to reach the hearts and minds of our people and our families,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.

“AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities.”

The TV programs will be broadcast at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services around Australia.

Tonic Health Media (THM), the nation’s largest health and wellbeing network, is producing and commissioning targeted video content for AHTV, which is expected to be viewed by up to 1.2 million patients each month.

The programs on the new digital network feature issues including smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes, drug and alcohol treatment services and encourage the uptake of 715 health checks.

To ensure these important health messages reach as many people as possible content will also be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

“South West Aboriginal Medical Service has been chosen as one of AHTV’s initial trial sites,” said Member for Forrest Nola Marino.

“This will add to the fantastic range of services that SWAMS already provides for the local community here in the South West.”

AHTV will be installed and maintained at no cost to local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and plans to be self-sufficient within three years.

“It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019, with the overall rollout planned for approximately 300 centres nationwide,” Minister Wyatt said.

“AHTV programming will also be available on Tonic Health Media’s existing platform which broadcasts in mainstream health services, meaning these important messages have the potential to reach the 50 per cent of our people who use non-Aboriginal medical services.”

Content licensing partnership agreements have been signed with ABC Indigenous and NITV and negotiations are underway with third-party production groups specialising in local Indigenous content.

The Liberal National Government’s AHTV commitment is part of the $3.9 billion dedicated to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people announced in the 2018-19 Budget.

For more details on the new network, see www.aboriginalhealthtv.com.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health News : Minister @KenWyattMP will provide $1 million over 2 years to @BushTVMedia @ErnieDingo1 to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Ernie Dingo believes light moments are important even when talking about serious topics. In one candid exchange with a man who insisted doctors were unnecessary, Dingo shared the story of his decision to allow a doctor to examine his prostate.

“I told the men that I thought ‘Ah well, who is going to know?’ and they had a good laugh,” he said.

Dingo remains vigilant about his health. A dad of six, including three-year-old twin boys, he said being a father and grandfather made him want to encourage men to take care of themselves.

“We have to be around for our kids, and their kids,” 

Actor Ernie Dingo has created a confronting, humorous and bracingly honest reality series about Indigenous men that has captured the attention of federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other Indigenous men.

From The Australian See in full Part 2 below 

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

 ” I’ve been in film & tv for 40 years that’s long enough! Its time for me to go bush & work with my Countrymen.

No point in having influence if you can’t use it to make the world a better place for our mob!

Follow 

A new health initiative that places culture and traditional knowledge systems at the centre of its program aims to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and ensure they have a strong voice in health and wellbeing services in their own communities.

The Federal Government will provide $1 million over two years to Bush TV Enterprises to deliver its Camping On Country program, to address health and wellbeing challenges in a culturally safe and meaningful way.

Speaking at the launch on the Beedawong Meeting Place in WA’s Kings Park: (From left) Murchison Elder Alan Egan; Ernie Dingo; Ken Wyatt; Kununurra Elder Ted Carlton.

Respect for culture has a fundamental role in improving the health of our men, who currently have a life expectancy of 70 years, more than 10 years shorter than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Camping On Country is based on the premise that working with local men as the experts in their own health and community is critical in Closing the Gap in health equality.

We need every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man to take responsibility for their health and to be proud of themselves and their heritage — proud of the oldest continuous culture on Earth, and the traditions that kept us healthy for the past 65,000 years.

Each camp will focus on specific topics including:

  • Alcohol and drug dependency
  • Smoking, diet and exercise
  •  Mental health and suicide

A traditional healer and an Aboriginal male health worker are assigned to each camp to conduct health checks and provide one-on-one support to men, which includes supporting men through drug or alcohol withdrawals.

Traditional yarning circles are used to discuss health and wellbeing issues as well as concerns about employment, money, housing and personal relationships.

Well-known actor, television presenter and Yamatji man Ernie Dingo developed the Camping On Country program with his BushTV partner Tom Hearn, visiting 11 communities and conducting small camps with groups of men at four sites across remote Australia in 2018.

The plan is to conduct 10 camps a year, with the initial focus on communities in need in Central Australia, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the APY Lands.

The program puts culture and language at the centre of daily activities and also uses the expertise and knowledge of local men’s groups, traditional owners and local Aboriginal organisations.

A video message stick will be produced during each camp and made available to all levels of government associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The message stick information will also be used by health providers to develop holistic, culturally appropriate programs with men and their communities.

The $1 million funding will also support Bush TV Enterprises to partner with a university and Primary Health Alliances to conduct research to track improvements in remote men’s health and enhance health and wellbeing services.

Bush TV Enterprises is an Aboriginal-owned community agency specialising in grassroots advocacy and producing and distributing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories.

Our Government has committed approximately $10 billion to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade, working together to build strong families and communities.

Part 2 From The Australian  

Ernie Dingo’s campfire chats a dose of reality TV

Dingo, a Yamitji man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, became a household name in Australia as the presenter of lifestyle program The Great Outdoors between 1993 and 2009. But his retreat from public life coincided with a struggle against depression that he said made him want to help other indigenous men.

The 62-year-old has partnered with documentary-maker Tom Hearn to make four short films from fireside yarns with indigenous men in some of Australia’s most remote towns and communities.Mr Wyatt believes the program, called Camping on Country, has the potential to change lives. He has commissioned 20 more camps around Australia over the next two years at a cost of $1 million.

“We talk about everything,” Dingo told The Australian. “You want to see the way the men sing and talk once they feel safe.”

Camping On Country could ultimately drive health policy, as Dingo listens to men talk about alcohol and drug dependency, smoking, diet, exercise, mental health and suicide. Mr Wyatt will announce his support for the camps today and hopes that they can help close the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous men. Aboriginal men die an average 10 years earlier than other Australian men, and generally their rates of cancer, heart disease and mental illness are higher.

An Aboriginal male health worker will be at each camp providing health checks and support, including to anyone experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawals. Dingo and Hearn will make a short film of each camp through production company Bush TV. The federal funding of $1 million covers an independent assessment of the overall program, ­including whether it makes a difference to the health of men who take part.

NACCHO @TonicHealth_AU Aboriginal Health TV and #refreshtheCTGRefresh : Aboriginal health messages need to be made with us rather than for us to #closethegap

 ” Health education needs to lift our spirit, give optimism, and focus on “we” not “you”.

We are communal people, and we want to know the data from our community, not focus on what individuals can do for their health. Such data are regularly reported in mainstream press and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports – but those for whom these data are most relevant miss out.

We want to know what we can do as a community, working together with health providers, to understand, be empowered and respond positively to important health knowledge. Giving us population-level data gives us a chance to be in charge of determining both problems and solutions.”

From the Conversation Nov 22 see community authors 

 “I agree. Excellent piece. It’s exactly what we aspire to and the technology allows specificity. “

Dr Norman Swan from Tonic media reviewing article : Tonic Health Media is the communications powerhouse built by ABC medical broadcaster Norman Swan and psychiatrist and health services entrepreneur Matthew Cullen.

“Over the next three years $3.4 million has been committed to develop the Aboriginal Health TV network, which will deliver health and wellbeing messages through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Content will be developed by the Aboriginal Health TV Network in partnership with local Aboriginal health services, to ensure it is culturally appropriate and relevant. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also use mobile solutions and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to expand the platform’s reach and promote engagement.

Board members are respected members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health community, including Dr Mark Wenitong from Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Donna Ah Chee from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Adrian Carson from the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, Professor Sandra Eades from the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence from the University of Technology Sydney ”

From NACCHO Communique July 23 

 

” This is a unique opportunity to connect with First Nations audiences at the point of care. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will be developed by reputable health communications company, Tonic Health Media, as a not-for-profit enterprise, with oversight from its Indigenous Advisory Board.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt

Watch NITV News video HERE 

“We have had positive feedback that patients are more assertive when they see and talk about the programs, and a lot of discussion among patients themselves especially when they can relate to the programs,”

At Sydney’s inner-city Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service, where the system has been under trial for the past year, clinic co-ordinator Maree Tohi is convinced it drives change

Australian First Nations people waiting for appointments at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around the country will now see culturally relevant and locally produced content on the waiting room TVs.

Aboriginal Health TV, which launched in October, provides messages about leading health issues including smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes and drug and alcohol treatment services. It will also be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The program is funded by a A$3.4 million government grant over three years, and will be delivered by Tonic Media, the communications company founded by ABC media journalist Norman Swan. It will be seen in 302 ACCHO clinics

 

Part 1 Aboriginal health messages need to be made with us rather than for us

 

In our small community in Arnhem Land, Yilpara, we have no TV reception. We welcome this opportunity to share our knowledge about how to make and deliver health messaging. But the practical reality is that this network will need to be accessible beyond the reach of TV reception.

The program’s aim – to help close the gap in Indigenous health literacy – is important, and knowledge is the critical first piece of the puzzle. We also need mechanisms in place to support healthy living.

Our small community of Yilpara in East Arnhem Land. Google maps

Local content, in language

The extent to which availability of day-to-day health knowledge is taken for granted in mainstream Australia, and is missing from remote settings, cannot be understated.

Health education is usually given by busy staff in English, which may be the wrong languagefor the patient. It’s often delivered without the basic principles of two-way learning: empathy and respect. So knowledge about health does not reach us.

The disempowering effect of lack of knowledge, and the downstream impacts on health behaviours and outcomes, underpins the disadvantage of First Nations people.

To succeed, the Aboriginal Health TV programming needs to be delivered in our languages. In our community, as in many other remote communities, our traditional Aboriginal languages are still strong – we speak our language every day, in everything we do.

Culturally responsive approaches also must be used when bringing information about issues like smoking, eye and ear checks, immunisation, nutrition and drug and alcohol treatment services.

We have our own ways of understanding illness and health. Only by using our own words, metaphors that are meaningful to us, and a communication style that is respectful, can we hear the messaging from health professionals. This means the health messages need to be made with us rather than for us.

Tailored messaging using local footage offers the best chance of engaging viewers. We need to help make the stories if our communities are to trust and understand the information.

Respecting First Nations people

We still also need to go a step deeper than just using simple terms and our languages.

When Aboriginal radio first started in our community, it was all negative health messages that made us feel bad. We wondered what it was there for: why would the people making the programs want the listeners to feel bad? This bad feeling is more than just emotional; it affects us physically and makes us lose confidence.

Health education needs to lift our spirit, give optimism, and focus on “we” not “you”.

We are communal people, and we want to know the data from our community, not focus on what individuals can do for their health. Such data are regularly reported in mainstream press and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports – but those for whom these data are most relevant miss out.

We want to know what we can do as a community, working together with health providers, to understand, be empowered and respond positively to important health knowledge. Giving us population-level data gives us a chance to be in charge of determining both problems and solutions.

Beyond TV and Aboriginal health centres

Television is an effective medium for conveying public health knowledge, including to Indigenous populations and children.

In New Zealand, a series of culturally-appropriate television commercials providing public health education about rheumatic fever (a bacterial infection which often leads to rheumatic heart disease) are screened, targeting the most at-risk Māori and Pasifika populations. The health messaging is effective, with research finding the commercials to be the primary source of knowledge about rheumatic fever among at-risk children.

But in remote Aboriginal communities, where some of the greatest disparities in health outcomes such as rheumatic heart disease (a chronic disease where there is damage to the heart valves) are experienced, knowledge is craved but hard to come by.

In our home community we have one radio station, but no TV, no internet in our homes, no newspapers. We want to be able to access the new Aboriginal Health TV – but we will need the information in the right way.


Read more: Why are Aboriginal children still dying from rheumatic heart disease?


Social media is likely to be an effective strategy for Aboriginal Health TV programming.

Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, has great potential for targeted health messaging; Indigenous Australians have a strong presence on social media in areas where internet is accessible. Lessons from using social media to convey stop smoking messagingwill be informative for the Aboriginal Health TV network.

But it’s important that messaging on social media also be positive and lift our confidence.

Another factor affecting the reach of Aboriginal Health TV network is type of clinic that broadcasts its content. If the network only reaches community-controlled health care services, as was originally proposed, half the Aboriginal population will miss out because they are serviced by government clinics.

Aboriginal Health TV programming should be rolled out in all Aboriginal health centres, whether government- or community-controlled.

Better food and housing

Knowledge is only one cog in the behaviour change wheel. The wheel won’t turn without other core elements to support healthy living. If opportunities are limited to eat well, exercise, or avoid the transmission of infections, no amount of knowledge or motivation will work.

Effective messaging that leads to local motivation to advocate for improved resources must then be supported by external agencies: better food in the shops; enough houses for the number of people; and improved access to building maintenance to combat the ill health effects of crowding.


Read more: Indigenous voices are speaking loudly on social media but racism endures


When researchers from Menzies School of Health Research starting working with us on rheumatic heart disease, we explained that the children needed better nutrition. We started a lunch club to provide healthy lunches to our school children, supported by the local employment program and our health service. Now we’re working with the local store owner to improve food supplies.

Health behaviour change is a long-term strategy

For knowledge to pass into culture, become embedded as a culturally owned phenomenon and passed on to others, it takes years, if not generations. In the western world, it took around a century from the discovery of germs as the cause of disease until communicable disease rates reached their modern-day lows.

Rheumatic fever, caused by human-to-human transmission of streptococcal infection, remained a leading cause of child hospitalisation for all families in Australia into the 1940s. It is now rare in mainstream Australia, while First Nations communities have world-leading rates of rheumatic fever in 2018.

We need culturally-appropriate knowledge in language of how to stop rheumatic fever – and the programming of Aboriginal health TV could help deliver this information to First Nations people.

The Aboriginal Health TV network also presents opportunities for:

  • community members to share testimonials
  • public health officials to provide alerts about outbreaks
  • health care providers to give education about prevention and management of common conditions
  • researchers to share outcomes of studies; especially local research which community members themselves many have participated in.

We want the Aboriginal Health TV network to be a way for knowledge to reach us in a way that builds our confidence. We look forward to working out solutions together. We want our children to understand how to stay strong.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosetheGap TV : Minister @KenWyattMP announces New $3.4 million Digital Aboriginal Health Television @TonicHealth_AU Network to Help in Closing The Gap

We are aiming to start the rollout in October, with the Aboriginal Health TV Network expected to reach up to 1.2 million people each month in hundreds of community controlled primary health care waiting rooms across the nation

The scope of this network is exciting, with important health and wellbeing stories, plus local production input to ensure the broadcasts are relevant and engaging for their audiences.

Through an entertaining and compelling format, health messages will be delivered on issues such as smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, diet, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes and drug and alcohol treatment services.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM

A comprehensive new digital television network will be rolled out across hundreds of health centres, as the Turnbull Government works with First Nations communities to Close the Gap and achieve health equality.

Over the next three years $3.4 million has been committed to develop the Aboriginal Health TV network, which will deliver health and wellbeing messages through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Content will be developed by the Aboriginal Health TV Network in partnership with local Aboriginal health services, to ensure it is culturally appropriate and relevant. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also use mobile solutions and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to expand the platform’s reach and promote engagement.

“This is a unique opportunity to connect with First Nations audiences at the point of care” Minister Wyatt said. The Aboriginal Health TV Network will be developed by reputable health communications company, Tonic Health Media, as a not-for-profit enterprise, with oversight from its Indigenous Advisory Board.

Board members are respected members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health community, including Dr Mark Wenitong from Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Donna Ah Chee from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Adrian Carson from the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, Professor Sandra Eades from the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence from the University of Technology Sydney.

Info will also be shared on NACCHO TV and our NACCHO social media platforms

“The new Aboriginal Health TV Network will be installed in Aboriginal health services free of charge and it is envisaged it will be self-sufficient within three years,” said Minister Wyatt. “Importantly, programming from the Network will also be available for transmission on Tonic Health Media’s existing platform which broadcasts in mainstream health services.”

“That means the health messaging will also reach the 50 per cent of First Nations people who use non-Aboriginal health services.”

The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also build partnerships with broadcasters and Aboriginal producers across Australia who specialise in producing Indigenous television content

. The Aboriginal Health TV Network is part of the Turnbull Government’s extensive work with First Nations people, to improve health and wellbeing.

The Government announced $3.9 billion over four years in health services funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the 2018-19 Budget.