NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Smoking : Download Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program prelim. evaluation report

 ” The overall goal of the national Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program is to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through local population specific efforts to reduce harm from tobacco.

The purpose of this preliminary report is to provide a mid-term evaluation of progress to date in implementing the first year of the three year (2015-2018) TIS program.

The TIS programme with a budget of $116.8 million over 3 years ($35.3 million in 2015-16; $37.5 million in 2016-17 and $44 million in 2017-18) was announced by the Government, on 29 May 2015.”

Download 133 page PDF report Here :

NACCHO Download Dept Health Tackling Indigenous Smoking Evaluation June 2017

The report found the program is operating effectively, using proven approaches to change smoking behaviours, and delivering evidence-based local tobacco health promotion activities. I am pleased the report recommends it continues,

Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease and early death among Aboriginal people and accounts for almost one-quarter of the difference in average health outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

“The program provides grants in 37 urban, rural, regional and remote areas to assist local communities to develop localised anti-smoking campaigns

Minister Ken Wyatt

Read over 100 plus NACCHO articles published in past 5 years

This mid-term evaluation looks at progress to date of the TIS program, particularly in terms of regional grants delivering localised Indigenous tobacco interventions.

Source of intro

See list all 35 Recipients below

It does not look at long-term impact in relation to a reduction of smoking rates at a national level.

Findings focus on (see in full below 1-9)

  • the shift to TIS
  • community engagement and partnerships
  • localised health promotion
  • access to quit support
  • contribution to evidence base
  • National Best Practice Unit and TIS portal
  • governance and communications.

A number of key recommendations emerging from the evaluation are included in the report.(see Below Part 2)


1. Shift to TIS

Since the implementation of the TIS program, all grant recipients are primarily focused on planning for, and/or delivering, targeted and tailored activities that directly address reduction of smoking prevalence within communities.

For some grant recipients, broader health promotion activities without a clear link to tobacco reduction have dropped off significantly as a result of the shift to TIS, whilst for others the integration of healthy lifestyle and tobacco control strategies has been successful. There are varying degrees of clarity among grant recipients about the extent to which there is flexibility to tap into healthy lifestyle activities under the new guidelines.

2.Community engagement and partnerships

Community engagement and involvement in the design and planning of localised TIS programs is a key priority for grant recipients, and a key indicator of successful TIS activities.

While challenges were identified in terms of handling competing priorities in community, adhering to cultural protocols, and the change in focus of the TIS program and uncertainty about ongoing funding, in the main, grant recipients have demonstrated substantial progress in involving community in design and planning and garnering support for TIS activities.

This is evidenced by the popularity of community events hosted/attended by the TIS team and the proactivity of local community and Elders in advocating for tobacco control.

The success of the TIS program and the capacity for grant recipients to operate as a multi-level population health program in their region is highly dependent upon the quality and reach of partnerships between grant recipients and other agencies/organisations.

Whilst challenges to regional collaborations were reported, overall there has been a noticeable increase in the reporting of grant recipient collaboration and partnerships, representing an important shift to both a wider regional focus and wider community approach to tobacco reduction.

3.Localised health promotion

At the local level, a range of multi-component health promotion activities around tobacco control are being undertaken by grant recipients, in collaboration with external stakeholders. Local partnerships are crucial to the successful implementation of localised health promotion activities through facilitating access to priority populations, supporting capacity-building and enabling a broader population reach to achieve awareness and understanding of the health impacts of smoking and quitting pathways. viii

Increased levels of community support and ownership for local solutions to tackling Indigenous smoking are being seen across the TIS sites.

4.Community education

Community education, is being undertaken by all grant recipients. This manifests in a range of ways, including health promotion activities at community/sporting events, drama shows and comedy and social marketing.

The involvement of local champions and Elders in local education and awareness raising events and activities is recognised as central to tobacco control messages resonating with target audiences.

It has also been recognised that targeting priority groups, such as young people and pregnant women, requires the adaptation of messages so that they resonate with those groups.

Grant recipients are partnering with key local organisations (e.g. schools, other AMS etc.) to overcome some of the challenges around access to these priority groups.

Many grant recipients have established or showed progress in establishing social marketing campaigns to supplement other health promotion activities. Campaigns are developed largely through a strength-based approach, with ‘local faces and local places’ taking precedence. Grant recipients have acknowledged the challenges in measuring the impact of social marketing campaigns although some are demonstrating a commitment to collecting data on awareness, and influences on motivations and attempts to quit.

5.Smoke-free environments

An area that has been recognised by grant recipients as requiring attention is the promotion and establishment of smoke-free environments, particularly in rural and remote locations. Modelling smoke-free environments within the grant recipients’ own workplace is one way in which this issue is being addressed, with some evidence of success.

Challenges to the implementation of smoke-free workplaces include getting support from senior leaders or Board members who smoke, and organisations where tobacco control is not the main priority. Monitoring the compliance of smoke-free environments presented an additional challenge to grant recipients. Some external organisations have requested support to become smoke-free, and successful examples of smoke-free environments including smoke-free community events are evident.

Shifting attitudes around second-hand smoke (e.g. smoking indoors and in cars) and some evidence of behaviour change were reported by grant recipients and community members.

6.Access to quit support

TIS funded organisations are encouraged to take a systems approach to activity planning. The TIS program is part of a larger preventive health care system, all connected in different ways such as through referral pathways, and client appointments.

A key component of the TIS program is therefore enhancement of referral pathways and promoting access to quit support. Grant recipients have developed a range of opportunities for community members to achieve smoking cessation, with referral pathways having been established in two key areas: clinic-based referrals within their organisation and referrals made during localised TIS health promotion activities.

For some, successful referral pathways are dependent upon grant recipients partnering with external organisations.

Improving access to culturally appropriate support to quit has been a key focus of the grant recipients over the past 12 months.

Quitline enhancements are a component of the TIS program and data suggests that referrals to Quitline are higher in urban and some rural areas. Continuing to build strong partnerships between grant recipients and Quitline will be key to increasing referrals from local TIS programs into Quitline where appropriate.

Another key focus for grant recipients has been in increasing the skills of TIS workers and other professionals in contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide smoking cessation education and brief interventions. Quits kills training, and other smoking cessation education programs, have been accessed to support this goal.

7.Contributions to evidence base

The shift to delivering activities based in evidence and focusing more on outcomes than outputs has been welcomed by grant recipients, in the main, and has provided greater direction for activities and a goal to work towards.

A range of activities were undertaken by grant recipients to develop or strengthen their evidence base and work towards measurable outcomes. Collecting data remained challenging for some remote grant recipients operating in contexts with low literacy levels and where English is not the first language. Health service grant recipients wanting to collect population level data was also challenging when services are operating on different databases within a region and where there was an unwillingness to share data.

Overall, grant recipients expressed a willingness to focus on outcomes, and the confidence and capability to obtain data, although interpreting and reporting on data was presented as a challenge.

8.National Best Practice Unit and TIS portal

Advice and guidance around monitoring, measuring and further improving local TIS programs is provided to grant recipients through the NBPU TIS. Grant recipients have indicated that they value the support and advice provided through the NBPU TIS and this has aided in building their confidence and capacity to undertake monitoring and evaluation activities.

Some grant recipients reported that an additional level of support from NBPU TIS was needed. Resistance to change is common in any business when new processes are set in place. NBPU TIS therefore expected, and has witnessed, some resistance to this change. However, it continues to engage with grant recipients and support significant processes of change, not just reporting and compliance.

Another component of the work of the NBPU TIS is the development and ongoing maintenance and improvement of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking Resource and Information Centre (TISRIC) and its home, the TIS Portal (hosted by Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet).

Information and resources to support grant recipients in planning, monitoring, and evaluating activities, as well as information on workforce development is provided through the TIS Portal.

In addition, the Portal hosts an online forum (TIS Yarning Place) that enables grant recipients from across the country to share information and ask questions. Evaluation findings suggest that, whilst grant recipients are utilising the TIS Portal, some grant recipients have identified opportunities to enhance the useability of the TIS Portal.

9.Governance and communications

Various components of support are provided to grant recipients by the department and the NBPU TIS regarding the new focus and priorities and expectations of the TIS program.

To ensure consistent program messaging, and to enhance performance reporting, a range of initiatives were undertaken in the latter half of 2016 to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various ‘players’ in the national TIS program.

The loss of experienced staff due to funding uncertainty has represented a significant challenge for several grant recipients in their planning and implementing activities.

Particularly in remote areas, recruitment has been an issue for many grant recipients due to the mix of skills demanded of TIS staff. Grant recipients report continued issues attracting and retaining staff with only short term contracts under the new TIS program.

Despite these concerns, indications are that providing grant recipients are given sufficient time and support to execute their Action Plans, they are on track for achieving stated tobacco reduction outcomes. The key risk to this is workforce stability, which would be mitigated by timely advice about the outcome of ongoing funding arrangements.

A number of key recommendations have emerged out of the evaluation findings:

Overall recommendations

1. Department: The TIS program in its current form should be continued, with a move away from short-term funding cycles.

2. Department: Provide immediate advice about the funding of TIS from June 2017 to end of current funding cycle.

Shift to TIS

3. Department: Provide clarity around what is allowable in relation to healthy lifestyle activities within the current iteration of the TIS program  Community engagement and partnerships

4. Grant recipients: Continue to broker partnerships and leverage relationships.

5. NBPU TIS: Continue to build capability of grant recipients to broker partnerships and leverage relationships through the distribution and promotion of relevant resources.

Community education and awareness

6. Grant recipients: Continue to identify and prioritise key groups, especially pregnant women.

7. Grant recipients: Ensure evidence-based best practice community education models (including monitoring and evaluation approaches) are sought and adopted where appropriate.

8. NBPU TIS: Ensure the evidence-based best practice community education models (including monitoring and evaluation approaches) are available, particularly for priority target groups such as pregnant women and activities around social marketing.

Smoke-free environments

9. Grant recipients: Continue to explore implementing smoke-free workplaces and enhance support for smoke-free public spaces.

10. National Coordinator: Lead a dialogue between regional leaders, including CEOs, Board members of TIS and non-TIS funded organisations around establishing smoke-free environments.

Access to quitting support

11. Grant recipients: Continue to strengthen partnerships with Quitline and other quit support structures where appropriate.  Contribution to larger evidence base

12. Grant recipients: Build on routine and existing data sources to reduce data collection burden.

National support

13. Grant recipients: Continue to seek feedback from NBPU TIS regarding M&E activities where required.

14. NBPU TIS: Continue to respond to feedback from GRs around M&E needs and TIS portal content and use ability.

15. Department: Articulate the role of the National coordinator  in the context that the program has evolved and as such his role has evolved. Governance and communication

16. Department: Provide greater clarification of TIS funding parameters, especially in terms of incorporation of healthy lifestyle activities and one-on-one smoking cessation support.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) regional tobacco control grants aim to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through population health activities to reduce tobacco use. It is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH).

At the end of 2015, a number of organisations were notified of their success in gaining a TIS grant for culturally appropriate tobacco cessation programs. The grants were awarded to a variety of service providers across the nation.

The 35 organisations that have commenced their programs are:

With the program funding provided until 2018, the successful organisations will work towards the intended outcomes of the TIS programme, including:

  • encouraging community involvement in and support for local tobacco control activities
  • increasing community understanding of the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco
  • improving knowledge, skills and a better understanding of the health impacts of smoking.

NACCHO Aboriginal Hearing Health : 94 per cent of Indigenous inmates in the NT have significant hearing loss


” Eighty four per cent of adults and 96 per cent of juveniles detained in the Northern Territory are Indigenous, though they only make up 25 per cent of the population.

In my research I found that hearing-impaired Aboriginal people are more likely to be arrested and charged with crimes because they cannot explain themselves to police or give adequate instructions to their solicitor, are less likely to be viewed as a credible witnesses in court, and tend to have misunderstandings with corrections staff.”

Psychologist Dr Damien Howard ( see his PowerPoint presentation below ) 


 ” Ministers agreed that the ear and hearing health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is an important issue that impacts on their health, education, and employment outcomes.

Accordingly, Ministers agreed to explore the feasibility of a national approach to reducing the burden of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is an important step towards achieving Closing the Gap targets. “

COAG Health Council Communique  24 March 2017

Read over 30 previous NACCHO articles Ears and Hearing

When Aboriginal prisoners appear before a magistrate waiting to be sentenced in Darwin, a guard is usually sitting in the dock right beside them. Troy Vanderpoll used to be one of those prison officers.

Article originally published

The Aboriginal inmate is asked a few questions. He nods in agreement with the magistrate, repeating, “yes”, over and over again.

The session finishes, the inmate stands, and the court moves on to the next case.

The man turns to the guard: “How much did I get?”

Mr Vanderpoll is Indigenous himself, and used to work as the Aboriginal Liaison Officer in Northern Territory prisons.

He spent a lot of time with Aboriginal inmates, and noticed that some of the men seemed withdrawn, and did their best to avoid interacting with guards, parole officers and judges — even when it was in their best interests.

Hidden epidemic

In 2010, Mr Vanderpoll spoke to a local psychologist, Damien Howard, who had a theory on why that was — a hidden epidemic of hearing loss.

Damien had studied the impact of hearing loss on Indigenous people for more than two decades, but had never seen research published on hearing levels of adult prisoners in the Northern Territory.

Before Mr Vanderpoll became a prison guard, he was a medic in the Australian Army, where he learned how to conduct hearing testing. In the defence forces, biannual checks are mandatory.

In response to Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard’s interest, Robert Miller — then acting superintendent of Darwin Correctional Centre and Mr Vanderpoll’s stepfather — commissioned the pair to conduct hearing testing for Aboriginal inmates.

Mr Vanderpoll tested the hearing of volunteers at correctional centres in Darwin and Alice Springs, and Dr Howard helped compile the results.

The findings made news headlines: 94 per cent of the inmates tested had significant hearing loss.

The result reflected a wider public health issue: in remote communities, up to 45 per cent of Aboriginal people have hearing loss, often due to preventable childhood ear diseases.

Presentation  : Health practitioners improving communication with Indigenous patients and family members with hearing loss.

Mr Miller had by then worked in Corrections for over 25 years. The result was a revelation.

“I think it shocked all of us that the hearing loss was so great,” he says.

“The doors open and the memory goes back: some prisoners seemed to be not talking to you, ignoring what you’re saying. You understand now that he’s got a hearing problem, no wonder he couldn’t hear what I was saying.

“If you don’t know about it then you may just think that the prisoner is being ignorant or rude in not responding to something that you’ve said.”

Then there were the inmates who Mr Vanderpoll realised must have been deaf in one ear.

“Sometimes you’re talking to someone and they completely ignore you because they’re facing the wrong way,” he says.


Photo: 94 per cent of Indigenous inmates in the Northern Territory have significant hearing loss. (ABC RN: Jake Duczynski)

Aboriginal men in NT prisons regularly use hand gestures — but Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard say that was no clear indication of hearing loss. Aboriginal spoken languages in the Northern Territory include signing, and many inmates speak English as a second or third language.

“The boys are always signing. Always, whether they can hear or not, they’re still signing,” Mr Miller says.

If Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard were shocked by the results, so too were the inmates. Most prisoners had no idea they had hearing problems before the study.

“They’d grown up with it. That had been their whole life,” Mr Vanderpoll says.

But whether they know they have it or not, hearing loss impacted their experiences in the justice system.

Mr Vanderpoll began having conversations with prisoners who admitted avoiding interacting with the parole board because of their hearing loss, giving up a chance for a reduced sentence.

“Anything that put them in a position where they had to talk to a stranger or be reviewed by a stranger was so shocking or so scary to them, that they’d rather stay in prison and complete their full time without any chance of parole,” he says.

“If you’ve got hearing issues, you don’t want to be put into that position.”

Interpreter shortage

While most hearing impaired and deaf Aboriginal inmates Mr Vanderpoll worked with didn’t ask for an interpreter in legal situations, the service might not have been available for them anyway.

There is only one professionally-qualified Auslan interpreter available for inmates across the entire Northern Territory, meaning that many deaf people miss out.

The interpreter, Liz Temple, readily admits that she does not have fluency in the local Aboriginal sign languages that most prisoners with hearing loss use.

She often relies on Aboriginal consultants, such as Jody Barney, a deaf Indigenous woman who often works in the region and has knowledge of multiple Aboriginal sign languages. However, funding for such services is limited.

Instead, corrections officers often play quasi-interpreters for inmates, says Mr Vanderpoll.

“You’d listen to the magistrate and you’d just lean over to the prisoner and just tell him what’s happening as it’s happening in real time. I think the reason that works is because they’re more comfortable.”

Their findings led Robert Miller to wonder whether hearing loss plays a role not only in Aboriginal people’s experience of prison, but also contributes to them ending up there in the first place.

“You can understand why Indigenous incarceration is so high. I’m not saying it’s the only reason, but I think it had quite an impact,” he says.

Eighty four per cent of adults and 96 per cent of juveniles detained in the Northern Territory are Indigenous, though they only make up 25 per cent of the population.

In his research, Howard found that hearing-impaired Aboriginal people are more likely to be arrested and charged with crimes because they cannot explain themselves to police or give adequate instructions to their solicitor, are less likely to be viewed as a credible witnesses in court, and tend to have misunderstandings with corrections staff.

Signs of change

Once the report was released, Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard were hopeful things would begin to change.

Mr Miller cobbled together funding for eight hearing aids, as he recalls — at a cost of less than $2,000.

“It wasn’t huge, but when you’re spending government money it’s got to be justified,” he says.

He had hoped that the small pilot program would eventually be funded by the government.

“There was no money in the Darwin Correctional Centre budget for hearing assistance,” he says.

Before the Darwin trial, in his eight years in NT prisons, Mr Vanderpoll says he saw only two people wearing hearing aids.

He recalls watching inmates putting on the new devices, realising what they had been missing.

“They could understand what they were supposed to be hearing in the first place,” he says.

Mr Vanderpoll hoped to implement a comprehensive training program for guards, who he says often had good relationships with inmates.

“I don’t think you can highlight that enough, that when they’re in prison, the officers aren’t their enemies.”

Still, there were correctional officers who got it, and those who didn’t, the ones who are “coming in yelling and screaming”.

The officers with the best rapport with the prisoners, Mr Vanderpoll observed, were those who made an effort to communicate.

“There’s a lot of knowledge. Some have 30 years of dealing with Indigenous inmates and they have developed a really good set of listening skills and speaking skills. We were trying to map that out so we could disseminate that in some form of training.”

Hope and disappointment

Their 2011 report made a number of recommendations that they believed could improve the way the justice system caters for hearing-impaired Aboriginal people — including routine testing of new inmates’ hearing, better access to hearing aids, and improved training for police, the judiciary and correctional staff.

Mr Vanderpoll’s biggest hope was to see records of inmates’ hearing levels shared between police and the courts.

“So that when [police] deal with someone, they bring that person up and say, ‘All right, he’s deaf in the left ear,’ and they can be aware of that when they’re dealing with them,” he says.

Mr Vanderpoll left the NT Department of Correctional Services in 2013, and now works for the state’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, while Mr Miller has retired.

To Dr Howard’s knowledge, none of the 2011 report’s recommendations have been implemented.

The NT Department of Corrections never contacted him about the report.

The Department of the Attorney General and Justice said that as part of an initial training program, correctional officers learned to deal with prisoners with impairments, including hearing loss.

Mr Vanderpoll’s idea of record sharing went nowhere. “That’s the most disappointing part,” he says.

Hearing loss remains ‘the smoking gun’

In the aftermath of the abuse of Aboriginal teenagers by guards at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2016, Dr Howard told the royal commission that hearing loss amongst Aboriginal adults and young people continues to be the “smoking gun” contributing to very high rates of detention — and communication problems with police and guards.

“With rare exceptions, governments and corrections agencies in all jurisdictions, as well as the criminal justice research organisations, have displayed a perplexing disinterest in this important issue,” Dr Howard says.

“A common response of government and Corrections is to classify Aboriginal hearing loss only as a “health problem”.

When asked if audiological testing was now conducted for adult prisoners entering the correctional system, the NT Department of the Attorney General and Justice referred the ABC to the Department of Health.

The Department of Health says adult prisoners are asked if they have hearing issues when they enter prison. Yet as Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard’s research found, many inmates are unaware of their hearing loss.

The NT Department of Corrections provides prisoners with a hearing aid if they have a referral from a medical practitioner.

Juvenile detainees in Darwin and Alice Springs are now given a hearing screening test undertaken by a nurse. The service began this year.

Mr Miller says people in the Department of Corrections “try really hard” to deliver services under increasingly strained resources.

“The government’s on you every year to be tight … people are not interested in prisoners at all,” Mr Vanderpoll says.

“I think that a lot of the problems that we face today, like Don Dale, was because the money’s been stripped from Corrections, over and over again, and people don’t want to hear about it.

“The prison is always run well because of communication. When it doesn’t run well, when there’s riots and stuff like that, it’s because of a lack of communication.

“You can have all of the foundation skills-type training in the world. You can have mathematics, English, et cetera. You can send people to alcohol rehabilitation courses.

“You can do all these things with people, but if they can’t even hear what you’re saying, how is it going to make a difference?”

Ear trouble training for teachers

Aboriginal Sexual Health #NAIDOC2017@sahmriAU Launches new initiative to prevent the spread of syphilis in remote #Indigenous communities

“ This multifaceted approach to educate young people is well overdue. The resources that have been developed and focus tested with young people will go a very long way in improving outcomes in the community.”

Associate Professor James Ward, Head of Infectious Disease Research – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at SAHMRI said that education and awareness about syphilis transmission and its consequences is vital if we are to make a difference.

Consider this fact

Since 2011, there has been a sustained outbreak of infectious syphilis occurring in remote areas spanning northern, central and South Australia among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people predominantly aged between 15 and 35 years.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute’s (SAHMRI) Infection and Immunity Theme has launched  a new multifaceted community education and awareness program in the fight against syphilis in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The campaign, entitled ‘Young, Deadly, Syphilis Free’, will utilise mediums including two television commercials.

TV Commercial 1 View Here

TV Commercial 2 View Here

social media, local radio and a new website to communicate to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live in remote communities the importance of being tested for syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection (STIs) that when left untreated, can have devastating effects.




Why is this campaign so important?

This project, funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health, has the ultimate objective of increasing testing rates among young Aboriginal people in the affected areas so that rates of syphilis are reduced in these communities.

Since 2011, there has been a sustained outbreak of infectious syphilis occurring in remote areas spanning northern, central and South Australia among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people predominantly aged between 15 and 35 years.

The accrued number of cases is now over 1,400 including four neonatal deaths and several other cases of congenital syphilis notified. Worryingly, syphilis continues to spread into new areas, and this needs to be stopped.

In addition to targeting young people, this campaign will have focus on healthcare services and providers, through the use of supporting resources and education materials, such as videos, posters and animations.

Clinicians will play an important part in the success of this project and they are encouraged to consider talking more broadly about the syphilis outbreak among people of influence in their community to raise awareness.

Furthermore, the project will trial social media ambassadors, who will be young people from remote communities to help spread the campaign and its objectives.

Attached is also the Email signature jpeg which some members may be willing to use to help promote testing

Thank you for sharing


Aboriginal #MensHealthWeek @HeartAust @CancerCouncilOz : Make sure you have a regular #ACCHO health check fellas !

 ” Heart disease was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians.

When compared with other Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease, three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack and more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease.”

Aboriginal Chronic Care Officer with Northern NSW Local Health District, Anthony Franks speaking at the #MensHealthWeek Heart Foundation sponsored workshop in Grafton : Workshop photos Colin Cowell NACCHO media

Part 1 Heart Foundation Aboriginal Resources

We have a a variety of information sheets about heart conditions and risk factors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

View and download the PDFs here, or call our Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87 to order copies.

Part 2 For Cancer Council info see separate NACCHO Men’s Health promotion below

Let’s face it, your nuts don’t get a lot of love.

Give them a bit of a feel, it’s the polite thing to do. If something doesn’t feel right, go see an ACCHO  doctor. It’s an important step in detecting testicular cancer early

See info below or here

Pictured above Dave Ferguson from NACCHO Member Service  Bulgarr Ngaru AMS : Below some of the workshop participants with trainee doctors from Wollongong University experiencing Aboriginal health prevention

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander men are 19 times more likely to die from chronic rheumatic heart disease, so a series of workshops in Ballina and Grafton was held to raise awareness of the risk factors for heart disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

It’s all part of a program across Northern NSW for Men’s Health Week which will run from June 12-19.

The workshops provided a comfortable environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to learn and ask questions about ways to reduce their chances of experiencing heart disease.

All workshop participants had to complete a health questionnaire and have a blood pressure test

“The idea of these workshops is to raise awareness around the different signs and symptoms of heart disease, and also around prevention and management of the disease,” Mr Franks said,

“This is a new, collaborative approach to addressing this issue, working together with existing avenues such as healthy lifestyle and exercise programs to assist participants to make the most of what they’ll be learning.”

At the workshops men will learn about the importance of heart health checks, stress reduction, quitting smoking and healthy eating from community health practitioners, hospital cardiac nurses, and other health practitioners in a culturally safe environment.

Examples of Men’s Health Week International


See Link or read below

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in young men (aged 18 to 39).1

The most common type is seminoma, which usually occurs in men aged between 25 and 50 years. The other main type is non-seminoma, which is more common in younger men, usually in their 20s.

In 2013, 721 new cases of testicular cancer were diagnosed in Australia. For Australian men, the risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer by age 85 is 1 in 218. The rate of men diagnosed with testicular cancer has grown by more than 50% over the past 30 years, however the reason for this is not known.

The five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with testicular cancer is close to 98%.

In 2014, there were 23 deaths from testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer symptoms

Testicular cancer may cause no symptoms. The most common symptom is a painless swelling or a lump in a testicle.

Less common symptoms include:

  • feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • swelling or lump in the testicle
  • change in the size or shape of the testicle
  • feeling of unevenness
  • pain or ache in the lower abdomen, the testicle or scrotum
  • back pain
  • enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue (due to hormones created by cancer cells).

Causes of testicular cancer

Some factors that may increase a man’s risk of testicular cancer include:

  • undescended testicle (when an infant)
  • family history (having a father or brother who has had testicular cancer).

There is no known link between testicular cancer and injury to the testicles, sporting strains, hot baths or wearing tight clothes.

Diagnosis for testicular cancer

Tests used to diagnose testicular cancer include:

  • ultrasound (to confirm the presence of a mass) and
  • blood tests for the tumour markers alpha-fetoprotein, beta human chorionic gonadotrophin and lactate dehydrogenase.

However, the only way to definitely diagnose testicular cancer is by surgical removal of the affected testicle. While many other types of cancers are diagnosed by biopsy (removing a small piece of tissue from the tumour), cutting into a testicle could spread the cancer to other parts of the body. Hence the whole testicle needs to be removed if cancer is strongly suspected.

Treatment for testicular cancer


In addition to the results of the diagnostic tests above, a chest X-ray and CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis are done to determine whether and how far the cancer has spread.

Stage 1 means the cancer is found only in the testicle, stage 2 means it has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen or pelvis, and stage 3 means the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other areas of the body such as the lungs and liver.

If the cancer is found only in the testicle (stage 1), removal of the testicle (orchidectomy) may be the only treatment needed. If the cancer has spread beyond the testicle, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may be used as well.

Treatment team

Depending on your treatment, your treatment team may include a number of the following professionals:

  • GP who looks after your general health and coordinates specialist treatment
  • urologist who specialises in the treatment of diseases of the urinary system and male reproductive system
  • medical oncologist who prescribes chemotherapy treatment
  • radiation oncologist who prescribes radiation therapy
  • cancer nurses
  • endocrinologist who specialises in diagnoses and treatment of disorders of the endocrine system. For men who have had both testicles removed, this will include testosterone replacement
  • other health professionals such as dietitians, social workers and physiotherapists.

Palliative care

In some cases of testicular cancer, your medical team may talk to you about palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve your quality of life by alleviating symptoms of cancer.

As well as slowing the spread of testicular cancer, palliative treatment can relieve pain and help manage other symptoms. Treatment may include radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other drug therapies.

Screening for testicular cancer

There is no routine screening test for testicular cancer. While it is important to get to know the regular look and feel of your testicles and let your doctor know if you notice anything unusual, there is little evidence to suggest that testicular self-examination detects cancer earlier or improves outcomes.


Prognosis for testicular cancer

Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. An individual’s prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer as well as their age and general health at the time of diagnosis. You may wish to discuss your prognosis and treatment options with your doctor, but it is not possible for any doctor to predict the exact course of your disease.

All testicular cancers can be treated and most testicular cancers are successfully treated.

Preventing testicular cancer

There are no proven measures to prevent testicular cancer.


Understanding Testicular Cancer, Cancer Council Australia © 2016. Last medical review of source booklet: September 2016.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW.

1) Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer according to general practice and hospitals data, however there is no reporting of cases to cancer registries.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #CarersGateway : Free online resources to support #Aboriginal #carers

It’s rewarding work, but without help Dolly finds herself emotionally and physically drained. Dolly reached out and found that she could get services to help her.

Like Dolly, millions of people in Australia care for others who need help with their everyday lives.

A carer may be someone who looks after their husband or wife, partner, grandparent, uncle, aunty, cousin, child, grandchild or any other family member, a neighbour, a friend or someone in their community who needs help.

Everyone’s situation is different. Some carers look after someone who is an older person or who is unwell or has difficulties getting around. Some carers may look after someone who has a disability, a mental illness or dementia, a chronic condition or a long-term illness or drug and alcohol problems.

Many people looking after someone else don’t think of themselves as carers. They just see caring as what they do to help their families or friends or people in their communities.

Carers need help too – someone they can talk to and find out about services that can help. Carer Gateway is a free, Australian Government funded service that provides information for carers and helps people get in touch with their local services. People can ring up and have a private chat or go online and find out about support in their area, free financial and legal help and what to do in emergencies.  They can also get tips on how to look after themselves so they don’t get burnt out while caring for someone else.

Carer Gateway has short videos about real-life carers in the community – showing how they cope and deal with problems – and how they make the most of the time they spend caring for someone in need.

The videos include Dolly’s story. Dolly is a mother and full-time carer for her two adult daughters, who both need support with their everyday needs.

“It’s pretty much 24/7 around the clock. Four years ago, I realised I was doing a care role and I was also a working mum so quite busy. I thought you know what, it’s time for me to step back and start looking after my own,” she said.

There are free online resources to support Aboriginal carers, including a guided relaxation audio recording and information brochures and posters for use by health and community groups  which can also be ordered from the Carer Gateway ordering form and a Carer Gateway Facebook page to keep up to date on services and supports for carers.

To find out more, Carer Gateway can be contacted on 1800 422 737, Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm,

or by visiting

You can join the Carer Gateway Facebook community by visiting




NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Smoking #WNTD @AMAPresident awards #NT Dirty Ashtray Award for World #NoTobacco Day

“Research shows that smoking is likely to cause the death of two-thirds of current Australian smokers. This means that 1.8 million Australians now alive will die because they smoked.

The Northern Territory, a serial offender in failing to improve tobacco control, has been announced as the recipient of the AMA/ACOSH Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking over the past 12 months.

But it seems that the Northern Territory Government still does not see reducing the death toll from smoking as a priority. Smoking is still permitted in pubs, clubs, dining areas, and – unbelievably – in schools.

The NT Government has not allocated funding for effective public education, and is still investing superannuation funds in tobacco companies.

“It is imperative that Governments avoid complacency, keep up with tobacco industry tactics, and continue to implement strong, evidence-based tobacco control measures.”

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, announced the results today at the AMA National Conference 2017 in Melbourne.

Previous NACCHO Press Release Good News :

NACCHO welcomes funding of $35.2 million for 36 #ACCHO Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programs

The Northern Territory, a serial offender in failing to improve tobacco control, has been announced as the recipient of the AMA/ACOSH Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking over the past 12 months.

It is the second year in a row that the Northern Territory Government has earned the dubious title, and its 11th “win” since the Award was first given in 1994.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that it is disappointing that so little progress has been made in the Northern Territory over the past year.

“More than 22 per cent of Northern Territorians smoke daily, according to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, well above the national average of 13.3 per cent,” Dr Gannon said.

“Smoking will kill two-thirds of current smokers, meaning that 1.8 million Australian smokers now alive will be killed by their habit.

“But it seems that the Northern Territory Government still does not see reducing the death toll from smoking as a priority. Smoking is still permitted in pubs, clubs, dining areas, and – unbelievably – in schools.

“The Government has not allocated funding for effective public education, and is still investing superannuation funds in tobacco companies.”

Victoria and Tasmania were runners-up for the Award.

“While the Victorian Government divested from tobacco companies in 2014, and has made good progress in making its prisons smoke-free, its investment in public education campaigns has fallen to well below recommended levels, and it still allows price boards, vending machines, and promotions including multi-pack discounts and specials,” Dr Gannon said.

“It must end the smoking exemption at outdoor drinking areas and the smoking-designated areas in high roller rooms at the casino.

Learn more about the great work our Tackling Indigenous Smoking Teams are doing throughout Australia 100 + articles HERE

“Tasmania has ended the smoking exemption for licensed premises, gaming rooms and high roller rooms in casinos, but still allows smoking in outdoor drinking areas.

“While Tasmania has the second highest prevalence of smoking in Australia, the Tasmanian Government has not provided adequate funding to support tobacco control public education campaigns to the evidence-based level.  It should provide consistent funding to the level required to achieve reductions in smoking.”

Tasmania should also ban price boards, retailer incentives and vending machines, and divest the resources of the Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF) from tobacco companies, limit government’s interactions with the tobacco industry and ban all political donations, ACOSH said.

It should also ban all e-cigarette sale, use, promotion and marketing in the absence of any approvals by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.


Download the app today & prepare to quit for World No Tobacco Day

Queensland has topped the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2017 as the Government making the most progress on combating smoking over the past 12 months.

Queensland narrowly pipped New South Wales for the Achievement Award, with serial offender the Northern Territory winning the Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort.

Judges from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) allocate points to each State and Territory in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective government has been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.

“Disappointingly, no jurisdiction scored an A this year, suggesting that complacency has set in,” Dr Gannon said.

“Research shows that smoking is likely to cause the death of two-thirds of current Australian smokers. This means that 1.8 million Australians now alive will die because they smoked.

“It is imperative that Governments avoid complacency, keep up with tobacco industry tactics, and continue to implement strong, evidence-based tobacco control measures.”

The judges praised the Queensland Government for introducing smoke-free legislation in public areas, including public transport waiting areas, major sports and events facilities, and outdoor pedestrian malls, and for divesting from tobacco companies.

However, they called on all governments to run major media campaigns to tackle smoking, and to take further action to protect public health policy from tobacco industry interference.

31 May is World No Tobacco Day Tweet using “Protect health,reduce poverty, promote development”

Aboriginal #heart #stroke Health : $15 million #HealthBudget17 Investment in #PhysicalActivity and #healthylifestyles to #takethepressuredown

“We walk from the pier to the swimming pool, but everyone walks their own pace and distance.

Before walking, an Aboriginal health worker takes the blood pressure of the walkers to let them know how their general health is.

The group was about “more than just walking”, with general health checks and healthy food offered as part of the weekly meet-up .We have young and old, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and everyone gets on really well.”

Community liaison officer Joe Malone : Run jointly by Heart Foundation Walking and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Community Health Service Northgate QLD , the meetings help keep local residents active.

Read Full story HERE

To find a local walking group, head to the Heart Foundation Walking website or call 1300 362 787

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : ” High blood pressure is a silent killer ” new Heart Foundation guidelines

“Disturbingly, about half of Australian adults are not physically active enough to gain the health benefits of exercise. This includes just under half of young people aged 25 to 34 years old. This puts them at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers and dementia in later life.

“But even moderate exercise is like a wonder drug. Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce risk of death from heart attack by a third, as well as help you sleep better, feel better, improve your strength and balance, and maintain your bone density. It also manages your weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. So we are delighted by the news of the Prime Minister’s $10 million walking challenge.”

Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly see full below

 ” The Stoke Foundation is excited to announce that the Stroke Foundation is partnering with Priceline Pharmacy for the 2017 Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check campaign.

Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check will take place Wednesday 17 May – Wednesday 14 June with a target to deliver 80,000 free health checks at over 320 locations around Australia including Priceline Pharmacy stores, selected shopping centres and Queensland Know your numbers sites.

Find your nearest free health check location HERE or your Aboriginal Community Controlled Health ( ACCHO )

Heart Foundation applauds Budget funding for Healthy Heart package

At a glance

Regular walking or other physical activity reduces:

  • All-cause mortality by 30%
  • Heart disease and stroke by 35%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 42%
  • Colon cancer by 30%
  • Breast cancer by 20%
  • Weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol

The Heart Foundation welcomes a $10 million commitment in the Federal Budget to get more Australians active by investing in a walking revolution, and $5 million dedicated to helping GPs to encourage patients to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced that $10 million over two years will be allocated to the Heart Foundation to lead the Prime Minister’s Walk for Life Challenge, which will support up to 300,000 Australians to adopt the easy way to better health – regular walking – by 2019.

“Physical inactivity takes an immense toll on the Australian community, causing an estimated 14,000 premature deaths a year – similar to that caused by smoking,” said Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s only national network of free walking groups. It has helped more than 80,000 Australians walk their way to better health since the program began in 1995, and currently has nearly 30,000 active participants. “We need to inspire Australians to be more active, and walking groups are a cheap, fun and easy way for them to get moving,” Professor Kelly said.

The Heart Foundation wants to see everyone ‘Move More and Sit Less’, including school students, sedentary workers and older Australians. “So we welcome the Government’s National Sports Plan, also announced in the Budget, to encourage physical activity at all levels, from community participation to elite sports.

“The Heart Foundation is also pleased to see a renewed commitment of more than $18 million to the National Rheumatic Fever Strategy, a critical program if we are to Close the Gap in health for Indigenous communities,” said Professor Kelly. “And we welcome the listing of the new heart failure medication Entresto on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for many more Australians, as well as funding for research into preventative care, and the development of a National Sport Plan, with its emphasis on participation.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease (1)
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack (2)
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease (2)
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease (3)
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.(3)

From Heart Foundation website


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #incontinence :@AusContinence free resources for Aboriginal Health Workers


” A range of other practical supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are provided by the Continence Foundation, including education, scholarships, and grants.

The Continence Foundation has updated its free information resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The Continence Foundation of Australia is the peak national body representing the interests of the 4.8 million Australian adults who have incontinence.

The Foundation would like to see a community free from the stigma and restrictions of incontinence, and is always looking at ways to provide greater access to its resources.

What is incontinence?

Incontinence is a term that describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence).

Incontinence is a widespread condition that ranges in severity from ‘just a small leak’ to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. In fact, over 4.8 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons. Incontinence can be treated and managed.  In many cases it can also be cured.

Urinary incontinence 

Urinary incontinence (or poor bladder control) is a common condition, that is commonly associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or a range of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis.

Poor bladder control can range from the occasional leak when you laugh, cough or exercise to the complete inability to control your bladder, which may cause you to completely wet yourself. Other symptoms you may experience include the constant need to urgently or frequently visit the toilet, associated with ‘accidents’.

There are different types of incontinence with a number of possible causes. The following are the most common:

Urinary incontinence can be caused by many things, but can be treated, better managed and in many cases cured.  For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor or a continence advisor about your symptoms, in order to get on top of them.

Faecal incontinence

People with poor bowel control or faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. This may mean you pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. You may also find you pass wind when you don’t mean to or experience staining of your underwear.

About one in 20 people experience poor bowel control. It is more common as you get older, but a lot of young people also have poor bowel control. Many people with poor bowel control also have poor bladder control (wetting themselves).

Faecal incontinence can have a number of possible causes. The following are the most common:

  • weak back passage muscles due to having babies, getting older, some types of surgery or radiation therapy
  • constipation, or
  • severe diarrhoea.

Economic impact of incontinence in Australia

The Deloitte Access Economics report The economic impact of incontinence in Australia explores the current prevalence and economic impact of incontinence in Australia, and provides an outline of the future projected growth of this burden.

The key findings of the report show that:

  • In 2010, the total financial cost of incontinence (excluding the burden of disease) was estimated to be $42.9 billion
  • This applies to the estimated 4.8 million Australians* currently living with incontinence
  • The prevalence of urinary, faecal and mixed incontinence is estimated to increase to over 6.4 million Australians* by 2030
  • This will increase the financial cost of the issue in terms of health system expenditure, lost earnings, costs of formal and informal care and aids and equipment

These resources are easy to understand, using everyday language and cover common issues such as:

  • Grog and bladder or bowel problems
  • Constipation (Hard poo)
  • Leaking urine (wee) after a baby There are 12 brochures in total covering men’s, women’s and children’s continence issues, all able to be viewed and downloaded from
  • Hard copies of these resources can also be ordered on the website or by phoning the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

Other resources available include fact sheets on a wide variety of topics for consumers and health professionals including factsheets written in an Easy English format, brochures and magazines.

The Continence Foundation website has been optimised for people using assistive technology, and most of the Foundation’s YouTube videos are now captioned.

The website contains information for people who care for others with incontinence, featuring videos, personal stories and practical tips. There is also information about continence and the NDIS featuring a video for NDIS participants and one for health professionals

A range of other practical supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are provided by the Continence Foundation, including education, scholarships, and grants.

The Continence Foundation, on behalf of the Australian Government, manages the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66), a free service staffed by continence nurse advisors who can provide information and resources 8am – 8pm AEST weekdays.

For more information, go to


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #flutracker : ‎@Flutrack You can help protect our mob from the #flu


” How much flu we see each year depends on which types of the flu virus are circulating and how susceptible the population is. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher risk of getting the flu than non-Indigenous Australians.

This may be due to the high proportion of Indigenous Australians with chronic illness, or those living in remote communities may not have seen previous types of the flu that may have offered some protection.

Free vaccine is available for Indigenous Australians who are less than five years of age or over 15 years of age.

In 2016, only 300 Indigenous Australians participated in Flutracking. This meant that it was not possible to see how much flu there was and how well the flu vaccine was working in protecting Indigenous Australians.

From Flu Tracking Via Indigenous X

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert : Flu vaccines and other immunisation programs : What you need to know

What the Video Here

Influenza, or the “flu” is a big problem around the world. In Australia, most disease occurs during late winter, but in the tropics, it can occur at any time.

The flu is spread from person to person through the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes and it can cause symptoms such as fever, coughing, soreness in the body or sometimes very serious disease that can lead to death. You are more likely to have serious disease if you are less than five-years of age, elderly or have a chronic illness such as diabetes, renal failure, heart or lung disease or if you are pregnant or smoke.

Aboriginal girls playing on a swing

FluTracking needs your help to protect our mob from the flu.


The best way to protect yourself from the flu is by vaccination. Free vaccine is available for Indigenous Australians who are less than five years of age or over 15 years of age.

It is also recommended but not yet funded for Indigenous Australians aged 5 to 15 years of age. You need to be vaccinated every year to be protected as the types of the flu virus that is included in the vaccine changes each year and protection provided by the vaccine does not last a long time.

One way to check how much flu there is in the community and to see how well the vaccine is working is to conduct surveillance of flu symptoms. Flutracking is a community based surveillance system, based out of Newcastle.

It asks people to participate by signing up, and responding to a weekly email by answering two simple questions; whether or not they had symptoms of the flu in the previous week, and whether they had received the flu vaccine. If participants have had flu symptoms, then a few additional questions will follow about whether they have seen their doctor and if they were tested for the flu.

Currently, over 30,000 Australians participate in Flutracking, making it the biggest community surveillance system in the world. However, not all communities within Australia are well represented, which makes it difficult to assess how much flu there is in certain populations and how well the flu vaccine is protecting people.

In 2016, only 300 Indigenous Australians participated in Flutracking. This meant that it was not possible to see how much flu there was and how well the flu vaccine was working in protecting Indigenous Australians.

If more Indigenous Australians join, we will be able to understand how serious the flu is each year and how quickly it will spread.

We will need many Indigenous Australians to join in order to know how well the flu vaccine is working.

We invite all Australians and particularly Indigenous Australians to join Flutracking.

Why should I join and what’s in it for me? You can contribute to one of the largest community-based surveillance systems in the world, and you can help protect our mob from the flu and contribute to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal communities.

Some Flutracking participants enjoy being part of the community of Flutrackers and being involved only takes 10 seconds each week.

With links available to a map of flu activity, you can see how much flu there is in your area, and have the option to hear messages about protecting yourself and your family and community against the flu

. You can change your mind and stop participating at any time. For more information about how we use data, please click here.

This article was sponsored by HNE Health

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldImmunisationWeek : @healthgovau Vaccination for our Mob

 ” Health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians continue to be a priority for Australian governments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are significantly more affected by: low birth weight, chronic diseases and trauma resulting in early deaths and poor social and emotional health.

Historically, immunisation has been and remains, a simple, timely, effective and affordable way to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health, delivering positive outcomes for Australians of all ages.

Reports that focus on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are published regularly by the National Centre for Immunisation Research (NCIRS).

They are modelled on the national surveillance reports and provide a comparison of VPDs and vaccination coverage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. The latest (third) report, which covered the period 2006–2010, was published as a supplement issue of Communicable Diseases Intelligence in December 2013.

These reports have also been modified for use by Aboriginal Health Workers and other staff without clinical experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health “

From the Department of Health Website : This week is #WorldImmunisationWeek. Check here on Twitter @healthgovau each morning next week for 5 facts on vaccines

Pictured above the Chair of NACCHO Matthew Cooke having his annual flu shot

Download vaccination-for-our-mob-2006-2010

A number of immunisation programs are available for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These programs provide protection against some of the most harmful infectious diseases that cause severe illness and deaths in our communities.

Immunisations are provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the following age groups:

  • Children aged 0-five
  • Children aged 10-15
  • People aged 15+
  • People aged 50+

Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services:

Find locations of most of our 302 ACCHO clinics on our Free NACCHO APP

local health services or general practitioners.

Children aged 0-five

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-five should receive the routine vaccines given to other children. You can see a list of these vaccines in the Children 0-five page.

In addition, children aged 0-five of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent can receive the following additional vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program:

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is required between the ages of 12 and 18 months. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia continue to be at risk of pneumococcal disease for a longer period than other children.

This program does not apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory, where the rate of pneumococcal disease is similar to that of non-Indigenous children.

Hepatitis A

This vaccination is given because hepatitis A is more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia than it is among other children. Two doses of vaccine are given six months apart starting over the age of 12 months.

The age at which hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the four states and territories.

Influenza (flu)

From 2015, the flu vaccine will be provided free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years is available under the National Immunisation Program. The flu shot will protect your children against the latest seasonal flu virus.

Some children over the age of five years with other medical conditions should also have the flu shot to reduce their risk of developing severe influenza.

Children aged 10 – 15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 10-15 should receive the following routine vaccines given to other children aged 10-15:

  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa)

People aged 15+

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from 50 years of age, as well as those aged 15 to 49 years who are at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Influenza (Flu)

Due to disease burden influenza vaccines are free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to five years old and 15 years old or over. The flu shot will protect you against the latest seasonal flu virus.

More information:

Vaccination for the mob Data analysis

Source reference

NCIRS have been leaders in the use of surveillance data to evaluate and track trends in morbidity due to vaccine preventable diseases in Aboriginal people.

Since 2004, NCIRS has produced regular reports on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These reports bring together relevant routinely collected data on notifications, hospitalisations and deaths, and childhood and adult vaccination coverage.

Production of these reports has required the development and/or application of new methods to determine the quality and completeness of Aboriginal data. Establishing minimum criteria of data quality has led to the availability of improved data from more Australian states and territories. This has allowed wider use of data and subsequent publication through these reports. While the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has developed methods for assessing data quality for hospitalisations in Aboriginal people, NCIRS is the only organisation to systematically apply similar standards to VPD hospitalisations and vaccination coverage.

Reports are modelled on the national surveillance reports (also produced by NCIRS) and provide a comparison of VPDs and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and a focus on the quality of Aboriginal health data. The latest (third) report, which covered the period 2006–2010, was published as a supplement issue of Communicable Diseases Intelligence in December 2013.

The reports have also been modified for use by Aboriginal health workers and other staff without clinical experience working in Aboriginal health (published as Vaccination for our Mob).