NACCHO Aboriginal Health @strokefdn @HeartAust New Year’s resolutions : For your health in 2018 have your blood pressure checked , it could save your life. #FightStroke

 

 ” We hear so much at this time of year about New Year’s resolutions – eat healthy, quit smoking, get more exercise, drink more water. The list goes on and on and on. 

While these are all valid and well intentioned goals, I am urging you to do one simple thing for your health in 2018 which could save your life. 

Have your blood pressure checked.  

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and one that can be managed.”

By Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Professor Bruce Campbell see full Press Release Part 1 WEBSITE

NACCHO has published 48 Aboriginal Health and Heart  Articles in the past 6 Years

NACCHO has published 86 Aboriginal Health and Stroke Articles in the past 6 Years

  ” High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, deteriorating vision and peripheral vascular disease leading to leg ulcers and gangrene.

Major risk factors for high blood pressure include increasing age, poor diet (particularly high salt intake), obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and insufficient physical activity . A number of these risk factors are more prevalent among Indigenous Australians

Based on both measured and self-reported data from the 2012–13 Health Survey, 27% of Indigenous adults had high blood pressure.

Rates increased with age and were higher in remote areas (34%) than non-remote areas (25%).

Twenty per cent of Indigenous adults had current measured high blood pressure.

Of these adults, 21% also reported diagnosed high blood pressure.

Most Indigenous Australians with measured high blood pressure (79%) did not know they had the condition; this proportion was similar among non-Indigenous Australians.

Therefore, there are a number of Indigenous adults with undiagnosed high blood pressure who are unlikely to be receiving appropriate medical advice and treatment.

The proportion of Indigenous adults with measured high blood pressure who did not report a diagnosed condition decreased with age and was higher in non-remote areas (85%) compared with remote areas (65%).

PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report see extracts below PART 2 or in full HERE

Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiovascular disease

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

Find your nearest ACCHO download the NACCHO FREE APP

ACCHO’s focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.

Download the NACCHO App HERE

High blood pressure is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, the only way to know is to ask your ACCHO GP for regular check-ups.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the greatest preventable risk factors that contributes significantly to the cardiovascular disease burden.

The good news is that hypertension can be controlled through lifestyle modification and in more serious cases by blood pressure-lowering medications.”

Part 1 Stroke Foundation Press Release Continued :

A simple step to prevent stroke in 2018

Stroke is a devastating disease that will impact one in six of us. There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia. Stroke attacks the human control centre – the brain – it happens in an instant and changes lives forever.

In 2018 it’s estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes across the country. Stroke will kill more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer this year.

But the good news is that it does not need to be this way. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

Around 4.1 million of us have high blood pressure and many of us don’t realise it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure has no symptoms. The only way to know if it is a health issue for you is by having it checked by your doctor or local pharmacist.

Make having regular blood pressure checks a priority for 2018. Include a blood pressure check in your next GP visit or trip to the shops. Be aware of your stroke risk and take steps to manage it. Do it for yourself and do it for your family.

If you think you are too young to suffer a stroke, think again. One in three people who has a stroke is of working age.

Health and fitness is big business. But before you fork out big bucks on a personal trainer or diet plan this year, do something simple and have your blood pressure checked.

It will only take five minutes, it’s non-invasive and it could save your life.

Declaration of Interest : Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Editor ( A stroke Survivor) was a board member and Chair of Stoke Foundation Consumer Council 2016-17

Part 2 PMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 Report  or in full HERE

In 2012–13, 10% of Indigenous adults reported they had a diagnosed high blood pressure condition.

Of these, 18% did not have measured high blood pressure and therefore are likely to be managing their condition.

Indigenous males were more likely to have high measured blood pressure (23%) than females (18%).

The survey showed that an additional 36% of Indigenous adults had pre-hypertension (blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg).

This condition is a signal of possibly developing hypertension requiring early intervention. In 2012–13, after adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Indigenous adults were 1.2 times as likely to have high measured blood pressure as non-Indigenous adults.

For Indigenous Australians, rates started rising at younger ages and the largest gap was in the 35–44 year age group. Analysis of the 2012–13 Health Survey found a number of associations between socio-economic status and measured and/or self-reported high blood pressure.

Indigenous Australians living in the most relatively disadvantaged areas were 1.3 times as likely to have high blood pressure (28%) as those living in the most relatively advantaged areas (22%).

Indigenous Australians reporting having completed schooling to Year 9 or below were 2.1 times as likely to have high blood pressure (38%) as those who completed Year 12 (18%).

Additionally, those with obesity were 2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (37% vs 18%). Those reporting fair/poor health were 1.8 times as likely as those reporting excellent/very good/good health to be have high blood pressure (41% vs 22%).

Those reporting having diabetes were 2.2 times as likely to have high blood pressure (51% vs 23%), as were those reporting having kidney disease (57% vs 26%). One study in selected remote communities found high blood pressure rates 3–8 times the general population (Hoy et al. 2007).

Most diagnosed cases of high blood pressure are managed by GPs or medical specialists. When hospitalisation occurs it is usually due to cardiovascular complications resulting from uncontrolled chronic blood pressure elevation.

During the two years to June 2013, hospitalisation rates for hypertensive disease were 2.4 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as for non-Indigenous Australians. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, hospitalisation rates started rising at younger ages with the greatest difference in the 55–64 year age group.

This suggests that high blood pressure is more severe, occurs earlier, and is not controlled as well for Indigenous Australians.

As a consequence, severe disease requiring acute care in hospital is more common. GP survey data collected from April 2008 to March 2013 suggest that high blood pressure represented 4% of all problems managed by GPs among Indigenous Australians.

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, rates for the management of high blood pressure among Indigenous Australians were similar to those for other Australians.

In December 2013, Australian Government-funded Indigenous primary health care organisations provided national Key Performance Indicators data on around 28,000 regular clients with Type 2 diabetes.

In the six months to December 2013, 64% of these clients had their blood pressure assessed and 44% had results in the recommended range (AIHW 2014w).

Implications

The prevalence of measured high blood pressure among Indigenous adults was estimated as 1.2 times as high as for non-Indigenous adults and hospitalisation rates were 2.4 times as high, but high blood pressure accounted for a similar proportion of GP consultations for each population.

This suggests that Indigenous Australians are less likely to have their high blood pressure diagnosed and less likely to have it well controlled given the similar rate of GP visits and higher rate of hospitalisation due to cardiovascular complications.

Research into the effectiveness of quality improvement programmes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services has demonstrated that blood pressure control can be improved by a well-coordinated and systematic approach to chronic disease management (McDermott et al. 2004).

Identification and management of hypertension requires access to primary health care with appropriate systems for the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and systemic approaches to health assessments and chronic illness management.

The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme, which commenced 1 July 2014, provides for better chronic disease prevention and management through expanded access to and coordination of comprehensive primary health care.

Initiatives provided through this programme include nationwide tobacco reduction and healthy lifestyle promotion activities, a care coordination and outreach workforce based in Medicare Locals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and GP, specialist and allied health outreach services serving urban, rural and remote communities, all of which can be used to diagnose and assist Indigenous Australians with high blood pressure.

Additionally, the Australian Government provides GP health assessments for Indigenous Australians under the MBS, of which blood pressure measurement is one key element, with follow-on care and incentive payments for improved management, and cheaper medicines through the PBS.

The Australian Government-funded ESSENCE project ‘essential service standards’ articulates what elements of care are necessary to reduce disparity for Indigenous Australians for high blood pressure.

This includes recommendations focusing on primary prevention through risk assessment, awareness and early identification and secondary prevention through medication.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @VACCHO_org @Apunipima join major 2018 health groups campaign @Live Lighter #RethinkSugaryDrink launching ad showing heavy health cost of cheap $1 frozen drinks

 

“A cheeky, graphic counter-campaign taking on cheap frozen drink promotions like $1 Slurpees and Frozen Cokes has hit Victorian bus and tram stops to urge Australians to rethink their sugary drink. 

Rather than tempt viewers with a frosty, frozen drink, the “Don’t Be Sucked In” campaign from LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink, an alliance of 18 leading health agencies, shows a person sipping on a large cup of bulging toxic fat. “

NACCHO has published over 150 various articles about sugar , obesity etc

Craig Sinclair, Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, said while this graphic advertisement isn’t easy to look at, it clearly illustrates the risks of drinking too many sugary drinks.

“Frozen drinks in particular contain ridiculous amounts of added sugar – even more than a standard soft drink.”

“A mega $3 Slurpee contains more than 20 teaspoons of sugar.

That’s the same amount of sugar as nearly eight lemonade icy poles, and more than three times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation of six teaspoons a dayi.”

“At this time of year it’s almost impossible to escape the enormous amount of advertising and promotions for frozen drink specials on TV, social media and public transport,” Mr Sinclair said.

“These cheap frozen drinks might seem refreshing on a hot day, but we want people to realise they could easily be sucking down an entire week’s worth of sugar in a single sitting.”

A large frozen drink from most outlets costs just $1 – a deal that major outlets like 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks and KFC promote heavily.

LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese said drinking a large Slurpee every day this summer could result in nearly 2kg of weight gain in a year if these extra kilojoules aren’t burnt

“This summer, Aussies could be slurping their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and tooth decay,” Ms McAleese said.

“When nearly two thirds of Aussie adults and a third of kids are overweight or obese, it’s completely irresponsible for these companies to be actively promoting excessive consumption of drinks completely overloaded with sugar.

“And while this campaign focuses on the weight-related health risks, we can’t ignore the fact that sugary drinks are also a leading cause of tooth decay in Australia, with nearly half of children aged 2– 16 drinking soft drink every day.ii 

“We’re hoping once people realise just how unhealthy these frozen drinks are, they consider looking to other options to cool off.

“Water is ideal, but even one lemonade icy pole, with 2.7tsp of sugar, is a far better option than a Slurpee or Frozen Coke.”

Mr Sinclair said a health levy on sugary drinks is one of the policy tools needed to help address the growing impact of weight and diet-related health problems in Australia.

“Not only can a 20% health levy help deter people from these cheap and very unhealthy drinks, it will help recover some of the significant costs associated with obesity and the increasing burden this puts on our public health care system,” he said.

This advertising will hit bus and tram stops around Victoria this week and will run for two weeks. #

 

FROZEN DRINKS: More  FACTSiii 

About LiveLighter: LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australian adults to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active.

In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria. In Western Australia, LiveLighter is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA.

For more healthy tips, recipes and advice visit

www.livelighter.com.au

About Rethink Sugary Drink: Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter, The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Stroke Foundation, Parents’ Voice, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption.

Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal #ChooseHealth wishes you a very Healthy Xmas and #sugarfree 2018 New Year #SugaryDrinksProperNoGood

 ”  This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health.It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York and throughout all our communities experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

WATCH Apunipima Video HERE

“We tell ‘em kids drink more water; stop the sugar. It’s good for all us mob”

Read over 30 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/nutrition-healthy-foods/

 ” Let’s be honest, most countries and communities (and especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders ) now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

While no single mission will be the panacea to a complex problem, using 2017 to set a new healthy goal of giving sugar the kick would be a great start.

Understand sugar, be aware of it, minimise it and see it for what it is – a special treat for a rare occasion.

This New Year’s, make breaking up with sugar your planned resolution.

“Hey sugar – it’s not me, it’s you…”

Alessandro R Demaio  Global Health Doctor; Co-Founded NCDFREE & festival21; Assoc. Researcher, University of Copenhagen and NACCHO supporter ( First Published 2016 see in full below )

 

We recommend the Government establish obesity prevention as a national priority, with a national taskforce, sustained funding and evaluation of key measures including:

  • Laws to stop exposure of children to unhealthy food and drink marketing on free to air television until 9.30 pm
  • Mandatory healthy food star rating from July 2019 along with stronger food reformulation targets
  • A national activity strategy to promote walking, cycling and public transport use
  • A 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks

Australia enjoys enviable health outcomes but that is unlikely to last if we continue to experience among the world’s highest levels of obesity.

 CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthStarRating and #Nutrition @KenWyattMP Free healthy choices food app will dial up good tucker

” Weight gain spikes sharply during the Christmas and New Year holiday period with more than half of the weight we gain during our lifetime explained just by the period between mid-November and mid-January.

Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA

 ” Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

The study used computer modelling to simulate daily activities like food and beverage shopping of the populations of three U.S. cities – Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

It found that warning labels in locations that sell sugary drinks, including grocery and corner stores, reduced both obesity and overweight prevalence in the three cities, declines that the authors say were attributable to the reduced caloric intake.

The virtual warning labels contained messaging noting how added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

The findings, which were published online December 14 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, demonstrates how warning labels can result in modest but statistically significant reductions in sugary drink consumption and obesity and overweight prevalence.”

Diabetes Queensland : Warning labels can help reduce sugary drinks consumption and obesity, new study suggests

 

Global recognition is building for the very real health concerns posed by large and increasing quantities of hidden sugar in our diets. This near-ubiquitous additive found in products from pasta sauces to mayonnaise has been in the headlines and in our discussions.

The seemingly innocuous sweet treat raises eyebrows from community groups to policy makers – and change is in the air.

Let’s review some of the sugar-coated headers from 2016 :

  • The global obesity epidemic continued to build while more than two-in-three Australian adults faced overweight or obesity – and almost one in four of our children.
  • Science around sugary drinks further solidified, with consumption now linked to obesity, childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes (type-2), dental caries and even lower fertility.
  • Australians were estimated to consume a staggering 76 litres of sugary drinks each since January alone, and new reports highlighted that as much as 15% of the crippling health costs associated with obesity could result from sugary drinks consumption.
  • Meanwhile around the planet, more countries took sound policy measures to reduce sugar consumption in their citizens. France, Belgium, Hungary, Finland, Chile, the UK, Ireland, South Africa and many parts of the United States implemented, continued or planned the implementation of pricing policies for sugary drinks.

In short, the over-consumption of sugar is now well recognised as a public health challenge everywhere.

With all this in mind and a New Year ahead, it’s time to put big words into local action. With resolutions brewing, here are seven helpful tips to breaking up with sugar in 2017.

1. Understand sugar

When it comes to sugar, things can get pretty confusing. Below, I shed some light on the common misunderstandings, but let’s recheck sugar itself – in simplest terms.

Sugar is a type of refined carbohydrate and a source of calories in our diet. Our body uses sugar and other sources of calories as energy, and any sugar that is not used is eventually stored as fat in our liver or on our bellies.

“Free sugars” are those added to products or concentrated in the products – either by us or by the manufacturer. They don’t include sugars in whole fruits and vegetables, but more on that later. For a range of health reasons, the World Health Organization recommends we get just 5% of our daily calories from free sugars. For a fully grown man or woman, this equates to a recommended limit to sugar consumption of roughly 25 grams – or 6 teaspoons. For women, it’s a little less again.

Consume more than this, and our risk of health problems rises.

2. Quit soft drinks

With 16 teaspoons of sugar in a single bottle serving – that’s more than 64 grams – there’s nothing “soft” about soft drinks. Including all carbonated drinks, flavoured milks and energy drinks with any added sugars, as well as fruit drinks and juices, sugary drinks are a great place to focus your efforts for a healthier 2018. Sugary drinks provide no nutritional value to our diets and yet are a major source of calories.

sugartax

What’s more concerning, evidence suggests that when we drink calories in the form of sugary drinks, our brains don’t recognise these calories in the same way as with foods. They don’t make us feel “full” and could even make us hungrier – so we end up eating (and drinking) more. In this way, liquid calories can be seen as even more troubling than other forms of junk foods. Combine this with studies that suggest the pleasure (and sugar spike) provided by sugary drinks may make them hard to give up – and it’s not difficult to see why many of us are drinking higher amounts, more often and in larger servings. This also makes cutting down harder.

The outcome is that anything up to one-seventh of the entire public cost of obesity in Australia could now result from sugary drinks. In other words, cut out the sugary drinks and you’ll be doing your own health a favour – and the health of our federal and state budgets.

3. Eat fruit, not juice

When it’s wrapped in a peel or a skin, fruit sugars are not a challenge to our health. In fact, the sugars in fruit are nature’s way of encouraging us to eat the fruit to begin with. Fruits like oranges, apples and pears contain important fibres. The “roughage” in our foods, this fibre is healthy in many ways but there are three in particular I will focus on. First, it slows our eating down; it is easy to drink a glass of juice squeezed from 7 apples, but much harder to eat those seven pieces whole. Second, it makes us feel full or satiated. And third, it slows the release of the sugars contained in fruit into our blood streams, thus allowing our bodies to react and use the energy appropriately, reducing our chances of weight gain and possibly even diabetes.

Juice, on the other hand, involves the removal of most of those fibres and even the loss of some of the important vitamins. What we don’t lose though, is the 21 grams or more than five teaspoons of sugar in each glass.

In short, eat fruit as a snack with confidence. But enjoy whole fruit, not juice.

4. Sugar by any other name

High-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, malt sugar and molasses – they all mean one thing: sugar.

As the public awakens to the health challenges posed by sugar, the industry turns to new ways to confuse consumers and make ‘breaking up’ more difficult. One such way is to use the many alternative names for sugar – instead of the ‘s’ word itself. Be on the lookout for:

Evaporated cane juice, golden syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose and more…

5. Eat whole foods where possible

Tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravies, taco sauces, savoury biscuits and breakfast cereals – these are just some of the many foods now often packed with hidden, added sugars.

A study found that 74% of packaged foods in an average American supermarket contain added sugars – and there is little evidence to suggest Australia would be dramatically different. Added to food to make it more enjoyable, and moreish, the next tip when avoiding such a ubiquitous additive is to eat whole foods.

It’s hard to hide sugar in plain flour, or a tomato, or frozen peas. Buying and cooking with mostly whole foods – not products – is a great way to ensure you and your family are not consuming added sugars unaware.

6. See beyond (un)healthy claims

Words like “wholesome”, “natural” and “healthy” are clad on many of our favourite ingredients. Sadly, they don’t mean much.

Even products that are full of sugar, like breakfast cereals and energy bars, often carry claims that aim to confuse and seduce us into purchase. Be wary – and be sure to turn the package over and read the ingredients and nutrition labelling where possible (and if time permits).

7. Be okay with sometimes

The final but crucial message in all of this is that eating or drinking sugar is not a sin. Sugar is still a part of our lives and something to enjoy in moderation. The occasional piece of cake, or late night chocolate – despite the popular narrative painted by industry to undermine efforts for true pricing on sugar – these occasional sweet treats are not the driving challenge for obesity. The problem is that sugary drinks, and sugar in our foods, have become every day occurrences.

With this in mind, let’s not demonise sugar but instead let’s see it for what it is. Enjoy some juice or bubbles from time to time but make water the default on an everyday basis. With the average can of cola containing 39 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar, be OK with sometimes.

Bitter truth

Let’s be honest, We now face serious health challenges from obesity.

Even more concerning, so do our kids.

Learn more about our ACCHO making Deadly Choices

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : @healthgovau National Alcohol strategy 2018-2026 for public consultation Closes 11 February 2018

” The National Alcohol Strategy 2018- 2026 outlines Australia’s agreed approach to preventing and minimising alcohol-related harms.

The National Alcohol Strategy provides a national framework and highlights a number of opportunities for action under each of the priority areas of focus.

These opportunities are examples of activities or initiatives that could be considered at either local, jurisdictional (state and territory) or national levels, including a mix of broad population approaches and targeted approaches.”

Download a draft copy

Consultation Draft National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026

Consultation closes 11 February 2018

The Department of Health has opened a public consultation process, and is inviting stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on the National alcohol strategy 2018-2026.

See Website

As a sub-strategy of the National drug strategy 2017-2026, the National alcohol strategy is overseen by the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum. The Forum consists of Ministers from across Australia with responsibility for alcohol and other drug policy  from the health and justice/law enforcement portfolios from each jurisdiction.

On 27 November 2017, members agreed that the draft National alcohol strategy will undergo a public consultation process to further inform the strategic direction and priorities of the strategy.

The online submission process is now open and will close on 11 February 2018. Feedback from the consultation will be considered by the Ministers at their next meeting in 2018, and the strategy revised.

To lodge a submission, please email nationaldrugstrategy@health.gov.au.

Disproportionate Impacts of Alcohol-Related Harm

This Strategy recognises that alcohol-related harms are not experienced uniformly across the population, with disproportionate levels of harm being experienced within some contexts and communities.

Read over 190 NACCHO Articles Alcohol and other Drugs posted over the past 5 years

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (31% compared with 23% respectively). However, among those who did drink, higher proportions drank at risky levels (20% exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines) and were more likely to experience alcohol-related injury than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (35% compared to 25% monthly, respectively).26

For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from disproportionate levels of harm from alcohol, including alcohol-related mortality rates that are 4.9 times higher than among non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.27

The poorer overall health, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also significant factors which can influence drinking behaviours.28

People in remote areas

People residing in remote areas have reported drinking alcohol in quantities that place them at risk of harm at higher levels that those living in less remote regions.

People in remote and very remote areas were 1.5 times as likely as people in major cities to consume 5 or more drinks at least monthly and 2.4 times as likely to consume 11 or more drinks

Pregnant women (or those planning a pregnancy)

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in birth defects and behavioural and neurodevelopmental abnormalities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Data from states and territories have estimated FASD rates at 0.01 to 1.7 per 1000 births in the total population and 0.15 to 4.70 per 1000 births for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.31 There is evidence that indicates some communities are experiencing much higher incidences of FASD and therefore the lifelong impacts of FASD.32

The relationship between the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and the expression of FASD is complex, but avoiding drinking before or during pregnancy eliminates the risk of FASD.

Around 1 in 2 women report consuming alcohol during their pregnancy, with 1 in 4 women continuing to drink after they are aware they are pregnant. Of these women, 81% drank monthly or less with 16.2% drinking 2–4 times a month.33

Background

The Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum is co-Chaired by the Commonwealth Ministers with portfolio responsibility for alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and justice/law enforcement.

Membership consists of two Ministers from each jurisdiction, one each from the health/community services portfolios (with AOD policy responsibilities) and one from the justice/law enforcement portfolios.

The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have a shared responsibility to build safe and healthy communities through the collaborative delivery and implementation of national strategic frameworks to reduce AOD related harms for all Australians.

The Forum will be supported by the National Drug Strategy Committee (NDSC) in the implementation and monitoring of these national strategic frameworks.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prison System: New Ground breaking partnership for ACT Government and Winnunga having an ACCHO deliver health and wellbeing services to prison inmates

“ACT Corrective Services recognises that increasing Aboriginal led services within the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) a minimum to maximum security prison is essential to maintaining cultural connection for Aboriginal detainees and improving overall wellbeing and safety.”

Speaking at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) board meeting ACT Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury announced that Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services (AHCS) will move soon into full service delivery at the AMC

Photo above Minister with some of the new NACCHO Board December 2017 : Pic Oliver Tye

Julie Tongs pictured above with Shane Rattenbury and NACCHO CEO John Singer  

‘Importantly, Winnunga will continue to be a separate independent entity, but will work in partnership with the ACT Government to complement the services already provided by ACT Corrective Services and ACT Health to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous detainees.

It is ground breaking to have an Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisation delivering health and wellbeing services within its own model of care to inmates in prison in this capacity’ Ms Tongs said.

‘Winnunga delivering health and wellbeing services in the AMC and changing the way the system operates is the legacy of Steven Freeman, a young Aboriginal man who tragically died whilst in custody in the AMC in 2016

It is also ground breaking for our sector, so it needs to be given the recognition it deserves’

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (Winnunga AHCS) welcomed the announcement by Minister Shane Rattenbury

Winnunga has commenced enhanced support at the AMC focused on female detainees, and will move to full delivery of standalone health, social and emotional wellbeing services in the AMC in 2018.

The Independent Inquiry into the Treatment in Custody of Steven Freeman highlighted the need for improvements in a range of areas including cultural proficiency to more effectively manage the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

The ACT Government is working to develop a safer environment for all detainees, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

Minister Rattenbury welcomed the involvement of Winnunga AHCS in the delivery of health services within its culturally appropriate model of care in the AMC.

To achieve this ACT Corrective Services and Justice Health have been working closely with Winnunga AHCS to enhance their presence in the AMC. Winnunga AHCS has begun delivering social and emotional wellbeing services to female detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC.

Over time, all detainees will have the option to access Winnunga AHCS services.

Winnunga AHCS will over time deliver services to all inmates in the AMC who choose to access this option, however the services will be implemented through a staged process initially focussed on female detainees. This will help inform system changes as we operationalise the model of care within the AMC.

‘In 2018, we will expand our role to deliver GP and social and emotional wellbeing services to all detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am to 5pm’, Ms Tongs noted.

‘Winnunga does not want to be divisive in the AMC, we will be inclusive.

Obviously, there will be some issues particularly around – strong identity and connection to land, language and culture, and how the impact of colonisation and stolen Generations affects unresolved trauma, grief and loss that will be specific to Aboriginal people, however we will work with all inmates’, said Ms Tongs.

Ms Tongs stated, ‘The priority for us is to ensure in time all Aboriginal people are provided with an Aboriginal health check and care plan…the goal is for Winnunga to provide all services we do outside in the community, to prisoners also on the inside and this is a very good starting point’.

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health @KenWyattMP A Brave Young Aboriginal Dad’s Lifesaving Messages #diabetes #obesity, leading to #heart and #kidney failure.

“Jason strongly but humbly tells it like it is, there is no self-pity, just heartfelt statements of fact that apply to all Australians.

He pleads for everyone to re-think alcohol and drug use, including a special message for our Indigenous mob.

His words should be heeded by everyone but also reinforce my top Indigenous health priorities: Men’s health, kidney, eye and ear health, maternal and child health and reducing preventable hospital admissions.

His key message is for everybody, especially men, to look after themselves, so they can be there for their families and friends for as long as possible”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM paid tribute to his cousin’s bravery, talent, compassion and legacy.

Read over 330 NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health articles published by over the past 5 years

A heartbreaking video message has been released today, realising Jason Bartlett’s dying wish to raise awareness of the importance of men taking personal responsibility for their health.

View Jason’s Video Here

The 36 year old singer, songwriter and former television music show star recorded the video nine days before he passed away in Royal Perth Hospital in June, from complications of diabetes and obesity, leading to heart and kidney failure.

“In 2009, Jason made it through to the Top 24 on Australian Idol and continued his career after the show, writing, recording and performing with the popular Bartlett Brothers band,” Minister Wyatt said.

“We lost Jason shortly after he made the brave but agonising decision to cease dialysis. His final words are haunting and hard-hitting and ones he wanted every Australian to hear.

“His vision was always to change the world for the better through his music but his dream became to get the health message out.”

In the video, titled “Passing on Wisdom: Jason’s Diabetes Story”, the father of two tells how he was diagnosed with diabetes at 19 years of age. A combination of lack of health education and ignoring the danger signs gradually lead to a tragic sequence of chronic conditions that eventually took his sight and his mobility.

His key message is for everybody, especially men, to look after themselves, so they can be there for their families and friends for as long as possible.

“He wants all of us to take personal responsibility, listen to our loved ones and take advice from doctors and health professionals,” said the Minister.

“Jason says that looking after ourselves is an essential part of giving love to those around us.

“All of us are privileged to have shared in his amazing life and now we’re determined to share his quest to save the lives of others, through his message.

“If it can help just one person to make life-changing choices, Australia will be better for it, but I am sure his story will help many more consider changes that will lengthen and potentially save their lives.

“I’m joining with Jason’s family in encouraging everyone to watch his video, listen to his story and share it on social media, especially with those you love.”

Photo: Jason Bartlett’s wife Jaimee, brother Phil and family members launched the video with Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. (Supplied: Family)

The video was produced by Jason Bartlett’s family, the University of Western Australia’s WA Centre for Rural Health, and media organisation Health Communication Resources.

It can also be shared from the WA Centre for Rural Health’s YouTube channel, at https://youtu.be/RcbQmILeDTs with a subtitled version at https://youtu.be/TvC1Tv6Z6zU

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @AHPC_VU #AusHealthTracker report outlines growing health divide between the have and have nots

 ” Australia’s Health Tracker by Socio-Economic Status, a new report from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University, shows close links between socio-economic disadvantage and poor health as the gap widens between the have and have not’s.

Ten million Australians in low socio-economic brackets are at high risk of dying early from chronic disease, an alarming snapshot of the nation’s health shows

Australians sitting in the lowest SES bracket are:

  • Four times more likely to die from diabetes
  • Three times more likely to die from a respiratory disease
  • Two and a half times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease
  • Seventy per cent more likely to suicide and
  • Sixty per cent more likely to die from cancer.

People in lower SES brackets have higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression.  

AHPC Director Rosemary Calder said the health divide in relation to chronic disease and risk factors is stark.

Download the Report

australias-health-tracker-by-socioeconomic-status

Chronic disease claimed the lives of 49,227 people before the age of 75 in lower socio-economic groups in the past four years – more than the capacity of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“This is the story here, we are seeing working families struggle due to skyrocketing costs of housing, utilities and food and this is having a significant effect on their health outcomes,” she said.

Those often referred to as the working poor are at much greater risk of poor health, more likely to be obese, less likely to do exercise and much more likely to smoke, Professor Calder said.

Australia’s Health Tracker by Socio-Economic Status is not just about the health of communities who are most disadvantaged it alarmingly shows that the health of 40 per cent of Australians with low incomes – the working poor – is in jeopardy.”

“Being socially and economically disadvantaged is not only bad for your health it’s also much more likely to kill you,” Professor Calder said. “Our report shows not everyone has a fair go at living a long, healthy and prosperous life.”

But it’s not just the disadvantaged at risk. Australia’s Health Tracker data also shows alcohol is being consumed at risky levels in higher socio-economic groups. High cholesterol is another risk factor that affects the advantaged while rates of high blood pressure is evenly spread across all socio-economic groups.

Part 2 Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)

This week Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) co-hosted the launch of Australia’s Health Tracker by Socio-Economic Status (SES), a new report by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University.

The report highlights the growing health disparities in Australia which correlate closely with socio-economic status. Those in the lowest SES bracket experience significantly poorer health compared to those in the middle and highest brackets.

Michael Moore, CEO of the PHAA said, “One of the key principles underpinning the work of the PHAA is the social determinants of health.

The Health Tracker is a clear illustration of these determinants at work. Those who experience social and economic disadvantage also experience a much higher risk of non-communicable disease such as diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. They are also much more likely to experience serious mental health issues.”

“These health conditions are often long-term and eventually result in an earlier death. This research illustrates that disadvantaged Australians are indeed more likely to die from one of these diseases. The report paints a stark picture of how one’s place on the social and economic ladder has a direct impact on life expectancy,” Mr Moore said.

The report shows that 40% of Australians on low incomes are currently experiencing decreased health.

Such poor health outcomes can be attributed to multiple factors including lack of access to healthcare, poor nutrition, high rates of obesity, and high smoking rates. The rising cost of living from the increasing prices of housing, utilities and food is also manifesting in poorer health outcomes in the population.

Mr Moore said, “Every year chronic disease is claiming the lives of thousands of Australians under 75 in lower socio-economic groups at an alarming rate. However, this is not adequately accounted for in our national health policy and programs. Instead of prioritising our most vulnerable, we are applying one-size-fits-all health policies.”

“Ultimately, the focus ought to be significantly increased funding in preventive health, as this is the simplest, most effective and economically sound solution. Currently, Australia invests a pathetic 1.5% of its health budget on preventive health measures and programs.

It really needs to be 5% of health spending as a bare minimum, and we are unlikely to see a meaningful reduction of chronic disease without this investment,” Mr Moore added.

“At present, one in two Australians have a chronic disease, and many have more than one condition. The good news is that almost a third of this could be entirely prevented with greater investment in public health initiatives designed to reduce obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption as well as increasing physical activity,” Mr Moore concluded.

Part 3 Are we dooming our children to a darker health future?

Latest figures on the diet and lifestyle of Australia’s children signal a troubling future for their health unless governments implement an effective national response , the Consumers Health Forum says.

“The Australia’s Health Tracker statistics released today should disturb us all as they indicate that many children now have higher risk factors for poor health than their parents,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said. “In many instances the risk factors are even worse for Indigenous children.

“The danger signals for our children are showing that in crucial aspects children are already following less healthy lifestyles and diets than their parents, in areas like physical activity and consumption of junk food and too much sugar.

“For instance, 70.8 per cent of children aged 5 – 11 years are not meeting physical activity recommendations and that compares with 44.5 per cent of adults. A brighter feature in the otherwise bleak picture for Indigenous children is that fewer, 40.5 per cent, do not meet the physical activity target.  But when it comes to children who are overweight or obese, 32.8 per cent of Indigenous children are in this category compared to 25.6 per cent for children overall in this age group.

“More than 70 per cent of children aged 9 – 13 years consume too much sugar compared to 47.8 per cent of adults.

“Is Australian society dooming its children too shorter, less healthy lives by failing to take the steps now that we need to take to encourage more physical activity and discourage unhealthy food and drink consumption?

“The picture portrayed in the Health Tracker data compiled by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration highlights the need for a systemic national approach to focus on common risk factors, tackling health inequities and disparities.

“Both medical leader, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, and financial guru Alan Kohler, told the National Press Club launch of the new report today that stronger preventive health measures would save our society billions in reducing illness and early death and avoidable hospital costs.  As Mr Kohler said, “sugar in my view needs to be more expensive” to reflect its cost to health care.

“Currently Australia dedicates only 1.5 per cent of its health expenditure to prevention which could help reduce the widespread incidence of chronic disease that afflicts one in every two Australians.  What is needed now would not bankrupt the budget. But it would represent a healthy investment in Australia’s future,” Ms Wells said.

“We need to rethink prevention and take a longer-term view about where we should be investing in health.”

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WhiteRibbonDay : @HealingOurWay @WhiteRibbonAust Report calls for overhaul of #violenceprevention programs for #Indigenous men and boys

 

 

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 Australia needs to overhaul violence prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys .

  A discussion paper released today by White Ribbon and the Healing Foundation said, “inappropriate and ill-targeted strategies” are not working to change the behaviour of violent Indigenous men.

Co-author Dr Mark Wenitong, a respected Aboriginal GP and men’s health expert from North Queensland, said generational trauma was not being addressed.”

Report

Download the Report Here

HF_Violence_Prevention_Framework_Report_Oct2017_V9_WEB 

“I think if you look at the current discourse in Australia it’s just heavier prison sentences and better policing,” he said.

“We can build lots more women’s shelters, but that’s not the point, we want it to stop.

Dr Wenitong, who works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison, said programs in jails did not appear to be effective.

“The prison offender programs are mostly mainstream programs … I talk to men in prison who go ‘that anger management program doesn’t mean anything when I go back to my community’,” he said.

The report said an urgent priority was “elevating the voice of men in family violence prevention”.

“Men do need to lead this, because it’s men who are the main perpetrators of violence,” Healing Foundation chief executive Richard Weston said.

The paper recommend that Indigenous men and women have a greater say over new behaviour-change programs — including consulting with reformed perpetrators of domestic violence.

“We have high levels of violence, we have high levels of substance abuse, we have a whole range of challenging social issues in our community,” Mr Weston said.

“Mainstream programs are failing us because we’re not involved in the design.”

Dr Wenitong said Indigenous mothers and children were often left in unsafe situations.

“When there’s violence in a community — in a household — why do we take the women and children out of the house for their safety, why aren’t we taking the men out?”

The paper said there had been “little opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to influence the policies and programs designed to improve safety for them and their children”.

“Arguably, the voice and perspective of men is absent, and sometimes excluded in this domain,” Dr Wenitong said.

Aside from family breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse was the most significant factor associated with family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the report said.

An effective framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys to prevent and reduce family violence needs to include the following critical elements:

  • violence should be understood within a historical context, recognising the effects of foundational and structural violence, and the wide ranging continued impacts on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys
  • the many strong Aboriginal and Torres Islander men must be supported to lead work with men and boys, and reconnect men to their core cultural practices and protocols as a central factor to creating change
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women should be involved in the design and development, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the framework
  • prevention strategies must be positioned within broader community strategies that address intergenerational trauma through individual, family and community healing approaches – drawing from both local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and western therapeutic practice
  • all work should be developed in partnership with communities through a genuine co-design process that respects and supports local cultural governance and self-determination, and empowers communities to drive change
  • a focus on collective wellbeing should be supported through referral pathways to trauma-informed holistic health and wellbeing services. Crucially, any strategy must be adequately resourced; implemented in a safe

A taskforce led by the Victorian Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner in 2016 found that in nine-out-of-ten cases, family violence had been present in the home when an Indigenous child was removed.

Mr Weston said the discussion paper also refuted claims by some Aboriginal men that violence against women and children had “a cultural basis”.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : New review explores the harmful effects of alcohol use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context

 ” The review highlights that alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be understood within the social and historical context of colonisation, dispossession of land and culture, and economic exclusion.

While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are around 1.3 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Indigenous people, those who do drink alcohol are more likely to experience health-related harms than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

 Furthermore, the evidence presented in this review suggests that effective strategies to address the problem of harmful alcohol use include: alternative activities, brief interventions, treatment and ongoing care; taxation and price controls and other restrictions on availability; and community patrols and sobering up shelters “

The Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) has published a new Review of the harmful use of alcohol among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Read over 188 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Alcohol Articles published over the past 5 years

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/alcohol-and-other-drugs/

The review explores the harmful effects of alcohol use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context examining: patterns of use; health impacts; underlying causal factors; policies and interventions to address these impacts; and ways to further reduce harm.

View in Full Here

This review will help to inform, support and educate those working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia.

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Key facts

The Australian context

  • Harmful use of alcohol is a problem for the Australian community as a whole. It is estimated that in 2011, alcohol caused 5.1% of the total burden of disease in Australia.
  • The social cost of all drug use in Australia in 2004–05 was estimated at $55.2 billion ($79.9 billion in 2016 dollars), with alcohol alone contributing 27.3%, and alcohol combined with illicit drugs adding a further 1.9%.

Extent of alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • Alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be understood within the social and historical context of colonisation, dispossession of land and culture, and economic exclusion.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are about 1.3 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Indigenous people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at least 1.2 and 1.3 times more likely to consume alcohol at levels that pose risks to their health over their lifetimes and on single drinking occasions than non-Indigenous people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are more than twice as likely as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to consume alcohol at risky levels.

Health impacts of alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • Excessive alcohol consumption poses a range of health risks – both on single drinking occasions and over a person’s lifetime, including alcoholic liver disease, behavioural disorders, assault, suicide and transport accidents.
  • In NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT from 2010–2014 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females died from conditions solely caused by alcohol more frequently than non-Indigenous males and females (4.7 and 6.1 times respectively).
  • The overall rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2015 was 2.1 times higher than among non-Indigenous people. For the period 2011–2015, 40% of male suicides and 30% of female suicides were attributable to alcohol use.
  • There is strong qualitative evidence linking alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and poor mental health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Age standardised rates of hospitalisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the years 2012–13, 2013–14 and 2014-15 were 2.7, 2.3 and 2.4 times those of non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2011, alcohol accounted for an estimated 8.3% of the overall burden of disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians; a rate 2.3 times higher than among non-Indigenous people.
  • In addition to harms to health, high levels of alcohol use can contribute to a range of social harms, including child neglect and abuse, interpersonal violence, homicide, and other crimes.

Policies and strategies

  • Initial responses to the concerns about harmful alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the 1970s were driven not by governments but by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves who recognised that non-Indigenous mainstream responses were non-existent or largely culturally inappropriate.
  • The level of harm caused by alcohol in any community is a function of complex inter-relationships between the availability of alcohol, and levels of individual wellbeing and social conditions that either protect against or predispose people or groups to harmful levels of consumption.
  • As well as addressing the consequences of harmful levels of alcohol consumption, policies and intervention strategies must also address the underlying causal relationships. In the case of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this means addressing social inequality.
  • As part of the current Australian Government’s Indigenous advancement strategy (IAS), a number of programs are in place that aim to address social inequality and the broad social determinants of harmful alcohol use.
  • Government policy documents most directly relevant to the minimisation of alcohol-related harm among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the National drug strategy 2017–2026 (NDS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ drug strategy 2014–2019 (NATSIPDS).
  • The National drug strategy 2017–2026 provides a tripartite approach to reducing the demand for and supply of alcohol, and the immediate harms its causes.
  • There is a strong evidence base for the effectiveness of a range of interventions including: alternative activities, brief interventions, treatment and ongoing care; taxation and price controls and other restrictions on availability; and community patrols and sobering-up shelters.
  • Government programs to address Aboriginal and Torres Islander inequality have been in place since the 1970s – what is now the National Drug Strategy was introduced in 1985. While there have been some improvements, as evidenced by various Government reports, progress has been slow and while there have been increases in funding these have not been sufficient to meet need.
  • There is evidence that – provided with adequate resourcing – the culturally safe services provided by community-controlled organisations result in better outcomes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be key players in the design and implementation of interventions to address harmful alcohol use in their own communities, with capacity building within Aboriginal community-controlled organisations a central focus.
  • The way forward is for Australian Governments to honour the commitments made in the NATSIPDS to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to resource interventions on the basis of need.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew says ‘The latest review, written by Professor Dennis Gray and colleagues from the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) in Western Australia, is a vital new addition to our suite of knowledge exchange resources.

It makes the large body of evidence available in a succinct, evidence-based summary prepared by world renowned experts.

This delivers considerable time savings to a time poor workforce striving to keep up to date in a world where the sheer weight of new information can often seem overwhelming.

I am delighted to release this important new resource to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector.’

The review highlights that alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be understood within the social and historical context of colonisation, dispossession of land and culture, and economic exclusion.

While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are around 1.3 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Indigenous people, those who do drink alcohol are more likely to experience health-related harms than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Furthermore, the evidence presented in this review suggests that effective strategies to address the problem of harmful alcohol use include: alternative activities, brief interventions, treatment and ongoing care; taxation and price controls and other restrictions on availability; and community patrols and sobering up shelters.

http://aodknowledgecentre.net.au/aodkc/alcohol/reviews/alcohol-review

This review will help to inform, support and educate those working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia.

 

Aboriginal Health and #Respectourelders @KenWyattMP Launching education for aged care facilities cultural considerations caring for elders

 

Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People is an important program which will help address the fundamental need for culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal people, some who may need to use aged care services at an earlier stage of their lives

Programs like this are a vital part of ensuring the care of senior Indigenous people is as culturally continuous as possible”

Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt has welcomed the new course, which coincides with his announcement of a new North West Ageing and Aged Care Strategy which aims to create age-friendly communities across the Pilbara and the Kimberley, while encouraging more seniors support services and greater local employment in aged care.

Photos above Ken Wyatt meeting with the elders from the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation in Roebourne WA\.

The launch of Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be streamed live via the Aged Care Channel at 10.45am AEDT on 22 November with Aboriginal Elder Mr Elliot taking part in answering live questions from members.

Developed by the Aged Care Channel (ACC) in partnership with the Department of Health, the Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People course aims to help inform aged care facilities across Australia of the cultural considerations of caring for Indigenous Australians.

ACC Group Manager Content and Production, Steve Iliffe says the program took six months to put together with the help of research, lots of resources, government input and guidance of Indigenous people as well as visits to different aged care facilities in Pilbara and northern Adelaide.

“We thought it was an important program to do because Indigenous Australians do have a series of complex needs different to the rest of the population due to their history and access to health in areas,” he explains.

“They have a connection to the land, a connection to their family and want to still have access to bush tucker and do things that they traditionally do.

“We went out to a number of different aged care facilities to talk to the people there about what they do to provide tailored care.”

ACC Learning and Development Manager Nicola Burton says providing culturally-appropriate care is a crucial part of the person-centred approach.

“The goal of this program is to recognise how to respond to the cultural needs of Indigenous Australians receiving care,” she says.

“There are significant regional differences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, each with complex and diverse ways of life.

“Language, music and art vary in each area, but a connection with culture, community and the land seems to be common to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

While working of the course and program, the ACC team spoke to and sought the advice of subject matter expert Ngarrindjeri elder and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group Mark Elliott.

“It was important for us to work with an indigenous leader – he guided us through the process and the research,” Mr Iliffe says.

“With this new course, we hope that we can increase understanding between cultures because at the end of the day, it’s about creating a home for people in aged care and providing them with a life they are still living.”

The new Strategy announced by the Minister includes short, medium and long-term goals, from the engagement and inclusion of seniors in local communities, through to tailored home and residential care support.

“[Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People] is an important program which will help address the fundamental need for culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal people, some who may need to use aged care services at an earlier stage of their lives,” Minister Wyatt says.

“Programs like this are a vital part of ensuring the care of senior Indigenous people is as culturally continuous as possible.

“It will contribute to this goal by helping staff understand the impact of historical events and past government policies, along with broadening their appreciation of Indigenous culture and the health challenges faced by some people.

“Giving staff these insights can contribute to better care, and I encourage everyone involved in indigenous aged care to take the course.”

He adds that the aim of the North West Ageing and Aged Care Strategy is to foster quality and culturally relevant residential aged care facilities that allow people to stay connected to community and age safely with dignity.

“Hopefully the new course will contribute to achieving this outcome,” he says.

“The program showcases the Pilbara’s Yaandina residential aged care facility, whose staff are experienced in providing residents with culturally sensitive care.”

Mr Iliffe says the result of the research and creation of the program is close to the hearts of all involved.

“The people involved had the most amazing time and it is something they will cherish forever,” he says.

“These experiences help us more closer to closing the gap.”

The launch of Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be streamed live via the Aged Care Channel at 10.45am AEDT on 22 November with Aboriginal Elder Mr Elliot taking part in answering live questions from members.