NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Unvaccinated adult mob at risk of severe COVID-19 illness

Feature tile - Thu 23.9.21 - Unvaccinated adult mob at risk of severe COVID-19 illness

Two-thirds of First Nations Australian adults at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if unvaccinated

Almost three-in-five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are at an elevated risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 due to ongoing health inequities, found a major study undertaken by researchers and health practitioners at The Australian National University (ANU), the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Lowitja Institute.

The study examined the prevalence of health factors like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, which all increase the risk of severe illness if an unvaccinated person gets COVID-19. It found 59 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have these and other existing conditions that could increase the risk of needing intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation or death if they contract COVID-19 and are not vaccinated.

Dr Jason Agostino from ANU, and a medical advisor to NACCHO, said: “… there are almost 300,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who are at higher risk of getting very sick if they are not vaccinated and get COVID-19. This is why getting the vaccine is so important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Dr Janine Mohamed, CEO of the Lowitja Institute, said: “Our communities are strong and resilient and have responded rapidly and effectively to the pandemic when they have been trusted, enabled and resourced by governments to lead the way. We need governments to work together with Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations to support culturally safe delivery of vaccines and improve data collection to increase vaccination coverage as quickly as we can.”

You can read the media release by ANU here.
The study is published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

AFL legend Adam Goodes, NACCHO CEO Pat Turner, NACCHO Deputy CEO Dr Dawn Casey and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Linda Burney, MP all getting their vaccines to be protected against COVID-19.

AFL legend Adam Goodes, NACCHO CEO Pat Turner, NACCHO Deputy CEO Dr Dawn Casey and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Linda Burney, MP all getting their vaccines to be protected against COVID-19.

Spread of COVID-19 in Eurobodalla’s sparks alarm

Aboriginal elders, health professionals and politicians say they are concerned about the growing COVID-19 cluster among the Eurobodalla’s Indigenous community.

The cluster linked to Batemans Bay on the NSW far south coast has grown to 19 cases since the first case was reported on September 6.

Bega MP Andrew Constance has expressed concern that the Indigenous population is vulnerable to further spread.

“There is no doubt when you have a vulnerable cohort within the community, that is something we are very concerned about,” he said.

Despite the fact 60 per cent are now fully vaccinated in the region, there is a push to increase the rates among the local Indigenous population. Walk-in clinics will be open at:

  • The Wallaga Lake Community Hall from 10:00am on Thursday September 23.
  • The Bodalla soccer oval from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Sunday September 26.
  • Eden at the community health centre between 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday September 25.
  • Twofold, Jigamy on Thursday September 30. 

You can read the article in ABC News here.

Aboriginal elder Uncle Ossie Cruse is calling on the local Indigenous community to get the jab. Australian Story: Marc Smith.

Aboriginal elder Uncle Ossie Cruse is calling on the local Indigenous community to get the jab. Australian Story: Marc Smith.

Historic moment creates opportunity for COVID-19 vaccine promo

The McGowan Labor Government has launched the next phase of its Roll up for WA COVID-
19 vaccination campaign to help get as many Western Australians vaccinated as possible.

The emotive campaign reinforces the benefits of vaccination by featuring Western Australian personal stories of life before the COVID-19 pandemic, by reminiscing of a time when we were safely connected with the world and lived life without fear of a local outbreak.

The commercial (that can be viewed below the story) stars Sheree, a young Aboriginal nursing student, whose roots stretch between the Nyiyaparli and Banjima people originating from Port Hedland, who is passionate about encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine because she wants to keep her community safe.

With all eyes on WA hosting the 2021 AFL Grand Final this Saturday, the McGowan Government is leveraging the historic moment in WA by maximising opportunities to promote the campaign and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The campaign also includes an informative video series with respected medical professional Dr Karl. Through the video series, Dr Karl answers the most common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

You  can view the media release by the McGowan Labor Government here.
For more information about the campaign, visit the Roll up for WA website here.

Growing urgency to vaccinate remote Elders before any border reopening

“It’s only a matter of time before Delta gets here, and it could be bad,” says Mr Chris Bin Kali, the director of the Broome Aboriginal Medical Service.

“It will only take one person and we could lose a whole community — lose the whole language, history, lore and culture in one go.”

It’s a grim message delivered with a sole aim — to get as many Kimberley people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Outback ingenuity is on display. Some remote communities are raffling off washing machines and fishing gear to those getting the jab. Open-invite vaxathons are using country and western music and AFL players to try to cut through. Slowly but surely, it is starting to work.

Vickie O’Donnell, who heads Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, says she expects some communities will opt to remain shut.

The outback vaccine rollout is complicated by poor telecommunications, limited road access and a highly mobile population.

But in this critical moment, the years of work by Aboriginal health organisations to build a skilled health workforce is delivering a huge payoff.

You can read the story in the ABC News here.

Some communities are raffling off gift packs to encourage people to get vaccinated. Image source: Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services.

Some communities are raffling off gift packs to encourage people to get vaccinated. Image source: Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services.

Statement of support for TGA

Australia’s leading evidence-based health and medical organisations including NACCHO, stand beside Australia’s key medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

We express full support for the vital work the TGA does to assess and regulate new medicines and vaccines. The TGA has a strong reputation for being expert, independent and rigorous in its assessments of new products, and is similarly rigorous in its assessment of the safety of vaccines, so as to improve and protect the health of all Australians.

Another essential role of our medicines regulator is to challenge, and where necessary, prosecute those who seek to mislead the Australian public about important health information so as to pursue their own interests. This role is particularly important in the current global health crisis.

Now is a time when Australians must have confidence in the assessments and recommendations of the TGA, and we believe Australians’ trust in the TGA is well placed.

You can read the statement of support at the Burnet Institute website here.

TGA logo

HOTspots platform maps antibiotic resistance patterns

A new digital surveillance platform has launched enabling healthcare professionals to map circulating antibiotic-resistant pathogens in northern Australia.

The HOTspots platform, developed in the HOT NORTH program, covers tropical areas in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia and has information about up to 13 pathogens and their associated antibiotics.

Lead researcher, Dr Teresa Wozniak, Senior Research Fellow and APPRISE Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, said the HOTspots program and digital platform support antibiotic stewardship activities in northern Australia, allowing clinicians to choose “the right drugs for the right bugs”.

“The HOTspots data, and now a digital platform, allow end users including doctors, nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners across regional and remote hospitals and clinics to have access to accurate local up-to-date data to make decisions at the point of care,” Dr Wozniak said.

View the HOTspots platform and read more about the HOT NORTH program.

You can read the joint media release by Menzies School of Health Research, Hot North and Apprise here.

HOTspots platform maps antibiotic resistance patterns across northern Australia. Image source: Hot North.

HOTspots platform maps antibiotic resistance patterns across northern Australia. Image source: Hot North.

Clinical learning e-modules for lung cancer symptoms

Lung Foundation Australia, in collaboration with Cancer Australia, has developed accredited clinical learning e-modules, based on Cancer Australia’s Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals. The e-modules use clinical scenario-based learning to increase confidence among health professionals to recognise symptoms and signs of lung cancer, and support early and rapid referral of symptomatic patients into the multidisciplinary diagnostic pathway.

The modules have received accreditation from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), with health professionals able to gain accreditation of 40 RACGP CPD points.

Sign up for the modules here.

Symptoms of lung cancer. Illustration from the Lung Foundation Australia website.

Symptoms of lung cancer. Illustration from the Lung Foundation Australia website.

Improving Digital Connectivity for Indigenous Australians

Yesterday the Morrison Government launched public consultations for its landmark Indigenous Digital Inclusion Plan to accelerate the digital connectivity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Ensuring Indigenous Australians have quality access to digital technology encourages entrepreneurialism, wealth creation and economic advancement – it’s about closing the gap and taking the next step after that,” Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt AM MP, said.

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve seen how people have relied on technology, not just to stay in touch with family and friends, but also to launch new ventures and navigate through COVID-19.”

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those in remote communities, are
missing out on opportunities to start new businesses and grow because of access to technology. That is why we are developing a comprehensive plan to address the barriers to digital inclusion,” said Minister Wyatt.

More information and a copy of the discussion paper is available on the NIAA website, or you can contact the Agency at digitalinclusion@niaa.gov.au or on 1800 079 098.
Submissions on the discussion paper close 1 November 2021.

You can read the media release by The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP here.

The Indigenous Digital Inclusion Plan will focus on three elements of digital inclusion: access, affordability and digital ability.

The Indigenous Digital Inclusion Plan will focus on three elements of digital inclusion: access, affordability and digital ability.

 

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.


dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

 

MDHS Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellowship

The University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences are pleased to announce that applications for the 2021 round of Indigenous Postdoc fellowships are now open.

The fellowship aims to support the next generation of Indigenous researchers who will actively contribute to health research and/or address critical health issues facing Indigenous communities. The Fellows will contribute to and enrich the Faculty’s diverse scholarly community and strengthen our existing Indigenous research community.

Applications are open to recent Indigenous MDHS PhD graduates and candidates who are near completion and expect to submit between 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 31 October (5pm) 2021.

We invite all eligible candidates who are interested in continuing an academic path with the Faculty to read more about the Fellowship and consider applying here.

Electronic Prescriptions for Consumers Q+A Session

As electronic prescriptions become more widely available across the country, the Australian Digital Health Agency invites you to join a “Electronic Prescribing Q+A Session for Consumers and Carers”. The purpose of the session is to provide you with a platform where your questions will be answered directly by an expert panel.

Ask any questions you might have related to your experience with using electronic prescriptions. Is there anything that wasn’t clear or left you wondering how it works? We welcome all your questions and there is no requirement to have used electronic prescribing prior to joining a session.

You will be able to participate by speaking directly with our subject matter experts, or by submitting questions anonymously through our questions platform. If you would like to submit your questions prior to the session to ensure they are addressed, please use the registration form below.

These sessions are open to consumer peak organisations, members and consumer advocates, carers and advisors.

Event title: Your questions answered: Electronic Prescriptions for Consumers

Dates: 
Thursday, 7 October 2021, 12-12.30pm AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra)
Thursday, 14 October 2021 12-12.30pm AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra)
Thursday, 21 October 2021 12-12.30pm AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra)

Register here. (Select preferred date from drop-down menu)

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Pandemic’s huge impact on eye health care

feature tile text 'pandemic's huge impact on eye health care - 500,000+ less eye tests

Image in feature tile from EACH website.

Pandemic’s big impact on eye health care

Analysis of the latest Medicare data shows the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on eye health care. Between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, there were 516,906 less eye tests conducted nationally than in the previous 18-month period. This means that there are more than half a million Australians at greater risk of developing an eye condition or losing sight than before the pandemic.

Today, Thursday 14 October 2021 is World Sight Day, and Vision 2020 Australia is calling on all Australians to take the pledge to love their eyes in 2021. With around 90% of blindness and vision impairment preventable or treatable if detected early enough, now is the perfect time for you to show your eyes some love, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vision 2020 is asking all Australians to take the pledge to love their eyes, and:
1. Have an eye test as soon as you can.
2. Don’t ignore changes in your vision.
3. Maintain your ongoing treatment if you have an existing eye condition.

Optometrists nationally are permitted to provide urgent care even during the lockdown so don’t delay seeking treatment if you notice a change in your vision.

To view Vision2020’s media release in full click here.

Reanna Bathern having an eye test

Optometrist Kerryn Hart with patient Reanna Bathern, Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation. Image source: Optometry Australia.

Additional funds for Kimberley vaxathons

The Morrison Government is providing an additional $150,000 to help local health services deliver additional vaxathons in the Kimberley region. Funds are being administered through the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s Local Investment Fund and will ensure a number of remote communities are targeted by the vaccination drives.

“There is unprecedented collaboration across all levels of Government, health and community support sectors to boost Indigenous vaccination rates – our approaches need to be tailored, varied and culturally appropriate,” Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, said. “Vaxathons, where communities can host a number of activities in addition to pop-up clinics, are proving to be one of the best opportunities for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to learn more about the vaccines and get vaccinated.”

To view Minister Wyatt’s media release in full click here.

Aboriginal woman receiving covid-19 vax

Image source: WA Country Health Service.

New cancer website needs reviewers

Cancer Australia needs help to review its new website aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are looking for 6-8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have:

  • had some experience with cancer, whether themselves or through a friend or family member; and
  • a computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera and microphone, and a decent internet connection.

Sessions will be:

  • be done by video call which may take up to an hour
  • conducted in late October and over early November

Participants will receive a $50 gift card for their time.

Contact Cancer Australia here before Monday 1 November 2021 with your name and phone number if you are interested in participating, or for more information.

banner text 'helpl to review a new website for Cancer Australia' $50 payment

NLC recommends cautious travel restrictions 

The Northern Land Council – and other NT land councils and Aboriginal health peak bodies like AMSANT and NACCHO – has worked closely with the NT and Federal governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable populations, particularly Aboriginal Territorians living in remote communities and homelands.

The NLC has always been guided by one over-riding principle – to do everything possible to keep our communities safe. So far, so good. Through close and careful cooperation between land councils, the Aboriginal health sector and governments at all levels we have dodged more than a few of the bullets that this terrible virus has thrown at us. Recent events in western NSW illustrate the devastating consequences that poorly-informed and rash decisions can have on Aboriginal communities.

NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi said “The NLC recommends the NT government adopt the very cautious and sensible approach taken by some state governments to restrict travel to those with at least one vaccination dose and preferably two. Only people with double doses of COVID-19 vaccine should be allowed to enter the NT,” said Mr Bush Blanasi.

To view the media release in full click here.

NTG road sign re border restrictions due to COVID-19

Image source: ABC News.

Overrepresentation in jails a ‘source of shame’

Reducing the number of Aboriginal people in prison and improving the health and safety of people in custody are the focus of a renewed commitment by the NSW Government.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said the Government’s response to the high level of First Nations people in custody and oversight and review of deaths in custody report demonstrates its holistic, statewide approach to improving outcomes for Aboriginal people. “The overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the justice system remains a true source of shame for this country. Every death that occurs when a person is in custody is a tragedy for loved ones left behind,” Mr Harwin said.

To view Minister Harwin’s media release in full click here.

hands gripping jail cell bars, overlaid with transparent Aboriginal flag

Image source: Amnesty International Australia website.

Connection to culture linked to HSC success

A new report has identified the successful ways schools are using cultural activities to drive improvements in Aboriginal high school completions. The in-depth study, published by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, analysed the data of almost 40,000 secondary students across the state, including 3,686 who were Aboriginal.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the findings showed that connection to culture, language and heritage was a key driver behind Aboriginal students’ successful HSC attainment.

To view the media release in full click here.

hand of HSC student writing on exam paper

Image source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

$100m+ for Victoria hospital upgrades

In a bid to ensure people living in rural and regional areas have access to the world-class care they deserve close to home, the Victorian Government is spending more than $100 million in vital hospital upgrades across the state. Nearly 80 rural and regional hospitals, community health services and ACCHOs will share in $120 million from the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF).

The program will deliver a variety of 105 projects across 40 rural regional Victoria council areas including operating theatre refurbishments, new waiting rooms and hospital beds, accessible paths and ramps, additional consulting rooms, expansions projects and equipment upgrades.

To view Minister Foley’s media release in full click here.

arm of hospital patient lying in bed with canula in hand

Image source: The Conversation.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

50 years of Census inclusion

The 1967 Referendum saw Australians overwhelmingly vote “Yes” to support the amendment of the Constitution to mandate this inclusion. To acknowledge the occasion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is inviting you to join this opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share their stories about the Referendum and 50 years acknowledgment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Census.

The event is being held from 6-7 PM Tuesday 19 October 2021 at the National Museum of Australia and will include an interactive panel discussion with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander panel members including:

  • Dr Dawn Casey PSM FAHA, Tagalaka traditional owner and Deputy CEO, NACCHO
  • Professor Peter Yu AM, Yawuru man and Vice-President First Nations at the ANU
  • Romlie Mokak, Djugun man, member of the Yawuru people and Commissioner, Productivity Commission
  • Fiona Cornforth, Wuthathi descendant of the far northeast cape of Queensland with family roots also in the Torres Strait Islands, CEO Healing Foundation

This event will be livestreamed. To register click here.

banner text 'you are invited to 50 year acknowledgement of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census' & old black & white photo of census officer & Aboriginal mum & baby

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Struggling to isolate in overcrowded housing

Ronnie Murray says his brother has been sleeping in a tent to help the family isolate, a difficult task in a household of 10. (Supplied: Wilcannia River Radio)

Struggling to isolate in overcrowded housing

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner told The Point that overcrowded housing in remote communities has been brought to the attention of governments over many years and they’ve failed to act.

“We have repeatedly asked governments throughout Australia to address and to ensure that our people have safe and the right size housing, so we won’t have these problems. There will be future pandemics and we must get this housing issue addressed,” she said.

You can read the article in SBS NITV News here.

Ms Turner also spoke to The Point about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Delta strain, and what resources are in place to help with staff shortages at Aboriginal community controlled health services.

You can watch Pat Turner on Episode 17, Season 2021, The Point SBS NITV below.

 

The power of respectful partnerships

Last week, nursing academic Professor Rhonda Wilson was hard at work in Walgett assisting local health workers with COVID vaccinations. Writing from isolation upon her return home, she reflects on the importance of relationships, respect and trust in providing culturally safe services.

We have been working in partnership with Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (WAMS) on another project for some time. We saw our partners needed a hand, and we knew we had skills, knowledge, respectfulness, and community connection to help in a culturally safe manner. If we could help, in partnership, we would volunteer to do so.

The response from WAMS was a swift, ‘Yes, your help is needed. When could you come?’

WAMS invited me and my nursing colleagues from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Newcastle, Professor Amanda Johnson and Associate Professor Donna Hartz, to help urgently with the escalating crisis of COVID-19 cases in their area.

You can read the story in Croakey Health Media here.

Professor Rhonda Wilson, contributing to the pandemic response at Walgett recently. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

Professor Rhonda Wilson, contributing to the pandemic response at Walgett recently. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

On track for vaccine target in Deniliquin

The district population is on track to be 70 to 80 per cent fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November, according to Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Practice manager at the Deniliquin Aboriginal Medical Service Sarah Campbell said the clinic is set up to deliver up to 100 vaccines if the clinic opens for half a day, and 160 on a full day. The AMS has fully vaccinated 31 First Nations people while another 87 have had their first vaccine.

Deniliquin’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at the time of the 2016 Census was about 330 people, or 4.5% of the local population, higher than the 2.9% Australia-wide population.

Ms Campbell said the medical service has been vaccinating elders since April. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 and over can get vaccinated in Deniliquin.

You can read the story in Deniliquin Pastoral Times here.

Person receiving vaccine. Image source: ABC News website.

Person receiving vaccine. Image source: ABC News website.

Stolen Generations Redress Scheme a step closer

The Morrison Government is deeply committed to supporting the healing of Stolen Generations survivors and has taken another step on the journey to provide redress for those forcibly removed as children in territories that were administered by the Commonwealth. The passage of the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme (Facilitation) Act 2021 and the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme (Consequential Amendments) Act 2021 will ensure the Scheme can be established over the next six months and start receiving applications by 1 March 2022.

“Today we introduced two pieces of legislation to give effect to key elements of the Scheme
and to make sure that all supports going to Stolen Generations survivors are not hampered
by other Acts,” Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP said.

“With many Stolen Generations survivors being of an advanced age, the imperative to act now has been brought into sharp focus.”

“This redress scheme reflects the Morrison Government’s commitment to support our
nation’s journey to reconciliation and to support inter-generational healing for the health and
wellbeing of Stolen Generations survivors.”

You can read the media release by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP here.

Resources to improve children’s wellbeing

With the COVID-19 pandemic amplifying pressures on families, a timely new initiative is seeking to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

The resource series, developed by The Healing Foundation and Emerging Minds, highlights the undercurrent of intergenerational trauma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and outlines a strengths-based approach to healing. This new package, released recently to coincide with National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, contains free e-learning modules, factsheets, and an animation (view below) to help elevate the importance of a child’s development.

You can read more about the initiative in Croakey Health Media here.
Visit the Emerging Minds website to access the e-learning modules.
Visit the Healing Foundations website to view the factsheets.

MBS billing guides now online

The MBS billing guides by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health are now online.

  • MBS guide for GPs working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • MBS guide for other medical practitioners (OMPs) working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

As well as an extensive list of MBS items used by GPs and OMPs, both guides also include items used by other healthcare professionals such as allied health providers and nurse practitioners. Unlike the other guides they have developed as part of our MBS online tool, these pages are unlocked and can be accessed by anyone.

You can view the MBS billing guides here.

Aboriginal man at GP consultation. Image source: GP Synergy.

Aboriginal man at GP consultation. Image source: GP Synergy.

Disease expenditure in Australia

A new release from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW): Disease expenditure in Australia 2018-19 describes the activity and characteristics of Australia’s health care system in terms of estimated expenditure for different demographic groups in the population, and expenditure relating to different groups of diseases.

This web report provides the most recent data available on the health care expenditure on all Australian Burden of Disease Study conditions, including expenditure by health care sector, type of condition, age group, and sex. Information is presented on the web pages using interactive visualisations, and downloadable Microsoft Excel workbooks.

Visit the AIHW website to view the Disease expenditure in Australia 2018-19.

One of the key findings in the 'Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018'.

One of the key findings in the ‘Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018’.

Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap online survey

Cancer Australia is pleased to provide you with the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap online Delphi Survey. The survey is being conducted by Deloitte on behalf of Cancer Australia.

Consultation closes on 30 August 2021, however please feel free to reach out to NACCHO’s Cancer team anytime if you would like to discuss by emailing Kate.Armstrong@naccho.org.au.

You can access the survey here.
You can also read the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap – Discussion Paper here.

 

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.


dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: ACCHOs encourage youth to get vaccinated

feature tile text 'ACCHOs encourage ATSI youth to get vaccinated' photo of youth getting vaccinated at Winnunga

ACCHOs encourage youth to get vaccinated

With the COVID-19 outbreak in western NSW growing by the day, ACCHOs are working overtime to get local mob vaccinated. Currently, most COVID-19 cases in the region are Aboriginal people, with Guardian Australia reporting a figure of 40% being unvaccinated Aboriginal young people between 10 and 19-years-old.

CEO of Coonamble and Dubbo Aboriginal Medical Services and Chair of the AH&MRC Phil Naden said there has been anxiety across community since the COVID-19 outbreak started. Despite this, the Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi man said that both Dubbo and Coonamble AMS remain “strong” in their messaging. “We want people to get tested, we want people to get vaccinated and we want people to comply with the public health orders and remain in lockdown during this time,” he said.

Considering the high rate of young Aboriginal people contracting the virus, Naden notes there has been some vaccine hesitancy within the community’s young people. “Our young people seem to think that they are a bit more resilient to COVID-19,” he said. “We want people to be vigilant, and aware of the fact that we do have people passing away from this illness.”

Naden said there has also been barriers to public health education. “The circumstance for a lot of our people is that they haven’t got access to social media so we need to be proactively advocating and getting the message out to people in different ways,” Naden said.

Naden notes that the AMS have had strong support from organisations such as AH&MRC, the Western NSW Primary Health Network and NACCHO. NACCHO has developed a strong line of communication with ACCHOs working in the west and are supporting more point of care testing machines being placed in health services.

To view the full article in the National Indigenous Times click here and to watch a video of Linda Burney MP urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine click here.

snapshot of Linda Burney urging mob to get vaccinated

Feature tile: Registered nurse Michele Clarke administers Kautai Tulikaki’s Pfizer vaccine at the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos. Image source: Canberra Times.

Victorian First Nations lead vaccination rates

As lockdowns drag on and cases rise, there is one piece of COVID-19 data worth celebrating. Indigenous people in Victoria are leading the country in vaccination rates.

According to data released by the federal government last week, more than 50% of Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population eligible for a vaccine has received a first dose and around 30% are fully vaccinated.

“It is a bit of a success story but we’re not out of the woods,” CEO of Victoria’s peak body for Aboriginal community health organisations Jill Gallagher AO said. Ms Gallagher says Victoria’s success is due to the partnerships forged between the Victorian Department of Health and community-controlled Aboriginal health services. “It has been a joint effort and credit should be shared,” she said. “But the most obvious factor leading to success was access to vaccines.”

Ms Gallagher said it was very sad to see the rise in cases among Aboriginal communities in regional NSW.

To view the full article click here.

Aboriginal person's wrist with BDAC COVID-19 wristband

A Ballarat and District Aboriginal Corporation vaccination wrist band. Photo: BADAC. Image source: ABC News.

Make the Choice vaccination campaign

The Redcliffe Hospital community vaccination centre is hosting ‘special Saturdays’ over the next six weeks to support local First Nations families to get vaccinated. Starting from this Saturday, 21 August 2021, the Moreton Bay Integrated Care Centre based at the Redcliffe Hospital campus will accept walk-ins for First Nations people from 10am to 2.30pm. These hours will be extended if there is further demand.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the targeted vaccination push was a combined effort of the Queensland Government, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) as part of a new campaign to encourage more First Nations people to get vaccinated.

Last week the Queensland Government also released a Make the Choice campaign, which aims to help address the gap in vaccination rates between First Nations people and the general population. “The overall vaccination rate for First Nations people is almost half the vaccination rate of non-First Nations people. The campaign will be important to get the message out into the community – Make the Choice and get vaccinated” Minister D’Ath said.

QAIHC Chairperson, Matthew Cooke, added that a showpiece of the Make the Choice
campaign is a new website that has proudly been developed with the QAIHC. “The website is filled with helpful and easy to understand information about COVID-19
vaccinations and the vaccination process to help inform the choice about getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” Mr Cooke said.

“It’s been specifically created by QAIHC for Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Queensland clinicians and front-line workers in community health organisations and Hospital and Health Services. “We know people want to read and hear information from trusted sources to help them make an informed choice about their health. “Our message for every Queenslander that can be vaccinated is simple – make the choice and get vaccinated so we can work towards a pathway out of the pandemic.”

To view the Queensland Government’s media release in full click here.

thumb with bright blue nail polish holding COVID-19 vaccination record showing Dose 1 & Dose 2

Image source: ABC News.

Youth specific gambling harm program

Most people in Aboriginal communities play the pokies or have a bet without any trouble. But for some people, gambling causes money problems, stress and arguments in the family. Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne says the Victorian Government is prioritising the needs of young First Nations people, launching Australia’s first youth specific First Nations Gambling Awareness program on Wadawurrung Country.

Aboriginal-owned organisation Strong Brother Strong Sister has been selected to deliver the Djilang Gambling Awareness Program, which will provide support to young people affected by their own or their family’s gambling activities. The program will receive $250,000 over 15 months to help young Wadawurrung people pursue self-determination through social, emotional, and health and wellbeing measures, with a key focus on minimising gambling harm.

You can view the media release in full here and a video below featuring Victorian Aboriginal community members yarning about gambling.

Remote PHC Manuals review update

The Remote Primary Health Care Manuals (RPHCMs) are currently being reviewed and updated, with monthly updates being provided to keep health services and other organisations up-to-date throughout the review process. You can view the RPHCM August 2021 progress update here.

The Primary Review process has been completed for 60% of the protocols and the RPHCM project team is on track to complete all of the Primary Reviews by December 2021.

Protocol groups have been endorsed for: (1) Resuscitation and trauma (2) Emergencies in pregnancy and birthing (3) Remote medicines and (4) Child respiratory and the protocol groups coming up for endorsement include: (1) Skin (2) Infectious disease (3) Injuries and (4) Disability and dementia.

You are invited to contact the RPHCM project team here for more information or to provide input. You can also view the Manuals online or purchase printed copies (limited supplies) here.4 Remote PHC Manuals stacked, blue, pink, purple, green

NDIS Ready Yarning Circle cancelled

Unfortunately, the Yarning Circle for Remote and Very Remote ACCHOs scheduled for September 28 – 30 2021 in Alice Springs is now cancelled. Due to COVID-19 outbreaks locking down states and threatening many of our communities, we are not able to run the event at this time.

NACCHO thanks you for your ongoing support and commitment to this event and said it was shaping up to be a fantastic couple of days. NACCHO said that while it is incredibly disappointing to have to cancel, the health and safety of our members, their staff and communities are of primary importance.

If we can, NACCHO hopes to hold the Yarning Circle sometime in the first half of 2022.

Please note, NACCHO will not be running an alternative online event at this stage, however may look to do something later in the year when the current outbreaks are resolved.

Please begin the process of cancelling your travel and accommodation. NACCHO recognises the administrative burden of cancelling bookings and are available to assist if needed. If you incur any cancellation fees, please email NACCHO here and they will arrange for these to be reimbursed by NACCHO.C

Census 2021 – there’s still time

The ABS Director of Centre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Tony Grubb, has written a letter outlining the status of the 2021 Census to date and explaining it is not too late to complete the census. In the letter Mr Grubb says:

“Over 8.7 million Census forms have been submitted to date. This is a very positive result, and we are now encouraging those who have not completed to do so as soon as possible. I am writing to seek your support in helping make sure everyone is counted.

Data from the 2021 Census will be more important than ever, providing valuable insights for all of us into how the pandemic has changed life in Australia and helping to plan our recovery.

In remote areas, the Census is conducted over an extended period between July and August. This is so we can cover vast areas and visit multiple communities. If your community hasn’t been counted yet, please don’t worry. Our remote teams are still working with communities across Australia and have not completed our Census work.”

If you have any questions about how your community will complete the Census, please reach out to your local contact or email the ABS using this link.

NT Health Worker Excellence Awards

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said finalists have been unveiled for the 2021 NT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker and Practitioner Excellence Awards set to be held on Thursday 2 September 2021. The outstanding work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals to support their families, communities and healthcare system in the Territory will take centre stage.

The awards are held in partnership with the Australian Government Health Department, Darwin Sunrise Rotary Club, United Workers Union, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT and the National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners.

To view the media release in full click here.

Sunrise NT health worker Desleigh Shields listening to patient's heart with stethoscope

Desleigh Shields followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a healthcare worker in Barunga. Photo: Alexia Attwood Image source: ABC News.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

Daffodil Day 2021

This year Daffodil Day falls on Friday 27 August. It is a chance for Australians to come together and show their Flower Power; their ability to create change in the lives of people impacted by cancer, by funding cancer research.

In 2020, the Daffodil Day Appeal raised almost $1.5 million for life-saving cancer research, but looked a little different. Despite a global pandemic, Australians still dug deep and donated online to show their commitment to a cancer free future.

Sadly, with nearly 150,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer every year, most people have been touched by this heartbreaking disease.

You can find more information about Daffodil Day here.

torso of person in white coat holding bunch of daffodils, yellow pop out with text 'It's Daffodil Day - Friday 27 August 2021'

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Proud in culture, strong in spirit

Feature tile - Wed.4.8.21 - Proud in culture, strong in spirit - Children's Day

Proud in culture, strong in spirit

Today we celebrate the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2021 with the theme ‘Proud in culture, strong in spirit’.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the right to experience and be proud of their history, cultural beliefs and practices.

The Children’s Day 2021 theme highlights the importance of supporting strong family and community connections to help our children achieve strong spiritual and cultural wellbeing and to form proud cultural identities.

Children’s Day is a time to for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children. It is an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every child.

Visit the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2021 website to find out more and view available resources.

@SNAICC #ProudInCulture #StrongInSpirit #NATSIChildrensDay

 

NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills fully vaccinated – urging mob to follow

Donnella Mills, a proud Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir, Chair of NACCHO and Deputy Chair of Wuchopperen Health Service, gets her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Wuchopperen in Cairns. She urges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to follow up and get your second dose of the vaccine in order to safely receive the level of protection from COVID-19.

“I’m just thrilled that I have been able to get my second dose here at home,” said Ms Mills.

She gave a massive shout-out to all the staff across our 143 ACCHOs thanking them for being so dedicated and so committed in protecting our mob.

“Get Vaccinated,” said Ms Mills. “Have a yarn with your health worker, your doctor or your nurse. Get the answers that you need to feel safe. Get yourself vaccinated so that you can protect yourself, protect each other and protect our communities.

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You can view the video featuring Ms Mills below.
#FullyVaccinated

 

COVID-19 vaccine update for GPs webinar

The latest in the Australian Government Department of Health’s series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs webinar will be held from:

11:30am–12:00pm this Thursday 5 August 2021.

Joining Professor Michael Kidd AM will be Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health and Frances Rice, Senior Nurse Advisor, Department of Health.

At this webinar, you’ll be provided with the latest information on the vaccine rollout. GPs and all health professionals are welcome.

We you’re ready to join, use this link.

tile light blue background text in navy 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for GPs' pink vector virus cells

 

WellMob launch new e-newsletter

HealthInfoNet‘s WellMob are excited to announce that the first edition of their e-newsletter has arrived!

The newsletter will highlight some useful online resources on the WellMob website, including the Dadirri the deep inner spring inside us video below, along with some tips for the health and wellbeing workforce on how to use these resources with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Check out the new e-newsletter here.

vector open envelope with piece of paper coming out text 'WellMob Healing Our Way' & WellMob logo; background teal with Aboriginal dot painting circles

 

Improving rare cancer survival

Improving survival rates for cancers of unknown primary (CUP) and reducing the proportion of Indigenous Australians diagnosed with CUP will be the focus of a new Flinders University-led project, which recently received a $2.4 million grant from the federal government.

Cancers of unknown primary are those that, despite a myriad of tests, doctors cannot determine where in the body the cancer started. As the primary site is unknown, site-specific treatment cannot be initiated, reducing the chance of survival. While CUP only accounts for 1.6% of cases in Australia, among Indigenous Australians that incident is 2.1 times higher, with a 5-year survival rate of only 9% – almost half that of the non-Indigenous population.

Professor Chris Karapetis from the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute will lead the project and says despite the availability of guidelines, or an ‘optimal care pathway’, for treating CUP they are yet to be universally implemented, impacting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. “What we are currently seeing is people with suspected CUP may experience inappropriate or excessive tests, or the recommended tests aren’t being used enough. This can lead to delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, or a missed opportunity to identify a primary site, which then results in poorer outcomes. Our project aims to evaluate what impact adhering to the optimal care pathway has on patients diagnosed with CUP in SA and the NT.”

To view the article Improving survival of rare caner for Indigenous Australians in full click here.

dark blue image of cells

Photo: Getty. Image source: Flinders University website.

 

Lived experiences of Aboriginal/LGBTIQ+ people

A first of its kind study by Edith Cowan University has revealed the significant impact of racism, queerphobia and social exclusion on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ people.

As part of the study, two recently published reports provide important insights and recommendations for the health, education and community services sectors to support those living at this unique intersection. You can access the two Breaking the silence reports using the links below:

vector drawing of Aboriginal person with rainbow colour earings, orange t-shirt

Image source: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

 

Digital health tools a game changer

Digital health tools are changing how healthcare is delivered in Australia. Access to My Health Record and telehealth consultations is transforming health service delivery, not only in remote Aboriginal communities but across the country.

Please join the Australian Digital Health Agency, WA Primary Health Alliance, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, and special guest panel members from Aboriginal Medical Services across WA, to hear how digital health has been a game changer for them.

Healthcare professionals from across all sectors are encouraged to attend, hear these success stories and be inspired to start using digital health. There will also be the opportunity for participants to ask questions.

The webinar will be held from 5:30 – 6:30pm AWST (7:30 – 8:30pm AEST) on Tuesday 31 August 2021. To register click here.

wooden surface with iPad (showing text results), pen, safety glasses, mask, stethoscope, x-ray, notepad and EDG printout

Image source: Majorel website.

 

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

 

Homelessness Week 1–7 August

In Australia there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have historically been over-represented among clients seeking homelessness and social housing services. More than 23,000 (1 in 28) Indigenous Australians were homeless on Census night 2016. Despite making up less than 3% of the Australian population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders account for 20% of the homeless population.

Homelessness Week 2021 which runs from Sunday 1 August to Saturday 7 August aims to raise awareness of the impact of homelessness on Australia via national and local community events, including providing information on the importance of housing as a solution and educating communities on how they can make a difference.

Access an ABC article Without a Home here to find out more about homelessness in Australia and for more information about Homelessness Week 2021 visit the Homelessness Australia website here.

tile text 'homelessness week 2021 1–7 "Everybody needs a home" - Homelessness Australia" Homelessness Australia logo, palms of hands with key; navy background, lime green font

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Help on ground needed, not just targets

feature tile text 'help on the ground needed to tackle disadvantage not just targets' silhouette of Aboriginal man sitting in humpy

Help on ground needed, not just targets

Indigenous advocates want help on the ground, not just targets, to stop Aboriginal Australians ending up in child protection and jail and dying sooner. Data on how Australia is faring in attempts to tackle Indigenous disadvantage has revealed stark failures. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls born between 2015 and 2017 are expected to live 8.6 and 7.8 fewer years, respectively, than non-Indigenous children. While the gap has lessened compared to a decade prior, Australia is not on track to close it by 2031, a Productivity Commission analysis released last week shows.

Another target, to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in the Indigenous suicide rate, was also set to be missed. It rose from 24.9 to 27.1 per 100,000 people across all states and territories except Tasmania and the ACT between 2018 and 2019. Also off track were attempts to reduce the rate of Indigenous children in out-of-home-care by 45% and adults in jail by 15%. Children represented 56.3 per 1,000 of those in out-of-home care last year, up from 54.2 in 2019. Over the same period, the rate of adults in the prison population rose from 2077.4 to 2081.1 per 100,000 to June 2020.

The peak body advocating for Indigenous children and their families said setting targets alone would not lead to change. “Our people have said it for a long time; change can only happen through shared decision-making and genuine partnership with our communities,” Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care chief executive Catherine Liddle said. “This includes continuing to work with our sectors to ensure they are prioritised as the experts in delivering culturally and locally appropriate services to our families.”

To view the article in full click here.

back of elderly Aboriginal man sitting & Aboriginal boy lying down face to camera & second older Aboriginal man sitting facing camera look at boy, all on old blankets outside building dusty outback

Feature tile image of Elder Kingi Ross, pictured in his humpy in the remote Utopian outstation of Irrultja. Source of both above and feature image newmatilda.com.

No time to lose to curb Delta’s spread

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said today time is running out to get control of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, calling for stricter, wider lockdown measures alongside a massive vaccination push. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said people in Sydney were now facing a very significant risk of catching COVID-19, with people of all ages in hospital and many of these in ICU.

Dr Khorshid said the NSW Government should have consistent rules about travel limits within a five km radius from home throughout Greater Sydney and mask wearing, and not just in the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs), to get on top of the outbreak of the Delta strain. “Lockdown should mean lockdown across the whole Sydney region. COVID-19 does not respect geography or local government boundaries on a map, and clear and simple rules applied everywhere will make a difference — including mandatory mask wearing indoors and outdoors, when outside the home.

“Unless daily infection numbers come down over the next few days, NSW is in real danger of having to live with the COVID-19 Delta strain for the foreseeable future – that means ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, not to mention a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the community and the economy of the whole nation. Now is not the time for mixed messaging, appealing to common sense or finding a balance between economic and health advice – now is the time for ALL of Sydney to work together under simple, understandable restrictions that apply evenly to all with the aim of achieving what Melbourne was able to achieve last year- to eliminate COVID-19.”

To view a transcript of the interview in full click here.

virus cell & drive through testing

Image source: AP/UNSPLASH.

Vaccine rollout gathering steam

Despite delays in the vaccine rollout, WA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are now getting vaccines administered in regional communities. Across the nation, 124,096 First Nations people have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine (21.4% of those eligible) and over 50,365 (8.7%) have received a second dose.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 16 are eligible for the vaccine. Though the vaccine rollout has been slower than the Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) would have liked, AHCWA Public Health Medical Officer Dr Marianne Wood said delays allowed more time to overcome vaccine hesitancy. “The slowness isn’t a terribly bad thing. There was some concern from some quarters in the community about the vaccine, and that’s going away now,” she said. “In WA we don’t have COVID right now knocking on our door, although that could change in a flash. I think it’s okay at this stage because we are taking it slowly and gently.”

Remote WA Aboriginal Health Services (AHS) are rolling out the vaccine in association with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). An AHS can book in for vaccine delivery and any extra assistance required with administration is provided by the RFDS. “The frustrating thing is that supplies of Pfizer have been very slow to come through, and that definitely is an issue, especially at the beginning,” Dr Wood said. “But now all but one of our services have signed up [to the rollout] and have dates for starting — if they haven’t already.”

To view the full article in the National Indigenous Times click here.

Warmun Community member Luke Banks being vaccinated by Steph Whitwell, Vaccination Nurse from Kununurra COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Warmun Community member Luke Banks being vaccinated by Steph Whitwell, Vaccination Nurse from Kununurra COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Image source: Government of WA website.

Stillbirth, cancer and uranium mine

The Ranger uranium mine, surrounded by Kakadu National Park in the NT, operated for 40 years until it closed this year. During this time, , Aboriginal people in the region experienced stillbirth rates double those of Aboriginal people elsewhere in the Top End, and cancer rates almost 50% higher. But a NT government investigation couldn’t explain why and we’re still no wiser.

We owe it to Aboriginal people living near mines to understand and overcome what’s making them sick. We need to do this in partnership with ACCHOs. This may require research that goes beyond a biomedical focus to consider the web of socio-cultural and political factors contributing to Aboriginal well-being and sickness.

To view the article in full click here.

aerial shot of Ranger uranium mine, NT

Ranger uranium mine, NT. Image source: Energy Resources Australia.

New stroke recovery resource

The Stroke Foundation have launched Our Stroke Journey, a booklet designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live well after stroke, to mark National Stroke Week 2–8 August 2021. Stroke Foundation National Manager StrokeConnect Jude Czerenkowski said this resource represents a big step forward in ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get the information and support they need after stroke.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke than non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms Czerenkowski said. “Most people don’t know much about stroke. Everyone needs access to evidence-based, easy-to-understand information after a stroke. We have worked with an incredible group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of stroke, carers and health workers to create Our Stroke Journey. They have shared their stories and expertise with us and we are incredibly grateful.”

You can view the Stroke Foundation’s media release in full click here and the Our Stroke Journey on the Stroke Foundation’s website here.

survivor of stroke Joe Miller in check shirt, Akubra, standing against green grassed river bank

Survivor of stroke Joe Miller believes Our Stroke Journey is much needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait survivors of stroke, their families, and carers

PHC Manuals medicines review process

The Remote Primary Health Care Manuals (RPHCM) are widely used in primary health care settings across Australia to guide and support the provision of high quality, evidence-based care to people living in rural and remote communities. The suite of manuals is currently being reviewed and updated in preparation for new editions planned for 2022.

Ensuring that medications featured in the protocols align with current evidence and research, is a crucial element in our review process. A team of multi-disciplinary health professionals applies a multi-stage process to confirm that all medications recommended in the protocols are up to date, supported by evidence and appropriate for the remote, Indigenous health context.

For further information, including the Pharmacy Review Process Flowchart below, click here.Pharmacy Medicines review process flowhart for Rural PHC Manuals, 6 stepsThe RPHCM project team is seeking expressions of interest from pharmacists to assist in the medicines review process.  Volunteer reviewers with experience in remote or Indigenous health can contribute to either or both, the protocols, or Medicines Book review. We appreciate and value all our reviewers and acknowledge their contribution on our website, as well as providing a certificate of involvement for inclusion in their CV. To register your interest click here.

Pharmacy Review Coordinators: Philippe Freidel, Danny Tsai, Tobias Speare sitting at a desk, Philippe & Tobias holding manuals & Danny with open laptop

Pharmacy Review Coordinators: Philippe Freidel, Danny Tsai, Tobias Speare
and Fran Vaughan, Editorial Committee (absent from photo).

Human Rights award nomination date extended

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) annual Human Rights Awards are proceeding again in 2021 – with a difference!

This year, they are accepting nominations for three award categories:

  • Human Rights Medal
  • Young People’s Human Rights Medal
  • Community Human Rights Champion

You are invited to nominate a person, group, organisation or community that has contributed to human rights in Australia. The nominations closing date has been extended to Saturday 7 August 2021.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the AHRC will be celebrating the finalists and winners virtually through a social media amplification campaign in the lead up to Human Rights day on 10 December 2021. AHRC looks forward to receiving nominations and celebrating this year’s finalists – and winners – with you! You can nominate here.

5 previous winnders of AHRC annual HRs awards

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

National Stroke Week

Monday 2 to Sunday 8 August 2021 is National Stroke Week. This year, you are being asked to be ‘United by Stroke’ by learning the F.A.S.T. (Face. Arms. Speech. Time) signs of stroke. Register for National Stroke Week here, receive your free Kit and help raise awareness of the signs of stroke.

You can find more about National Stroke Week and access a range of resources here.

tile text 'United by Stroke - National Stroke Week 2-8 August 2021' 6 people standing facing front, middle woman ambo

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: NACCHO demands action to eliminate hepatitis

NACCHO demands action to eliminate Hepatitis

This year’s World Hepatitis Day has NACCHO and Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia Partnership (EC Australia) have joined forces to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and unite to demand action from decision-makers to eliminate Viral Hepatitis impacting communities. COVID-19 has significantly impacted access to healthcare services across the country and Australians suffering from chronic diseases, such as Hepatitis B and C, have been greatly impacted. An estimated 200,000 fewer people received Hepatitis screening than the expected number in 2020 – a 20% decrease. Globally, 325 million people are living with a hepatitis infection and every 30 seconds someone dies from a hepatitis related illness.

NACCHO media release on World Hepatitis Day 2021: “Hep Can’t Wait” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to step forward for diagnosis and treatment to help prevent Hepatitis B and C.

More must be done to prevent new infections and ensure all that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have hepatitis C are treated. Addressing these inequities can’t wait. For each person who remains undiagnosed, their risk of liver damage and complications increases over time. Hepatitis C is curable and easy to treat.

NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills states, “Our communities have worked hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in regional areas, proving that when we work together, we can drive positive results for our people. However, the pandemic should not put the treatment of serious diseases at a standstill. The prevalence of viral hepatitis rates within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is concerning.”

“I encourage our people to reach out to their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to get tested and seek treatment and help us share relevant information on how to control these diseases.”

In 2021 EC Australia will be convening a national reference group to support the development of a National health promotion campaign targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The campaign will raise awareness about and uptake of the new hepatitis C treatments and address ongoing stigma relating to hepatitis C and injecting drug use. The campaign will require further funding to ensure the message gets out to all Aboriginal communities.

AMS Redfern celebrates 50 years of service

Congratulations AMS Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative Ltd on celebrating 50 years since the establishment of the very first Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in Australia in 1971!

The Sydney AMS has evolved from a small shop front medical clinic into a multidisciplinary Primary Health Care service and has now been treating generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients for over half a century.

The documentary created by NACCHO in 2016 celebrates the history of AMS Redfern.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this video may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

ACCHOs need adequate vaccine supply

Dr Jason Agostino is calling for adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines for Indigenous health services and other places where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are accessing healthcare. Dr Agostino says ‘we’ve seen that vaccination rates up to now have been lower than that of non-Indigenous Australians and that’s mainly been due to the supply, as we’ve been getting more Pfizer into Aboriginal health services we’ve seen coverage rates picked up and we need to support those efforts wherever it is happening.’

You can view Dr Agostino talking on ABC here.

screenshot of ABC interview with Dr Agostino re COVID-19 vaccine supply

AHWs increase patient outcomes

A new report has highlighted the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient outcomes. Released by the NSW Bureau of Health Information, the report is the culmination of 8,000 Aboriginal people’s experiences in NSW public hospitals and health services between 2014 and 2019. It found that the support provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers overwhelmingly contributed to higher levels of patient care and satisfaction.

Proud Kuku Yalanji man and CEO of the National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP) Karl Briscoe said the “report reinforces what we have always known”. The report found that 64% of patients supported by an Indigenous healthcare worker said they ‘always’ had the opportunity to talk to a doctor compared to 47% who were not supported by an Indigenous health worker. And 79% said that Indigenous health professionals ‘always’ explained things in a way they could understand compared to 68% who were not supported by an Indigenous health worker.

The report also brought together data from Indigenous women who gave birth in hospitals in the care of Indigenous health care workers.

To view the article in full click here.

Aboriginal female patient sitting up in hospital bed, medical professional sitting on bed & Aboriginal Interpreter Service employee sitting beside bed

Image source: SCIMEX website.

Delivering safe water to communities

Aboriginal communities have come together with water planners, tech companies, infrastructure engineers and academics to develop smart solutions. The drinking water is contaminated in nearly a quarter of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. These are communities where Aboriginal people live on their homelands by choice. Traces of arsenic, nitrates, E coli and even uranium are revealed in a damning Auditor-General’s report.

Despite access to safe, acceptable and affordable water being a basic human right, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, many Australians are compromising their health when they drink water from the tap.

It’s a risk that Annette Stokes, Chief Investigator for the Western Desert Kidney Health Project, knows too well, “Every Friday we’re having funerals. Our people are dying.”  Stokes’ project set out to reduce diabetes and kidney disease in ten homelands communities. Through her research she identified unsafe nitrate levels in drinking water as a key disease risk in those communities.

To view the full article click here.

Aboriginal hand under running tap water, outback red dusty landscape in background

Image source: ABC News.

Aboriginal English in health communications

Indigenous Australians experience poorer health outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians. They are sick more often, die younger and are at higher risk of serious health complications, including heart disease. One way to improve health outcomes is through targeted health communication in local languages. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen increased attention given to the use of Indigenous languages in health settings around the world, including Australia.

Many COVID-19 resources have been developed in partnership with local communities, including in widely-spoken Australian Aboriginal languages such as Kriol. Other initiatives have inspired new Indigenous health professionals to effectively communicate complex medical terminology and concepts to communities. A frequent assumption among non-Indigenous people in Australia is that mainstream English media should work well for the almost 80% of Indigenous people in Australia for whom Aboriginal English is their first language.

You can view the article in full here and an animated Heart Foundation video encouraging Aboriginal people to get a heart check below.

Updated cancer portal

Cancer is a term used for a variety of diseases that cause damage to the body’s cells. Normally cells grow and multiply in a controlled way but cancer causes cells to grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way. If these damaged cells spread into surrounding areas or to different parts of the body, they are known as malignant. Some cancers can be treated, but the effectiveness of treatment and survival rates vary between different types of cancer and patients.

Cancer is a problem in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Some cancers, particularly lung and other smoking-related cancers, are the cause of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths. This is partly because high proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engage in smoking tobacco and other risk factors like risky drinking and poor nutrition. Other factors that increase the likelihood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people dying from cancers are:

  • the types of cancers they develop (such as cancers of the lung and liver) are more likely to be fatal
  • their cancer may be more advanced by the time it is found (which is partly because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may visit their doctor later and/or may not participate in screening programs)
  • they often have higher rates of other conditions that affect the cancer or cancer treatment
  • they are less likely to receive optimal treatment

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has an updated Cancer portal providing information on bowel, breast, cervical, lung and prostate cancer as well as risks and protective factors, prevention and management and cultural perspectives.

You can access the cancer portal here. and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Summary of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here.cover of Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet summary of cancer among ATSI people publication, including artwork 'Karnta' by Corinne Nampijinpa Ryan

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference

The Department of Rural Health invites you to attend the 2021 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference.  This year the conference will be held online, commencing at 9:30 AM on Wednesday 13 October 2021.  The conference will begin with a keynote address from Mr Stan Grant.

The conference program is currently being finalised and updates can be viewed on the Department of Rural Health website here.

You can register for the conference here – registrations close Thursday 23 September 2021.

If you have any further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact Ms Di Doyle (Events Coordinator) on 02 5823 4512 or by email here.

banner Aboriginal dot art & portrait shot of Stan Grant

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: NACCHO Medical Advisor on vaccine rollout

feature tile text 'NACCHO Medical Advisor Dr Agosinto speaks about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout' & photo of hands drawing vaccine from vial

NACCHO Medical Advisor on vaccine rollout

NACCHO Medical Advisor, Dr Jason Agostino spoke on National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) on Thursday (15 July 2021) last week about the COVID-19 rollout. Dr Agostino said it is important to reinforce that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 16 years and over are eligible to get a vaccine now and that a lot is being done to make sure that both types of vaccines are available within Aboriginal medical services across the country and also via other GPs.

Up until now there has only been AstraZeneca within clinics, that’s the vaccine predominately for people over the age of 60, unfortunately more than 90% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under the age of 60 and they’ve had to go to Pfizer which hasn’t been around. Dr Agostino said that in the last few weeks there has been more Pfizer getting into communities and health services in the city and the hope is to get more and more Pfizer out there into people’s arms as soon as possible. To listen to the interview in full click on the YouTube link below.

On Sunday 11 July 2021, Dr Agostino also spoke on 3RRRFM’s weekly medical show Radiotherapy with presenter Kent Goldsworthy about the vaccine rollout. You can listen to that interview here.

black & white photo of 3RRR radio presenter Kent Goldsworthy in studio & 3RRR logo 102.7 FM THREE R TRIPLE R R in red, black, white

3RRR presenter Kent Goldsworthy. Feature photo: The West Australian in NIT.

COVID-19 vaccine provider resources

The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared a suite of assets for vaccine providers. The main purpose of the resources is to support healthcare workers in their work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

The pack of resources includes:

  • updated guidance on TGA advertising restrictions, explaining how you can inform your patients about different vaccine brands availability in your clinic. This includes social, posters and web content
  • a video animation in plain English that could be sent to patients’ emails or used in clinic waiting rooms explaining what to expect on  vaccination day, side effects and the need for two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  •  a suite of talking points talking points designed for healthcare workers to assist them with having conversations with patients about COVID-19 vaccines
  • updated social resources with suggested captions to use across social media networks
  • a summary of general COVID-19 vaccine communications available on the website that have been developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including social content, posters, fact sheets and videos
  • general Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources (social, posters and community announcement script), reminding people of the importance of following restrictions, staying home if feeling unwell, and getting tested

All resources are available for download here via WeTransfer.

You can browse other communication assets, such as videos with Indigenous community leaders and testimonials by real people, and many other resources here.

Health staff shortages in remote communities

COVID-19 border closures and lockdowns have caused a shortage of healthcare workers in remote Indigenous communities, fuelling fears the vaccine rollout to some of the country’s most vulnerable people is being slowed down. In northern WA the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) has been dealing with increasingly severe staff shortages as its retention rates plummet.

“In our remote communities we do tend to rely on nursing and medical staff being on a fly-in fly-out roster,” medical director, Palawa woman Lorraine Anderson said. “Generally those staff have not always come from WA, there have been people from all the states and territories across Australia and in a few cases even outside Australia.” Since the pandemic began KAMS’s staff attrition rate has more than doubled from 37–85%. In some of its clinics the figure is as high as 100%, meaning the entire original workforce has been replaced.

The number of job vacancies has also increased from an average of 10–50 – more than 10%of the total KAMS workforce. Dr Anderson said rolling lockdowns and constant changes to travel restrictions were taking a toll. “18 months down the track our staff are actually getting very tired of that, it’s wearing people down, it’s very difficult on family situations and relationships,” she said. Dr Anderson is hopeful staffing issues won’t affect the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley as KAMS prioritises the jab, but she says workers won’t be able to offer the standard of primary and preventative healthcare she would like as a result.

To view the full Brisbane Times article click here.

white vehicle on side of bitumen road through red dust landscape

Image source: Create website.

NDIS fighting trust deficit

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed last week that the controversial NDIS independent assessments proposed by the Federal Government are “dead”. Reynolds said she was sorry that some of Australia’s most vulnerable people had been stressed by the possible impact of the independent assessments, which disability advocates have fought hard against for months.

Associate Professor Jen Smith-Merry and Associate Professor Mary-Ann O’Donovan, from the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Sydney commented on the issue. “The proposed implementation of the NDIS Independent assessments  has been abandoned in its current form and this is a great victory for all the people with disability and supporters who have campaigned against it.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which runs the NDIS, contracted our team from the University of Sydney to externally validate the findings of their pilot inf independent assessments. Our team included people with qualitative and quantitative methods expertise, lived experience of disability and understanding of the broader policy and service context around the NDIS. By requesting this validation work, the NDIA acknowledged that the process and findings of the evaluation they conducted may be questioned in terms of credibility and trustworthiness. This request for external validation reflects the need for the NDIA agency to counter the general mistrust towards it in the sector.

To view the full article in Croakey Health Media click here.

photo of word 'trust' written in the sand

Photo: Lisa Caroselli, Pixabay. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

Indigenous bowel screening resources

The Australian Government Department of Health has a range of resources for families and communities regarding Indigenous bowel screening. Its collection contains resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) including information about bowel screening, video stories, community songs, fact sheets, posters and more.

You can access the collection of resources, including the SA Health Making tracks: Health Screening for Bowel Cancer video (below) here.

Closing the walkability gap

Indigenous inequality in Australia has long been known to the public and policy makers. Yet, successive local, state, and federal governments have failed to effectively make a noticeable change in Indigenous health and wellbeing. These inequalities include shorter life expectancy, poorer general health and lower levels of education and employment. Less known is transport inequality and its health implications for Indigenous people.

Walking is a healthy form of physical activity and is proven to reduce rates of chronic disease. Neighbourhood walkability is associated with the number of trips people can make on foot. People living in areas with lower walkability tend to walk less. University of New South Wales’ research shows that 70% of the Indigenous population in the City of Sydney live in neighbourhoods with lower-than-average walkability. This has the potential to aggravate Indigenous people’s health issues, potentially widening the health gap with non-Indigenous Australians, instead of closing it.

To view the full article click here.

woman in dark shadow walking past a wall with Aboriginal dot paintings of emu, kangaroo, dolphin, echidna, snake

Photo: John Pryke/AAP. Image source: UNSW Sydney Newsroom website.

Abstracts for rural health conference

If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of people who live an work in rural or remote areas of Australia the 16th National Rural Health Conference will be of interest to you. The conference will be held in Perth next year from Monday 30 May to Wednesday 1 June 2022 with the theme is Bridging social distance; Rural health innovating & collaborating.

Abstracts close Sunday 8 August 2021. For more information about the abstract process click here.

For further information, including details about early bird registration which open on 4 October 2021, you can access the conference website here.

banner text '16th National Rural Health COnference 30 May - 1 June 2022, Perth, WA - Bridging social distance Rural health innovating & collaborating,' purple background, green & white font & logo white number '16' with green & purple heads represented by oval lines & purple and wavy lines representing arms, sitting over the number '16

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.


dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

Stress Down Day

Stress Down Day, a fun and easy initiative designed to raise awareness around stress in the workplace, and an opportunity to raise vital funds for Lifeline locally. Lifeline relies on fundraising and donations to help cover the cost of providing local crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Research shows that 90% of Australians feel stressed – with 74% of people reporting being stressed from work.

For information about Stress Down Day click here.tile text 'Lifeline's Stress Down Day on 24/7' Lifeline logo, text in light blue, smiling face 2 blue dots for eyes, blue semi-circle for mouth, orange line overlapping corner of right side of mouth making intersection purple & longer yellow line overlapping corner of blue left mouth making green

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: NACCHO CEO fully vaccinated today

feature tile text 'ACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM receives seond dose of COVID-19 vaccine TODAY' phot of Pat Turner at Winnunga

NACCHO CEO fully vaccinated today

Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM, the daughter of an Arrente man and a Gurdanji woman, is fully vaccinated today!

Pat received her second dose of her vaccine at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services earlier today and urges all of you to follow up on your second dose of the vaccine in order to safely receive the level of protection from COVID-19.

“Please get your COVID-19 shots! It’s not just important for us as individuals but it’s important for all members of our families and our communities. The more people have the vaccination the safer we will be.

It doesn’t matter if you already have existing health conditions, don’t use that as an excuse not to have the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact it’s more important that you do have it! Any concerns that you have you must talk to the doctor at our health services.”

photo of Pat Turner, NACCHO CEO, receiving COVID-19 vaccine at Winnunga with text 'Pat Turner AM CEO, NACCHO' & COVID-19 VACCINATION footer with NACCHO logo

Diabetes Australia partners with ACCHO

Diabetes Australia is partnering with Carbal Medical Services (Carbal), a Toowoomba and Warwick based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisation, to reduce diabetes-related vision loss and blindness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Darling Downs. The Diabetes Australia – Carbal partnership involves the promotion of the national eye screening initiative for people with diabetes KeepSight. KeepSight is an eye check reminder program run by Diabetes Australia which encourages people with diabetes to have regular eye checks. The program will use locally developed, culturally appropriate resources and information.

To help raise awareness of this important program Diabetes Australia has partnered with Indigenous Hall of Fame star and Gamilaroi man Roger Knox. Roger is asking people to register with KeepSight to reduce their risk of diabetes-related blindness.

You can read more about the project here and sign up for KeepSight at here and never lose sight of future eye checks.

You can also access the Diabetes Australia and Carbal Medical Services joint media release herel.

country singer Roger Knox standing in front of Carbal Medical Services sign

Country singer Roger Knox.

Australia’s human rights response disappointing

Amnesty International Australis says the Australian Government’s decision to ignore key recommendations from UN member states aimed at improving its human rights record is extremely disappointing. The recommendations, made at the UN Human Rights Council’s review of Australia earlier this year, found that 31 countries called for the Government to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility, while 47 wanted Australia to stop offshore processing and mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refugees.

Amnesty International Australia is deeply disappointed the Australian Government has rejected both these recommendations and calls on it to immediately review its position. National Director, Samantha Klintworth, said: “In 2019–20, 499 children aged between 10 and 13 years were detained by Australia in the youth justice system – 65% of those children detained were First Nations children – even though First Nations children constitute only 5% of the population of that age.

To view Amnesty International’s media release click here.

The Law Council of Australia has also commented on this topic: “Australia’s appearance at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday 8 July, in which a formal response to the recommendations received during the third cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be presented, puts a spotlight on Indigenous rights during NAIDOC Week.

The Law Council of Australia believes that it is imperative that First Nations peoples are heard on the issues that affect them, particularly at the federal level, and calls on Australia to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament in the Constitution; take immediate measures to address the overincarceration of First Nations peoples; and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years. The Law Council urges the Australian Government to clearly commit to the constitutional entrenchment of the Voice, as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the subsequent recommendations of the Referendum Council.”

To view the Law Council of Australia’s media statement click here.

Image source: Amnesty International.

Hearing Australia unites with First Nations people

This NAIDOC Week Hearing Australia is uniting with First Nations people across Australia to help heal Country and the hearing health of Frist Nations children. Kim Terrell, the Managing Director of Hearing Australia said: “Hearing Australia is dedicated to improving the hearing health of all Australians and preventing avoidable hearing loss in the community.

1 in 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are affected by ear disease and hearing loss⁺. With the support of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services across Australia, we’ve helped over 8,000 First Nations children aged 0–6 in 240 communities over the past 12 months. This is a key priority for us given 30% of these children had undiagnosed middle ear infections, while 25% had some form of undiagnosed hearing loss and were placed into specialist referral pathways.

I’d like to thank the amazing ear health workers involved around the country for their support. It’s terrific for us to be able to work so closely with them. Together, we’re seeing great progress in helping more children to listen, learn and talk.”

To view Hearing Australia’s press release click here and to listen to HAPEE Community Engagement Program Officer Denise Newman, who knows from personal experience the importance of checking children’s hearing at an early age and has an important to message to share with the community click on the video link below.

New Indigenous medical scholarships

A $1million gift from generous benefactors to Flinders University will establish an Indigenous student scholarship to increase the numbers of medically qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals working in their communities. The Calthorpe Wong Indigenous Medical Scholarship has been established through the generosity of retired ophthalmologists Mary Calthorpe and George Wong, who previously worked at the Flinders Medical Centre, the Repatriation General Hospital at Daw Park and the Marion Road Eye Clinic.

The endowed gift donation is expected to provide $80,000 annually to fund up to four scholarships each to the value of up to $20,000 in an academic year (or in future years a mix of new and ongoing scholarships) to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates to study medicine.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says it’s especially fitting that the scholarship has been made possible during NAIDOC Week: “We’re incredibly grateful to Drs Calthorpe and Wong for their determination to make a difference in this practical and meaningful way. It’s a deeply significant moment to be able to initiate a new scholarship that will be able to support so many Indigenous students simultaneously.”

To view the Flinders University media release here.

Associate Professor Simone Tur, George Wong, Mary Calthorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) at Flinders University

Associate Professor Simone Tur, George Wong, Mary Calthorpe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) at Flinders University.

CTG PBS Co-payment changes positive

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients registered under the Close the Gap (CTG) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-payment program will now have easier access to subsidised medicines. Changes that came into effect on 1 July 2021 mean eligible patients will have access regardless of their geographical location, their chronic disease status, or whether their prescriber is enrolled in the Practice Incentive Program.

Professor Peter O’Mara, Wiradjuri man and Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, welcomed the changes as a ‘positive step forward’. ‘Expanding access to Close the Gap scripts for all patients regardless of where they live, where they got the prescription from and their chronic disease status will make a real difference,’ he said. ‘It is much more straightforward and that can only be a good thing.’

A centralised patient registration database has been developed to support the changes. Managed by Services Australia, the database allows for a one-off registration of patients via Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) and will cover the patient even if they move to a different clinic.

To view the newsGP article in full click here.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Prof Peter O’Mara standing at a lectern,

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Prof Peter O’Mara, Welcomes the fact ‘the process has been made simpler and less centralised’. Image source: newsGP.

First Peoples Health camp for teens

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students experienced a taste of university life and learned about possible allied health careers at Griffith University’s First Peoples Health (FPH) Aspiration to Health Programs Camp. In all, 19 students from grades 10–12 attended the three-day immersive camp, hosted by FPH in partnership with The Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH).

FPH Engagement Lead Chris Levinge said the camp showed students how people from all backgrounds could succeed at university and specifically, in the health sector. “We want to encourage the students to study a health program, as the evidence is already there that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people delivering health services, get better health outcomes for First Peoples,” Mr Levinge said.

“The camp is a really good way to bring the kids in so they can feel comfortable in a university setting and see for themselves that anyone can study here. You just need to work hard and find what you are passionate about learning in the health space.” IUIH academy manager Tracy Hill said the students were already completing a school-based traineeship for a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance.

To view the article in full click here.

National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap update

Cancer Australia has released the second Roadmap Construction Update on the development of the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap. The National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap will identify key priority areas for action over the next five years to improve outcomes for people with pancreatic cancer. In focus for this update are the literature review, mapping of treatment and care against the Optimal Care Pathway, and the analysis of characteristics of people with pancreatic cancer activities.

You can visit and interact with an infographic here.

“NACCHO continues to engage with Cancer Australia and other stakeholders on the Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap. If you have specific feedback or comments you would like to share please contact NACCHO Medical Advisor Dr Kate Armstrong here.

banner text 'National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap - have your say about pancreatic cancer' purple footer, yellow, orange, blue, green top half

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via NACCHO’s communication platforms.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting to the NACCHO website and once approved it will go live.dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

National Diabetes Week

This National Diabetes Week ‘it’s about time’ we all took the time. That means it’s about time we took the time to learn the 4Ts, the early warning signs of type 1 diabetes. It also means it’s about time we took the time to get checked for type 2 diabetes.

Life is busy. Work, family, friends, chores, a social life. The days fill up quickly. Sometimes we’re so busy running around after everyone else, we don’t take the time to think about our health.

For many Australians, putting themselves at the bottom of their ‘to do list’ puts their health at risk. This could include being diagnosed with diabetes too late. This is true for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not making time for yourself, or time to learn the early warning signs, can put you at risk of major life-threatening health problems. Both types of diabetes are more common than you think.

Take the time. You’re important, your family is important and it’s really important, we don’t waste any more time. It’s about time.

Did you know diabetes…

  • Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults?
  • Is a leading cause of kidney failure?
  • Is the leading cause of preventable limb amputations?
  • Increase a person’s risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times?

It’s about time you made ‘me time’, took time out and put you first. There is no time to lose. The earlier type 2 diabetes is detected,  the more lives will be saved.  

For more information on National Diabetes Week click here.

vector image in navy, blue & white of alarm clock & text 'diabetes australia'

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: We need to work together across the community on vaccine rollout: ACOSS

We need to work together across the community on vaccine rollout: ACOSS

ACOSS welcomes the support of business groups on the vaccine roll out and is looking forward to engaging with the vaccine taskforce on the community sector’s crucial role, along with other key stakeholders, such as the union movement.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “Government needs to go beyond working with the business community on the vaccine roll out and there is support from the community sector, unions and business leaders to all work together. Community services are on the ground helping people to understand how they can access vaccines. We need to see community sector leaders also empowered and resourced to communicate clear messages to the people their services support, especially people facing poverty and disadvantage.

“Communities across the country need to be hearing about the vaccination roll-out from local leaders who they trust, for example, from First Nations leaders and culturally diverse leaders,” Dr Goldie said.

CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Pat Turner, said: “When First Nations leaders get vaccinated it really helps to encourage the rest of the community and I’ve seen great examples of that. First Nations leaders are absolutely vital to the success of our vaccine roll out, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more susceptible to the virus. First Nations health leaders have done an exceptional job keeping our people safe from the virus, particularly in remote areas, and their experience and relationships are also crucial on the vaccine front.”

To read the full media release by ACOSS click here.

AIHA partners with Northern Rivers ACCHOs

A new Indigenous Allied Health Australia Ltd (IAHA) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Academy in Lismore is aiming to support education and increase career opportunities in the health and social assistance sectors, thanks to a new partnership between IAHA, the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) and local Aboriginal Medical Services.

IAHA National Academy will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Year 11 and 12 in the Northern Rivers region the opportunity to complete a school based traineeship undertaking a nationally recognised Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance (HLT33015) qualification through TAFE NSW.

The partnership will build on existing relationships and also strengthen local health workforce development strategies, including paid employment for school-based trainees, mentoring, leadership development and career planning. Pathway options for students range from gaining employment in the health field, to continuing study with partner organisations, including Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation, Rekindling the Spirit Aboriginal Medical Service, Bullinah Aboriginal Medical Service, Northern NSW Local Health District, TAFE NSW and Southern Cross University.

Donna Murray, IAHA Chief Executive Officer, said: “The IAHA national academy program has been developed with community and is Aboriginal-led, providing a culturally safe and responsive holistic approach to education, training and employment at the local level. To date, many of the graduates are first in family to complete year 12, and graduates have transitioned successfully into further education, and employment across the health and related sectors.”

Kirsty Glanville, NNSWLHD Associate Director Aboriginal Health said the Academy in Northern Rivers is unique to others around the country, being the first to have direct engagement with the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector. “This partnership highlights the very important role Aboriginal Medical Services provide in our communities in improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal communities and empowering people to take an active role in their health journey,” Ms Glanville said.

To view the full AIHA article click here.Indigenous Allied Health Australian IAHA logo

A related news article describes the near doubly of the proportion of Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the past two years as the district takes steps to remove historical barriers and create new opportunities. WSLHD is currently working on a partnership with IAHA in providing Year 11 and Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students the opportunity to complete a nationally recognised Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance qualification through TAFE NSW.

To view the full article in The Pulse click here.

Cleaners Codie Fuller, porter Darrin Smith and cleaner Jade Hookey - general services team at Westmead Hospital i

Cleaners Codie Fuller, porter Darrin Smith and cleaner Jade Hookey were among 15 new Aboriginal staff to join the general services team at Westmead Hospital in March this year. Image source: The PULSE.

Mainstream health model ignores connection to Country

Associate Professor Luke Burchill from the University of Melbourne has written an article called Healing Country in which he says the theme for NAIDOC 2021: Health Country! comes at an important time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are calling for greater protection of their lands, waters and sacred sites, “In the past year alone, we have observed repeated failures to protect sites that are sacred to our communities; the destruction of 46,000-year-old caves at Juukan Gorge in WA, the removal of the Kuyan ancient eel rock formation at Lake Bolac and the felling of sacred Djab Wurrung trees in Western Victoria.”

“This devastation is not only physical. For Aboriginal people, the impact is emotional, cultural and spiritual – directly affecting mental health, family and community wellbeing. Country is the place from which we come and to which we will return. Country sustains us culturally, physically, linguistically, spiritually and emotionally. As custodians of the land, it is our duty to protect Country. With climate change our Country is hurting and so are we.”

Having worked in Australia’s mainstream health care system, Professor Burchill said he can say that connection to Country is not included when assessing someone’s health and wellbeing. The mainstream model is one of risk factors, lifestyle choices and genetic factors that underpin a condition or health outcome. The problem here is that when drawn entirely from a Western perspective this point of view fails to capture Indigenous dimensions of wellbeing including the importance of connectedness to family, community and Country for social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. For these connections to be strong, we need to live our lives free of racism.

To read Professor Burchill’s article in full click here.

The Juukan Gorge rock shelters in WA. Picture: AAP/Supplied by PKKP and PKKP Aboriginal Corporation.

Yarning Up After Stroke wins funding

A program designed to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with stroke to take control of their stroke recovery has won Federal Government funding of almost $500,000. This program arises from the Yarning Up After Stroke collaborative project co-led by Tamworth Aboriginal communities, Professor Chris Levi and Dr Heidi Janssen of Hunter New England Local Health District (NSW) and University of Newcastle. Dr Janssen was initially given a funding kick start by the Stroke Foundation, and this proof-of-concept work has now secured a significant grant through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The funding commitment to Yarning Up After Stroke is timely as NAIDOC Week gets underway. This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is Heal Country! and aims to raise awareness and promote greater understanding of the need to protect the traditional lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage of First Nations communities.

The Yarning up After Stroke team’s approach uses ‘yarning’, which is a culturally respectful, conversational way to learn, listen, share and receive information. In Aboriginal culture Yarning Circles are safe spaces in which everyone can have a say. Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Sharon McGowan said she is immensely pleased to see Yarning Up After Stroke secure the additional funding grant, “Introducing stroke recovery support services which use tools already embraced by Indigenous cultures, offers a more relatable way forward and are therefore likely to be more successful.”

To view the Stroke Foundation’s media release click here.

stroke survivor Bill Toomey in wheelchair with Carol Toomey crouching down behind him with her left arm across his chest

Coral and Bill Toomey, a stroke survivor. Photo: Gareth Gardner. Image source: The Northern Daily Leader.

AMA welcomes COVID-19 national roadmap

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) welcomes the leadership shown by National Cabinet in the release of the national roadmap allowing Australia to open up in a safe and sustainable way. AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said it was important that any plan be based on science, and this plan is to be based on modelling of a Delta outbreak on a vaccinated community.

“The AMA has repeatedly called for consistency in responses across the nation – including in our May Communique Prepare Australia before opening up to the world and National Cabinet’s plan will move us towards that goal,” he said. “We need a clear vision, as a community, on how to live in a world where COVID will continue to exist. This plan, with four stages, recognises the important fact that our road out of this crisis is vaccination. Of that there is no doubt.”

To view the AMA’s media release click here.

PM Scott Morrison at lecturn with Roadmap to COVIDSafe Australia on screen in background

Image source: Daily Mail Australia website.

MedicineWise app

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is Heal Country! – calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

This week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Did you know? You can receive information specific to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members by following these steps in your MedicineWise app:

  1. Tap on your profile.
  2. Go to ‘Personal Details’ module.
  3. Scroll down to switch on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander toggle(s) most appropriate to you

For further information visit the NPS MedicineWise website here.

Australia’s Chernobyl – Maralinga

For tens of thousands of years, the Aṉangu people lived on the warm, red earth of their country. The land provided them with food, water and shelter as they travelled around an area we now know as outback Far North SA.

But after colonisation, they were moved off their land: forcibly removed, sent into missions across the region and displaced by train lines linking Australia’s east and west that impacted their water supply. In 1984, the SA government handed much of the land back to its traditional owners. But by this point, parts of it were uninhabitable because of British nuclear testing.

The theme of NAIDOC Week 2021 is Heal Country! but much of the Aṉangu lands in and around Maralinga are beyond healing. Glen Wingfield, whose mother Eileen Wani Wingfield co-founded the Coober Pedy Women’s Council to campaign against a government proposal in the 1990s for a nuclear waste dump on their lands, said “A lot of the Aboriginal communities that live in and around that area, they just will not and do not go back near that country. I think that’s a word, healing, that we can’t use in the same sentence with that area.” There are parts of the area that will be uninhabitable for a quarter of a million years.

To view the full article click here.

photo of sign in desert landscape with text 'Former Maralinga Nuclear Test Stie. This land is part of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands' etc.

Image source: Mamamia website.

BRAMS June newsletter

Broom Regional Aboriginal Medical Service have released the June 2021 edition of their newsletter. This edition includes articles on World No Tobacco Month, the Yawardani Jan-Ga program and the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Men’s and Women’s Groups.

To access the BRAMS Newsletter click here.banner BRAMS NEWSLETTER June 2021

Road accident survivor CTP experience study

A new partnership between Griffith University and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) will examine the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders injured in road accidents and their interactions with the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme.

The Hopkins Centre’s Dr Leda Barnett, assisted by Griffith University PhD candidate Andrew Gall, will lead the three year study, funded by a $460,000 MAIC grant and supported by partnerships with Griffith’s Indigenous Research Unit (IRU), Synapse and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH).

“Indigenous Australians living in Queensland are up to six times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than a non-Indigenous citizen, but also 1.4 times more likely to be seriously injured, and 2.9 times more likely to die in an accident,” Dr Barnett said. The research will examine the factors that influence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to engage with the CTP scheme following a motor vehicle accident, the nature of their experience and ways in which the scheme could better align with their requirements.”

To view the full Griffith News article click here.

4 Aboriginal young adults around outside table, blurred greenery in the background

Griffith researchers will consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland to better understand their experiences with the Compulsory Third Party scheme. Image source: Griffith News.

 

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via NACCHO’s communication platforms.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting to the NACCHO website and once approved it will go live.dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard