- Two-thirds of adult mob at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if unvaccinated
- Spread of COVID-19 in Eurobodalla’s sparks alarm
- Historic moment creates opportunity for COVID-19 vaccine promo
- Growing urgency to vaccinate remote Elders before any border reopening
- Statement of support for TGA
- HOTspots platform maps antibiotic resistance patterns
- Clinical learning e-modules for lung cancer symptoms
- Improving Digital Connectivity for Indigenous Australians
- New process for job advertising
- Save the Date
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can read the joint media release by Menzies School of Health Research, Hot North and Apprise here.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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
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)