NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : @KenWyattMP announces $35.2 million funding #ACCHO Anti-smoking programs

These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit.

Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt

Over 100 NACCHO Articles about smoking

REDUCING INDIGENOUS SMOKING TO CLOSE THE GAP

The Australian Government will provide $35.2 million next financial year to continue anti-smoking programs targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in regional and remote areas.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, said the Government had approved the continuation of funding to 36 Aboriginal Community ControlledHealth Services and one private health service.

“These health services are all delivering frontline services to prevent young Indigenous people taking up smoking and to encourage existing smokers to quit,”  .

“Reducing smoking rates is central to the Government’s efforts to close the gap in life expectancy, but requires a consistent, long-term commitment.

“Smoking causes the greatest burden of disease, disability, injury and earlydeath among Indigenous people and accounts for 23 per cent of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Healthcare Agreement, all governments have committed to halving the 2008 adult daily smoking rate among Indigenous Australians, of 44.8 per cent, by 2018.

“The rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is still far higher than among other Australians and is damaging their health in many ways,” Minister Wyatt said.

It’s unlikely now that we will meet the COAG target, but we are making progress.

“It’s important that anti-smoking programs are meaningful for Indigenous people and changes made in recent years have ensured that only programs which are evidence based and effective are receiving grants.”

Continued funding for the 37 health services follows a preliminary evaluation of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program which found that it was operating effectively and using proven approaches to changing smoking behaviour.

Aboriginal Health ” managing two worlds ” : How Katherine Hospital, once Australia’s worst for Indigenous health, became one of the best

 

” Katherine Hospital in the Northern Territory has gone from one of the worst facilities in the country when it comes to Indigenous health care to one of the best.

Their secret: engaging with Indigenous patients and supporting doctors.”

Dr Quilty his high level of specialist training has meant that patients who would have had to be evacuated to Royal Darwin Hospital can now receive treatment in Katherine. Full Story below

Photo above : Gaye is a 50 year-old cancer patient from Mataranka in the NT. Supplied: Simon Quilty

NACCHO support INFO

Aboriginal Patient Journey Mapping Tools Project:

Communicating complexity

The Managing Two Worlds Together project aims to add to existing knowledge of what works well and what needs improvement in the system of care for Aboriginal patients from rural and remote areas of South Australia (and parts of the Northern Territory). It explores their complex patient journey.

The relationship between patients and health care providers is the foundation of care and requires communication across cultures, geography and life experiences. As a staff member in one rural Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service put it: ‘It’s like managing two worlds together, it doesn’t always work’.

Download Stage 3 Study Managing Two World Study Report

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert :

Do we need to close the gap on Aboriginal hospital experiences ?

How Katherine Hospital, once Australia’s worst for Indigenous health, became one of the best

As published ABC NEWS  By Hagar Cohen for Background Briefing

When physician Simon Quilty arrived at the hospital, it was going through a major crisis.

“What had happened in 2010 is that the hospital found itself in a situation where things were falling apart,” he says.

A number of doctors complained to the NT Medical Board about a lack of supervision and the impractical workload. The hospital was on the verge of shutting down.

More than one in four Indigenous patients left Katherine Hospital before completing treatment, often without informing staff, the worst rate in the nation. These “take own leave” cases are complex, but one factor is Indigenous patients’ perception of inadequate treatment.

It’s an issue plaguing the health system nationally: a 2014 Federal Health Department report found that racism contributes to the low rates of access to health services by Aboriginal people.

Similarly, the number of patients who “discharge against medical advice” is recorded and recognised by health departments as a key indicator for the quality of Aboriginal healthcare.

In the NT, 11 per cent of all Indigenous patients discharge themselves against medical advice.

“These people have very complex illnesses,” says Dr Quilty. “Many of them are highly likely, if not treated well, to resolve in significant injury or death. Hospitals in remote locations really need high expertise to deal with the very sick patients that turn up here.

“Thirteen and 15-year-olds are developing type 2 diabetes, they’ve got kidney impairment by the time they’re 22 and they’re on dialysis in their early 30s. It’s a bit terrifying really.”

Back from the brink

The NT Department of Health conducted an investigation into the staffing crisis at the Katherine Hospital. Its findings weren’t released publicly.

Background Briefing can reveal that the final report concluded that there were “significant deficiencies in nearly all the essential dimensions of safe clinical service provision”, adding that the “root cause is that the medical service model is unsustainable and becomes more unsustainable with each passing year”.

Six years ago, a new general manager and a group of new doctors arrived with an ambition to turn things around.

Katherine Hospital

They’ve brought highly trained specialist doctors who are invested in the community, interpreters are used regularly and families of Indigenous patients are consulted on complex treatment plans.

In the past, interpreters were available but rarely used. Families weren’t a part of the consultation process. Many of the doctors were junior, and staff turnover was high.

The new management has made huge inroads in the way the hospital cares for Aboriginal patients.

This year, only 4 per cent of the Indigenous patients “took own leave”, making Katherine one of the best performing hospitals in the nation when it comes to caring for Aboriginal patients.

Systematic use of interpreters

In 2006, when respected Indigenous lawman Peter Limbunya, from the remote community of Kalkarindji, stayed in the hospital for 10 days, he did not have access to an interpreter, despite not speaking English.

At the end of his treatment, Mr Limbunya, who was part of the legendary Wave Hill walk off in the 60s, was flown to a remote airstrip 5 kilometres away from his community.

His family wasn’t told he’d be back that day and nobody was there to meet him. He died of dehydration.

During the inquest into his death, the coroner found that interpreters were not in use at the hospital.

His cousin, lifetime activist and advocate for Aboriginal people Josie Crawshaw, remains outraged. She says her uncle would have known “absolutely nothing” about his treatment and what was going on.

But things have come along way since then. The hospital’s Aboriginal liaison officer, Theresa Haidle, says improving the way doctors communicate is the key to developing Indigenous patients’ trust in their treatment plans.

Regular use of interpreters has been an essential part of Ms Haidle’s work. She says they’ve been key in making sure patients understand their illnesses and treatment options.

“English isn’t their first language. It may not even be their second or third either. If there’s any doubt, we get interpreters in, or even on the phone.”

The systematic use of interpreters is a big change at Katherine Hospital.

Ms Haidle says the hospital has a lot further to go when it comes to providing a culturally safe environment, but overall, the relationship with the Aboriginal community is getting better all the time.

“It’s like a big learning process for everybody,” she says.

“We have to break it down as simple as we can,” she says. “There’s not an Aboriginal word that means cancer, so how do you explain those things?

“I remember one day a lady had this fungus, and there’s no words for those things on women’s bodies, or inside. So I heard the interpreter telling her: ‘You know, like mushrooms growing?’ They got her to stay and get it treated.”

Changing doctors’ attitudes

Pip Tallis, who is training to be a physician at Katherine Hospital, has worked in hospitals in Alice Springs and Darwin, where she says many of her Indigenous patients left before their treatment was complete.

“I found it really hard to understand why,” she says.

“It was frustrating as a doctor, and there was a lot of frustration among the staff and no-one really took the time to understand why people were taking their own leave, or really did anything to change it.

“I think, there was a bit of hands up in the air. ‘Whatever, what can we do about it? It’s their problem.'”

The NT town of Katherine, seen from the air

Dr Tallis says that her perspective has changed since coming to work at Katherine Hospital.

“I’ve spent six months working with the team here and observing how they engage with the patients, and I think that they do significant things to result in people not taking their own leave,” she says.

“Previously I was very inflexible. Now I spend a lot more time appreciating why people take their own leave.

“I’m also picking up the subtle signs on a patient who’s starting to not engage. I’ll sit down with them and explore their issues. And if they say they want to just go for a walk, you just say, ‘Would you like to take some medicine with you just in case you don’t come back?'”

Care plans to lower ‘take own leave’ rates

The introduction of weekly meetings to go over care plans for the Indigenous patients means everyone in the hospital can keep up with what’s happening with individual patients

These meetings are attended by social workers, doctors, nurses and admin staff.

At one such meeting, Dr Tallis mentions Jason, a 30-year-old patient from the remote community of Ngukurr, 330 kilometres south-east of Katherine.

Jason has tuberculosis, and has left the hospital during treatment once before. His family has convinced him to return. Dr Tallis explains at the meeting that Jason doesn’t like the hospital food, and that special food is being provided for him.

“We tried really hard to engage him,” she says. “We even got bacon and eggs for him in the mornings so he doesn’t complain about porridge, he’s got a DVD player, USB drive, he got pizza the other day. So we tried really hard to make it possible.”

But there’s still a cultural divide. At the end of the meeting, Jason explains to another doctor that he thinks “white fella” medicine is too slow.

“I want to go back to bush medicine,” he says. “It’s better and works fast because we learned it from old people.”

More support for staff

The hospital’s general manager, Angela Brannelly, says the 2010 investigation into the staffing crisis recommended major changes to the way the hospital operates, its level of staffing and supervision.

She says supporting the medical staff was one of her first priorities.

“We took it very seriously and made some really serious changes to the way that the medical team was supported here. It was around ensuring that someone’s got their back,” she says.

Dr Quilty, who joined the hospital in 2012, was the first physician to have ever been employed at the hospital. Last year he won the Royal Australian College of Physicians’ medal for clinical service in rural and remote areas.

A dark-skinned doll

His high level of specialist training has meant that patients who would have had to be evacuated to Royal Darwin Hospital can now receive treatment in Katherine. Since 2012, there has been a decrease of 43 per cent in the number of total aeromedical evacuations to Darwin.

Many Indigenous patients who live in remote communities don’t like going to Darwin to receive medical treatment because it’s far from family and the hospital is bigger and less personal.

Gaye, 50, a cancer patient who was transferred to Darwin for chemotherapy says she felt lonely in Darwin. “In Darwin I was always sad and crying a lot,” she says.

No-one in Darwin had realised that Gaye was deaf, which made communication with medical staff virtually impossible. In Katherine her deafness was recognised by the nurses and she was given a hearing aid, which she says made a huge difference to her mental health.

Katherine Hospital now employs two full-time physicians.

Still no Aboriginal doctors

Katherine Hospital employs 24 doctors but none of them are Indigenous.

Ms Brannelly admits the hospital hasn’t done enough to attract Aboriginal doctors.

“That’s good advice for us, and it’s probably where we need to go in that space around seeking out Aboriginal medical officers to come and work for us,” she says.

“I think we have some work to do there, absolutely.”

Aboriginal Health #obesity : 10 major health organisations support #sugartax to fund chronic disease and obesity #prevention

Young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups are the highest consumers of sugary drinks.

These groups are also most responsive to price changes, and are likely to gain the largest health benefit from a levy on sugary drinks due to reduced consumption ,

A health levy on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet – it is a vital part of a comprehensive approach to tackling obesity, which includes restrictions on children’s exposure to marketing of these products, restrictions on their sale in schools, other children’s settings and public institutions, and effective public education campaigns.

We must take swift action to address the growing burden that overweight and obesity are having on our society, and a levy on sugary drinks is a vital step in this process.”

Rethink Sugary Drink campaign Download position statement

health-levy-on-sugar-position-statement

Read NACCHO previous articles Obesity / Sugartax

Amata SA was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

See NACCHO Story

SBS will be showing That Sugar Film this Sunday night 2 April at 8.30pm.

There will be a special Facebook live event before the screenings

 ” The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children.

We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.”

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox   see full article 2 below

 ” Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines?  Article 3 Below

Ten of Australia’s leading health and community organisations have today joined forces to call on the Federal Government to introduce a health levy on sugary drinks as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the nation’s serious obesity problem.

The 10 groups – all partners of the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign – have signed a joint position statement calling for a health levy on sugary drinks, with the revenue to be used to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

This latest push further strengthens the chorus of calls in recent months from other leading organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, the Grattan Institute, the Australian Council of Social Services and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Craig Sinclair, Chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council Australia, a signatory of the new position statement, said a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia has the potential to reduce the growing burden of chronic disease that is weighing on individuals, the healthcare system and the economy.

“The 10 leading health and community organisations behind today’s renewed push have joined forces to highlight the urgent and serious need for a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Beverages are the largest source of free sugars in the Australian diet, and we know that sugary drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. Sugary drink consumption also leads to tooth decay.

“Evidence shows that a 20 per cent health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia could reduce consumption and prevent thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke over 25 years, while generating $400-$500m in revenue each year to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

“The Australian Government must urgently take steps to tackle our serious weight problem. It is simply not going to fix itself.”

Ari Kurzeme, Advocacy Manager for the YMCA, also a signatory of the new position statement, said young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups have the most to gain from a sugary drinks levy.

The Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions to tackle sugary drink consumption:
• A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
• Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including through schools and children’s sports, events and activities
• Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, government institutions, children’s sports and places frequented by children
• Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.

To view the position statement click here.

Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between major health organisations to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au for more information.

The 10 organisations calling for a health levy on sugary drinks are:

Stroke Foundation, Heart Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Diabetes Australia

the Australian Dental Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia,  Parents’ Voice, and the YMCA.

Sugar tax adds to the healthy living toolbox 

Every day we read or hear more about the so-called ‘sugar tax’ or, as it should be more appropriately termed, a ‘health levy on sugar sweetened beverages’.

We have heard arguments from government and health experts both in favour of, and opposed to this ‘tax’. As CEO of one the state’s leading health charities I support the state government’s goal to make Tasmania the healthiest population by 2025 and the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, with its focus on reducing obesity and smoking.

However, it is only one tool in the tool box to help us achieve the vision.

Our approach should include strategies such as restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and limiting the sale of unhealthy food and drink products at schools and other public institutions together with public education campaigns.

Some of these strategies are already in progress to include in our toolbox. We all have to take some individual responsibility for the choices we make, but as health leaders and decision makers, we also have a responsibility to create an environment where healthy choices are made easier.

This, in my opinion, is not nannyism but just sensible policy and demonstrated leadership which will positively affect the health of our population.

 Manufacturers tell us that there are many foods in the marketplace that will contribute to weight gain and we should focus more on the broader debate about diet and exercise, but we know this is not working.

A recent Cancer Council study found that 17 per cent of male teens drank at least one litre of soft drink a week – this equates to at least 5.2 kilograms of extra sugar in their diet a year.

Evidence indicates a significant relationship between the amount and frequency of sugar sweetened beverages consumed and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  We already have 45,000 people at high risk of type 2 diabetes in Tasmania.

Do we really want to say we contributed to a rise in this figure by not implementing strategies available to us that would make a difference?

I recall being quite moved last year when the then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t act on reducing the impact of sugary drinks.

“I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation… I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks…..But we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing.”

The UK’s levy on sugar sweetened beverages will start in 2018, with revenue raised to go toward funding programs to reduce obesity and encourage physical activity and healthy eating for school children. We know unhealthy food is cheaper and that despite best efforts by many Australians to make healthier choices price does affect our decisions as to what we buy.

In Mexico a tax of just one peso a litre (less than seven cents) on sugary drinks cut annual consumption by 9.7 per cent and raised about $1.4 billion in revenue.

Similarly, the 2011 French levy has decreased consumption of sugary drinks, particularly among younger people and low income groups.

The addition of a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages is not going to solve all problems but as part of a coordinated and multi-faceted approach, I believe we can effect change.

  • Caroline Wells, is Diabetes Tasmania CEO

3. Who is responsible for Australia’s waistlines? from here

Alarmingly, with overweight becoming the perceived norm in Australia, the number of people actively trying to lose weight is declining.   A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly 64 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese.  This closely mirrors research that indicates around 66 per cent of Americans fall into the same category.

With this apparent apathy towards personal health and wellbeing, is it now up to food and beverage companies to combat rising obesity rates?

Unfortunately it is not clear cut.  While Big Food and Big Beverage are investing in healthier product options, they also have a duty to shareholders to be commercially successful, and to expand their market share. The reality is that unhealthy products are very profitable.  However companies must balance this against the perception that they are complicit in making people fatter and therefore unhealthier with concomitant disease risks.

At the same time, the spectre of government regulation continues to hover, forcing companies to invest in their own healthy product ranges and plans to improve nutrition standards.

The International Food and Beverage Alliance (a trade group of ten of the largest food and beverage companies), has given global promises to make healthier products, advertise food responsibly and promote exercise. More specific pledges are being made in developed nations, where obesity rates are higher and scrutiny is more thorough.

However companies must still find a balance between maintaining a profitable business model and addressing the problem caused by their unhealthy products.

An example of this tension was evident when one leading company attempted to boost the sale of its healthier product lines and set targets to reduce salt, saturated fat and added sugar.  The Company also modified its marketing spend to focus on social causes.  Despite the good intentions, shareholders were disgruntled, and pressured the company to reinstate its aggressive advertising.

What role should governments play in shaping our consumption habits and helping us to maintain healthier weights? And should public policy be designed to alter what is essentially personal behaviour?

So far, the food and beverage industry has attempted to avoid the burden of excessive regulation by offering relatively healthier product lines, promoting active lifestyles, funding research, and complying with advertising restrictions.

Statistics indicate that these measures are not having a significant impact.  Subsequently, if companies fail to address the growing public health burden, governments will have greater incentive to step in.  In Australia, this is evident in the increased political support for a sugar tax.  The tax has been debated in varying forms for years, and despite industry resistance, the strong support of public health authorities may see a version of the tax introduced.

Already, Australia’s food labelling guidelines have been amended and tightened, and a clunky star rating system introduced to assist consumers to make healthier choices. Companies that have worked to address and invest in healthy product ranges must still market them in a responsible way. Given the sales pressure, it is tempting for companies to heavily invest in marketing healthier product ranges.  However they have an obligation under Australian consumer law to ensure products’ health claims do not mislead.

We know that an emboldened Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking action against companies that deliberately mislead consumers.  The food industry is firmly in the its sights, with a case currently underway against a leading food company over high sugar levels in its products. This shows that the Regulator will hold large companies to account, and push for penalties that ‘make them sit up and take notice.’

At a recent Consumer Congress, ACCC Chair Rod Sims berated companies that don’t treat consumers with respect.  He maintains that marketing departments with short-term thinking, and a short-sighted executive can lead to product promotion that is exaggerated and misleading.  All of which puts the industry on notice.

With this in mind, it is up to Big Food and Big Beverage to be good corporate citizens.  They must uphold their social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community in which they seek a licence to operate, while maintaining a strong financial position for their shareholders. It is a difficult task, but there has never been a better time for companies to accept the challenge.

Eliza Newton, Senior Account Director

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #disability and @NDIS : Your Top 10 Questions answered about the National Disability Insurance Scheme

What is the NDIS?

Will the NDIS mean more or less support?

Is the NDIS diagnosis based or needs based?

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

Where is the NDIS available now?

What supports does the NDIS cover?

How does the NDIS process work?

I have an NDIS plan. What’s next?

When will the NDIS be here for all Australians?

Where can we get more help

Full details below or download Help Guide Here :

NDIS your Questions answered Download

By any measure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities are some of the most disadvantaged Australians, often facing multiple barriers to their meaningful participation within their own communities and the wider community.

The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is significantly higher than the general population. The Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report released mid- November 2014, highlighted that almost half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population have some form of disability or long term health condition, twice the prevalence of disability experienced by other Australians.

The First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) welcomes the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and recognises its huge potential to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people greater access to disability support “

Damian Griffis is the CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network, an national organisation of and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities with lived experience of disability.

Ten-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities HERE

See full article here or 2 below

  ” The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant policy reform for people with a disability since the Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA). The NDIS has proven potential to enable people with disabilities to live good lives.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) reports that around 5% of NDIS participants are of Indigenous heritage.

The NDIA has branded the new scheme as a way of expanding individual and family choice in the services and supports people with disabilities can access. As we have noted previously, individual ‘choice’ requires ‘opportunities’ to exist in local communities. The more remote or rural a community the fewer opportunities available. As such, limited ‘opportunities’ in communities lead to limited ‘choice’ for Indigenous people with disability on NDIS plans who live in rural or remote communities.”

Dr John Gilroy and Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry’s 

Originally published in Croakey  see full article 1 below

Dr John Gilroy is a Koori man from the Yuin Nation, and a doctor of sociology in Indigenous health, specialising in disability studies.

Every Australian Counts

NDIS: Your Questions Answered

The NDIS was launched in trial sites on 1 July 2013. The Scheme is being progressively rolled out over the next few years across Australia. In each State or Territory, the roll out will be staged to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. Everyone who needs the NDIS will have access by 2020.

Download the Every Australian Counts NDIS: Your Questions Answered

NDIS your Questions answered Download

Endeavour Foundation Discover. This guide has been developed for individuals, families and people with an intellectual disability who are about to navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).Note not an NDIS publication

NDIS 168 Page

What is the NDIS?

The existing disability system throughout Australia is inefficient, fragmented, unfair, underfunded and leaves most people with disability without the support they need. Plus, people with disability and their families don’t get enough say in the type of supports they receive.

The NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It’s a new government policy that aims to transform the way Australia supports people with permanent and significant disability.

The foundations of the NDIS are built on two key pillars:

It’s a universal system. The NDIS is a national program similar to Medicare. It will provide supports to all eligible Australians ensuring people with disability and their families get the support they need when they need it.

It’s about more choice and control. The NDIS is based on the idea that people with disability and their families should be empowered to set their own goals and choose their own supports. This is achieved by giving them control over their own support budget.

Will the NDIS mean more or less support?

Under the existing disability system around 220,000 Australians receive funded disability supports. Under the NDIS approximately 460,000 people will receive funded supports, and the average support package will almost double from $18,000 to $35,000.

The NDIS is about making sure you have the right support in the right place at the right time to help you participate in the community and economy. If your needs change over time, you can have your plan reviewed and level of support adjusted. You will have complete choice and control over what’s in your plan and who provides your supports so you can make the most of your package.

Is the NDIS diagnosis based or needs based?

Needs based. The NDIS does not have a list of conditions that automatically include or exclude you from support. It’s based on what you need to live a full life, and how much your disability affects your ability to carry out everyday activities. In the case of children, it’s about whether a disability is likely to be permanent or result in a developmental delay.

This is a big change from the existing system where children without a diagnosis often miss out on funding or their parents are forced to lie about their disability to get support.

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

To access the NDIS you must:

have a significant and permanent disability – this includes people with psychosocial disability

be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen on a Protected Special Category Visa

enter the Scheme before you turn 65.

If you’re unsure whether you meet the above criteria, a good yardstick is if you’re currently receiving funded support, you can expect to be eligible for the NDIS. For individuals who may benefit from early intervention, the eligibility criteria to access the NDIS is more flexible.

Where is the NDIS available now?

The NDIS is being introduced in stages throughout Australia. Existing service users and new participants will enter the scheme progressively. Full scheme transition began in July 2016 in many parts of Australia. There’s still a few more years until it will be here for everyone. The best way to find out when the NDIS is coming to you is by visiting the government’s website: www.ndis.gov.au

As the NDIS rolls out, local offices will open. Here are the current office locations:

Australian Capital Territory

Offices in:

Belconnen, Braddon, Tuggeranong and Woden

New South Wales

Offices in:

Bankstown, Batemans Bay, Bega, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Charlestown, Chatswood, Gosford, Katoomba, Liverpool, Maitland, Moree, Newcastle, Parramatta, Penrith, Tamworth, Taree and Windsor.

Northern Territory

Office in:

Tennant Creek

Queensland

Charters Towers, Palm Island and Townsville

South Australia

Offices in:

Elizabeth, Modbury, Murray Bridge, Noarlunga, Port Adelaide and St Marys

Tasmania

Offices in:

Devonport, Hobart and Launceston

Victoria

Offices in:

Colac, Corio, Darebin, Geelong and Greensborough

Western Australia

Midland

What supports does the NDIS cover?

The types of supports you might get include therapies such as physiotherapy, mobility and technological aids and home modifications.

And it’s not just about covering the ‘essentials’ – your plan could include things such as recreational activities, developing skills like shopping or cooking and help with finding a job. No two people are exactly the same, so neither are the supports in their plan. The NDIS is about you living the life you want – not just getting by.

Some of the supports the NDIS will cover include:

Transport assistance

Therapies

Guide & assistance dogs

Case management

Crisis/emergency support

Personal care

Support for community inclusion

Respite

Specialist employment services

Specialist housing support

Domestic assistance

Aids, equipment, home & vehicle modifications

How does the NDIS process work?

Step one to accessing the NDIS is to find out if you are eligible. Remember, under the new system more people with disability will receive funded supports than ever before. If you are already using disability services and supports you will be contacted by the NDIS or a representative when it’s time to transition. Others may need to present proof of disability such as a statement from your doctor explaining your disability and how it affects your life. The Access checklist on the NDIS website is a good place to start; http://www.myplace.ndis.gov.au/ndisstorefront/ndis-access-checklist

Step two is to start the planning process by talking to the NDIS or one of their representatives. The idea is to talk through your support needs and goals together and come up with the best ways that are reasonable and necessary to meet these goals. And you don’t have to do it alone – you can invite a family member or friend or support worker to come along too. Together with the planner you will develop a support package.

Every Australian Counts tip: Think about your planning meeting as the chance to get the most out of your NDIS support package – the more time you spend preparing, the better your plan will be. So before your meeting, think about what you’ll need to live the life you want. It can also be helpful to chat to your family and carers about what’s missing in your current supports, activities and plans.

I have an NDIS plan. What’s next?

At your NDIS planning meetings you will come up with how to put your plan into action. Most importantly, that means coming up with the supports and services you need to live your life to the full.

This means that for the first time ever, you can decide exactly where your supports come from. This can be through the service providers you’re using now, finding completely new ones, or even self-managing your supports – it’s completely up to you!

If you disagree with an NDIS assessment or are unhappy with your support package, you have the right to ask for a review from the NDIS. You also have the right to get an advocate, friend or independent representative to help you out in this process.

Every Australian Counts tip: The NDIS was set up to give you the power to choose your own supports and service providers. You can do your own research or get help from advice and advocacy organisations. It can also be useful to talk to other people with disability, family members or carers about what works or doesn’t work for them. Remember, your plan is not a one-off decision. If or when your needs change, so can your plan.

When will the NDIS be here for all Australians?

The NDIS will be here for all Australians who need it (460,000 people) no later than 30 June 2019. Rollout information and timetables can be found online: www.ndis.gov.au

Ten ways the NDIS will benefit all Australians.

It’s a national system. If you, or someone you love, is born with a disability or acquires one later in life, you all no longer run the risk of falling through holes in Australia’s safety net based on what state or territory you live in.

People with a disability and their families and carers can participate in the social, economic, and cultural life of the nation with the supports and programs they choose.

Families will be able to access support and services for assistance in meeting the needs of their family member with a disability, reducing physical, emotional and financial stress.

The NDIS is based on equality. You will be able to equally access existing services regardless of when and where your disability was acquired.

There will no longer be an expectation of unpaid care as the norm.

As a Medicare-type system, the NDIS will provide people with a disability and their families and carers with the regular care, support, therapy and equipment they need from a secure and consistent pool of funds for these services and support.

It focuses on early intervention and delivering supports which produce the best long term outcomes, maximising opportunities for independence, participation and productivity.

Each NDIS plan is individualised and person-centred. Support is based on the choices of the person with a disability and their family.

The NDIS is fiscally responsible. It is not welfare but an investment in individual capacity leading to more positive results for people with a disability, their families and carers.

All Australians benefit from the NDIS because disability can affect anyone, anytime. Everyone will benefit from a more inclusive, more diverse community. Every Australian Counts will keep you up to date with all the NDIS news, information, stories and experience on our website; everyaustraliancounts.com.au

Where can I find out more?

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

http://fpdn.org.au/

For everybody

www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

The Every Australian Counts website is an online hub for the disability community that’s packed with useful information, videos and news.

www.ndis.gov.au

The official NDIS website includes an access checklist, factsheets and information to help prepare you for the NDIS.

For people with disability

www.afdo.org.au

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) represents people with disability. They can connect you with advocacy support.

For carers

www.carersaustralia.com.au

Carers Australia is the national peak body representing carers. Through their website you can access carer support and services.

For disability support workers

www.ndp.org.au

Proposed Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation NDIS Network

Localised, community-based services from John Gilroy article

Research shows that Aboriginal community controlled organisations are an essential component of addressing the health and social needs of Indigenous communities. In a recent review of existing community-based mental health services, Jen Smith-Merry found that the services offered for Indigenous people were most successful when developed by local communities or ‘localised’ and adapted carefully (and genuinely) to community needs.

John Gilroy’s research shows the important role of Indigenous community controlled organisations in forming relationships and referral pathways to disability services. These organisations function as the “social glue” between Indigenous communities, and disability and community organisations.

Expressions of Interest

Joe Archibald the NDIS Manager at Galambila ACCHO at Coffs Harbour is looking to establish a network of ACCHO NDIS health workers :

Express interest in this group EMAIL JOE HERE

Contact

NDIS must promote and support community-based programs to meet Indigenous people’s needs.

Dr John Gilroy and Dr Jennifer Smith-Merry write:

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the most significant policy reform for people with a disability since the Disability Services Act 1986 (DSA). The NDIS has proven potential to enable people with disabilities to live good lives.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) reports that around 5% of NDIS participants are of Indigenous heritage.

The NDIA has branded the new scheme as a way of expanding individual and family choice in the services and supports people with disabilities can access. As we have noted previously, individual ‘choice’ requires ‘opportunities’ to exist in local communities. The more remote or rural a community the fewer opportunities available. As such, limited ‘opportunities’ in communities lead to limited ‘choice’ for Indigenous people with disability on NDIS plans who live in rural or remote communities.

Services, supports and capacity building

The original inquiry into the NDIS identified the importance of a balance between an individualised support system and the block-funding of services and programs to ensure efficient and effective roll-out of the NDIS. The work that we have been involved in supports this view, arguing that Indigenous people should be able to utilise services at their own pace that meet their cultural and personal needs rather than being pushed through a government imposed time-frame.

The government has released the policy framework for NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC), and the subsequent Commissioning Framework. The ILC, formally Tier 2 of the NDIS, provides funding for the development of programs to help connect people with the disability, health and social supports, and services that are appropriate for them. It also supports capacity building for communities, organisations and individuals, that is not tied to a person’s individualised funding package. In doing this, it aims to also offer support for those who are not eligible for individualised funding packages.

Ensuring equal access and resourcing

There is growing concern that services for the most disadvantaged of the population of people with disabilities may become under-resourced or absent in light of the NDIS roll-out. There is much evidence that this disadvantage is heightened by geographic location, such as very remote communities. The ILC has been designed to provide the opportunity for the needs of these groups to be better met, but only if there is a proactive prioritisation of their needs.

Informed by several of our existing research and community projects, below we present some recommendations for the government, regarding the types of block-funded programs and services needed in local Indigenous communities to ensure that they benefit from the NDIS roll-out.

We preface these recommendations with the observation that there is a big problem with the implementation of the ILC, as the funding has been severely curtailed in its first stages. Bruce Bonyhady, former chair of the NDIS, warns that the current funding for community inclusion programs is: “not sufficient and means that one of the key foundations on which the NDIS is being built is weak”. This funding gap needs to be addressed immediately as there will be significant benefit to indigenous communities if the funding targets appropriate areas.

Crisis Intervention Services

Disability services providers have reported that many Indigenous people engage in the formal services system only when the quality or quantity of family and kinship care is depleted. As such, a large proportion of Indigenous people engage in the disability services sector when in a crisis situation.

Crisis services should be made more disability inclusive, and should act as a channel for encouraging the utilisation of appropriate individualised funding package supports. Targeted capacity building programs are also needed, to enable families and kinship groups to provide support. Such programs should be individualised and culturally and contextually appropriate. Block-funded models enable organisations that have established rapport with communities, to deliver such services in a culturally appropriate manner.

Transition support services

While many Indigenous people only engage with services at times of crisis, the impact of the services provided during crises can be sustained as the crisis abates. The most effective way of doing this is by supporting individualised transition support services which help people to re-establish their lives. This could involve connecting people with appropriate individualised support packages or funding of ‘peer support’ or community buddy programs.

Case Management and advocacy services.

Some bureaucrats wrongly use the terms “case management” and “advocacy” synonymously. The major difference between these two service types is that formal advocates are called upon when a person feels that their human rights have been violated. In comparison, case managers are typically called upon to assist people to join up services and supports by navigating the complex bureaucracy of the formal service systems, including health and disability.

It is pivotal to have a balance of these two service types under the NDIS to enable people with disabilities access to supports that foster the protection of their human rights and enable them to navigate the NDIS bureaucracy.

Early Childhood Intervention

There is limited research focused on the needs of Indigenous children with disability. A recent study found that young children with cognitive impairment are at risk of social exclusion, and need interventions to promote inclusion in family and cultural events as they age.

The government has identified early childhood intervention (ECI) as an area for block-funding investment, in recognition that the market-based principles of the NDIS could not work for this service type. ILC block funding can be used for early intervention and allows novel or creative community-based solutions to develop. This will allow the development of services which may meet local needs but are not ‘standard’ service types. Evidence-based practice is great if the evidence is there, but it should not be a straight-jacket, limiting what is possible.

Localised, community-based services

Research shows that Aboriginal community controlled organisations are an essential component of addressing the health and social needs of Indigenous communities. In a recent review of existing community-based mental health services, Jen Smith-Merry found that the services offered for Indigenous people were most successful when developed by local communities or ‘localised’ and adapted carefully (and genuinely) to community needs.

John Gilroy’s research shows the important role of Indigenous community controlled organisations in forming relationships and referral pathways to disability services. These organisations function as the “social glue” between Indigenous communities, and disability and community organisations.

Workforce Training and Development

The efficiency and effectiveness of the NDIS requires a healthy, vibrant workforce. There are many reports examining what the disability services workforce looks like. However, the roll out of the NDIS will completely reshape the workforce.

National Disability Services are managing a workforce development fund to explore ways to build a workforce that can sustain the NDIS. NDS will need to explore ways to build the number and proportion of Indigenous people working in the sector and also explore successful ways to build a workforce that is culturally competent in supporting Indigenous people and their families.

The CEO of First Peoples Disability Network, Damian Griffis, told ABC Lateline in 2015 that Indigenous people are already working as informal disability workers, stating “There are a lot of Indigenous people that by any other definition would be called support workers today, but they need to be valued and respected for that work and they are already in existence.”

Research shows that over 10% of Indigenous people have provided unpaid assistance to a person with a disability. Agencies could pilot approaches to recruit and train family members that balance people’s human rights with individual duty-of-care in the context of the NDIS.

Translation and Interpreter Services

There are many regions of Australia where the English is a second or third language. Notwithstanding that, there are many Indigenous peoples who require hearing or communication supports. Interpreter and translation services are under-resourced and in high need across the country. It would be discriminatory for NDIS users to have to use their packages to access these service types as this would deplete the funding available for other services in comparison with other NDIS participants. These services should instead be funded at a community level either through the ILC or a specialised program.

Foster Social and Cultural Capital Building

There exists plethora of research showing the important role played by Indigenous community controlled organisations in the health and community services sector. Such organisations provide the opportunities needed to bring together Indigenous people with disability to have their voices heard as a collective. For example, the many NDIS specific gatherings around Australia have brought together Indigenous people with disability to share their stories and experiences. This knowledge should be valued and harnessed. One way that this could take place is through ILC funding of community-based peer-support programs.

The roll out of the NDIS has enabled Indigenous community controlled organisations and services to continue working in local communities. Such organisations and services are being supported to provide services and supports under the NDIS in NSW. Block-funding will enable Aboriginal community controlled organisations to continue their role in representing their communities whilst supporting NDIS participants.

Interagency Networks and Engagement

Jen Smith-Merry’s Research to Action Guide produced for the Centre for Applied Disability Research showed that interagency forums do help with linking across organisations and sectors, but that this is most effective when it happens organically and collaboratively rather than being mandated. Through sharing stories and good practice, interagency forums help disparate actors to understand the different practices and knowledges operating in sectors outside of their own.

 There is evidence of a conflict at the interface of the formal service system and Indigenous communities in how disability is defined and conceptualised. A recent report concluded that many Indigenous people find the definition of disability to be stigmatising. Rather than trying to ascertain how Indigenous peoples define disability, the focus of scholarly exploration should be on ways to bridge the cultural interface in how disability is defined and embodied as a social construct.

Great work has been undertaken by National Disability Services, to foster relationship building between the disability services sector and local Indigenous programs, by implementing the principles of interagency commissioning. Sadly, the government did not extend the funding for these networks to continue. This is a significant problem that won’t be immediately fixed by an underfunded ILC.

A healthy balance

The NDIS is a huge win for the disability rights movement. The new scheme provides an opportunity to address the equality and equity gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with disabilities. However, there needs to be a balance between block-funding and the individualised packages provided by the NDIS, so that the scheme can meet its full potential. The examples given here provide some ideas for how ILC funding might work, but only dialogue with consumers and communities will point us truly in the right direction.

*Dr John Gilroy is a Koori man from the Yuin Nation, and a doctor of sociology in Indigenous health, specialising in disability studies. He is a Senior Lecturer and Indigenous Stream Lead at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney

*Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry’s research focuses on the implementation of policy in service settings, and consumer experiences of this. She is Mental Health Stream Lead at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, The University of Sydney.

Ten-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Introduction

By any measure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are amongst some of the most disadvantaged Australians; often facing multiple barriers to meaningful participation within their own communities and the wider community.

The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Islander people is significantly higher than of the general population. Until recently, the prevalence of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has only been anecdotally reported. However, a report by the Commonwealth Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision made the following conclusions:

The proportion of the indigenous population 15 years and over, reporting a disability or long-term health condition was 37 per cent (102 900 people). The proportions were similar in remote and non-remote areas. This measure of disability does not specifically include people with a psychological disability. [note 1]

The high prevalence of disability, approximately twice that of the non-indigenous population, occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for a range of social reasons, including poor health care, poor nutrition, exposure to violence and psychological trauma (e.g. arising from removal from family and community) and substance abuse, as well as the breakdown of traditional community structures in some areas. Aboriginal people with disability are significantly over-represented on a population group basis among homeless people, in the criminal and juvenile justice systems[note 2], and in the care and protection system (both as parents and children).[note 3]

The advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to engage – many for the first time – with the disability service system in a substantive way. Currently, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities remain at the periphery of the disability service system. This continues to occur for a range of reasons some of which are well established. However, one factor that remains little understood is the reluctance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to identify as people with disability. This preference to not identify presents a fundamental barrier for the successful implementation of the NDIS. The First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) argues that it has a central role in addressing not only this fundamental barrier but also in facilitating the roll out of the NDIS more broadly into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

FPDN argues passionately that for positive change to happen in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the change must be driven by community itself. It cannot be imposed, implied, intervened or developed with well-meaning intention from an external service system that the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities have little or no experience of in the first place.

Throughout many communities across the country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are supported and accepted as members of their communities. However, many communities lack the resources to adequately support people with disability. Furthermore, the service system tends to operate from a ‘doing for’ as opposed to ‘doing with’ approach, which only further disenfranchises communities because they simply do not feel that they can self-direct their future. The NDIS does have the potential to address some of these concerns by giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability the opportunity to self-direct their funding, for instance. The challenge in this area will be that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have had little or no experience in self-managing funds.

It must be remembered that in many ways the social movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is starting from an absolute baseline position. This is reflected, for example, by the fact that few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have an understanding of the language of the disability service system. It is the view of FPDN that the application of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will need to have a different look and approach to what is advocated for with regard the rest of the Australian population. It may be that the application of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities takes a longer process. But the FPDN argues that it is critical to get it right as it is the experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that they are usually the first to be blamed when new programs are not taken up by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

FPDN has developed a 10-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities. The development of this 10 point plan is based upon extensive consultation as well as drawing upon the decade long experience of the FPDN in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people with disabilities.

The plan was launched in May 2013 at Parliament House, Canberra.

Ten-point plan

  • Recognise that the starting point is the vast majority of Aboriginal people with disability do not self-identify as people with disability. This occurs for a range of reasons including the fact that in traditional languages there are no comparable words for disability. Also, many Aboriginal people with disability are reluctant to take on the label of disability; particularly when they already experience discrimination based on their Aboriginality. In many ways disability is a new conversation in many communities. In these instances the NDIS is starting from a baseline position. As a consequence change in this area is likely to happen on a different timeline to that of the mainstream NDIS.
  • Awareness raising via a concerted outreach approach informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, their families and communities about their rights and entitlements, and informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities about the NDIS itself and how to work this new system effectively. There is no better way to raise awareness then by direct face-to-face consultation. Brochures and pamphlets will not be appropriate as this is a new conversation in many communities.
  • Establish the NDIS Expert Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with disability and the NDIS. In recognition of the fact that there is a stand-alone building block for the NDIS focused upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, FPDN views it not only as critical but logical that a specific Expert Working Group be established to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. The new working group would operate in the same way the four current working groups do, that is it would be chaired by two members of the National People with Disability and Carers Council. To ensure its effectiveness but also critically to influence prominent Aboriginal leaders as well as the disability sector, members would be drawn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in community leadership positions, as well as involving prominent disability leaders. The FPDN believes such an approach is warranted not only because of the degree of unmet need that is well established but also because this has the potential to be a very practical and meaningful partnership between government, the non-government sector, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Build the capacity of the non-Indigenous disability service system to meet the needs of Aboriginal people with disability in a culturally appropriate way. Legislate an additional standard into the Disability Services Act focused upon culturally appropriate service delivery and require disability services to demonstrate their cultural competencies.
  • Conduct research on the prevalence of disability and a range other relevant matters. Critically, this work must be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability to ensure a culturally appropriate methodology. There remains very little reference material about disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This needs to be rectified to ensure that we are getting a true picture of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
  • Recognise that  a workforce already exists in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that does important work, often informally. This work needs to valued and recognised, with the potential for employment opportunities in some communities.
  • Recognise that it’s not always about services. Many communities just need more resources so that they can continue to meet the needs of their own people with disabilities. There may be perfectly appropriate ways of supporting people already in place, however what is often lacking is access to current technologies or appropriate technical aids or sufficient training for family and community members to provide the optimum level of support.
  • Recruitment of more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the disability service sector.
  • Build the capacity of the social movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability by supporting existing networks and building new ones in addition to fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders with disability. These networks play a critical role in breaking down stigma that may exist in some communities but are also the conduits for change, and will be integral to the successful implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘Launch’ sites focused upon remote, very remote, regional and urban settings. It is critical that this major reform be done right. Therefore it is appropriate to effectively trial its implementation. To this end, FPDN can readily identify key communities that would be appropriate as trial sites.

 

 

NACCHO #ClosetheGap Aboriginal Health : Read Download Top 10 Press releases #Closethegapday

 

In this NACCHO Alert you can read /download Close the Gap Press Releases from

1.AMA 2.NACCHO 3.RACGP 4. FVLPS/#JustJustice 5. Healing Foundation

6.Pallative Care 7.Labor Party 8.Stroke Foundation

9.NSW Aboriginal Land Council .10. Australian Psychological Society (APS) is

Please note  :  Only a selection and in no particular order from hundreds released

” The Close the Gap Campaign 2017 Progress and Priorities Report, released today, shows that, despite their best efforts, all Australian governments are failing in their endeavours to meet their own targets in closing the gap – but we can turn this around,” Dr Gannon said.

The AMA believes that positive progress can be made if governments work directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and better understand the approaches that they know work in their own communities.”

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that genuine cooperation between all political parties and across all levels of government is needed if Australia is to achieve significant improvements in closing the gap in life expectancy and health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Photo above All AMA Presidents from all states and Territories met at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) for Close the Gap Day Event : Winnunga is an Aboriginal community controlled ACCHO primary health care service for Canberra and the ACT community

Read full article here

2.NACCHO

” Hard figures and targeted investment, not rhetoric, are key to solving indigenous disadvantage, Aboriginal health leader Pat Turner said as she called for at least 4000 homes to be built in remote Australia to help tackle the ­problem.”

As published in The Australian

Ms Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Care Organisation, said indigenous health problems would be ­addressed only through “far greater ­investment … in the physical environment including safe houses, communities and roads.

“I would estimate there are 4000 dwellings required in remote Australia alone.

“We have not had this investment,” she said. “We need to take account of the factors that contribute to good health: housing, education, employment and access to justice.

“And why hasn’t there been far greater innovation, why is the passing on of knowledge of language and culture not recognised as legitimate work? This sounds fuzzy, but it’s not. We know that around 30 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health problems are to do with social and cultural factors.

“The context of people’s lives is what matters most in determining health outcomes, and that is something that individuals are unlikely to be able to control. We ask that the federal government replace its rhetoric about economic empowerment with significant public policy initiatives that produce specific outcomes.”

Close the Gap Campaign

Download CTG Press Release : 17.03.16 MR for CTG Progress & Priorities report launch FINAL

Download PHAA Press Release :PHAA CTG 2017

Close the Gap Campaign report: Australia ‘going backwards’ in fight to end Indigenous disadvantage

Download the Press Release NACCHO CTG 2017

A peak Northern Territory  Aboriginal community controlled  health organisation which  was on track  to close  the life expectancy gap between First Nations peoples and other Australians  has challenged Governments to listen to what programs really work… and then give their people the capacity to deliver them.

Speaking to CAAMA  on  National Close the Gap Day  Donna Ah Chee CEO of the Alice Springs based Central Australian Aboriginal Congress , AMSANT Chair and NACCHO Board member  was scathing in her criticism of Government and  its inability to actually listen to what her people have been saying for decades.

Listen here :

Download the report HERE CTG Report 2017

3.RACGP

The RACGP recognises the importance of supporting our members to be great doctors for all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

 We are committed to developing culturally safe GPs and practice staff so that they are able to work effectively in the cross-cultural context and in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. ”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the organisation was an active member of the Close the Gap Steering Committee, proudly committed to ending the health gap by 2030.

Download the Press release RACGP CTG 2017

4.FVPLS / #JustJustice

” We know being incarcerated affects someone’s health and yet it is not one of the Closing the Gap targets. It’s Close the Gap Day and the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee’s Progress and Priorities report 2017 has been released.

The 2017 report calls for a social and cultural approach and covers many issues, including justice. This is the fourt report from the Steering Committee to call for Justice Targets.

Since 2004, there has been a 95 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody. Over the same time, we have seen the crime rates decrease across the country.

Urgent action is required to reduce incarceration if we are ever to see life expectancy parity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Despite the urgency of the need, and the calls by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations for an urgent response to this need, there has been no indication that governments are responding with the level of urgency required.”

Summer May Finlay from Croakey : Read Full report HERE

5. Healing Foundation

 “The social determinants of health need to be realigned in a cultural context of understanding the impact of trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and how to overcome – to heal – from this. Focusing on changing just economic or education levels alone will not fix the profound challenges we face without also giving people the opportunity to improve their social and cultural connectedness and feel greater inclusion.”

Meanwhile, Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation, writes in The Guardian of the vital importance of trauma-informed practices and services, as well as for broadening discussion of the social determinants of health.

6.Palliative Care Australia

While this report doesn’t address palliative care, it is important that all people with a life-limiting illness are able to access palliative care.

“We understand that while some parts of the country offer exceptional levels of palliative care, culturally appropriate care is still not done well everywhere in Australia. We need to see that good work spread,” Ms Callaghan said.

“Community-based local approaches to end-of-life care are preferred, which leads to a significant role for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals in the delivery of quality end-of-life care.

“It is also very important that non-Indigenous health professionals develop culturally safe practice through education or training and appropriate engagement with local Indigenous communities.

“Culturally safe palliative and end-of-life care means that providers or practitioners must understand how these communities want health care to be provided

Download the Press Release Pallative Care CTG 2017

7. Labor Party

 ” The 2017 Close The Gap Progress and Priorities Report reiterates the need for all levels of Government to recommit and refocus, Labor stands ready to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their Communities.”

Labor is committed to working in a bi-partisan way, striving for the best possible outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples. Labor recognizes the importance of relationships that harness the knowledge, creativity and innovation that community controlled originations bring to driving decisions; strong relationships, working in partisanship, is the only way forward.

“Genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations, are essential to improving the quality of life for our First Peoples. As stated in the Report, the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot be considered at the margins”,

Senator Dodson said.

Download the Press Release Labor Party CTG 2017

8.Stroke Foundation

 ” Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer stroke at a younger age, are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised with a stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke as non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience multiple risk factors for stroke and cardiovascular disease and there are significant challenges around identifying and managing that risk. 

As a healthcare community we need to come together to close the stroke gap which is claiming the lives of too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Stroke Foundation is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous communities.”

By Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan

Today is Close the Gap day – a national movement demanding equal access to healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world – but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 –17 years less than fellow Australians.  The mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is on par with some of the world’s most impoverished nations. The United Nations Report, The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (2009) indicated Australia and Nepal have the world’s worst life expectancy gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – we must do better.

Here at the Stroke Foundation we believe everyone should have the opportunity to lead a healthy life and have access to best practice healthcare. While Australia has made some big strides towards improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, as a nation we have a long way to go.

Equal access to healthcare is a basic human right. Everyone in Australia should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. It is time our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities get the health care and support they need and deserve.

The facts

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke as non-indigenous Australians.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be obese – seven in 10 adults are overweight or obese.
• Two in five indigenous Australians smoke daily, 2.6 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
• More than half of Indigenous Australians (over 15) put themselves at risk of harm by drinking alcohol.
• 64 percent of Indigenous adults do not get enough exercise.
• 85 percent on Indigenous children and 97% of Indigenous adults do not eat enough fruit and vegetables.
• One in five Indigenous adults have high blood pressure.
• One in four Indigenous adults have abnormal or high cholesterol levels

– See more at: https://strokefoundation.org.au/

9.NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 to 17 years younger than other Australians and the data on preventable illness and infant mortality is an appalling reminder of the challenges we face.

“The inequalities in health are a generational challenge and we have to continue the fight because the lives of our children depend on it.

“Positive change is possible – particularly when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are driving those changes.

“Solutions that are generated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are a key part of any efforts to Close the Gap on health and living standards in Australia.”

Further progress to Close the Gap can be made if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are able to drive change, the Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Roy Ah-See said today

Please note the above NACCHO TV was recorded when Roy was Chair of Yerin ACCHO

Download Press release NSW Land Councils CTG 2017

10. Australian Psychological Society (APS)

” There is a need for more community-based, culturally appropriate mental health services that include strengthening culture and identity, and that are delivered by culturally responsive health professionals “

Leading Aboriginal psychologist and Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Professor Pat Dudgeon FAPS, agrees that building on social and emotional wellbeing and cultural strengths is the foundation for improving Indigenous health and preventing suicide.

Picture : Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner as a contributor to the report attended the launch pictured here with Senator Patrick Dodson and co-author Prof. Pat Dudgeon

 Download Press Release dAustralian Psycholigical Society CTG 2017

 

Our #ACCHO Members #ClosethegapDay Good News Stories from Cape York #closethegap

 ” Apunipima services around 7,500 people living in 11 remote and very remote Cape York communities. In 2015-16 over 80% of Cape York’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population have accessed Apunipima’s services.

Apunipima runs the health service in Mossman Gorge, has opened new health care facilities in Aurukun and Napranum, and will be opening a new facility in Coen this year.

There is incontrovertible evidence that community driven, community led, culturally appropriate primary health care is key to improving health outcomes amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Photo above :Apunipima Cape York Health Council carried out 127 health screenings for students at the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy.  AURUKUN youngsters received a free health check last week in a bid to prevent chronic disease

16 March marks Close the Gap Day – a day to bring awareness to the Close the Gap campaign and to work out how best to address the challenges of closing the health, employment and education gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Prime Minister’s 2017 Close the Gap Report highlights the health challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Apunipima continues to work across physical, social, and emotional challenges to close the gap for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Cape York.

People living in remote communities have worse health outcomes than those living in rural, regional and metropolitan areas

‘14 % of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in very remote areas and make up 45% of very remote populations’

What Apunipima is doing:

See opening quote

By increasing the number of community controlled facilities in our communities, we improve access to healthcare and health literacy, employ local people and build community and individual capacity.

Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018)

Nationally, this target is not on track.

‘Our investment in the early years is twofold: improving integration of services across health, child care, early childhood education and school resulting in better access to the right services; and intensive support for the children and families who need it most.’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima’s Maternal and Child Health team’s award winning Baby One Program™ is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker led program designed to support women, babies and families from pregnancy until the bub is 1000 days old (nearly three).

In 2015-16,

  • 85 per cent of pregnant women and their families in Cape York were signed up to the Baby One Program™
  • 45 per cent accessed antenatal care before the thirteenth week of their pregnancy
  • 100 per cent received five or more antenatal visits during pregnancy with an average of more than 13 antenatal contacts per pregnancy 83 per cent of babies were born within normal weight range
  • 91 per cent of Cape York babies were born after 36 weeks gestation
  • 80 per cent of children under five were recorded as fully immunised

Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031). 

Nationally, this target is not on track.

‘Over the longer term, Indigenous mortality rates have declined significantly by 15 per cent since 1998. There have been significant improvements in the Indigenous mortality rate from chronic diseases, particularly from circulatory diseases (the leading cause of death) since 1998. However, Indigenous mortality rates from cancer (second leading cause of death) are rising and the gap is widening. There have been improvements in health care access and reductions in smoking which should contribute to long-term improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’

What Apunipima is doing:

As chronic disease accounts for three quarters of the mortality gap Apunipima is dedicated to preventing and managing chronic disease on Cape York.

Diabetes and chronic kidney disease accounts for the greatest burden of chronic disease amongst our patients.

We employ three Diabetes Nurse Educators, and a Care Coordination team that helps chronic disease patients navigate the health system and access specialist care.

Apunipima provides a GP in each of the 11 communities in which we work.

We are actively working to reduce smoking and improve nutrition, through a range of activities including working closely with community stores, drafting healthy eating guidelines and community cooking demonstrations and classes. These are both key factors in achieving good health.

‘While smoking rates have continued to decline in Australia, the smoking rates of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over are significantly higher than the broader population.’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima received a Tackling Indigenous Smoking Regional Grant as part of the National Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

Nationally, the goal of the program is to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through local efforts to reduce harm from tobacco.

The Apunipima Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Team will work closely with Cape York communities to deliver locally appropriate programs and activities that aim to:

  • Engage community members in tobacco cessation activities
  • Improve access to culturally appropriate quit support
  • Encourage and support smokers to quit
  • Encourage and support non-smokers to avoid uptake
  • Raise awareness in communities about the health impacts of smoking and passive smoking
  • Support communities to establish smoke-free homes, workplaces and public spaces

Apunipima’s strategic objectives aim to reduce overall smoking rates by 25 % by 2018 and antenatal smoking rates by 75 % by 2018.

‘Governments are working together to develop the Fifth National Mental Health Plan to improve the wellbeing of all Australians and prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention.’

What Apunipima is doing:

Recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, Apunipima has developed a Social and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy and appointed a team to deliver a range of programs designed to improve people’s capacity and resilience.

Programs include Healthy Relationship training, working with prisoners at Lotus Glen, and Community Support Groups which provide social and emotional wellbeing education and support, especially for Men’s Health.

Apunipima’s Maternal and Child Health team includes a social worker and we also have a Partners in Recovery Coordinator who helps people who have been in mental health facilities reintegrate into community.

Apunipima’s Health Promotion and Men’s Health teams also support a range of community groups like Women’s and Men’s Groups, as well as on-country cultural activities.

‘Between 2006 and 2015 there was a significant decline in the Indigenous kidney disease mortality rate (by 47 per cent)’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima employs a nurse with a special interest in kidney health to support the management of chronic kidney disease on the Cape.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are three and a half times more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts.

Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are nine times more likely to experience end stage kidney disease than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts.

As part of addressing the rates of renal failure on Cape York, Apunipima has been monitoring and managing the renal function tests of those at risk with around half of the diabetic patients and 2/3 of the Cardio-Vascular Disease patients up to date over the last six months, for this annual check.

‘However, cancer mortality rates are rising and the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians dying from cancer is widening. Between 1998 and 2015, there was a 21 per cent increase in the cancer mortality rate for Indigenous Australians and a 13 per cent decline for non-Indigenous Australians.’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima provides a GP in each of the 11 communities in which we work.

We encourage people to come for health checks and assist people to travel and stay in Cairns if they are in need of further tests.

We are actively working to reduce smoking through Tackling Indigenous Smoking and improve nutrition, (through a range of activities including working closely with community stores, drafting healthy eating guidelines and community cooking demonstrations and classes) both key factors in achieving good health.

Health workforce

‘It is important to have a strong Indigenous health and aged care workforce to provide culturally appropriate services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and for the mainstream health care system to employ Indigenous health professionals’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima has a workforce of around 180 employees, with 52% identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Currently around 25% of Apunipima employees are community based (both living and working in community), which is contributing to Apunipima’s strategic objective to build capacity in Cape York communities.

Apunipima employs 95 people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, of which 36 are employed as Health Workers in Queensland, making it one of the largest non- government employers of health workers in the state.

We ensure our Health Workers are provided with appropriate qualifications (with 23 health workers currently enrolled in either Cert III or Cert IV PHC Practice), and are supported to pursue Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency registration as Health Practitioners should they choose to do so.

63% of our current Health Workers are community based, increasing community employment numbers and helping to address the social determinants of health.

Suicide

‘Indigenous suicide rates are double that of non-Indigenous Australians. During 2011 to 2015, among Indigenous Australians, 71 per cent of suicides were male.’

What Apunipima is doing:

Apunipima is addressing this issue through on country and cultural activities, supporting community to develop local solution, increasing community employment, working with men, women, girls and boys to create safe spaces to share challenges and solutions, building community capacity, providing a social worker, engaging with partner agencies and organisations and building our Social and Emotional Wellbeing team.

#ClosetheGap NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke and Minister @KenWyattMP #ClosetheGapDay Press Releases

  

“ Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap 

Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke pictured above with Minister Ken Wyatt at the launch of NACCHO Healthy Futures last December

Download todays 2017 Close the Gap Report HERE : CTG Report 2017

Download copy NACCHO Healthy Futures Report Card Here

“As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs “

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP  Minister for Indigenous Health see full story article 2 below

Close the Gap Day: a greater role for Aboriginal health services essential

Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said today.

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke said after a decade of the Close the Gap campaign, programs andprojects managed by Aboriginal services on the ground in local communities are the only model proven to be making inroads in closing the Indigenous health gap.

In the past 12 months, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations provided almost 3 million episodes of care to over 340,000 clients and employed 3,300 Indigenous staff across Australia.

“Despite endless reports, studies and recommendations – just one in seven of the targets under the Closing the Gap Strategy are on track to be met by 2030,” Mr Cooke said.

“The lives of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are still on average 10 years shorter, we have far higher incidences of chronic diseases such as Diabetes and cancer and our children have less access to good quality education than the average non-Indigenous Australians.

“The evidence tells us that Aboriginal people respond best to health care provided by Aboriginalpeople or controlled by the Aboriginal community.

“Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

Mr Cooke said at least one-third of the health gap can be attributed to the social and cultural determinants of health.

“If we are serious about improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people, governments at all levels must do more to join the dots between education, housing, employment and other determinants and make sure that Indigenous led solutions are at the centre of strategies that make those links.”

The political needle recently swung to the issue of childhood vaccination with a call for parents to do their own research before deciding if they would or should immunise their children.

The issue of childhood vaccination is too important to be left hanging as just another claim by a politician in a “post-truth” world where facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

I believe it is important for parents to be fully informed of the medical facts before they make what can be life or death decisions affecting their children – and the children of others.

Immunisation is the most significant public health intervention in the past 200 years because it provides a safe and effective way to prevent the spread of many diseases that cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health conditions and sometimes death.

Since the introduction of vaccination for children in Australia in 1932 deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases have fallen by 99 per cent despite a threefold increase in the Australian population.

As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people. Until that happens we cannot claim to have a truly universal health system that meets the needs of all Australians.

This year’s Closing the Gap Report has mixed results and provides us with an opportunity to consider our course and reinvigorate our commitment to this fundamental task. We are making some strides in tackling Indigenous health issues, however, we have to do more.

Immunisation rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are improving. Five-year-old Indigenous children have higher immunisation coverage than non-Indigenous five-year-olds.

In December 2016, Australian Immunisation Register data showed that 95.20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged five were fully immunised compared with 93.19 per cent of all children of the same age.

These statistics confirm that we have nearly achieved the 2023 goal of 96 per cent of children aged five being fully immunised.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Immunisation is one of the key goals of the Implementation Plan of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, which guides national action on Closing the Gap on health

Immunisation is critical for the health of children and the wider community. Interventions within the first three years of life have been shown to have the greatest impact on health and life outcomes.

There is a close relationship between health and educational outcomes. Developmental delays, including sight and hearing issues, and early incidence of chronic diseases directly impact a child’s ability to grow and learn.

I recently announced $27 million for children and maternal health programs. This funding will go towards services such as antenatal and postnatal care, breastfeeding assistance, health and development checks and also ensuring children are properly immunised.

When I was a teacher I saw children with measles. I suffered from whooping cough and ended up with lung damage and I do not want to see children compromised because of a philosophical stance that some parents may have because they are influenced by Doctor Google or misinformation from anti-vaxxers.

It’s not just about protecting your child, it is about protecting other children who use child health centres or childcare. The more people who are vaccinated the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread.

The success of the National Immunisation Program and policies such as No Jab, No Pay has not happened by accident. It is backed by science and virtually every medical and health expert in Australia.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs. We want to see parents empowered by information, supported by appropriate services and accessing care in ways that suit them.

Increasing immunisation coverage is the result of community action and I want to see that continue.

NACCHO #ClosetheGapday Editorial Comment and Download #CTG 2017 Progress and Priorities Report

 ” Achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be impossible without a sincere, committed effort to understand and address racism in this country. That is why the Close the Gap Campaign continues to call for a national inquiry into the prevalence of racism and its impact.

The old cliché about persisting with the same failure in the hope of a different outcome is sadly the lived reality of much of the government policies regarding our people.

It is time to do something different.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM and Co- Chair Close the Gap Campaign

Opinion editorial 16 March see below in full ” It’s time to re-think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Closing the gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is an agreed national priority but governments are failing to meet nearly every key measure. This has to change.”

That’s the blunt assessment delivered by Close the Gap Campaign co-chairs, Jackie Huggins and Patricia Turner :

Photo : NACCHO CEO Pat Turner and #CTG co chair Dr Jackie Huggins launch 2017 #CloseTheGap Progress & Priorities Report

Dr Huggins, who is also co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, and Ms Turner, who is chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, released the Close the Gap Campaign 2017 Progress and Priorities Report in Sydney today (  16 March ) to mark National Close the Gap Day.

Download the report HERE     CTG Report 2017

CTG 2017 report : 15 Recommendations :  “We have the Solutions

New Engagement ( The remaining 12 below )

  1. The Federal, State and Territory governments renew the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, by engaging with sector leaders on the series of calls in the Redfern Statement, and that they participate in a National Summit with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in 2017, to forge a new path forward together.
  2. The Federal Government restore previous funding levels to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and work closely with Congress and the Statement signatories to progress the calls in the Redfern Statement.
  3. The Federal Government hold a national inquiry into racism and institutional racism in health care settings, and hospitals in particular, and its contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inequality, and the findings be incorporated by the Department of Health in its actioning of the Implementation Plan of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

It’s time to re-think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Op-ed by Patricia Turner, CEO, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and co-chair of the Close the Gap Campaign.

Today [16 March 2017] is National Close the Gap Day. It is a day to acknowledge our resilience and a day to focus attention on the significant gap in health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

The facts are indisputable. Governments at all levels are failing Australia’s First Peoples. We have shorter lifespans and we are sicker and poorer than the average non-Indigenous Australian.

The Close the Gap Campaign began in 2006. One of the Campaign’s first accomplishments was to convince the Federal Government of the need to plan and set targets to improve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We’ve now had almost a decade of Closing the Gap Strategy by successive federal governments. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s most recent report to Parliament, in February 2017, was not good news. Most of the Closing the Gap targets are unlikely to be met by 2030. Frustratingly, child mortality rates are going backwards.

Today, the Close the Gap Campaign’s Progress and Priorities Report 2017 reflects on the continuing failure of the Government’s Closing the Gap Strategy and outlines a series of recommendations that can begin to turn the tide.

As a co-chair of Close the Gap Campaign and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, I see the impact of a lack of coordination between federal, state and territory governments on addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The Federal Government’s recent announcement to refresh the strategy is timely and a dialogue should begin with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak health organisations on how to address the health challenges our people face.

We expect much more from the state and territory governments. The Federal Government has a clear leadership role but the states are simply not doing enough to address inequality in their jurisdictions.

New arrangements between state, territory and federal governments must begin with a clear focus on addressing the social and cultural determinants of health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs should not be managed in siloes. Instead, we need to take account of the factors that contribute to good health: housing, education, employment and access to justice. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across these sectors are already working together to make these policy connections – governments must follow suit.

Cultural determinants matter. There is abundant evidence about the importance of self-determination, freedom from the grind of casual and systemic racism, discrimination and poverty. For over 200 years we have been burdened with laws, systems and institutes that perpetuate disadvantage.

But our cultures and traditions still endure; we remain the traditional custodians of the land you walk on.

Last year, 140 Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) provided nearly 3 million episodes of care to over 340,000 clients by more than 3,000 Indigenous staff. It is clear that putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands works.

Recently, Flinders University highlighted the success of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs, noting its ability to provide a one stop-shop with outreach services, free medicine and advocacy.

The benefits of having Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands are evident in other case studies which show reductions in the numbers of young smokers, increased immunisations rates, and increased numbers of child health checks in our local communities.

The Federal Government’s rhetoric about economic empowerment and opportunity should be replaced with significant public policy initiatives and the delivery of specific outcomes. Politicians often speak about the optimism, resilience and determination of our people but how about speaking today, right now, about meaningful actions, engagement and self-determination for us all.

CTG 2017 report 15 Recommendations :  “We have the Solutions

Prime Minister, and all Members of Parliament I say to you that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the solutions to the difficulties we face.

Consider for a moment the 2.5 million episodes of care delivered to our people by Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Organisations each year.

This community-controlled work is echoed by many of our organisations here today, and amplified by countless individual and community efforts working for change.

Imagine this work stretching out over decades as it has.

We need a new relationship that respects and harnesses this expertise, and recognises our right to be involved in decisions being made about us.

A new relationship where we have a seat at the table when policies are developed.”

Dr Jackie Huggins Redfern Statement Parliamentary Event, 14 February 2017

Reinvigorating the national approach to health inequality

4.     State and Territory governments recommit to the Close the Gap Statement of Intent, and develop and implement formal partnerships with the Federal Government with agreed roles, funding and accountability with the provision of annual reports on their efforts to close the gap from each jurisdiction.

 

5.     The Federal, State and Territory governments work together to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategy to meet the vision of the National Health Plan.

Social and Cultural Determinants of Health

6.     The Federal Government develop a long-term National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Cultural Determinants of Health Strategy.

Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plan is a major commitment by the Federal Government and must be adequately resourced for its application and operation. As such, the Government should:

7.     Identify geographic areas with both high levels of preventable illnesses and deaths and inadequate services, and development of a capacity-building plan for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in those areas.

8.     Fund the process required to develop the core services model and the associated workforce, infrastructure, information management and funding strategies required.

9.     Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health funding is maintained at least at current levels until the core services, workforce and funding work is finalised, when funding should be linked directly with the Implementation Plan.

10. Ensure the timely evaluation and renewal of related frameworks upon which the Implementation Plan relies.

 

11. Finalise and resource the National Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing. This plan should incorporate and synthesise the existing health, mental health, suicide and drugs policies and plans – and should be an immediate priority of all governments.

12. Ensure that the consultation process for the next iteration of the Implementation Plan be based on genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in a way that is representative and properly funded so that First Peoples can be full and equal development partners.

Primary Health Networks

13. The Federal Government mandate formal agreements between Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and ACCHOs in each region that:

a.     specify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership on Indigenous issues and identify the specific roles and responsibilities of both the PHNs and the ACCHOs.

b.     include workforce targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and include mandatory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on the clinical committees of every PHN.

14. The Federal Government mandate ACCHOs as preferred providers of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provided through PHNs.

15. The Federal Government develop and implement agreed accountability, evaluation and reporting arrangements to support the provision of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in each PHN area.[i]

Summary

The Campaign believes that the PHN program has the potential to make a significant positive difference in health outcomes for all Australians if they are culturally safe and properly engaged with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community within their network area.

The ability of PHNs to deliver culturally safe, high-quality primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be seen in the lived experience of the people.

Engagement

It is essential that Federal Government ensure that the PHNs are engaging with ACCHOs to ensure the best primary health care is afforded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as the broader community. Competitive tendering processes for PHNs that award contracts to organisations that are able to write the best proposal may well be at the expense of organisations that can provide the best services in terms of access, quality and outcomes.

However, formal partnerships between PHNs and ACCHOs should reduce rather than exacerbate current funding inequities and inefficiencies.

It is the Campaign’s view that ACCHOs must be considered the ‘preferred providers’ for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Where there is either no existing ACCHO or insufficient ACCHO services, capacity should be built by the establishment of new ACCHOs or within existing ACCHOs (or have capacity development of existing ACCHOs) within the PHN area to extend their services to the identified areas of need.

Where it is appropriate for mainstream providers to deliver a service, they should be looking to partner with ACCHOs to better reach the communities in need.[i]

The Campaign welcomes the collaboration between the Department of Health and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to develop the Primary Health Networks (PHNS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOS) – Guiding Principles which are intended to provide:

…guidance for actions to be taken by each party across six key domains: Closing the Gap; cultural competency; commissioning; engagement and representation; accountability, data and reporting; service delivery; and research.[ii]

Having a shared understanding of the key domains of focus and the principles of engagement and collaboration are a good start, however, more can be done to formalise the relationship between PHNs and ACCHOs.

Cultural Safety

The need for culturally safe services, with safe spaces that support the holistic concept of health is well established.

ACCHOs continue to be the exemplar for cultural safety standards as they are, by their very existence, best placed to respond to the health needs of the community based on implicit cultural understanding.[iii]

Again, it is encouraging to see some indications that the PHNs are looking to incorporate culturally safe practices as evidenced by the Guiding Principles document between PHNs and ACCHOs. The Guiding Principles state:

‘An understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is important to partners who wish to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people effectively and as equals.

Underpinning the Guiding Principles is a shared knowledge that will ensure:

  • respectful culturally sensitive consultation
  • recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes will be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people control them, and
  • that commissioned service delivery will be a strengths-based approach reflecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.’[iv]

Respect of culture must be embedded in all PHN practice and management, from formalised cooperation with ACCHOs, the delivery of services and the investments made in the non-Indigenous workforces so that they understand and value Cultural Safety and its importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking care.

 The Close the Gap Campaign

Close the Gap Campaign co-chair Jackie Huggins highlighted the resilience of Indigenous people and cautioned against feeling disheartened by the slow pace of change.

“When Tom Calma started the Close the Gap Campaign in 2006, he set a 25-year goal to achieve health equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples,” Dr Huggins said.

This was an intentionally ambitious time frame. Nevertheless, Tom and the other early Campaign members knew that every inch the gap closed between First Australians and non-Indigenous Australians translated into lives saved and lives improved.

The Australian community agreed. Since then more than 220,000 Australians have signed the close the gap pledge for change.

“Despite the significant challenges we face to make health equality a reality in this country, it is the commitment of the hundreds of thousands of people that have pledged their support to closing the gap that give us courage and strength to press on.

“In communities across Australia we are seeing more and more of our people rising above the obstacles of institutional racism, generational trauma and low expectations to become nurses, doctors, social workers, youth workers, health workers, administrators, teachers and community leaders.

Our people, with the support of the many non-Indigenous people committed to health equality, are best placed to lead the changes needed today, tomorrow and over the next decade,” Dr Huggins said.

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Download 2 @AIHW Reports : Remote Aboriginal Investment #Oralhealth #EarandHearing

 ” This AIHW report presents information on ear and hearing health outreach services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the Northern Territory. The Australian Government funded these programs and the Northern Territory Government delivered them.

Download the Report HERE : Ear and Hearing Program

AIHW Page and summary in Section 1 Below

” This is the second report on oral health services funded by the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Oral Health Program and the Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment Oral Health Program (NTRAI OHP). It covers the period from July 2012 to December 2015.

Where available, data from August 2007 to June 2012 have been included to allow examination of the effect of oral health services over the life course of associated programs delivered in the Northern Territory.”

Download the Report HERE : NT Remote Aboriginal Investment Oral Health Program

AIHW Page and summary in Section 2 Below

Section 1 : Ear and Hearing Service delivery

  • In 2015-16, 2,253 outreach audiology services were provided to 1,981 children and young people; and 1,011 ear, nose and throat (ENT) teleotology services were provided to 936 children and young people.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) conducted 1,211 visits to 1,125 children in 2015-16. This was an increase from 2014-15 when 668 CNS visits were provided to 622 children.
  • From July 2012 to June 2016, 9,221 outreach audiology services were provided to 5,357 children and young people, 3,799 ENT teleotology services were provided to 2,434 children and young people, and CNS conducted 3,087 visits to 2,614 children.

Improvement in hearing health status

  • The levels of hearing loss and impairment have improved slightly over the last 4 years. In 2015-16, 49% of Indigenous children had some type of hearing loss (compared with 52% in 2012-13) and 32% had a hearing impairment (compared with 37% in 2012-13).
  • Between July 2012 and June 2016, hearing improved for a large proportion of children and young people who received 2 or more audiology services. Almost half (48%) of the children who had hearing loss at their first service showed improvement in hearing at their last service.
  • More than half (59%) of children and young people had a reduction in the degree of their hearing impairment between July 2012 and June 2016.

Improvement in hearing health and ear conditions

  • From July 2012 to June 2016, the proportion of children and young people with at least one middle ear condition decreased from 82% to 75% between their first and last service.
  • Greater decreases were observed over the longer term. From August 2007 to June 2016, the proportion diagnosed with any ear condition decreased from 78% to 49% between their first and last service.

High demand on hearing and ear health services

A large number of hearing and ear health services have been provided, but there is much work yet to do. As at 30 June 2016, 3,090 children and young people were waiting for audiology services, and 1,841 for ENT teleotology services. While ensuring children most in need received services (through the priority listing system), a number of changes have been made to improve the overall efficiency of hearing health services, including enhancing CNS services, health promotion and education activities. However, the high demand on hearing and ear health services continues to be driven by the high prevalence of middle ear conditions among children and the chronic nature of the disease, which means the majority of children require repeated and long-term follow-up services.

Section 2 Oral Health Preventive services

Fluoride varnish treatment

  • In 2014 and 2015, 4,664 and 4,041 Indigenous children and adolescents received 5,054 and 4,441 full-mouth fluoride varnish (FV) applications, respectively. Compared with the previous report period (July 2012 to December 2013), the number of Indigenous children and adolescents who received full-mouth FV applications generally increased.
  • From July 2012 to December 2015, a total of 10,052 Indigenous children and adolescents received 13,541 full-mouth FV applications.

Fissure sealant treatment

  • In 2014 and 2015, 2,179 and 1,804 Indigenous children and adolescents received 2,323 and 1,943 fissure sealant applications, respectively. Compared with the previous report period (January to December 2013), the number of Indigenous children and adolescents who received fissure sealant applications generally increased.
  • From July 2012 to December 2015, a total of 5,324 Indigenous children and adolescents received 6,477 fissure sealant applications.

Clinical services (for example, fillings for tooth decay, and tooth extractions)

  • In 2014 and 2015, 3,159 and 3,378 occasions of clinical service were provided to 2,407 and 2,533 Indigenous children and adolescents, respectively. The number of Indigenous
  • children and adolescents who received clinical services decreased from 2013 to 2014, but increased from 2014 to 2015.
  • From July 2012 to December 2015, a total of 7,660 Indigenous children and adolescents were provided with 12,739 occasions of clinical service.

Oral health status of service recipients

  • In 2014 and 2015, the average number of decayed, missing and filled deciduous (baby) teeth was highest among service recipients aged 6—at 5.4 and 5.6, respectively; the average number for permanent teeth was highest among those aged 15—at 4.1 and 3.7.

Changes over time

  • The proportion of service recipients with experience of tooth decay decreased for most age groups between 2009 and 2015. The greatest decreases was found in the following age groups: for those aged 1–3, from 73% to 42%; for 5-year-olds, from 88% to 79%; and for 12-year-olds, from 81% to 69%.
  • Among children and adolescents who received at least 2 services within each program, those receiving services during the NTRAI OHP had a smaller increase in tooth decay, on average, than those in the Child Health Check Initiative Closing the Gap Program.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Ear Health : #ClosingtheGapDay and hearing loss: an invisible barrier obstructs progress

 

“Avoidance is a way of coping with anxiety about being shamed. Repeated avoidance results in limited engagement and poor outcomes for programs designed to Close the Gap.

The use of hearing loss responsive communication strategies can help to deal with this barrier

 These strategies can be as important as culturally appropriate processes in programs.

Indeed, there is an overlap between the two. For those with hearing loss, what is said in culturally familiar language within a culturally familiar process is easier to understand.”

Hearing loss among Indigenous Australians is a largely unseen barrier to Closing the Gap programs, according to Dr Damien Howard and Jody Barney, who explain how to be “hearing loss responsive” in service delivery and communications.

Originally published

 ” Indigenous Australians have one of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world.

Rates are up to ten times more than non-Indigenous Australians and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation estimates Indigenous healthcare is currently 30 to 50 years behind the rest of the country “

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Communication difficulties caused by the widespread unidentified hearing loss among Indigenous people in Australia continue to undermine the effectiveness of Closing the Gap programs.

An Aboriginal worker with mild hearing loss once commented: “You see that look, the look that tells you they are thinking you are some stupid blackfella and you don’t want to say you don’t understand; ‘Can you tell me it again?’

“You just want to get away and never want to work with them again if you can help it.”

Many people act on these kinds of feelings. They seek to avoid people, situations and service providers because of these reactions. The everyday communication difficulties caused by their hearing loss contribute to anxiety and disengagement. They will often seek to avoid education, health and employment support services designed to help them.

For instance, people may not go to health clinics, or do not comply with provided treatment. Avoidance of specialist medical appointments is one feature of this. In some specialist medical visits to remote communities, 50% of patients do not attend booked appointments. This can have dire health implications for individuals. It is also an immense waste of resources.

When hearing loss begins early in life, it has greater impact than the late onset hearing loss that is experienced by non-Indigenous Australians who are hard of hearing. Their hearing loss is generally caused by occupational noise exposure and ageing.

Indigenous hearing loss is usually caused by endemic childhood middle ear disease. Children with current ear disease often have a temporary hearing loss. Repeated infections can cause lasting damage and some level of permanent mild to moderate hearing loss. Up to 70% of Indigenous people are affected — fewer in urban communities, more in remote communities.

The impact of this hearing loss is pervasive.

We know that school attendance rates for Indigenous children with hearing loss are below those for other students. We know they experience more difficulty with learning when they do attend school. We know they display more behavioural problems when at school. We know Indigenous workers with hearing loss have difficulty securing and holding jobs, have greater performance difficulties and frequently avoid participation in workplace training.

There is also increasing concern about hearing loss as a factor in the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system; 94% of prison inmates in the Northern Territory have been found to have a significant degree of hearing loss.

Those familiar with Indigenous disadvantage may wonder why they have not heard about the incidence and impact of hearing loss among adults. One reason is that early onset conductive hearing loss is mostly invisible.

First, most Indigenous people who are hard of hearing are not aware that their hearing is not normal. The early origin of their hearing loss means it is something they have experienced for most of their life. For them, what they how they hear is ‘normal’. If asked, they would deny having a hearing loss.

Second, service providers (teachers, nurses, doctors, trainers, health professionals, social workers and police among them) are unlikely to recognise poor hearing as an issue for people they work with. Communication difficulties arising from hearing loss are generally attributed only to language and cultural differences, or to limited intelligence or poor motivation. The latter two perceptions, when noticed by clients astute in reading body language, can further compound disengagement.

It is easy to imagine that hearing aids are all that is needed to resolve issues. They can help some, but will not resolve all communication difficulties.

The communication issues experienced by an adult with early onset hearing loss are the result of both current hearing loss and the ‘legacy effects’ of unidentified hearing loss since childhood. These may include a preference for visual communication strategies, anxiety related to an intense fear of being ‘shamed’ and a limited store of contextual knowledge that helps with understanding what is said.

A store of contextual knowledge is what people normally acquire through fully hearing what is said to them, and around them. Without a store of relevant contextual knowledge — the big picture — what is said in any situation is harder to understand. So people with early onset hearing loss not only have trouble hearing what is said, but they also frequently have difficulty understanding what they hear.

Avoidance is a way of coping with anxiety about being shamed. Repeated avoidance results in limited engagement and poor outcomes for programs designed to Close the Gap.

The use of hearing loss responsive communication strategies can help to deal with this barrier. These strategies can be as important as culturally appropriate processes in programs. Indeed, there is an overlap between the two. For those with hearing loss, what is said in culturally familiar language within a culturally familiar process is easier to understand.

Other key components of hearing loss responsive service provision include the following:

  • using highly visual communication strategies
  • minimising background noise during conversations
  • using the language clients know best
  • using ‘pre-learning’ – providing information in advance to help explain the context, so people can better understand what will be discussed
  • services having amplification devices to use as part of service delivery
  • training staff in the use of more effective communication strategies — this includes training workers to recognise hearing loss, develop necessary skills and avoid responses that prompt shame, anxiety and disengagement

We believe Closing the Gap programs will continue to fall short of targeted outcomes until they are designed to be responsive to the needs of those with hearing loss.

NACCHO Save a dates Register your event here

22 March2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  in Adelaide

asohns-2017-ieh-workshop-22march2017-adelaide

The 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop to be held in Adelaide in March will focus on Otitis Media (middle ear disease), hearing loss, and its significant impact on the lives of Indigenous children, the community and Indigenous culture in Australia.

The workshop will take place on 22 March 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre in Adelaide, South Australia.

The program features keynote addresses by invited speakers who will give presentations aligned with the workshop’s main objectives:

  • To identify and promote methods to strengthen primary prevention and care of Otitis Media (OM).
  • To engage and coordinate all stakeholders in OM management.
  • To summarise current and future research into OM pathogenesis (the manner in which it develops) and management.
  • To present the case for consistent and integrated funding for OM management.

Invited speakers will include paediatricians, public health physicians, ear nose and throat surgeons, Aboriginal health workers, Education Department and a psychologist, with OM and hearing updates from medical, audiological and medical science researchers.

The program will culminate in an address emphasising the need for funding that will provide a consistent and coordinated nationwide approach to managing Indigenous ear health in Australia.

Those interested in attending may include: ENT surgeons, ENT nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, audiologists, rural and regional general surgeons and general practitioners, speech pathologists, teachers, researchers, state and federal government representatives and bureaucrats; in fact anyone interested in Otitis Media.

The workshop is organised by the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) and is held just before its Annual Scientific Meeting (23 -26 March 2017). The first IEH workshop was held in Adelaide in 2012 and subsequent workshops were held in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

For more information go to the ASOHNS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting Pre-Meeting Workshops section at http://asm.asohns.org.au/workshops

Or contact:

Mrs Lorna Watson, Chief Executive Officer, ASOHNS Ltd

T: +61 2 9954 5856   or  E info@asohns.org.au