- Victorian ACCHOs to receive funding support
- ACCHO to pilot breastfeeding support program
- Gindaja showcases model of care to the world
- Experts push for fluoride mandate
- Race data needed to improve public health
- Smoking law changes to reduce prevalence
- Sector Jobs
The image in the feature tile is from the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC) webpage Locally-drive Aboriginal Children’s dental health project a win for all. BDAC is one of seven Victorian ACCHOs selected to share in $35m+ of additional funding.
The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.
We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.
Victorian ACCHOs to receive funding support
Indigenous Victorians will have access to 100,000 extra additional community healthcare appointments as part of a new investment supporting the state’s ACCHOs. It comes as the Victorian government announced seven ACCHOs across metro and regional Victoria will receive their share of more than $35m in funding to help Aboriginal communities better access culturally safe and holistic primary care closer to home.
The government says the investment will allow ACCHOs to expand their services and opening hours, as well boosting their preventive and early intervention services and treatment. The expansion will help deliver more care services – tailored for the cultural needs of First Nations people – and is designed to both increase the health outcomes for Indigenous Victorians whilst also reducing the number of presentations to emergency departments and for preventable hospital admissions. This greater access to primary care will facilitate better treatment of chronic diseases, including early identification.
VACCHO CEO, Jim O’Shea, said the announcement was about recognising the work put in by the various ACCHOs throughout Victoria. The seven funded ACCHOs include: Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative; First People’s Health and Wellbeing; Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC); Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative; Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative; Victorian Aboriginal Health Service; and Lake Tyers Health and Children’s Services.
To view the National Indigenous Times article Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations receive funding support in full click here. BDAC featured in the video below in one of the seven ACCHOs to be funded.
ACCHO to trial breastfeeding support program
Wiradjuri elder Aunty Donna Kirby is a “breastfeeding champion”. Having breastfed more than 20 children, including six of her own, her sister’s and those of struggling mums in her community, her knowledge is sought out by mothers looking to nurse their newborns. In Wagga Wagga, where Aunty Donna resides, more than 70% of First Nations women are opting for formula over breastfeeding.
A survey conducted at the Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (RMDAC) where Aunty Donna is now working to help uncover why so many women are turning away from the breast. The 2018–19 national Aboriginal health survey found that fewer than 70% of Indigenous mothers start down the breastfeeding path, compared with 96% of non-Indigenous mothers. At three months of age, just 19% of Indigenous infants were still breastfed; for non-Indigenous babies, the rate was about 50%.
The RMDAC survey being used to develop a 12-month pilot program aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates. “In Australia, there are other breastfeeding support programs but we know from our numbers that Aboriginal women are not accessing those services,” says board director Simone Sheriff. “Some mothers are experiencing neglect or racism [in the hospitals], so these programs must be designed by our women, for our women.” The pilot program is expected to begin in early 2024 and will focus on culturally sensitive practices and hiring additional First Nations midwives and lactation consultants to work at the centre.
To view the ABC News article Indigenous mothers feel unsupported while breastfeeding, leaving many to give their babies formula in full click here.
Gindaja showcases model of care to the world
Gindaja Treatment and Healing Centre in Yarrabah, North Queensland, has taken to the global stage to showcase its Indigenous-led model of care. The organisation was invited to discuss the Gindaja Model of Care at the Healing our Spirit Worldwide (HOSW) Conference: the Ninth Gathering in Vancouver, Canada in September this year. Gindaja Treatment and Healing CEO Ailsa Lively said the conference had been an amazing opportunity to highlight her team’s commitment to delivering quality health care. “We embarked on a journey to develop our model of care to drive the focus of service provision across a full continuum of care and within a strong Indigenous led framework,” she said.
“The Model of Care had to unite the organisation and provide our stakeholders, including non-Indigenous stakeholders, with our own self-determined framework and evidence base. “It also had to inspire new and innovative Indigenous approaches and responses that could be developed and trialled.” The Gindaja Model of Care is framed by the organisation’s mission statement: To provide culturally appropriate, specialised alcohol and other drugs care and support services in the areas of education, treatment, recovery and healing to people with alcohol and substance dependencies in Yarrabah and beyond.
The Model of Care focuses on the following areas: health promotion and education, learning and wellbeing, residential recovery, Step Up Recovery (relating to the Step Up supported accommodation program) and its after care and its continuing care. Gindaja is dedicated to an approach that is: grounded in social and emotional wellbeing; evidence informed; holistic and empowering; flexible and responsive; person, family and community centred; culturally secure and respectful; confidential and inclusive; and non-judgemental and compassionate.
Experts push for fluoride mandate
The Queensland state government must end the “lunacy” and mandate fluoride in Queensland’s water supply, a leading advocate of better dental health says, amid fears that a generation of regional and Indigenous residents will suffer. Dentist Michael Foley, who was instrumental in then premier Anna Bligh’s 2007 decision to mandate fluoride in the state’s water supply, called for more Queenslanders to be given access to fluoride. The decision was reversed in 2012 by then LNP premier Campbell Newman.
Race data needed to improve public health
Disparities in health outcomes manifest in various forms, with racism one consistent determinant. Lack of racial data is a barrier to overcoming structural racism. A high level of racism is associated with poor health care and outcomes in a wide range of contexts, including participation in intervention innovations and primary health care, medical incidents, access to treatment and utilisation of health care, hospitalisation and rehabilitation, and maintenance. Racial minorities in Australia and other high income countries are less likely to receive clinically indicated, protocol-driven care than their white counterparts. Existing evidence suggests that the lack of adequate data on race and ethnicity obscures evidence or racism and holds back antiracism efforts in health policies, interventions and guidelines.
Although Australia does not collect data on race and ethnicity, data on cardiovascular health hospitalisation and outcome indicate that, compared with non-Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal Australians have a coronary heart disease mortality that is two times higher and are 60% less likely to undergo angioplasty. The lower receipt rate of angioplasty is closely and significantly associated with symptoms deemed as non-cardiac (16%), prioritising non-invasive tests (8%), discharge against medical advice (11%), and unspecified/unclear reasons (36%). In countries where data on race exist, racial disparities have also been reported in all-cause mortality and recently in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes.
Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in Australia is a challenge due to the paucity of data on race and ethnicity. When compared to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Australia is currently falling behind in tracking and addressing racial and ethnic inequities in health and social determinant factors.
To view the Medical Journal of Australia InSight article Is Australia falling behind in tracking racial disparities in health? in full click here.
Smoking law changes to reduce prevalence
In Western NSW, twice the number of adults smoke compared to those in Sydney. To slow the flow, new tobacco legislation will consolidate new laws with existing ones, aimed at preventing the next generation of smokers and associated health risks. The new legislation also tackles the growing wave of nicotine addiction through vaping, where young people (16-24 years) hold the market, despite once offering hope that Australia was ageing out of smoking.
Being rolled out next year, the purchase of a new pack of smokes will see updated health warnings on the packaging, and health promotion inserts when opening the pack. New and existing products designed to make tobacco more palatable, such as menthol or crush balls will be banned, and tobacco companies will be required to report the ingredients used in their products.
“This new legislation, coupled with vaping regulations which take effect from 1 January 2024, will save tens of thousands of lives, and reassert the country as a world-leader in tobacco control,” CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia Adj Prof Slevin said. It follows a suite of new laws that were introduced late last month, further cracking down on the sale of nicotine vapes that aren’t medically prescribed. While the ban has proven lacklustre in enforcement, with no shortage of vapes out and about, the new laws completely ban vapes (including nicotine-free) from containing enticing flavours or packaging.
To view the Western Plains App article Smoking law changes to reduce prevalence by 2025 in full click here.
Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.
Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.