NACCHO Aboriginal Hearing Health : 94 per cent of Indigenous inmates in the NT have significant hearing loss

 

” Eighty four per cent of adults and 96 per cent of juveniles detained in the Northern Territory are Indigenous, though they only make up 25 per cent of the population.

In my research I found that hearing-impaired Aboriginal people are more likely to be arrested and charged with crimes because they cannot explain themselves to police or give adequate instructions to their solicitor, are less likely to be viewed as a credible witnesses in court, and tend to have misunderstandings with corrections staff.”

Psychologist Dr Damien Howard ( see his PowerPoint presentation below ) 

 

 ” Ministers agreed that the ear and hearing health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is an important issue that impacts on their health, education, and employment outcomes.

Accordingly, Ministers agreed to explore the feasibility of a national approach to reducing the burden of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is an important step towards achieving Closing the Gap targets. “

COAG Health Council Communique  24 March 2017

Read over 30 previous NACCHO articles Ears and Hearing

When Aboriginal prisoners appear before a magistrate waiting to be sentenced in Darwin, a guard is usually sitting in the dock right beside them. Troy Vanderpoll used to be one of those prison officers.

Article originally published

The Aboriginal inmate is asked a few questions. He nods in agreement with the magistrate, repeating, “yes”, over and over again.

The session finishes, the inmate stands, and the court moves on to the next case.

The man turns to the guard: “How much did I get?”

Mr Vanderpoll is Indigenous himself, and used to work as the Aboriginal Liaison Officer in Northern Territory prisons.

He spent a lot of time with Aboriginal inmates, and noticed that some of the men seemed withdrawn, and did their best to avoid interacting with guards, parole officers and judges — even when it was in their best interests.

Hidden epidemic

In 2010, Mr Vanderpoll spoke to a local psychologist, Damien Howard, who had a theory on why that was — a hidden epidemic of hearing loss.

Damien had studied the impact of hearing loss on Indigenous people for more than two decades, but had never seen research published on hearing levels of adult prisoners in the Northern Territory.

Before Mr Vanderpoll became a prison guard, he was a medic in the Australian Army, where he learned how to conduct hearing testing. In the defence forces, biannual checks are mandatory.

In response to Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard’s interest, Robert Miller — then acting superintendent of Darwin Correctional Centre and Mr Vanderpoll’s stepfather — commissioned the pair to conduct hearing testing for Aboriginal inmates.

Mr Vanderpoll tested the hearing of volunteers at correctional centres in Darwin and Alice Springs, and Dr Howard helped compile the results.

The findings made news headlines: 94 per cent of the inmates tested had significant hearing loss.

The result reflected a wider public health issue: in remote communities, up to 45 per cent of Aboriginal people have hearing loss, often due to preventable childhood ear diseases.

Presentation  : Health practitioners improving communication with Indigenous patients and family members with hearing loss.

Mr Miller had by then worked in Corrections for over 25 years. The result was a revelation.

“I think it shocked all of us that the hearing loss was so great,” he says.

“The doors open and the memory goes back: some prisoners seemed to be not talking to you, ignoring what you’re saying. You understand now that he’s got a hearing problem, no wonder he couldn’t hear what I was saying.

“If you don’t know about it then you may just think that the prisoner is being ignorant or rude in not responding to something that you’ve said.”

Then there were the inmates who Mr Vanderpoll realised must have been deaf in one ear.

“Sometimes you’re talking to someone and they completely ignore you because they’re facing the wrong way,” he says.

 

Photo: 94 per cent of Indigenous inmates in the Northern Territory have significant hearing loss. (ABC RN: Jake Duczynski)

Aboriginal men in NT prisons regularly use hand gestures — but Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard say that was no clear indication of hearing loss. Aboriginal spoken languages in the Northern Territory include signing, and many inmates speak English as a second or third language.

“The boys are always signing. Always, whether they can hear or not, they’re still signing,” Mr Miller says.

If Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard were shocked by the results, so too were the inmates. Most prisoners had no idea they had hearing problems before the study.

“They’d grown up with it. That had been their whole life,” Mr Vanderpoll says.

But whether they know they have it or not, hearing loss impacted their experiences in the justice system.

Mr Vanderpoll began having conversations with prisoners who admitted avoiding interacting with the parole board because of their hearing loss, giving up a chance for a reduced sentence.

“Anything that put them in a position where they had to talk to a stranger or be reviewed by a stranger was so shocking or so scary to them, that they’d rather stay in prison and complete their full time without any chance of parole,” he says.

“If you’ve got hearing issues, you don’t want to be put into that position.”

Interpreter shortage

While most hearing impaired and deaf Aboriginal inmates Mr Vanderpoll worked with didn’t ask for an interpreter in legal situations, the service might not have been available for them anyway.

There is only one professionally-qualified Auslan interpreter available for inmates across the entire Northern Territory, meaning that many deaf people miss out.

The interpreter, Liz Temple, readily admits that she does not have fluency in the local Aboriginal sign languages that most prisoners with hearing loss use.

She often relies on Aboriginal consultants, such as Jody Barney, a deaf Indigenous woman who often works in the region and has knowledge of multiple Aboriginal sign languages. However, funding for such services is limited.

Instead, corrections officers often play quasi-interpreters for inmates, says Mr Vanderpoll.

“You’d listen to the magistrate and you’d just lean over to the prisoner and just tell him what’s happening as it’s happening in real time. I think the reason that works is because they’re more comfortable.”

Their findings led Robert Miller to wonder whether hearing loss plays a role not only in Aboriginal people’s experience of prison, but also contributes to them ending up there in the first place.

“You can understand why Indigenous incarceration is so high. I’m not saying it’s the only reason, but I think it had quite an impact,” he says.

Eighty four per cent of adults and 96 per cent of juveniles detained in the Northern Territory are Indigenous, though they only make up 25 per cent of the population.

In his research, Howard found that hearing-impaired Aboriginal people are more likely to be arrested and charged with crimes because they cannot explain themselves to police or give adequate instructions to their solicitor, are less likely to be viewed as a credible witnesses in court, and tend to have misunderstandings with corrections staff.

Signs of change

Once the report was released, Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard were hopeful things would begin to change.

Mr Miller cobbled together funding for eight hearing aids, as he recalls — at a cost of less than $2,000.

“It wasn’t huge, but when you’re spending government money it’s got to be justified,” he says.

He had hoped that the small pilot program would eventually be funded by the government.

“There was no money in the Darwin Correctional Centre budget for hearing assistance,” he says.

Before the Darwin trial, in his eight years in NT prisons, Mr Vanderpoll says he saw only two people wearing hearing aids.

He recalls watching inmates putting on the new devices, realising what they had been missing.

“They could understand what they were supposed to be hearing in the first place,” he says.

Mr Vanderpoll hoped to implement a comprehensive training program for guards, who he says often had good relationships with inmates.

“I don’t think you can highlight that enough, that when they’re in prison, the officers aren’t their enemies.”

Still, there were correctional officers who got it, and those who didn’t, the ones who are “coming in yelling and screaming”.

The officers with the best rapport with the prisoners, Mr Vanderpoll observed, were those who made an effort to communicate.

“There’s a lot of knowledge. Some have 30 years of dealing with Indigenous inmates and they have developed a really good set of listening skills and speaking skills. We were trying to map that out so we could disseminate that in some form of training.”

Hope and disappointment

Their 2011 report made a number of recommendations that they believed could improve the way the justice system caters for hearing-impaired Aboriginal people — including routine testing of new inmates’ hearing, better access to hearing aids, and improved training for police, the judiciary and correctional staff.

Mr Vanderpoll’s biggest hope was to see records of inmates’ hearing levels shared between police and the courts.

“So that when [police] deal with someone, they bring that person up and say, ‘All right, he’s deaf in the left ear,’ and they can be aware of that when they’re dealing with them,” he says.

Mr Vanderpoll left the NT Department of Correctional Services in 2013, and now works for the state’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, while Mr Miller has retired.

To Dr Howard’s knowledge, none of the 2011 report’s recommendations have been implemented.

The NT Department of Corrections never contacted him about the report.

The Department of the Attorney General and Justice said that as part of an initial training program, correctional officers learned to deal with prisoners with impairments, including hearing loss.

Mr Vanderpoll’s idea of record sharing went nowhere. “That’s the most disappointing part,” he says.

Hearing loss remains ‘the smoking gun’

In the aftermath of the abuse of Aboriginal teenagers by guards at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2016, Dr Howard told the royal commission that hearing loss amongst Aboriginal adults and young people continues to be the “smoking gun” contributing to very high rates of detention — and communication problems with police and guards.

“With rare exceptions, governments and corrections agencies in all jurisdictions, as well as the criminal justice research organisations, have displayed a perplexing disinterest in this important issue,” Dr Howard says.

“A common response of government and Corrections is to classify Aboriginal hearing loss only as a “health problem”.

When asked if audiological testing was now conducted for adult prisoners entering the correctional system, the NT Department of the Attorney General and Justice referred the ABC to the Department of Health.

The Department of Health says adult prisoners are asked if they have hearing issues when they enter prison. Yet as Mr Vanderpoll and Dr Howard’s research found, many inmates are unaware of their hearing loss.

The NT Department of Corrections provides prisoners with a hearing aid if they have a referral from a medical practitioner.

Juvenile detainees in Darwin and Alice Springs are now given a hearing screening test undertaken by a nurse. The service began this year.

Mr Miller says people in the Department of Corrections “try really hard” to deliver services under increasingly strained resources.

“The government’s on you every year to be tight … people are not interested in prisoners at all,” Mr Vanderpoll says.

“I think that a lot of the problems that we face today, like Don Dale, was because the money’s been stripped from Corrections, over and over again, and people don’t want to hear about it.

“The prison is always run well because of communication. When it doesn’t run well, when there’s riots and stuff like that, it’s because of a lack of communication.

“You can have all of the foundation skills-type training in the world. You can have mathematics, English, et cetera. You can send people to alcohol rehabilitation courses.

“You can do all these things with people, but if they can’t even hear what you’re saying, how is it going to make a difference?”

Ear trouble training for teachers

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 “

Read or Share all NACCHO Ear and Hearing Articles HERE

This weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will  include

Tuesday Save a date Wednesday Job alerts Thursday NACCHO Members Good News

How to submit ? Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media   4.30 pm  day before publication

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

Aboriginal Health Events / Workshops #SaveADate : #NDIS ,#Disability #Leadership, #Rural, #Kidneys , #RHD, #Ears

save-a-date

February – May   : NEW : Get NDIS Ready with a Roadshow NSW Launched

2 March  : Disability research within Aboriginal communities : Alice Springs

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

3 March : The National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP) applications close

5 March: Kidney Health Week Starts

14 March : Western Sydney : Aboriginal Health Services Community Forum –  Rooty Hill NSW

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

22 March: 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  Adelaide

29 March: RHD Australia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

26- 29 April The 14 th National Rural Health Conference Cairns

29 April:14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

26 May :National Sorry day 2017

2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event and wish to share and promote contact

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Mobile 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

save-a-date

February – May   : Get NDIS Ready with a Roadshow NSW Launched

ndis

The Every Australian Counts team will be hitting the road from March – May presenting NDIS information forums in the NSW regional areas where the NDIS will be rolling out from July.

We’ll be covering topics including:

  • What the NDIS is, why we need it and what it means for you
  • The changes that the NDIS brings and how they will benefit you
  • How to access the NDIS and get the most out of it

These free forums are designed for people with disability, their families and carers, people working in the disability sector and anyone else interested in all things NDIS.

Please register for tickets and notify the team about any access requirements you need assistance with. All the venues are wheelchair accessible and Auslan interpreters can be available if required. Please specify any special requests at the time of booking.

Find the team in the following locations: 

Click on a link above to register online now! 

Every Australian Counts is the campaign that brought about the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Now it is a reality, the team are focused on engaging and educating the disability sector and wider Australian community about the benefits of the NDIS and the options and possibilities that it brings.

 2 March  : Disability research within Aboriginal communities : Alice Springs

Dr John Gilroy, a Koori man from the Yuin Nation of the the South Coast of New South Wales, will be presenting a seminar on disability research in Aboriginal communities in the Rubuntja Building, at the Alice Springs Hospital, Northern Territory (NT), on Thursday 2 March 2017 from 12pm – 1pm.

John, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney (USYD) and a member of the Poche research family will present his journey from being a client of disability services to becoming one of the leading scholars in disability research within Aboriginal communities. His discussion will touch on disability research and scholarship undertaken with Aboriginal people and its implications for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including the current disability research projects underway with the Anangu of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) lands

There are limited seats and registration is required, so book by email using contact below.

Contacts

Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Well-being
Ph: (08) 8951 9601
Email:

3 March : The National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP) applications close

niyp

Is your chance to come to Canberra, meet Australia’s leaders, learn about democracy and have your say on important issues. Fifty young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people will be selected, six from each state and territory and two from the Torres Strait, to come to Canberra for the week-long program

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 25 years who are willing to stand up and speak about important issues, work as part of a team, travel to new places, meet new people and learn.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit the online application form below. Applications close Friday 3 March 2017.

Please contact us if you do not receive an email confirmation of your application within 3 days. The AEC accepts no responsibility for lost, damaged or late applications.

All information you provide in your application is managed and stored appropriately in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Letter of support

All applications must include a letter of support from your teacher or tutor, employer, coach, youth worker, community leader, family friend or other referee. The letter of support should support the claims made in your application and explain why you are suitable for the NIYP.

Tips for completing this form

  • Write your answers on a document saved to your computer first in case your connection is lost.
  • Have a scanned copy of your letter of support ready to upload with your application.
  • Contact us if you don’t receive an email confirmation within 3 days of submitting this form to make sure we received it.
Apply online now

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

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Following our successful 2015 AGMP Forum we are pleased to announce the second AGMP Forum will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 3 March from 9 am to 5 pm. The forum is a free catered event open to senior managers and board members of all Aboriginal organisations across the NT.

Download the Program

program-apont-innovating-to-succeed-forum-3-mar-2017

Come along to hear from NT Aboriginal organisations about innovative approaches to strengthen your activities and businesses, be more sustainable and self-determine your success. The forum will be opened by the Chief Minister and there will be opportunities for Q&A discussions with Commonwealth and Northern Territory government representatives.

To register to attend please complete the online registration form, or contact Wes Miller on 8944 6626, Kate Muir on 8959 4623, or email info@agmp.org.au.

5 March: Kidney Health week

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is nearly here! Learn how you can get involved this 5-11 March, and order your free event pack:

14 March : Western Sydney : Aboriginal Health Services Community Forum –  Rooty Hill NSW

WACHS invites Aboriginal community representatives from Western Sydney and the Nepean Blue Mountains region to meet to discuss future directions for Aboriginal health.

Topics will include:

  • Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service (WACHS)
    – History and background
    – Service support
    – Service programs
  • Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Project: Service Delivery
    – Funding agreement
    – Structure and staffing
    – Financial and risk management
  • Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Project: Service Support
    – Community engagement and consultation
    – Infrastructure
    – Identity and recognition

pdfDownload flyer

More information: Anthony Carter, anthonyc@wachs.net.au

Forum transport registration: Rita McKenzie, rita.mckenzie@swahs.com.au

Source

Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service
Aboriginal Health Services Community Forum
14 March 2017, 10.00am–1.00pm
Novotel Hotel, 33 Railway St, Rooty Hill

Cost: Free

16 March Close the Gap Day

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples die 10-17 years younger than other Australians and it’s even worse in some parts of Australia. Register now and hold an activity of your choice in support of health equality across Australia.

Resources

Resource packs will be sent out from 1 February 2017.

We will also have a range of free downloadable resources available on our website

www.oxfam.org.au/closethegapday.

It is still important to register as this contributes to the overall success of the event.

More information and Register your event

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

logo-vision2020-australia

Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne would like to invite people to a two-day national conference on Indigenous eye health and the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision in March 2017. The conference will provide opportunity for discussion and planning for what needs to be done to Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 and is supported by their partners National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Optometry Australia, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision 2020 Australia.

Collectively, significant progress has been made to improve Indigenous eye health particularly over the past five years and this is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made. The recent National Eye Health Survey found the gap for blindness has been reduced but is still three times higher. The conference will allow people to share the learning from these experiences and plan future activities.

The conference is designed for those working in all aspects of Indigenous eye care: from health workers and practitioners, to regional and jurisdictional organisations. It will include ACCHOs, NGOs, professional bodies and government departments.

The topics to be discussed will include:

  • regional approaches to eye care
  • planning and performance monitoring
  • initiatives and system reforms that address vision loss
  • health promotion and education.

Contacts

Indigenous Eye Health – Minum Barreng
Level 5, 207-221 Bouverie Street
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Carlton Vic 3010
Ph: (03) 8344 9320
Email:

Links

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

29 March: RHDAustralia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

edit

Download the PDF brochure sa-workshop-flyer

More information and registrations HERE

26- 29 April The 14 th National Rural Health Conference Cairns c42bfukvcaam3h9

INFO Register

29 April : 14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

acrrm

The conference program features streams based on themes most relevant to all rural and remote health practitioners. These include Social and environmental determinants of health; Leadership, Education and Workforce; Social Accountability and Social Capital, and Rural Clinical Practices: people and services.

Download the program here : rural-health-conference-program-no-spreads

The program includes plenary/keynote sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. The program will also include clinical sessions to provide skill development and ongoing professional development opportunities :

Information Registrations HERE

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

nihra-2017-save-the-date-invitation_version-2

” The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.”

To nominate someone for one of the three awards, please go to https://shaoquett.wufoo.com/forms/z4qw7zc1i3yvw6/
 
For further information, please also check out the Awards Guide at https://www.scribd.com/document/336434563/2017-National-Indigenous-Human-Rights-Awards-Guide
26 May :National Sorry day 2017
 
bridge-walk
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 – one year after the tabling of the report Bringing them Home, May 1997. The report was the result of an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK
17_naidoc_logo_stacked-01

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

More info about events

save-a-date

NACCHO Aboriginal Health 16 #Saveadate Events Workshops : #Leadership #Mentalhealth #Kidneys #ClosetheGap , #Eyes Plus more

save-a-date

NACCHO Save a date NEW featured event

aa

Full details of these events and registration links below

22 February Racism survey Opens

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

5 March: Kidney Health Week Starts

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

22 March: 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  Adelaide

29 March: RHD Australia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

26- 29 April The 14 th National Rural Health Conference Cairns

29 April:14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

26 May :National Sorry day 2017

2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event and wish to share and promote contact

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Mobile 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

save-a-date

22 February Understanding Racism survey Opens

racsim-survey-opens

Complete Survey Here

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

atsi

NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

mh

Image copyright © Roma Winmar

The 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Exchange, Contributing Lives Thriving Communities is being held across Australia and New Zealand from 27 February to 3 March 2017.

NACCHO notes that registration is free for the Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange.  This is co-hosted by National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) and the Queensland Mental Health Commission in partnership with the Queensland Department of Health.

It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, 17 Abbott Street, Cairns City, Queensland 4870.

The theme is Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention, with a focus on cultural healing and the empowerment of communities with programs, case studies and services.

For more about IIMHL and to register http://www.iimhl.com/

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

21766661828_b1a71dd863_o

Following our successful 2015 AGMP Forum we are pleased to announce the second AGMP Forum will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 3 March from 9 am to 5 pm. The forum is a free catered event open to senior managers and board members of all Aboriginal organisations across the NT.

Come along to hear from NT Aboriginal organisations about innovative approaches to strengthen your activities and businesses, be more sustainable and self-determine your success. The forum will be opened by the Chief Minister and there will be opportunities for Q&A discussions with Commonwealth and Northern Territory government representatives.

To register to attend please complete the online registration form, or contact Wes Miller on 8944 6626, Kate Muir on 8959 4623, or email info@agmp.org.au.

5 March: Kidney Health week

aa

is nearly here! Learn how you can get involved this 5-11 March, and order your free event pack:

 

16 March Close the Gap Day

76694lpr-600

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples die 10-17 years younger than other Australians and it’s even worse in some parts of Australia. Register now and hold an activity of your choice in support of health equality across Australia.

Resources

Resource packs will be sent out from 1 February 2017.

We will also have a range of free downloadable resources available on our website

www.oxfam.org.au/closethegapday.

It is still important to register as this contributes to the overall success of the event.

More information and Register your event

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

logo-vision2020-australia

Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne would like to invite people to a two-day national conference on Indigenous eye health and the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision in March 2017. The conference will provide opportunity for discussion and planning for what needs to be done to Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 and is supported by their partners National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Optometry Australia, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision 2020 Australia.

Collectively, significant progress has been made to improve Indigenous eye health particularly over the past five years and this is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made. The recent National Eye Health Survey found the gap for blindness has been reduced but is still three times higher. The conference will allow people to share the learning from these experiences and plan future activities.

The conference is designed for those working in all aspects of Indigenous eye care: from health workers and practitioners, to regional and jurisdictional organisations. It will include ACCHOs, NGOs, professional bodies and government departments.

The topics to be discussed will include:

  • regional approaches to eye care
  • planning and performance monitoring
  • initiatives and system reforms that address vision loss
  • health promotion and education.

Contacts

Indigenous Eye Health – Minum Barreng
Level 5, 207-221 Bouverie Street
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Carlton Vic 3010
Ph: (03) 8344 9320
Email:

Links

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

29 March: RHDAustralia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

edit

Download the PDF brochure sa-workshop-flyer

More information and registrations HERE

 

26- 29 April The 14 th National Rural Health Conference Cairns c42bfukvcaam3h9

INFO Register

29 April : 14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

acrrm

The conference program features streams based on themes most relevant to all rural and remote health practitioners. These include Social and environmental determinants of health; Leadership, Education and Workforce; Social Accountability and Social Capital, and Rural Clinical Practices: people and services.

Download the program here : rural-health-conference-program-no-spreads

The program includes plenary/keynote sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. The program will also include clinical sessions to provide skill development and ongoing professional development opportunities :

Information Registrations HERE

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

nihra-2017-save-the-date-invitation_version-2

” The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.”

To nominate someone for one of the three awards, please go to https://shaoquett.wufoo.com/forms/z4qw7zc1i3yvw6/
 
For further information, please also check out the Awards Guide at https://www.scribd.com/document/336434563/2017-National-Indigenous-Human-Rights-Awards-Guide
26 May :National Sorry day 2017
 
bridge-walk
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 – one year after the tabling of the report Bringing them Home, May 1997. The report was the result of an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK
17_naidoc_logo_stacked-01

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

More info about events

save-a-date

NACCHO #Aboriginal Health #Leadership 15 Events #saveadate : #eyes #ears #RHD #suicide prevention #mental Health #closethegap #governance #rural

save-a-date

Full details of these events and registration links below

14 February: #RedfernStatement Breakfast and PM Closing the Gap Report Canberra ACT

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

10 March: Editorial proposals close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

17 March: Advertising bookings close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

22 March: 2017 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop  Adelaide

29 March: RHD Australia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

5 April: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper published in Koori

29 April:14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

26 May :National Sorry day 2017

2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event and wish to share and promote contact

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Mobile 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

save-a-date

14 February: #RedfernStatement Breakfast and PM Closing the Gap Report Canberra ACT

redfern

Note 1 : Please note this event is now invitation only

Note 2 : The Prime Minister will deliver the Closing the Gap report to Parliament at 12.00 Tuesday

23 February: Webinar to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

atsi

NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

27 February: 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership

  • Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange. 

mh

Image copyright © Roma Winmar

The 2017 International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) Exchange, Contributing Lives Thriving Communities is being held across Australia and New Zealand from 27 February to 3 March 2017.

NACCHO notes that registration is free for the Healing and Empowerment Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention exchange.  This is co-hosted by National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) and the Queensland Mental Health Commission in partnership with the Queensland Department of Health.

It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, 17 Abbott Street, Cairns City, Queensland 4870.

The theme is Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention, with a focus on cultural healing and the empowerment of communities with programs, case studies and services.

For more about IIMHL and to register http://www.iimhl.com/

3 March: AMSANT: APONT Innovating to Succeed Forum – Alice Springs

21766661828_b1a71dd863_o

Following our successful 2015 AGMP Forum we are pleased to announce the second AGMP Forum will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 3 March from 9 am to 5 pm. The forum is a free catered event open to senior managers and board members of all Aboriginal organisations across the NT.

Come along to hear from NT Aboriginal organisations about innovative approaches to strengthen your activities and businesses, be more sustainable and self-determine your success. The forum will be opened by the Chief Minister and there will be opportunities for Q&A discussions with Commonwealth and Northern Territory government representatives.

To register to attend please complete the online registration form, or contact Wes Miller on 8944 6626, Kate Muir on 8959 4623, or email info@agmp.org.au.

10 March: Editorial and Advertising proposals close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

rates

Download the Rate card and make booking HERE

16 March: National Close the Gap Day

76694lpr-600

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples die 10-17 years younger than other Australians and it’s even worse in some parts of Australia. Register now and hold an activity of your choice in support of health equality across Australia.

Resources

Resource packs will be sent out from 1 February 2017.

We will also have a range of free downloadable resources available on our website

www.oxfam.org.au/closethegapday.

It is still important to register as this contributes to the overall success of the event.

More information and Register your event

16 March Close the Gap Day VISION 2020

logo-vision2020-australia

Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne would like to invite people to a two-day national conference on Indigenous eye health and the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision in March 2017. The conference will provide opportunity for discussion and planning for what needs to be done to Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 and is supported by their partners National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Optometry Australia, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision 2020 Australia.

Collectively, significant progress has been made to improve Indigenous eye health particularly over the past five years and this is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made. The recent National Eye Health Survey found the gap for blindness has been reduced but is still three times higher. The conference will allow people to share the learning from these experiences and plan future activities.

The conference is designed for those working in all aspects of Indigenous eye care: from health workers and practitioners, to regional and jurisdictional organisations. It will include ACCHOs, NGOs, professional bodies and government departments.

The topics to be discussed will include:

  • regional approaches to eye care
  • planning and performance monitoring
  • initiatives and system reforms that address vision loss
  • health promotion and education.

Contacts

Indigenous Eye Health – Minum Barreng
Level 5, 207-221 Bouverie Street
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Carlton Vic 3010
Ph: (03) 8344 9320
Email:

Links

17 March: Advertising bookings close: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper

Download the Rate card and make booking 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

29 March: RHDAustralia Education Workshop Adelaide SA

edit

Download the PDF brochure sa-workshop-flyer

More information and registrations HERE

 

5 April: NACCHO Aboriginal Health 24 page Newspaper published in Koori

29 April : 14th World Rural Health Conference Cairns

acrrm

The conference program features streams based on themes most relevant to all rural and remote health practitioners. These include Social and environmental determinants of health; Leadership, Education and Workforce; Social Accountability and Social Capital, and Rural Clinical Practices: people and services.

Download the program here : rural-health-conference-program-no-spreads

The program includes plenary/keynote sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. The program will also include clinical sessions to provide skill development and ongoing professional development opportunities :

Information Registrations HERE

10 May: National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

nihra-2017-save-the-date-invitation_version-2

” The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.”

To nominate someone for one of the three awards, please go to https://shaoquett.wufoo.com/forms/z4qw7zc1i3yvw6/
 
For further information, please also check out the Awards Guide at https://www.scribd.com/document/336434563/2017-National-Indigenous-Human-Rights-Awards-Guide
26 May :National Sorry day 2017
bridge-walk
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 – one year after the tabling of the report Bringing them Home, May 1997. The report was the result of an inquiry by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
2-9 July NAIDOC WEEK
17_naidoc_logo_stacked-01

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

More info about events

save-a-date

If you have a Conference, Workshop or event or wish to share and promote

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Contact 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Media mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Ear Health : Tackling Aboriginal ear disease will help close the gap

close-the-gap

” We should be embarrassed that Aboriginal Australians have the world’s worst incidence of middle ear infection and the worst deafness rates because of those infections. More than 90 per cent of young Aboriginal children have hearing-aid-level deafness for much of the year and 35 per cent of central Australian Aboriginal children have perforated eardrums at any one time.

The situation is a disgrace.”

Chris Perry is president of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery as published

Aboriginal children develop ear infections at a younger age and are affected more severely ­than any other racial group in the world by a factor of up to three. They have harmful bacteria colonising their nose and throat very early in life. The ear infections cause a build-up of infective fluid behind the eardrums that frequently burst and result in holes in these eardrums and a purulent discharge from the ears. These eardrum perforations often do not heal and the infection can dissolve the tiny middle ear bones called the ossicles, which conduct sound to the hearing nerves.

The partial deafness from infections is devastating to a child’s language development, ­especially where English is the second language. Children who are partially deaf never fully understand the spoken word. They find it difficult to follow conversations and to listen to what a teacher is saying. They become easily bored and disillusioned at school – that’s why we see the high rates of truancy and illiteracy among them.

Poor educational results lead to poverty and high unemployment levels. If you are illiterate it is hard to move away from an isolated community with high unemployment, violence and substance abuse issues.

Damien Howard, the distinguished academic psychologist from the Northern Territory, has documented the association of deafness in Aboriginal communities with violence, substance abuse, mental illness, suicide and the high rates of Aboriginal incarceration, especially in juvenile ­detention facilities.

Many ear, nose and throat surgeons, whom I represent, pediatricians, audiologists, education­alists and Aboriginal health workers have been involved in the research of this problem as well as the important provision of interventions that help mitigate the far-reaching, devastating consequences of this true pandemic.

Multiple health department jurisdictions, health regions, universities and medical centres across rural and outer suburban Australia are aware of the issue but still today these well-intentioned ­interventions are largely untested, not always evidence-based and are rarely benchmarked.

The terrible images from the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and the high rates of Aboriginal incarceration have been brought to the attention of ordinary Australians who, through the years, have grown accustomed to tales of truancy, substance abuse, overcrowding and youth suicide.

The association of deafness as an important but remediable root cause has been unaccountably ­ignored, especially in Closing the Gap strategies, and unfortunately this reflects badly on us, the health practitioners and researchers who should be advocating for adequate treatment of this condition.

There is no shortage of surgeons, pediatricians, audiologists, speech therapists, educationalists and health workers wanting to help. States and territories need to come together to finance interventions that work.

Sound amplification systems in classrooms, hearing aids where appropriate, the training of teachers going to communities on how to teach a class of deaf kids, timely and appropriate GP and primary healthcare interventions, and timely surgery and vaccinations within the communities do work. Preventive action and early treatments are extremely cost ­effective when considered against the effects of hearing impairment.

It costs up to $60,000 to lock up a child for a year, and that is often followed by a life of welfare dependency. Australia would save a great deal of money and raise health and wellbeing among ­Aboriginal Australians by making ear health a priority.

A recognition of the consequences of inaction on Aboriginal deafness and the risk this poses to making any progress to closing the gap is essential. It should never be normal for people to have to suffer with ear disease and deafness. I am encouraged that this past year we have had a strong show of support from parliamentarians in Canberra and across several states and territories who have pledged their support to making Aboriginal ear disease a thing of the past.

To close the gap in health, we need a definitive ­national approach to address the Aboriginal ear disease crisis. The Ear Health for Life campaign that will be launched this year will draw together stakeholders from the health, social services, education and government sectors. It will raise awareness of this terrible problem, encourage preventive and early intervention action, and advocate for a co-ordinated national approach.

A nationally co-ordinated, evidence-based, benchmarked and multi-level response to the devastating rates of Aboriginal ear disease will boost Australia’s ability to close the gap. Join us in making this the year of ear health for all.

Chris Perry is president of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

NACCHO Programs ” What Works ” Aboriginal Health : #FASD , Ear and Hearing , #Safeeyes and #Qumax

fasd

 ” The package of FASD Prevention and Health Promotion resources also include data system resources to facilitate routine screening and monitoring for alcohol and tobacco use in pregnancy, and screening of non-pregnant women of childbearing age, at risk of having a prenatal alcohol exposed pregnancy.”

NACCHO Report 1 below

 “The Safe Eyes trial program relies on the effective facilitation of engagement, ownership and leadership within each community to address hygiene and environmental health factors that lead to the spread of trachoma and other communicable disease.

The Safe Eyes program has been developed and implemented by each community with the success of each program evaluated and owned by those communities.”

NACCHO Report 2 Below

 ” The Ear and Hearing Health Skill Set Training was conducted over a two-week period and provided a pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to specialise in the provision of ear and hearing health.

NACCHO coordinated 100 Aboriginal Health Worker Ear and Hearing Training which were delivered in Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Cairns, Perth, Dubbo, Sydney, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Adelaide.”

NACCHO Report 3 Below

 ” The QUMAX Program aims to improve health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who attend participating Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in major cities, inner and outer regional areas.

QUMAX achieves this through the allocation of funding to participating ACCHOs to reduce barriers experienced by their clients to Quality Use of Medicines.”

NACCHO Report 4 below

Articles are from Page 5,18,19,20 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

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NACCHO Report 1 of 4 :Prevent and reduce the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) 

NACCHO partnered with the Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) to develop and implement health promotion resources and interventions to prevent and reduce the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and young children.

FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in individuals whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, developmental, and or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention and Health Promotion Resources (FPHPR) were developed for the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) across Australia. These resources primarily focused on prevention of FASD, but also provide information about sexual and reproductive health, smoking and substance abuse.

The FASD project was announced by Senator the Hon Fiona Nash in June 2014 and forms part of the National FASD Action Plan to address the harmful impact of FASD on children and families.

The FPHPR Project seeks to achieve the following broad outcomes by 30 June 2017:

  • Reduced alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Reduced tobacco smoking and substance misuse during pregnancy.
  • Reduced unplanned pregnancies.

The Project Partnership and Research team developed and implemented a flexible, modular package of health promotion resources and interventions based on the key components of the approach developed by the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Services.

This includes a set of discrete FASD education and awareness modules targeting key New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) client groups, including:

Pregnant women using NDMBS antenatal and other services, including  their partners and families.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of childbearing age.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandmothers.
  • NDMBS staff (including but not limited to administrative and clinical staff).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

The package of FASD Prevention and Health Promotion resources also include data system resources to facilitate routine screening and monitoring for alcohol and tobacco use in pregnancy, and screening of non-pregnant women of childbearing age, at risk of having a prenatal alcohol exposed pregnancy.

Participating NDMBS use this system to evaluate the impact of the FPHPR on target groups of pregnant women using NDMB antenatal and other services, including their partners and families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

The FPHPR Project team facilitated FASD train-the-trainer workshops with participants from NBMBS in each State and Territory.

Approximately 100 NDMBS staff – a diverse combination of clinical service providers and administrative staff, actively participated.

Workshops included information on FASD and its prevention by content experts; orientation to the FPHPR package; interactive training and rehearsal in the use of each component of the FPHPR package developed for each key NDMBS target groups; networking opportunities and strengthening links with other relevant service providers within each jurisdiction to reduce the impact of FASD.

NACCHO 2 Report : Australian Trachoma Alliance – Safe Eyes Program

In 2014 the Australian Trachoma Alliance (ATA) assembled a forum of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations ACCHOs) to develop an Aboriginal led, community owned action plan to address hygiene and environmental health factors to reduce the incidence of trachoma and other communicable diseases.

In 2015 three trial community sites were selected with guidance through the NACCHO Board of Directors in agreement with the relevant ACCHO:

  1. Yalata (South Australia) – services provided by Tullawon Health Services Inc.
  2. Kiwirrkurra (Western Australia) – services provided by Ngaanyatjarra Health Service
  3. Utju (Areyonga, Northern Territory) – services provided by Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

The criteria for the selection of each site included trachoma prevalence rate, population and available facilities (e.g. school, health service and sporting activities).

The Model: Engagement, Ownership and Leadership

The Safe Eyes trial program relies on the effective facilitation of engagement, ownership and leadership within each community to address hygiene and environmental health factors that lead to the spread of trachoma and other communicable disease.

The Safe Eyes program has been developed and implemented by each community with the success of each program evaluated and owned by those communities.

Moving from ownership of the problem to leading the development of a solution, empowers each community to drive the change process. Furthermore, owning the problem as well as understanding the benefits of addressing it are both necessary elements to embed behaviour change processes within families, organisations and whole communities.

The Safe Eyes program model continues to require a methodical and principled approach to its ongoing implementation.

The following three program stages demonstrate the programs continuing commitment to community engagement, ownership and enabling Aboriginal Leadership.

  1. The three trial community program sites were selected with the direct guidance of the national Aboriginal health leadership through the NACCHO Board of Directors and then through following the direction and agreement of the relevant Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO).
  2. Following the site selection phase, each trial community program has been developed through the engagement, ownership and leadership from the relevant ACCHO and other key community organisations.
  3. All three trial community sites are developing their own Safe Eyes Action Plan to address the elimination of trachoma and other hygiene-related disease. These action plans will also include locally-developed, owned and led program indicators to ensure each community will measure its own success.

The three trial communities are currently at different stages of the planning process and implementation of their action plans. However, establishing and maintaining engagement with each of the trial communities continues to require a flexible and responsive approach.

Initially, formal and informal meetings occurred across each community to discuss the objective of Safe Eyes and to facilitate discussions about issues relating to hygiene and environmental health factors.

This has led to a broader group discussion about the health benefits to the community in addressing factors to stop the spread of germs and possibilities to address the issues identified.

From this starting point, these discussions developed into action plans in each of the three trial communities which provided answers relating to necessary actions, outcome measures, required resources and identifying those needed to be responsible for the actions.

The key elements of this approach undertaken by the Safe Eyes facilitators involve:

  • Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to reinforce community ownership of the action planning.
  • Respecting traditional knowledge and values.
  • Supporting rather than directing the change process.
  • Allowing time for change to occur.

The Safe Eyes program assumes that each community’s attempt to lead and own the elimination of trachoma and other communicable disease through hygiene and environmental health actions is based on the following principles:

  • Long term investment in, and commitment to change in public health behaviours at the individual, family (home) and broader community levels.
  • Community-led and owned solutions are sustainable because they are embedded in the community itself, since these solutions have actively valued and included local context within their development.

Evaluation

An external consultant has been engaged to evaluate the Safe Eyes model of Aboriginal leadership, community engagement and ownership within the three trial community sites.

This evaluation is essential to understanding and articulating how such a model of engagement, ownership and leadership may be applied and replicated within the 140+ trachoma-at-risk communities throughout remote and regional Australia.[1] The evaluation will document and assess the significant contextual factors at each of the three trial sites that have contributed to the successful development of community engagement, ownership and Aboriginal leadership in regard to the Safe Eyes program.[2]

[1] Australian Trachoma Surveillance Report 2013. Kirby Institute. University of New South Wales: p.10.

[2] The external evaluation of the ATA’s model of engagement, ownership and leadership will be completely distinct from the identification and development of measures of success undertaken within each trial community’s action plan.

NACCHO Report 3 of 4 . Ear and Hearing Health Project

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to 10 times more than those for non-Indigenous Australians.

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to ear infections. The most common ear disease among Aboriginal Children is otitis media (OM), which is inflammation or infection of the middle ear, typically caused by bacterial and viralpathogens.

Ear infections are responsible for the bulk of hearing problems with lifelong consequences, many of which are preventable and treatable if diagnosed early.

Overview

NACCHOs Ear and Hearing Project, aimed to coordinate the development and delivery of Ear and Hearing Health Skill Set Training for up to 115 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.

The Project was funded under the Commonwealth Governments ‘Improving Eye and Ear Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment Outcomes’ – a COAG measure, which also supported its implementation. The overall measure aimed to improve the early detection and treatment of eye and ear health conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, leading to improved education and employment outcomes.

NACCHO received funding for five phases of the project by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Section of the Department of Health.

Selecting Registered Training Organisations

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) were selected through a rigorous selection panel process with representatives from NACCHO, Department of Health and Hearing Services Australia.

The selection process was strict and services had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a registered training provided – preference was be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
  • Have the capacity and scope to deliver the Ear and Hearing Skill Set for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care training.
  • Provide qualified trainer and assessors to deliver Ear and Hearing Skill Set training.
  • Deliver the training within the required timeframe – April – October 2015.
  • Provide confirmation of training dates.
  • Be willing to take on bursary scheme participant/s as part of the delivery of training.
  • Take on eligible students to complete the training (list supplied by NACCHO).
  • Deliver training within the allocated budget.
  • Supply RTO details and provider number.
  • Lodgement of proposal by the closing date.

Outcomes

Four Registered Training Organistations rated as suitable to deliver training on behalf of NACCHO.

The successful organisations were:

  1. Central Australian Remote Health Development Service Ltd, Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
  2. Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia.
  3. The Aboriginal Health College, Sydney, New South Wales.
  4. Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc.

Ear and Hearing Health Training

The Ear and Hearing Health Skill Set Training was conducted over a two-week period and provided a pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to specialise in the provision of ear and hearing health. Additionally, the skill set units provide credit towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care qualifications at the Certificate IV level or higher.

NACCHO coordinated 100 Aboriginal Health Worker Ear and Hearing Training which were delivered in Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Cairns, Perth, Dubbo, Sydney, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Adelaide.

Due to Sorry Business, minimal trainees participated in Darwin with training in Katherine cancelled all together.

NACCHO Report 4 of 4 Quality use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The Quality Use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (QUMAX) program is a collaboration between NACCHO and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGoA) with funding provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA). Through the 6CPA, the QUMAX program received 12 months funding.

What is QUMAX?

The QUMAX Program aims to improve health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who attend participating Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in major cities, inner and outer regional areas.

QUMAX achieves this through the allocation of funding to participating ACCHOs to reduce barriers experienced by their clients to Quality Use of Medicines. There are seven support categories specified under the 6CPA:

  1. a) Dose Administration Aids Agreements b) Flexible Funding
  2. Quality Use of Medicine Pharmacy Support
  3. Home Medicine Reviews (HMR) models of support
  4. Quality Use of Medicine Devices
  5. Quality Use of Medicine Education
  6. Cultural Education
  7. Transport

In 2015-2016, QUMAX engaged with over 50 per cent of NACCHO member organisations. This equated to 76 ACCHOs across each State and Territory participating in the program reaching 219,486 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Challenges

The 2015-2016 QUMAX cycle has been a particularly challenging. The delay in notification of the 6CPA caused significant delays to the time sensitive QUMAX program cycle, placing additional administrative burden on NACCHO from a National Coordination stand point; and also at the ACCHO grassroots service delivery level.

The QUMAX program team supported ACCHOs through the completion and submission of their work plans and reporting requirements for this period. Despite these challenges, all program deliverables were met.

NACCHOs, QUMAX Programme: Quality use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People report was published in March 2016 highlighting the value and effectiveness of QUMAX for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients of participating ACCHOs.

Funding for QUMAX is and remains capped at 11 million dollars for the five year (2010-2015) 5CPA agreement. Although funding has increased annually, it has not been sufficient in meeting the ongoing needs of patients requiring support through the program. Coupled with additional financial investment provided by ACCHOs across the 2013-2015 financial years, the report indicated that a higher level of funding is needed.

Key outcomes from the report:

  • 81 organisations participated in the QUMAX program from 2010 to 2015.
  • ACCHOs reported greater uptake of QUMAX supported activities for which funding has not kept pace.
  • Program participants are evenly distributed across major cities and inner and outer regional areas.
  • Across the seven support categories:
  • The highest proportion has been allocated to Dose Administration Aids for complex medications (50 per cent).
  • Asthma masks and spacers, nebulisers and peak flow meters are the most highly used device with over 22,500 being provided.
  • 21 per cent of funds have been used for transport assistance for clients to acquire medications. It was noted that 80 per cent of contracted pharmacies are located over one kilometre away from ACCHO clinics.
  • 508 community pharmacies participated as Dose Administration Aids contracted pharmacies.
  • Community Pharmacies actively participated in improving their own cultural awareness and support for client education on medications.

NACCHO continues to work towards ensuring the QUMAX Program, and quality use of medicine support to ACCHOs continues throughout the 6CPA.

The full report is available on the NACCHO website http://www.naccho.org.au/wp-content/uploads/QUMAX-Report-Final-2016-04-10-hiq.pdf

Learn more about these NACCHO programs  at the  NACCHO Members Conference in Melbourne

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1. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released -Download
2. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
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NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Ear Health : Innovative partnership tackles hearing and speech barriers for Aboriginal kids

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When kids can’t hear in school and can’t properly participate in society it creates all kinds of problems. Their language skills don’t develop as quickly, they don’t sleep well, they have to take more time off, they can misbehave and their education can fall behind,”

“I’m really pleased that we are no longer just talking about the problems; instead we are helping to change the record for hundreds of kids and their families thanks to the HEALS program. This offers a model to help close the gap that has been shown to work – it’s a good news story for improving urban Aboriginal child health “

CEO of Campbelltown’s Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation Mr Darryl Wright said delivering ENT and speech-language services to at-risk Aboriginal children was life-changing.

Picture above : SEARCH participant Marla Rai Lett

The SEARCH partners are: The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council, the Sax Institute, leading researchers across Australian universities and four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services:

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation (Campbelltown),  Awabakal Ltd (Newcastle), Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (Wagga Wagga) and Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (Mt Druitt).

Hundreds of urban Aboriginal children have benefited from an innovative partnership program established to tackle speech and hearing difficulties, in a model that could be part of a broader solution for long-term health.

Established in 2013, the Hearing EAr health and Language Services (HEALS) program is a partnership between Aboriginal community controlled health services, researchers and hospitals in NSW. Funded by NSW Health, it has delivered over 7000 speech and language services and ear operations to almost 800 urban Aboriginal children. These services have been delivered by the Sydney Childrens’ Hospitals Network.

A new research paper published today in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health shows it is a model that could be scaled up to benefit even more Aboriginal kids and families.

HEALS is an outcome of the largest ongoing study of urban Aboriginal children ever conducted, the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child health (SEARCH). SEARCH, which involves 1600 urban Aboriginal children and their families, provided the first robust data that over 40% of children under 8 had significant speech and language impairments and/or ear health problems.

The study was able to identify children attending the participating community controlled health services who were in most need of hearing and speech services.

SEARCH directly addresses the huge information gap about the health of urban Aboriginal families, which exists even though more than three quarters of Aboriginal people in NSW live in urban areas.

Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, a paediatrician from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, co-ordinates HEALS delivery of surgery and speech and language services.

“Indigenous children experience middle ear disease earlier, more often and with more complications than non-Indigenous children. Left untreated it can lead to hearing loss, speech and language delays and hamper the kids’ ability to learn,” he said.

“The partnership model in this program is what makes the HEALS model work so effectively. Working together, and with funding from the NSW Ministry of Health, we have almost eliminated the waiting lists at the centres where we are working.”

SEARCH Study Director Dr Sumi Mutthaya who is based at the Sax Institute – one of SEARCH’s founding partners – said the success of the HEALS program showed the importance of developing long-term research partnerships like SEARCH, to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

“SEARCH aims to do much more than better understand the causes of ill-health and disease among urban Aboriginal children – it’s designed so that the information is actually put to use to drive real improvements in services and health outcomes for Aboriginal people. This is exactly what is happening with the HEALS program.”

Find out more

About SEARCH

The Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) is creating a long-term platform for closing the gap. The largest ongoing study of urban Aboriginal children ever conducted, SEARCH aims to do two equally important things: better understand the causes of health and disease among urban Aboriginal children and their families; and use this information to drive real improvements in services and health outcomes for Aboriginal people. It is an active partnership between Aboriginal health services and researchers, where health services set the research priorities and guide how data is collected, interpreted and used.

The SEARCH partners are: The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council, the Sax Institute, leading researchers across Australian universities and four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services: Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation (Campbelltown), Awabakal Ltd (Newcastle), Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation (Wagga Wagga) and Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (Mt Druitt).

NACCHO #NTRC Aboriginal Children’s Health : Update this weeks community consultations Royal Commission #DonDaleKids

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Indigenous infants were still suffering damage to brain growth from the impact on parenting on the colonial frontier with “trans-generational psychic trauma” disabling normal pathways of neurological maturation and effecting the capacity to manage stress.

A back of the envelope extrapolation on the figures of keeping children in detention or out-of-home care was also in the tens of millions,”

Paediatrician and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle, John Boulton

Picture above : The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was told by several speakers at a public meeting in Darwin that the Department of Families and Children was “broken” and should be shut. Photo: Glenn Campbell Reported by SMH

Next weeks Community Consultations

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Eighty per cent of boys at the controversial Don Dale Youth Detention Centre had been sexually abused prior to their incarceration.

This was one of the bewildering claims made at a public meeting in Darwin where speaker after speaker attacked NT governments for cutting funds to child protection and allowing generations of public servants to take Indigenous children away from families reports by SMH Damien Murphy          

Many said the Department of Families and Children was “broken” and should be shut.

Most demanded that care of Indigenous children be the sole preserve of kin and were highly critical of favouritism given to white foster families who they claimed were not subjected to the same checks and balances by a public service culture that existed to perpetuate itself.

“You want to know why our kids end up in Don Dale? This is a new generation of stolen children,” a woman who said she had been subjected to undue red tape when applying to take a relative into care.

Stuart Davidson, the first deputy superintendent of Don Dale, said 80 per cent of teenagers under his care at the centre had been sexually abused prior to their incarceration.

“The system just didn’t recognise the trauma it is dealing with. And gradually those charged with looking after the boys started to reflect the lack of care of the management and, ultimately, the politicians.”

Welfare worker Lindsay Ah Mat said political parties courted the black vote when it suited them: “But soon as they get it they piss all over us.”

The meeting on Friday at Darwin’s Marrara Sports Complex was called by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory as part of its community consultation program. It followed three days of public hearings this week.

The royal commission came in the wake of a July Four Corners program with footage showing teenagers at the Don Dale being tear gassed and one in a spit hood handcuffed to a chair.

One of the whistleblowers behind the Four Corners report, Darwin lawyer John Lawrence, told Fairfax Media the royal commission was on track to succeed where scores of other government inquiries on child protection had failed.

“This royal commission exists due to the failure of those in authority in the Territory to stand up for what is right,” he said.

“We’re all guilty. Lawyers, judges, politicians … We’re supposed to protect society. How did we get to a place where a spit hood is an appropriate way to treat a child? Years of complacency gave way to complicity and now process and budgets have usurped principles and ethics.”

The elite of the NT legal fraternity on Tuesday gathered in the NT Parliament just hours after the royal commission sat for the first time in the neighbouring Supreme Court building. One of the few Indigenous people present, James Parfitt, gave a welcome to country and then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Marilyn Warren, delivered an oration honouring Austin Asche, a doyen of the Darwin legal establishment, on the topic of young people offending in which she tip-toed around the royal commission.

Down the road in Mitchell Street, an Irish pub and restaurants Thailicious, Hunaman and Monsoon chased tourist dollars while Indigenous men and women sat on footpaths begging, singing and playing clapsticks, their songs drowned out by Neil Diamond and Dire Straits on sound systems.

Life went on in Darwin as if the royal commission was some unwanted outsider. Local media carried the stories but not prominently. One witness, Lowitja Institute chairwoman, Pat Anderson, suggested to the commission the dearth of local interest was shown by the fact that a crocodile story was on the morning’s NT News front page. A desultory process was staged the first day outside the Supreme Court.

The first three days of hearings saw bureaucrats and health professionals give evidence of the plethora of reports carried out on child protection for NT governments. Many were shelved or not acted upon. Meanwhile, funds to child welfare agencies continued to be cut by the federal governments and the Darwin administration failed to step in.

Commissioners were also told of the role that hearing loss and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder had come to play in the lives of teenagers in detention in the NT.

Paediatrician and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle, John Boulton, cited research he conducted in the Kimberley on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder saying communities were breaking down, especially since the 1980s when women started drinking.

“A back of the envelope extrapolation on the figures of keeping children in detention or out-of-home care was also in the tens of millions,” Professor Boulton said.

He said Indigenous infants were still suffering damage to brain growth from the impact on parenting on the colonial frontier with “trans-generational psychic trauma” disabling normal pathways of neurological maturation and effecting the capacity to manage stress.

Commissioners also heard 94 per cent of Indigenous prisoners suffered impaired hearing and research found six out of 10 boys at the notorious Don Dale Detention Centre had hearing difficulties.

A deaf Indigenous community consultant, Jodie Barney, slammed the use of spit hoods and handcuffs on young offenders shown on Four Corners.

“I have had a few young people who have had a spit hood and they have also been bound. So therefore their form of communication is lost in every sense of the word,” she said.

The commission continues with community consultation meetings next week and will conduct further hearings next month.

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