Aboriginal Eye Health #NDW2017 : Fact check: Has trachoma among Indigenous kids fallen from 20pc to 4pc ?

” On the final day of the Uluru convention on a referendum for Indigenous constitutional recognition, former prime minister Kevin Rudd spoke to the ABC about Indigenous disadvantage since his National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

Mr Rudd told Radio National on May 26: “One of the programs that we established back then was to eliminate trachoma amongst Indigenous young people. Twenty thousand kids were suffering from trachoma back then at about a 20, 25 per cent rate. We’re now down to about four per cent.”

Is Mr Rudd correct about the incidence and decline of trachoma among Indigenous young people? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates

Originally Published HERE

NACCHO Declaration

Read over 40 NACCHO Eye Health articles we have published over 5 years

 ” The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision has played a part in prompting actions that contribute to this improvement. The Roadmap outlines a whole of system approach to improving Indigenous eye health, and achieving equity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal eye health outcomes.

There is however still work to be done on Closing the Gap for Vision. For example, half of Indigenous participants with diabetes had not had the recommended retinal examination.

NACCHO has been involved with the Roadmap from its inception, and had a long relationship with Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne, and with RANZCO. We’re pleased with the great work and good progress being made.”

 Ms Patricia Turner, Chief Executive Officer, of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) launching  The 2016 Annual Update on the Implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision November 2016

 

The verdict

Mr Rudd’s claim is overstated.

In saying that 20,000 kids were suffering from trachoma, Mr Rudd appears to have used data for the number of children living in communities judged to be at risk of having endemic trachoma. The number of children estimated to have trachoma in 2009 was about 3,000.

His rate of 20 to 25 per cent “back then” is supported by a prevalence figure of 21 per cent contained in a 2008 report. However, the rates for 2007 and 2009 were each 14 per cent, and the report for 2009 cautions about the reliability of the 2008 data.

Rates of trachoma among Indigenous children in at-risk communities have declined steadily since 2009. The claim that rates have fallen to about four per cent is supported by recent reliable data.

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is a contagious infection of the eye that, with repeated long-term infections, can result in the eyelashes turning inwards and scratching the cornea, leading to blindness.

Trachoma affects children and preschool-aged children in particular. It is commonly spread through nose and eye secretions, occurs in areas with poor community and personal hygiene, and is associated with overcrowding and reduced access to water.

Australia is the only developed country where trachoma is still endemic, and it occurs primarily in remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.

What program did the Rudd government establish?

Professor Hugh Taylor is the Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at Melbourne University and when Mr Rudd announced the policy in 2009 he was head of the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit, which receives funding from the Federal Department of Health.

Professor Taylor told Fact Check that “after years of either inaction or ineffective action, in 2009 Kevin Rudd committed to eliminate trachoma in Australia by the year 2020”.

Australia adopted a trachoma eradication strategy in line with the World Health Organisation’s 1998 global strategy and based on its SAFE guidelines. SAFE stands for [S]urgery to repair inward eye lashes, [A]ntibiotics, promotion of [F]acial cleanliness, and [E]nvironmental improvements in hygiene and water access.

Mr Rudd’s office told Fact Check the policy he was referring to was a $58 million commitment made in February 2009 to “help tackle eye and ear diseases in Indigenous communities”, with a major focus on trachoma eradication.

The funding was to be allocated over four years, and according to a press release at the time, included “a major increase in services to address trachoma, which will enable at least 10 regional teams to treat and help prevent the disease in NT, WA, SA and other states where trachoma is identified”.

The 2009-10 federal budget papers spell out $58.4 million in funding over four years for “improving eye and ear health services for Indigenous Australians”.

According to the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit, in 2009 the Government committed $16 million over four years towards eliminating trachoma in Australia, and in 2013 committed a further $16.5 million.

The source of the claim

When contacted by Fact Check, Mr Rudd’s spokeswoman said reports for 2008 and 2015 by the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit were the source of his claim.

Fact Check was unable to find another consistent, national source of data on the prevalence of trachoma in Indigenous communities. Experts confirmed that there was not any other reliable source.

In the unit’s data collection process, communities are classified as being at risk or not at risk of trachoma and screening of the disease focuses on the at-risk communities.

Screening is administered by local health officials who report the data back to the surveillance and reporting unit for collation and analysis.

Coverage of trachoma screening of at-risk communities has increased over time, due to the increasing level of resourcing of the trachoma eradication program.

20,000 kids with trachoma?

Mr Rudd’s February 2009 media release contains the sentence: “Approximately 20,000 Indigenous children suffer from trachoma in Australia.”

Mr Rudd’s office told Fact Check that “in 2009, it would appear the material provided by the Health Department to the Government referred to 20,000 kids suffering from trachoma”.

His spokeswoman pointed to a May 2009 media release from the then Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin which contained the same sentence and a July 2009 speech by the then parliamentary secretary for social inclusion Ursula Stephens who said: “Trachoma affects approximately 20,000 Indigenous children — a stunning statistic and one that is confronting to government.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health told Fact Check that “the number of children screened and found to have active trachoma was 997 in 2008 and 575 in 2009”, and “we can confirm that the figure of 20,000 children relates to the number of children resident in potentially at-risk communities (population data), not those screened and found to have trachoma”.

The National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit’s report for 2009 says there were “20,155 children aged one to nine years resident in the 232 at-risk communities”.

Of these children, 4,116, or 20 per cent, were screened and 575 children had trachoma.

“If those 4,116 children screened were a representative sample of all 20,155 children resident in all at-risk communities, the additional number of children estimated to have trachoma across the three jurisdictions lies between 2,045 and 2,448,” the report said.

It appears that all three ministers were referring to statistics available at the time about the number of children at risk of contracting trachoma, not the number who were suffering from trachoma.

Professor Taylor told Fact Check that “the estimate in 2008 was that there were 20,000 kids in remote communities considered to be at risk of trachoma”.

“This is a rubbery figure because not all the communities had been examined,” he added.

The prevalence of trachoma in 2008

The executive summary of the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit’s 2008 report says that “the prevalence of active trachoma in those communities from which data were reported was 21 per cent”.

Of 287 remote Aboriginal communities, 235 were identified as at risk of trachoma in 2008, and 121 were screened and reported data.

The 2008 report focused on the prevalence of trachoma in Indigenous children aged one to nine years old.

Fact Check notes that both the 2007 and 2009 reports show the trachoma prevalence in Aboriginal children aged one to nine years old in communities that reported data in those years to be 14 per cent.

The discussion section of the 2009 report says that “in 2008, there was an abrupt two-fold increase in trachoma prevalence in NT, and an equally abrupt seven-fold decrease in trachoma prevalence in SA, compared with past years. Both of these sudden changes were reversed in 2009”.

The report says the variation in the numbers “suggests that the data from 2008 might be problematic”.

Professor Taylor told Fact Check that “there is an inconsistency in the data and it’s appropriate to acknowledge it, but those are the data that we have, and those are the data that we must use”.

Carleigh Cowling, senior surveillance officer with the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit, said the Northern Territory intervention had an impact on the collection of the data in 2008.

“During the intervention, the trachoma screening program was taken over by unusual bodies, whose training was questionable,” she said, adding that “data collected by those teams were not presented in the 2008 report, which does make the data presented problematic”.

The prevalence of trachoma today

The most recent report from the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit, published in June 2016 and containing data for 2015, shows that 139 communities were identified as being at risk of trachoma, a decrease of 96 communities since 2008.

Of these 139 communities, 67 were screened and reported data.

The 2015 report focused on children aged five to nine, though reports prior to 2010 focused on children aged one to nine. “It’s an assumption that one to four-year-olds are similar,” Professor John Kaldor, the current head of the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting unit, now part of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, said.

Professor Taylor and Ms Cowling both told Fact Check that though the 2008 report focuses on children aged one to nine and the 2015 report on children aged five to nine, this will have little impact on the comparability of the data from those years.

The results, for children aged five to nine as against one to nine reported in 2008, reveal that the prevalence of trachoma in the communities that screened was 3.7 per cent. The prevalence “using the most recent data carried forward in all at-risk communities” was 4.6 per cent.

The 3.7 per cent is for at-risk communities that screened in 2015, and the 4.6 per cent is for all at-risk communities, meaning those that screened and those that didn’t screen that year but are considered at risk based on previous data.

Professor Kaldor said policy guidelines changed in 2014 so that if a community had high rates of trachoma several years in a row, resources were shifted towards treatment rather than screening.

He and Professor Taylor both agreed that the current prevalence of trachoma among children in affected communities was about 4 per cent.

Professor Kaldor said of hotspots that still exist in Central Australia: “While the drug azithromycin is a big part of combating the disease, there’s the whole issue of fulfilling the other parts of the SAFE strategy to sustainably improve facilities and living conditions.”

“If these are not addressed, the impact of treatment may be short-lived.”

Professor Taylor told Fact Check that “since 2008 we’ve made considerable progress”.

“If you look at closing the gap, it’s actually one area where you can say we’ve made considerable progress,” he said.

Sources

NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health #NRW2017 : Download @aihw First National Report on Indigenous Eye Health Measures

“The three main causes of vision impairment in adults were uncorrected refractive error, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.

On the positive side, the report indicates that more Indigenous Australians are accessing eye health services provided through specific service programs.

The report finds that in 2014-15 more Indigenous Australians received an eye examination than in the previous twelve months; that the gap in accessing cataract surgery compared to non-Indigenous Australians is narrowing; and the rate of blindness for Indigenous Australians has decreased from 1.9 per cent in 2008 to 0.3 per cent in 2016.

While the report shows improvements are being made in Closing the Gap in Indigenous eye health, more needs to be done.”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt

Download the  First National Report on Indigenous Eye Health Measures AIHW Indigenous Eye Health

Over 40 NACCHO articles about Indigenous Eye Health

Eye diseases and vision problems are common long-term health conditions experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, today welcomed the release of a report that looks at the effectiveness of national eye health programs.

Launching the Indigenous Eye Health Measures 2016 report, released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Minister Wyatt said that one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported one or more long-term eye conditions in 2016.

“This report is important because from here we can build an evidence base for monitoring changes in Indigenous eye health, and identify service delivery gaps at the regional level,” Minister Wyatt said.

Summary

Key findings in the report reveal that:

  • This first national report on the Indigenous eye health measures compiles data from a range of sources and presents findings at the national, state and regional levels.
  • In 2016 the prevalence of bilateral vision impairment for Indigenous Australians aged 40 and over was 10.5% and the prevalence of bilateral blindness was 0.3% (both affecting an estimated 18,300 Indigenous Australians aged 40 and over).
  • The 3 leading causes of vision impairment for older Indigenous adults were refractive error (63%), cataract (20%) and diabetic retinopathy (5.5%).
  • Repeated untreated trachoma infections are a cause of vision loss in some remote Indigenous communities, but the prevalence of active trachoma in children aged 5–9 in at-risk communities fell from 14% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2015.
  • The age-standardised proportion of Indigenous Australians who had had an eye examination by an eye-care professional in the preceding 12 months increased from 13% in 2005–06 to 15% in 2014–15.
  • There were 6,404 hospitalisations (4.5 per 1,000) of Indigenous Australians for eye procedures in the two year period 2013—15.
  • Between 2005–07 and 2013–15 the age-standardised Indigenous hospitalisation rate for cataract surgery increased by over 40% from 4,918 to 7,052 per 1,000,000.
  • In 2014–15, the median waiting time for elective cataract surgery was 142 days for Indigenous Australians, with 3.4% of Indigenous Australians who waited for more than 1 year for cataract surgery.
  • Hospitalisation rates for cataract surgery were higher for Indigenous Australians in Remote and Very remote areas combined, while waiting times were longest in Inner regional areas.
  • The number of occasions of service for Indigenous patients under the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS) almost tripled between 2009–10 and 2014–15 rising from 6,975 to 18,890.

Comparison with non-Indigenous Australians

  • Indigenous Australians suffered from vision impairment or blindness at 3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, based on age-standardised rates.
  • In 2014–15, a lower proportion of Indigenous Australians (15%) had had an eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist in the preceding 12 months compared with non-Indigenous Australians (20%), based on age-standardised rates.
  • Indigenous Australians had a lower age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for eye diseases compared with non-Indigenous Australians (10 and 13 per 1,000, respectively), but 3 times the rate for injuries to the eye (1.3 and 0.4 per 1,000, respectively).
  • Indigenous Australians also had a lower age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for cataract surgery than non-Indigenous Australians (7,044 and 8,415 per 1,000,000, respectively).
  • In 2014–15, the median waiting time in days for those who had elective cataract surgery was longer for Indigenous Australians (142) than for non-Indigenous Australians (84).

“We now have a very valuable source of data we can use to improve eye health through better detection, management and treatment of eye disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

The Indigenous Eye Health Measures report is the first national report on the Indigenous eye health measures.

It brings together comprehensive data from a range of sources and presents this information at the national, state and regional level.

The Australian Government is investing around $72 million over 2013-14 to 2020-21 to improve eye health for Indigenous Australians.

More information about the Indigenous Eye Health Measures 2016 report is available on the AIHW website at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #EyeHealth : 10 Recommendations to improve eye health services in remote Aboriginal communities.

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” According to data from the 2016 National Eye Health Survey (NEHS), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have a greater burden of eye disease, with three times the rate of blindness and three times the rate of vision loss than the non-Indigenous population.[1] Uncorrected refractive error causes almost two thirds of vision impairment, and cataract is the leading cause of blindness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide comment to the Productivity Commission (the Commission) regarding its Inquiry into introducing competition and informed user choice into human services (the Inquiry).

Download this full submission here :

vision-2020-australia_productivity-commission_reforms-to-human-services_feb17_final-rtf

Vision 2020 Australia’s response to the Inquiry predominantly relates to improving outcomes in relation to eye health services provided in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Additionally, almost 40 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who need cataract surgery have not accessed specialised treatment services (compared to 13 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians), and approximately half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants with diabetes were found not to be having an eye examination at the frequency recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The eye health and vision care sector supports the principle put forward by the Australian Government that refers to introducing informed user choice in these communities. However, the sector has identified a number of challenges posed by the principle of introducing competition in the provision of eye health services in remote communities; due to issues such as the fragmented or duplicated delivery of these services.

In the following submission, Vision 2020 Australia outlines ten recommendations which, if implemented fully, would ensure that eye health and vision care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improved through better access to effective and reliable services.

Note all 10 recommendation are in this submissions

Recommendation 8

That ACCHOs are offered fair opportunities to compete with non-Indigenous health organisations during competitive tendering processes.

Vision 2020 Australia notes that, in the context of eye health in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, reforms intended to introduce greater user choice and competition do not necessarily result in positive outcomes. For example, in remote areas, increased competition when providing outreach services can in some cases lead to fragmented service coordination. Vision 2020 Australia therefore contends that mechanisms and approaches to introduce greater competition, contestability and user choice need to be carefully considered.

In remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities delivering services collaboratively and in partnership with ACCHOs, and ensuring that the communities are consulted and involved in the design of policies and programs that impact them, is integral.

Furthermore, Vision 2020 Australia notes that the 2015 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee inquiry into the impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability of the Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering found that competitive tender processes disadvantage ACCHOs and do not fully take into account their value and expertise.[1] It is therefore vital that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are offered fair opportunities to compete with non-Indigenous organisations.

[1] “Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering processes,” Parliament of Australia, accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Commonwealth_Indigenous.

Vision 2020 Australia

Vision 2020 Australia is the peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, representing around 50 member organisations involved in: local and global eye care; health promotion; low vision support; vision rehabilitation; eye research; professional assistance and community support.

This submission has been developed in collaboration with the Vision 2020 Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (the Committee).

The Committee provides a platform for members to collaborate and shape the direction of Vision 2020 Australia’s systemic advocacy related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health and vision care.

The Committee supports and promotes The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision (the Roadmap), developed by Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne, and works closely with the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and its affiliates to ensure its strategies are consistent with priorities identified by Aboriginal Medical Services providers in States and Territories.[2]

Vision 2020 Australia supports the submissions put forward by our member organisations, namely Indigenous Eye Health and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Vision 2020 Australia notes that, in the context of eye health in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, reforms intended to introduce greater user choice and competition do not necessarily result in positive outcomes

. For example, in remote areas, increased competition when providing outreach services can in some cases lead to fragmented service coordination. Vision 2020 Australia therefore contends that mechanisms and approaches to introduce greater competition, contestability and user choice need to be carefully considered.

In remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities delivering services collaboratively and in partnership with ACCHOs, and ensuring that the communities are consulted and involved in the design of policies and programs that impact them, is integral.

Furthermore, Vision 2020 Australia notes that the 2015 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee inquiry into the impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability of the Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering found that competitive tender processes disadvantage ACCHOs and do not fully take into account their value and expertise.[1] It is therefore vital that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are offered fair opportunities to compete with non-Indigenous organisations.

[1] “Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering processes,” Parliament of Australia, accessed February 14, 2017. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Commonwealth_Indigenous.

Summary of recommendations

Vision 2020 Australia has ten recommendations which, if implemented fully, would ensure that eye health and vision care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improved through the provision of better access to effective and reliable services.

Recommendation 1
That the Australian Government allocates additional funding to address existing barriers to accessing specialist eye health services in rural and remote areas.
Recommendation 2
That the Australian Government undertakes capacity building for ophthalmic telehealth services.
Recommendation 3
That the Australian Government modifies existing IT infrastructure in remote facilities catering to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to facilitate efficient and effective telehealth services.
Recommendation 4
That the Australian Government facilitates the introduction of electronic patient record systems targeted for use in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with linkages to the broader health system.
Recommendation 5
That the Australian Government provides funding for additional staff trained in the provision of eye health services for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Recommendation 6
That the Australian Government regularly reviews and provides ongoing funding to the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS).
Recommendation 7
That Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are consulted and involved in the design of policies and programs that impact them.
Recommendation 8
That ACCHOs are offered fair opportunities to compete with non-Indigenous health organisations during competitive tendering processes.
Recommendation 9
That governments ensure that the Aboriginal community controlled sector is a key player in the delivery of culturally safe health services.
Recommendation 10
That services provided to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are integrated and coordinated so as to ensure an effective patient pathway where comorbidities can be effectively assessed and treated.

 

[1] Foreman, J., et al, 2016, The National Eye Health Survey Report 2016, The Centre for Eye Research Australia and Vision 2020 Australia, Melbourne.

[2] Taylor HR, Anjou MD, Boudville AI, McNeil RJ, 2013, The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, Indigenous Eye Health Unit, Melbourne School of Population Health,The University of Melbourne

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

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NACCHO Save a date NEW featured event

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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

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22 February Understanding Racism survey Opens

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Complete Survey Here

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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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:

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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” 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
 
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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
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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

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

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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

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

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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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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

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Download the Rate card and make booking HERE

16 March: National 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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” 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
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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
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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 Eye Health : A game changer for #eye care for #diabetes

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” Diabetes is also a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Indigenous people and causes 12% of vision loss cases and 9% of blindness cases — rates that are 14 times higher than those in the non-Indigenous population.4

There are many reasons why Indigenous people with diabetes do not receive the appropriate care they need; the Roadmap to close the gap for vision lists 35 individual problems that need to be dealt with to provide this care.7,8

Professor Hugh Taylor

As published MJA : Non-mydriatic photography may be the key to accessible eye care for references

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision has played a part in prompting actions that contribute to this improvement. The Roadmap outlines a whole of system approach to improving Indigenous eye health, and achieving equity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal eye health outcomes.

There is however still work to be done on Closing the Gap for Vision. For example, half of Indigenous participants with diabetes had not had the recommended retinal examination.

NACCHO has been involved with the Roadmap from its inception, and had a long relationship with Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne, and with RANZCO. We’re pleased with the great work and good progress being made.”

 Ms Patricia Turner, Chief Executive Officer, of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) launching  The 2016 Annual Update on the Implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision November 2016

Download a copy cover

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Every patient with diabetes is at risk of losing vision, but up to 98% of the cases of severe vision loss could be prevented.1 At any given time, about a third of patients with diabetes will have diabetic retinopathy, and one in ten will experience sight-threatening retinopathy requiring prompt treatment.2

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines recommend an eye examination every 2 years for non-Indigenous Australians with diabetes, and annual examinations for Indigenous people with diabetes.3

However, approximately only half of non-Indigenous patients with diabetes and only one in five of Indigenous Australians with diabetes receive the recommended eye examinations.4

Although the prevalence rates of diabetes have increased dramatically in Australia over recent years, they have increased even more so among Indigenous people. In the 1970s, the prevalence of diabetes among Indigenous people was one-tenth that of non-Indigenous people,5 and now it is about five times higher.6

For patients with diabetes, maintaining good vision is an essential goal. Not only is good vision important in its own right but, without it, patients cannot manage their diabetes, look after medications, check blood sugars, check their feet and attend clinic appointments unassisted, let alone manage home dialysis.

Diabetes is also a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Indigenous people and causes 12% of vision loss cases and 9% of blindness cases — rates that are 14 times higher than those in the non-Indigenous population.

4 There are many reasons why Indigenous people with diabetes do not receive the appropriate care they need; the Roadmap to close the gap for vision lists 35 individual problems that need to be dealt with to provide this care.7,8

Consistent with the Roadmap is an important announcement in the May 2016 federal Budget of the new Medicare items for non-mydriatic photography (listed in November 2016), which will enable easy and affordable eye screening within the primary care setting for patients with diabetes.9 This is a very important development and a game changer for both non-Indigenous and Indigenous people with diabetes.

The new item numbers cover a test of visual acuity and a retinal photograph.9 Patients with abnormalities in the eye will need to be referred to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. Patients with a normal eye examination will be reviewed again according to the NHMRC recommendations.

Non-mydriatic cameras are now readily available, and most are at least semi-automatic, making them easier to use by clinic staff. Moreover, non-mydriatic cameras do not require the use of dilating drops, which facilitates patient assessment.

The patient does not need to wait and there is no discomfort of blurry vision for several hours as the drops wear off. Testing visual acuity and taking a retinal photograph in the primary care setting means that a separate specialist appointment is not required, and the eye examination can be easily incorporated into the care plan.

If the vision is found to be impaired or a photograph cannot be obtained, then the patient requires a comprehensive eye examination and should be referred to a specialist, as in the case of visible signs of retinopathy.

This method provides real benefits to patients because the eye examination becomes an integral part of their normal care, avoiding in many cases the need for an additional eye examination and allowing timely treatment, if required. There is a real advantage for the clinic as well, since they can be sure that their patients are receiving the necessary eye examinations.

Moreover, there are also advantages for optometrists and ophthalmologists, because people with diabetes who particularly need their care — those with retinopathy and vision loss — will be referred, rather than them seeing people for widespread screening.

Of course, it is expected that the overall number of people with diabetes being screened will increase significantly, and that changes in the eye will be found much earlier and severe retinopathy will be avoided.

There is also a tangible advantage to the community through cost savings in the identification and care of retinopathy, which will prevent unnecessary blindness and vision loss.10

The impact will be particularly noted among Indigenous people with diabetes, who represent three-quarters of the Indigenous adults who need an eye examination each year.7,

8 In addition to diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes have an increased risk of cataract and may also need a change in glasses.

To provide adequate eye care to people with diabetes, a referral process for the treatment of retinopathy needs to be established, along with a process of specialist referral for appropriate further investigation and treatment — including post-operative follow-up when required — for those who need cataract surgery or refraction. Those who do not have diabetes will also use these pathways.

The focus on eye care for Indigenous people with diabetes will therefore deal with over 70% of the eye care needs in the community, and it will also assist with providing care for Indigenous patients who do not have diabetes. Again, it is a real game changer.

There are a number of resources to assist with the uptake and promotion of these new services. There are online modules aimed at helping clinic staff learn more about the eye care required for people with diabetes,11,12 for conducting eye examinations and for grading diabetic retinopathy.

In addition, culturally appropriate health promotion material has been specifically developed with close community involvement, which aims to alert and inform patients and the community about the need for regular eye examinations.13

It is said that “what is not measured is not done” and that “what is not monitored cannot be managed”. It is very important that appropriate monitoring and evaluation processes to track performance are put in place at the clinic, regional, jurisdictional and national levels. The diabetic eye screening rate should be a key performance indicator for primary care and diabetes clinics.

The new Medicare item number for non-mydriatic diabetic retinopathy screening is a major advance in closing the gap for vision.

NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health Survey : Fred Hollows Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program (IAP)

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The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program (IAP) is conducting a survey of our partners.

As a valued partner of the IAP , we are keen to understand your views and use these to help us improve.

Completing the survey will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes. The survey is confidential and responses will not be attributed to any individual or organisation.

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The survey is open from Wednesday the 14th of November  to Wednesday the 30th of November 2016.

GO TO SURVEY

The survey consists of four short sections:

  • Section 1 asks you about your relationship with the IAP
  • Section 2 focuses on the IAP’s guiding principles
  • Section 3 asks you about our partnership approach
  • Section 4 focuses on our organisation, processes and people

Your input will be collated in a way that guarantees the anonymity of your responses. The results will help inform the IAP’s continuous improvement process. Depending on the feedback we receive, we expect to make specific program improvements and/or guide specific advocacy messages. Key survey results and how the IAP plans to address them will be disseminated to partners via email early next year.

Please contact myself jbarton@hollows.org  or Alison Rogers arogers@hollows.org if you have any questions.

Completing this survey can helps us make a positive impact on how the IAP works to increase access to eye health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

GO TO SURVEY

Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Jaki Adams-Barton

Manager, Indigenous Australia Program | The Fred Hollows Foundation

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NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health : Annual update -The Roadmap to Indigenous eye health is closing the gap

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 ” Eye health and good vision is an important issue for everyone, but particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It accounts for a significant proportion of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I’m pleased to report that progress is being made.

The National Eye Health Survey, released on World Sight Day this year, also tells an important story. Rates of blindness amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved from 6 times to 3 times as much compared with non-Indigenous people.

And the prevalence of active trachoma among children in at-risk communities fell from 21% in 2008 to 4.6% in 2015.

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision has played a part in prompting actions that contribute to this improvement. The Roadmap outlines a whole of system approach to improving Indigenous eye health, and achieving equity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal eye health outcomes.

There is however still work to be done on Closing the Gap for Vision. For example, half of Indigenous participants with diabetes had not had the recommended retinal examination.

NACCHO has been involved with the Roadmap from its inception, and had a long relationship with Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne, and with RANZCO. We’re pleased with the great work and good progress being made.”

 Ms Patricia Turner, Chief Executive Officer, of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) launching  The 2016 Annual Update on the Implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision

Pat Turner pictured above with Mark Daniell President, RANZCO,  and Prof Hugh Taylor at the launch.

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The gap in blindness in Indigenous communities has been halved since 2008 through collective implementation of the sector-supported Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, according to a report launched yesterday

Speaking at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Annual Scientific Congress in Melbourne, Laureate Professor Hugh R Taylor AC, Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne said that progress is being made on every single recommendation in the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, which was developed by Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne.

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Download copy of the Report 2016-annualupdate

Eleven of the 42 recommendations have now been fully implemented, with almost two thirds of all activities completed.

“In terms of regional implementation of the Roadmap, there has been positive engagement. We are working with 18 regions across the country covering almost half of the nation’s Indigenous population,” Professor Taylor said.

“We can report that at the beginning of this project, we found rates of blindness and impaired vision were up to six times higher than for non-Indigenous populations. This has now been halved,” he said.

“While the rate stands at three times more than the national average, this is still a very encouraging improvement. With on-going national support, we are determined to reach eye health parity with the rest of the Australian population.”

In his role as Chair of Indigenous Eye Health, Professor Taylor is also working with Indigenous leaders, partners and members of the community in a mission to eliminate trachoma in Australia.

“We are the only developed nation with endemic disease and only in Indigenous communities. Many Indigenous communities are now trachoma free and we can turn our attention to other main causes of blindness and poor vision in Indigenous communities: cataract, refractive error and diabetes,” Professor Taylor said.

Since 2008 rates of trachoma in children in outback communities has fallen from 21% to 4.6%. “We are really seeing some striking progress but we still need to focus on the hot spots.”

“The 2016 Roadmap update shows we are making great progress and are on track to close the gap for Indigenous vision completely in the next four years.”

 

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NACCHO #WorldDiabetesDay and Aboriginal Health : ACCHO Members IUIH and Apunipima have #EyesonDiabetes

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Type 2 diabetes affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around three times as much as non-indigenous Australians – they also suffer from more complications and are more likely to die as a result of the condition.

By empowering and inspiring people to take control of their own health via creative and innovative ways such as the CGMS system, we can help reduce the toll of this disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘When you screen, people can find out if they are heading towards diabetes and can take steps to prevent it.  Screening can help identify diabetes early and help prevent complications. It is also an important management strategy to maintain good diabetes control.’

This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is Keep Your Eyes on Diabetes – a sentiment echoed Apunipima’s diabetes team on Cape York

 ” We know that untreated eye disease is a key contributor to preventable blindness among our community and is often caused by other diseases that affect our people such as diabetes and hypertension.

This campaign implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) with funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation will see more people checking in with our optometrists on a regular basis, so we can pick up and treat these diseases early, and close the gap in health outcomes in our community.”

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson says that the program will improve access to preventative eye health services and reduce rates of eye disease : See story 2 Below

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To support World Diabetes Day (November 14)  Apunipima’s Diabetes Educators-  Bernadette Heenan and Cathryn Dowey – presented  at the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference on the benefits of continual glucose monitoring technology (CGMS) which allows Type 2 diabetes clients to ‘see’ when their blood sugar levels change and then alter their behaviour accordingly.

The team (which also includes Diabetes Educator Maureen Toner) is seeing health improvements among their clients thanks to their innovative approach

‘Continuous glucose monitoring involves the person with the disease, enabling them to see (via graphs) what causes their blood sugar to spike beyond a healthy rate,’ said Bernadette.

‘Giving people the power to see what behaviours impact their blood sugar levels gives them the information they need to make healthier choices – we are all about building capacity and supporting the person to make changes that are right for them and their families.’

While this process makes a difference to those suffering from the disease, there is a lot that can be done to prevent people getting diabetes in the first place.

For every person who is diagnosed with diabetes there is one undiagnosed. So the theme this year is screening.

‘When you screen, people can find out if they are heading towards diabetes and can take steps to prevent it.  Screening can help identify diabetes early and help prevent complications. It is also an important management strategy to maintain good diabetes control.’

‘If you are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent you are automatically in higher risk category for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you live remotely your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes go up again. It is vital that everyone in remote Cape York communities, kids, pregnant women, everyone get regularly screened.’

‘Getting in early means the disease and impacts – such as amputation, blindness and kidney failure

– can be prevented or managed.’

Eye health targeted in ‘Deadly Urban Eyes’ campaign

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On 21 September, The Fred Hollows Foundation Founding Director Gabi Hollows launched a campaign to reduce rates of untreated eye disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South East Queensland.

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Picture above : At the launch IUIH CEO Adrian Carson welcomed Gabi and Jaki to the Deadly Choices team by presenting them with a personalised Deadly Choices shirt with The Fred Hollows Foundation featured in the design saying, “We all know how deadly you have to be to get a deadly choices shirt.”

The campaign encourages community members to have regular eye health checks at their local Aboriginal Medical Service. The initiative is being implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) with funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation, and builds on their existing partnership across the region.

The initiative adds a new dimension to the hugely successful Deadly Choices social marketing campaign which has seen an average 50% year-on-year increase in the number of preventative health checks performed at IUIH’s 18 member clinics across South East Queensland.

Regular eye health checks play an important role in reducing the rate of untreated eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, trachoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. People who have their eyes checked as part of the initiative will receive a Deadly Eyes gift pack, including sunglasses, lens cloth and spray, as an incentive.

IUIH Chief Executive Officer Adrian Carson says that the program will improve access to preventative eye health services and reduce rates of eye disease. “Both IUIH and The Fred Hollows Foundation are committed to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can access quality eye health services,” he said.

“We have significantly expanded our frontline eye health services over the past year so that they are now fully integrated across our 18 IUIH member clinics across South East Queensland. Integration of these services into the IUIH Model of Care means we are connected to community and able to refer quickly to specialist services if and when they are needed.”

According to Ms Hollows, the partnership is a successful model for bringing eye health care to communities in South East Queensland, “The Deadly Urban Eyes campaign is a great program that will make a difference in the vital eye health care sector,” she said.

The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program Manager, Jaki Adams-Barton, said the Deadly Choices Eye Check for South East Queensland was an important component of the work The Fred Hollows Foundation is doing Australia-wide, “Our program focuses on reducing rates of cataracts, diabetic retinopathy uncorrected refractive error and trachoma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Getting your eyes checked regularly is key given 94% of vision loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is preventable or treatable if caught early,” said Jaki.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health : CERA researchers win $750,000 to help end endemic eye disease in remote and regional communities

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94% of blindness or vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable and Vision at Home will bring testing to areas with poor access and benefit groups with great potential for sight-saving interventions, including children, the elderly and Indigenous Australians

The largest challenge to preventable eye disease is the lack of access to eye care services in primary healthcare settings, particularly in regional, remote and Indigenous communities. “

Professor Mingguang He, Principal Investigator at CERA

And congratulations to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation winning $250,000 as a finalist . ALNF aims to revolutionise the teaching and learning of literacy in indigenous communities across Australia.

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Researchers from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) have won $750,000 after competing in today’s finals of the 2016 Google Impact Challenge held in Sydney.

The prize money will go towards research for the creation of Vision at Home, an evidence-based software algorithm that provides a method for patients to test their eyesight anywhere there is access to a webcam and the Internet.

“I am thrilled our proposal received such a positive response from the competition judges and the general public,” Professor Mingguang He, Principal Investigator at CERA and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne said.

“Our project is a simple hand-held solution for those who live far away from eye specialists and has the potential to help millions of people not only in Australia but worldwide.

“I also want to thank everyone who voted for our project and Google for their extraordinary generosity,” he said. CERA’s Project Lead and PhD candidate, Dr William Yan who presented the project to the Google judges and received the award said he was ‘absolutely stoked’ to win. “It is just sinking in,” he said immediately after hearing the results.

“Now the goal is to create the solution and help those who can’t easily get to treatment,” Dr Yan said.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates over 600,000 Australians live with vision impairment, a number projected to increase to 1 million by 2024.

CERA plans to first trial the technology with post-operative patients from the Eye and Ear Hospital, with elderly and disability patients across Victoria, and in schools across indigenous community

How you can share  health messages stories about Aboriginal Community Controlled Health issues ?

Closing this week October 28

  • newspaper-promoEditorial OpportunitiesWe are now looking to all our members, programs and sector stakeholders for advertising, compelling articles, eye-catching images and commentary for inclusion in our next edition.Maximum 600 words (word file only) with image

More info and Advertising rate card

or contact nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Or call Colin Cowell 0401 331 251