feature tile 26.11.20 text Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week VIRTUAL TRIVIA & image of vector AIDS awareness ribbons, red, Torres Strait Islander & Aboriginal flag colours

NACCHO Health News Alert: HIV Awareness Week virtual trivia – bring your ‘A’ game

feature tile 26.11.20 text Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week VIRTUAL TRIVIA & image of vector AIDS awareness ribbons, red, Torres Strait Islander & Aboriginal flag colours

HIV Awareness Week virtual trivia – bring your ‘A’ game

Rates of HIV and STI notifications are higher among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population than for the non-Indigenous population.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) is held in the first week of December each year, to coincide with World AIDS Day. It provides an opportunity to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as HIV researchers, doctors, health workers and policy-makers.

This year the University of Queensland’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and NACCHO are co-hosting ATSIHAW Virtual Trivia. This event will be hosted via Zoom, with a special guest presenter to be announced.

Participants are highly encouraged to wear sexual health costumes, as prizes will be awarded not only to the trivia winners, but best and worst dressed.

There are two types of registrations available – individual registration and group registration.

If you are participating as an individual, please select individual registration and you will be placed into a team.

If you are participating as a group, connecting to Zoom from one device, please select group registration. Maximum of six people per group registration.

To register click here.

text in purple font Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week Virtual Trivia

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM (AEDT) Tuesday 1 December 2020Condoman with voice bubble 'First FIVE registrations will receive a lunch on us! and Lubelicious with voice bubble 'Prizes for BEST and WORST dressed up for grabs!'logos for UQ Poche Centres for Indigenous Health; U and ME can stop HIV - vector image of 3 awareness ribbons - one red, one with Torres Strait Islander flay, one with the Aboriginal flag; NACCHO logo black eagle superimposed on red map of Australian with yellow centrewww.naccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: CPR during COVID-19 – Guidelines

feature tile CPR training

CPR during COVID-19 Guidelines

CPR training hands on dummy & National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce logo

The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has recently issued guidance on CPR during the pandemic. Healthcare workers and trained first aid responders are being urged not to delay commencing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Taskforce, in partnership with the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG), have published new clinical flowcharts to guide clinicians and first aid responders in delivering potentially lifesaving CPR as safely as possible.

View the new flowcharts and the Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19 here.

NACCHO CEO 2021 Australian of the Year nominee

Pat Turner had been nominated for Australian of the Year in the ACT!

An Arrernte and Gurdanji woman, Patricia Turner AM has successfully negotiated with all levels of government to ensure that the concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are given respectful consideration. As CEO of the NACCHO, and the Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks, Pat has an invaluable record of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. Pat’s leadership at NACCHO is creating real, meaningful and lasting change that will strengthen and support community-based Aboriginal health services.

She is the driving force behind a partnership between the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Coalition of Peaks to facilitate shared decision making. One of the key outcomes from this partnership is a new national network funding agreement on Closing the Gap, which will help keep Aboriginal health in the hands of our communities. For her outstanding contribution to public service, Pat has been awarded the Order of Australia.

To read the full article in the Canberra Times click here.

NACCHO CEO Pat Turne sitting in a chair smiling with woven dog sculptures on a small table behind her & an a colourful Aboriginal painting of a bird

Portrait of Patricia Turner AM in her office in Canberra. Picture by Sean Davey.

SWAMS Mental Health Awards finalist

The South West Aboriginal Medical Service are celebrating being named a finalist for the Even Keel Bipolar Support Association Diversity Award at the 2020 WA Mental Health Awards. The award aims to recognise organisations that make an outstanding contribution to mental health. The medical service’s mental health team, called Kaat Darabiny (What you thinking?) senior prevention worker Lisa Collard said they were excited about the announcement. “We are excited and honored to be finalists for this award and very grateful that we are able to connect with and care for our wonderful local Aboriginal Community,” she said.

The team has also launched a new Tools in Schools Program for at risk children and teens. “The Tools in Schools Program is especially designed to support and engage directly with students who are struggling emotionally or behaviorally,” Ms Collard said. “It is an early intervention program to give these kids tools and skills they need to deal with their emotions. We want to give them a safe place to have a yarn about their issues, feelings and let them know they have somewhere to go and someone to talk to.” “So far, the response from schools and students has been very positive. The way the program is structured and delivered in small groups allows us to really connect with and empower the students,” Ms Collard said.

To see the full article click here.

the Kaat Darabiny team at South West Aboriginal Medical Service

Image source: Bunbury Mail.

Architecture awards for Puntukurnu AMS

Kaunitz Yeung Architecture won four awards at the 2020 International Architecture MasterPrize (AMP) including three awards across Healthcare, Green Building and Best of the Best, for Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services (PAMS) Newman clinic. The Architecture MasterPrize is an international competition that honours designs in the disciplines of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture across the world.

The Newman clinic was commissioned by the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services (PAMS) and called for a state-of-the-art, regional primary health care facility to be the physical embodiment of the ethos of PAMS – community focused, connected to country, incorporating culture and providing the highest standard of primary health care.

To view the full article click here.

external view of Puntukurnu AMA WA

Image source: Architecture & Design website.

Melioidosis warning for Top End

Residents and visitors to the Top End need to be aware about the increased risk of getting the potentially deadly disease, Melioidosis, following recent wet weather. Dr Vicki Krause Director of the NT Centre for Disease Control said increased rainfall expected this year due to an active La Niña event meant there would be a greater risk of Melioidosis, a disease caused by the bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei that lives below the soil’s surface during the dry season. Territorians are urged to take precautions to avoid Melioidosis this wet season, with about 50 cases reported in the Top End between October and May each year. “Melioidosis can lead to severe pneumonia and blood poisoning with 10-15 per cent of infections in past years leading to death, even with the best medical care,” Dr Krause said. “Cuts and sores are the perfect entry point for the bacteria to invade the body, but it can also be inhaled if it gets stirred up by wind.”

To view the Northern Territory Government’s media release in full click here.

muddy legs with rubber sandals walking across muddy grassy wet ground

Image source: Katherine Times.

Intentional self-harm a leading cause of death

New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that intentional self-harm is the fifth leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians. The data also highlighted the alarming reality that suicide is the second leading cause of death for Indigenous males, with individuals aged between 15–24 years-old over four times more likely to commit suicide than non-Indigenous people in the same age bracket. The data also revealed suicide was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–17-years-old between 2015–2019.

Leilani Darwin, Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience at the Black Dog Institute, says Australia needs to put suicide prevention on the agenda as a priority, as well as being a self-identified priority in communities, “Indigenous people are overrepresented in the worst ways.” 

To veiw the full article click here.

Aboriginal arms around child - torsos only set against wooden framed windows

Image source: NITV News website.

Latest COVID-19 update for Mob

The latest COVID-19 and other health updates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities newsletter produced by the Australian Government Department of Health has been released and can be accessed here.

35 year-old Larrakia man Jonathan sitting cross-legged on carpeted floor surrounded by study/work papers

Image source: Australian Government Department of Health.

PHC worker engagement with screening programs

The University of Melbourne in the Department of General Practice is seeking primary healthcare workers to take part in a qualitative study they are undertaking to evaluate ways to engage with primary healthcare workers about national screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical). The evaluation has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Findings thus far from this study have led to the development of communication materials to assist in boosting participation, education and engagement.  

They researchers recognise the importance of the whole clinic in improving cancer screening and would like to invite GPs, practice managers and practice nurses to participate in a focus group discussion (via Zoom) to review and provide feedback on the developed communication materials. The focus group discussions will occur in early December, with all participants receiving a $50 gift card for their time. 

To view the advertisement for the focus group click here.

Aboriginal Health Worker at ATSICHS Brisbane sitting at her desk

Tereina Kimo, Aboriginal Health Worker at ATSICHS Brisbane. Image source: NATSIHWA.

Remote community COVID-19 vulnerability

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. It can infect and affect anyone, regardless of age, location, socioeconomic status or other health circumstances. Unfortunately though, it can be more devastating for some sections of the community than others. The situation in Victorian aged-care facilities has been a tragic reminder of the way in which this virus affects our most vulnerable in the community. That’s why, when COVID-19 first hit Australia, it was so important — and remains just as important — that strong measures are taken to protect remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people living in remote communities are at greater risk of COVID-19 due to higher rates of other health issues in these communities, difficulties accessing health care, people often being very mobile and travelling often, and in many cases relying more on outreach services. When COVID-19 hit, the message from many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations was clear: protecting these remote communities was of the utmost importance. On 20 March, Pat Turner — CEO of NACCHO told the ABC that it would be “catastrophic” if COVID-19 got into remote Indigenous communities, not only because of the potential loss of life, but also the loss of cultural heritage.

To view the full Hospital and Healthcare article click here.

WA remote community buildings against bald rock hills

Image source: ABC News website.

RACGP and ACRRM GP training collaboration

A joint statement from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has outlined the cooperative approach they will take ahead of the transition to college-led training. The statement reaffirms that the Federal Government is also committed to reforming the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) model, which will see the colleges become directly responsible for training registrars.
 
RACGP Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said the colleges are committed to making general practice and rural generalist training the ‘career pathway of choice’ for prospective students. ‘The return of general practice training to the RACGP provides a unique opportunity to drive further excellence in general practice training, and align it to workforce-distribution strategies that satisfy the healthcare needs of the diverse communities we serve,’ he said as well as pointing out that ‘This is a complex and multifaceted set of reforms that will require extensive consultation and collaboration with all of our stakeholders.’

To view the GPNews article in full click here and to access the RACGP media release click here.Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine world leaders in rural practice logo, vector of orange snake wound around windmill

New England health unit awarded for CtG Framework

To view the full article in the Newcastle Herald click here.

stethoscope on centre of Aboriginal flag

Image source: PHN Hunter New England and Central Coast website.

2021 GP Fellowship Training

The Remote Vocational Training Scheme Ltd (RVTS) is an established training provider with 20 years’ experience delivering GP Fellowship Training across Australia. Its AMS training stream, now in its 7th year, has positions available for doctors to train towards Fellowship qualifications of the RACGP and/or ACRRM. Training with RVTS allows registrars to stay in the one AMS location for the duration of training and offers structured distance education and remote supervision. Registrars receive comprehensive support from a dedicated Cultural Mentor, Medical Educator Mentor, and Training Coordinator throughout the duration of training and have access to Cultural Orientation Resources developed by the RVTS Cultural Educator and Cultural Mentor Team. The RVTS has a high fellowship achievement rate.

To check your eligibility for the AMS stream and to apply click here.

GP Fellowship Training applications are open now until 11 November 2020.

Dr Dharminder Singh who trained with RVTS at Mallee District Aboriginal Services

Dr Dharminder Singh who trained with RVTS at Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) and still works at MDAS.

Indigenous voice critical in government program evaluation

The Productivity Commission today released a proposed Indigenous Evaluation Strategy. The Strategy, which has been delivered to the Government, sets out a new approach to evaluating Australian Government policies and programs. Policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not working as well as they need to. Evaluation can play an important role filling this gap, but regrettably it is often an afterthought and of poor quality, Commissioner Romlie Mokak said. Importantly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are rarely asked about what, or how to evaluate, or what evaluation results mean, Mr Mokak said. The Strategy puts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at its centre.

To view the Australian Government Productivity Commission’s media release in full click here.

8 Aboriginal hands around quit smoking badges

Image source: Australian Government Department of Health.

NSW – Wyong – Yerin Aboriginal Health Services Limited

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Suicide Prevention Worker

To access the Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services website and the job descriptions for these positions click here.

Applications for the EA to the CEO position close at 5.00 pm on Wednesday 11 November 2020 and applications for the Suicide Prevention Worker position close at 5.00 pm on Tuesday 11 November 2020.


Yerin Eleanor Duncan AHS logo

ACT – Canberra – National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA)

NATSIHWA is an association founded on the cultural and spiritual teachings of our past and present leaders, which best serves our members in their important role in achieving physical, social, cultural and emotional wellbeing for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They are currently seeking applications for the following senior level positions within the organisation:

Manager Executive Services

Teacher – Manager Professional Development

Manager – Policy, Projects and Research

For job descriptions click on the title of the job above. Applications for each position must be received by midnight Monday 2 November 2020.NATSIHWA logo

NSW – Sydney- Kirketon Road Centre

Senior Aboriginal Health Project Officer

The Kirketon Road Centre (KRC) is a primary health care facility located in Kings Cross, which is involved in the prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS and other transmissible infections among ‘at-risk’ young people, sex workers and people who inject drugs. Working across KRC’s three clinical sites and extensive outreach program, this position is responsible for addressing the needs of Aboriginal people among KRC’s target populations, including ‘at risk young people, sex workers and people who inject drugs. The position also provides cultural expertise within KRC. 

For more information about the position and to apply click here.

Applications close Sunday 8 November 2020.Kirkton Road Centre logo, white letters KRC against green background

Across Australia – Remote Vocational Training Scheme Targeted Recruitment

General Practitioners – multiple positions

The Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) is assisting the recruitment of doctors to targeted remote communities with high medical workforce need by including the RVTS GP Vocational Training program as a component of the doctor recruitment package. In 2018-20 the RVTS Targeted Recruitment Strategy successfully secured the services of 11 full-time doctors to 13 rural and remote communities across Australia. RVTS Training is a four-year GP training program delivered by Distance Education and Remote Supervision leading to Fellowship of the ACRRM and/or RACGP. RVTS Training is fully funded by the Australian Government.

Tor further information about the Targeted Recruitment positions click here.RVTS logo, vector of white sun rising or setting yellow sky, red earth

Across Australia (except Vic & Tas) – Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

2021 Census Engagement Manager x 35 (25 in remote areas, 10 in urban/regional locations)

The ABS is recruiting Census Engagement Managers for the 2021 Census. Due to the close working relationship with the community, 35 Census Engagement Manager positions will be only open to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicants. Census Engagement Managers are specialised roles requiring a high degree of community interaction. They will be working within communities telling people about the Census and ensuring everyone can take part and get the help they need. Where possible, Census Engagement Managers will be recruited locally. To view a recruitment poster click here.

For further information on the roles and to apply click here.

Applications for Census Engagement Manager roles are open now and close Thursday 5 November 2020.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: ‘Game changer’ e-prescriptions are coming

feature tile - Aboriginal hands in pharmacy clicking iPad

‘Game-changer’ e-prescriptions are coming

Electronic prescriptions (or e-prescriptions) are being rolled out in stages across Australia after being used in Victoria during the pandemic. E-prescriptions have been common in countries such as the United States and Sweden for more than ten years. In Australia, a fully electronic paperless system has been planned for some time. Since the arrival of COVID-19, and a surge in the uptake of telehealth, the advantages of e-prescriptions have become compelling. To read more about what e-prescriptions are, how they work, their benefits and what they mean for paper prescriptions click here.

feature tile - Aboriginal hands in pharmacy clicking iPad

Image source: Australian Pharmacist.

Electronic prescription roll out expanded

The big news in digital health in recent weeks has been the expansion of Australia’s roll out of electronic prescriptions to metropolitan Sydney, following the fast-track implementation in metropolitan Melbourne and then the rest of Victoria as a weapon in that state’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also some rare movement in the secure messaging arena, with a number of clinical information system vendors and secure messaging services having successfully completed the implementation of new interoperability standards that will hopefully allow clinicians and healthcare organisations to more easily exchange clinical information electronically. The road to secure messaging interoperability has been a tortuous one to say the least, but movement does seem to be occurring. At least 19 separate systems have successfully fulfilled the Australian Digital Health Agency’s requirements, with the vendors now getting ready to release the capability in their next versions. It is expected these will start to roll out over the next few months.

To view the full PULSE+IT article click here.

image of hand with phone held to scanning machine

Image source: PULSE+IT website.

Lack of physical activity requires national strategy

A new report finding Australians are not spending enough time being physically active highlights the need for action on a national, long-term preventive health strategy, according to AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report found that the majority of Australians of all ages are not meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required for health benefits, and are exceeding recommended limits on sedentary behaviour.

The AMA is working with the Federal Government on its proposed long-term national preventive health strategy, which was first announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt in a video message to the 2019 AMA National Conference almost 18 months ago. Dr Khorshis said “As a nation, we spend woefully too little on preventive health – only about 2 per cent of the overall health budget. A properly resourced preventive health strategy, including national public education campaigns on issues such as smoking and obesity, is vital to helping Australians improve their lifestyles and quality of life.”

To view the AMA’s media release regarding the physical activity report click here.

image of arms of Aboriginal person in running gear bending to tie shoelaces along bush trail

Image source: The Conversation.

KAMS CEO appointed to WA FHRI Fund Advisory Council

The McGowan Government has today announced the make-up of the Advisory Council of WA’s Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund. The FHRI Fund was the centerpiece of the State Government’s commitment to drive research and innovation in WA by providing the State’s health and medical researchers and innovators with a secure and ongoing source of funding. Vicki O’Donnell, CEO, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd (KAMS), is one of seven eminent Western Australians appointed to the Advisory Council to provide high-level advice to the Health Minister and the Department of Health.

To view the Government of Western Australia’s media release click here.

portrait photo of Vicki O'Donnell, KAMS CEO in office

Vicki O’Donnell, CEO KAMS. Image source: ABC News.

PLUM and HATS help save kids hearing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are being encouraged to use an Australian Government toolkit to ensure young children are meeting their milestones for hearing and speaking. The rates of hearing loss and ear disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly higher than for the non-Indigenous population. Between 2018–19 and 2022–23, almost $104.6 million will be provided for ear health initiatives to reduce the number of Indigenous Australians suffering avoidable hearing loss, and give Indigenous children a better start to education.

The Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and the Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS) have been developed by Hearing Australia in collaboration with Aboriginal health and early education services. As part of a $21.2 million package of funding over five years from 2020–21 to advance hearing health in Australia, the 2020–21 Budget includes an additional $5 million to support early identification of hearing and speech difficulties for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and embed the use of PLUM and HATS Australia-wide.

To view the Department of Health’s media release click here.

young Aboriginal child having his ear checked by health professional

Image source: The Wire website.

Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation receives research grant

The University of Wollongong (UOW) had announced the recipients of the Community Engagement Grants Scheme (CEGS). CEGS is uniquely focused on addressing the challenges faced by communities and taking action to create real and measurable outcomes. The CEGS projects are dedicated to serving communities on a range of issues that matter in the real world. Some areas of focus are health and wellbeing, disability and social services, culture and multiculturalism, Indigenous and local history and communities.

This year, the University awarded grants to three innovative community partners and UOW academics to support their research and outreach projects. Among the recipients is the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation and senior Aboriginal researcher and anthropologist, Professor Kathleen Clapham. Their project, titled ‘Amplifying the voices of Aboriginal women through culture and networking in an age of COVID19’ aims to address women’s isolation, restore networks, and nurture the exchange of Aboriginal knowledge and traditional practices.

To view the University of Wollongong’s media release click here.

portrait shot of Professor Kathleen Clapham University of Wollongong

Professor Kathleen Clapham, UOW. Image source: UOW website.

LGBQTISB suicide prevention

Indigenous LGBQTISB people deal with additional societal challenges, ones that can regularly intersect and contribute to the heightened development of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug problems, and a heightened risk of suicide and suicidal behaviour. Dameyon Bonson, an Indigenous gay male from the NT and recognised as Indigenous suicide prevention subject matter expert, specifically in Indigenous LGBQTI+ suicide, will be presenting ‘An introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous Australian) LGBQTISB suicide prevention’ from 11.00 am to 12.00 pm (ACST) on Tuesday 10 November 2020

For more information about the event and to register click here.image of Dameyon bonson and Indigenous LGBTIQSB Suicide Prevention - An Introduction course banner

Dead quiet to award winner in only two years

“The first year we were almost dead quiet … word of mouth and occupational health is what grew us, and now we’ve been able to really branch into Indigenous health and Closing the Gap initiatives,” said Practice Manager Olivia Tassone. At just 22-years-old, Tassone is also a part-owner of the company, along with former footballed Des Headland and others. Being privately owned gives Spartan First a flexibility that other companies in the same space don’t have. “One of the benefits of being a being a private business is we don’t really have a lot of red tape to jump over. If we want to start making a change, then we can just do it,” Tassone said.

To view the full article click here.

Practice Manager Olivia Tassone standing in front of Spartan building

Spartan Practice Manager Olivia Tassone. Image source: National Indigenous Times website.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking with Prof Tom Calma

Tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of ill health and early death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is responsible for 23 per cent of the gap in health burden between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program aims to improve life expectancy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by reducing tobacco use.

Professor Tom Calma, National Coordinator, leads the TIS program which has been running since 2010.  Under the program local organisations design and run activities that focus on reducing smoking rates, and supports people to never start smoking. Activities are:

  • evidence-based — so they are effective, and
  • measurable — so we can tell that they work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health #WorldHepatitisDay News Alerts : #LetsTalkHep editorial contributions from @NACCHOChair Donnella Mills, Dr Jason Agostino , Dr Mark Wenitong , Troy Combo : Plus link todays @HepAus event

“We are so proud of the work done by our members and affiliates in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but we cannot lose sight of the need to reduce our viral hepatitis rates.

We are concerned about the harm caused to our communities from the spread of Hepatitis B and C and I encourage our people to get vaccinated and continue ongoing treatments.

Keep in touch with your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.”

NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is spreading the message to all Australians that while the rates of hepatitis in Australia are declining, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are being left behind.

Read / Download full NACCHO World Hepatitis Day press releases HERE .

“Great work has been done in improving immunisation rates against Hepatitis B and on treatment for Hepatitis C, yet the prevalence of viral hepatitis and subsequent liver damage remains high amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What is particularly concerning are rates of viral hepatitis in remote and very remote communities are five times higher compared to metropolitan areas.

In the COVID-19 environment, we want to urge everyone to continue their regular health care. This involves getting childhood immunisations and for those on treatment for Hepatitis, don’t change or stop treatments unless advised to do so by your treating doctor.”

NACCHO Medical Adviser, Dr Jason Agostino

“At Apunipima we provide screenings for Hepatitis in our clinics and work closely with prison screening programs to help control the disease being transmitted within communities when prisoners are released.

Hepatitis in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a preventable disease, but with both short-term and potentially chronic implications, Hepatitis has a significant impact on our mob’s health.

We need to work together to ensure we practice prevention in our communities, but also that we get tested, detect the disease early and have access to best practice treatment and management.”

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO), Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s Public Health Medical Officer, Dr Mark Wenitong

” In recognition of the inequitable burden of hepatitis C amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, EC Australia has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Strategy (The Strategy) that will inform and guide the activities of EC Australia.

The Strategy will cut across the four key components of EC Australia: health promotion, workforce development and health services delivery, implementation research and evaluation and surveillance.

This will ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach to accessible and culturally appropriate hepatitis C care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Troy Combo EC Australia as the Program Manager for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan see Part 1 below

 ” Leading organisations unite to discuss COVID-19 impact on hepatitis C elimination in Australia on World Hepatitis Day

Australia’s leading drug and infectious disease organisations will join forces to call for a re-engagement in elimination of hepatitis C in an online event on World Hepatitis Day, Tuesday, 28 July 2020. “

See Part 2 Below for link todays event 

Part 1 EC Australia, Partnering to Eliminate Hepatitis C

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself, Troy Combo, I have a joint appointment with the Burnet Institute and am employed and based at University of Queensland, School of Public Health and have recently been appointed as the Aboriginal Program Manager for EC Australia.

I have worked in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector since completing my Diploma in Aboriginal Health at Redfern AMS in 1994. I have held positions with local AMS’s, State Affiliates (AH&MRC & QAIHC) and I have also worked for NACCHO (2013-2014). More recently I was employed at Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation (2015-2020).

Australia can be one of the first countries to achieve the World Health Organization’s target of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030.

In 2016 an estimated 188,951 Australians were living with the hepatitis C virus resulting in up to 630 deaths from liver cancer and liver failure each year. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a disproportionate burden of hepatitis C and account for 10% of all people living with the virus in Australia.

As a priority population in our own right, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also overrepresented amongst people in custodial settings, people who currently inject drugs or previously injected drugs and people accessing drug treatment programs; all of which increases a person’s risk of contracting hepatitis C.

In 2017 notification rates for hepatitis C were 4.4 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians (168.1 per 100 000 vs 38.4 per 100 00) and the rates for newly acquired (evidence of acquisition in the prior 24 months) hepatitis C was 13.7 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (24.6 v 1.8 per 100 00 respectively).

In 2016, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication was made available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to most people living with hepatitis C, regardless of disease stage. DAAs have revolutionised hepatitis C care making elimination of hepatitis C possible; they are highly effective with efficacy rates over 95%, have minimal side effects, and require only 8-12 weeks of once-daily tablets. While initial uptake of DAAs was positive, by 2018 the number of people commencing treatment started to fall. If Australia is to achieve its elimination targets, it is crucial that testing remains high and that DAA treatments are provided to people with hepatitis C to cure people of hepatitis C and prevent further transmission.

Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia

Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia (EC Australia) is a nationwide, multidisciplinary project with the aim to achieve a coordinated response to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. The project brings together researchers and implementation scientists, government, health services and community organisations, peak and other non-government organisations to increase hepatitis C testing and treatment in community clinics.

The specific goals of EC Australia are to:

  • Ensure that 15,000 Australians with chronic hepatitis C are treated and cured
  • Ensure that people identified with cirrhosis related to hepatitis C infection are treated and cured, and regularly reviewed to monitor for liver
  • Establish a national collaborative framework to facilitate a coordinated response to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat from

In recognition of the inequitable burden of hepatitis C amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, EC Australia has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Strategy (The Strategy) that will inform and guide the activities of EC Australia. The Strategy will cut across the four key components of EC Australia: health promotion, workforce development and health services delivery, implementation research and evaluation and surveillance. This will ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach to accessible and culturally appropriate hepatitis C care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

My experience working within the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector has shown how the model of care provided by these services is well suited to take up the challenge of the EC Australia goals. At EC Australia, we believe the “test and treat” model required to increase treatment uptake for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is an achievable goal at a local service delivery level.

We will be convening an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Leadership Group in late 2020 that will provide expert advice and cultural governance for all EC activities as part of the Strategy. Our aim is to build strong networks and work closely with the viral hepatitis and the Aboriginal Community Control Health sectors. We seek to build on successful models of care and workforce development programs within these sectors, to expand and inform other areas.

Over the coming weeks we will be contacting organisations to participate in a mapping of current and/or past hepatitis C health promotion, workforce development and service delivery activities.

If your organisation would like to participate or learn more about the EC Australia Partnership and Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples Strategy you can contact Troy Combo at t.combo@uq.edu.au or by phone on (07) 3346 4617.

For more information please visit the below link:

https://www.burnet.edu.au/projects/410_eliminate_hepatitis_c_australia_partnership_ec_australia

 Part 2 Leading organisations unite to discuss COVID-19 impact on hepatitis C elimination in Australia on World Hepatitis Day

Australia’s leading drug and infectious disease organisations will join forces to call for a re-engagement in elimination of hepatitis C in an online event on World Hepatitis Day, Tuesday, 28 July 2020.

Australia is on track to become one of the first countries to eliminate hepatitis C, which is part of the global goal from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and related social isolation has impacted drug use, drug and hepatitis C treatment services, and the health of people who use drugs. This puts an increased risk on new hepatitis transmission, access to treatment, and the elimination goals for 2030.

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL), Hepatitis Australia, the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs (APSAD), the Kirby Institute and National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney, have partnered to address what COVID-19 will mean for hepatitis C elimination in Australia.

CEO of Hepatitis Australia, Carrie Fowlie said, “Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus and people who inject drugs are a crucial priority population.”

“Not only is there a risk that the WHO 2030 elimination goal could be set back, but more immediate negative impacts could be experienced by people at risk of contracting hepatitis or seeking hepatitis treatment in Australia due to current and future social, health, and policy changes.”

CEO of AIVL, Melanie Walker said some of the new regulations and social requirements are impossible for people who use drugs to abide by.

“People who use drugs need to attend needle and syringe programs (NSPs) and be able to have ongoing access to the full range of harm reduction, pharmacotherapy and other drug and hepatitis treatments,” said Ms Walker.

“If people who use drugs cannot access these services, we could see an increase in sharing of injecting equipment, which could lead to increased cases of hepatitis C and compound the negative health outcomes already experienced by this group.”

In the newly released National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019, illicit drug use was responsible for 75 percent of Australia’s acute hepatitis C burden of disease.

Professor Greg Dore, Head of Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, said there had been encouraging recent data from the Australian Needle Syringe Program Survey on prevalence of active hepatitis C infection in people who inject drugs which had declined from 51 percent to 18 percent between 2015 and 2019.

“However, despite these declines in number of people with hepatitis C, continued declines in numbers being treated through 2019 and into 2020 compromises the achievement of WHO elimination goals,” said Professor Dore.

“More strategies are needed to raise awareness of the need for testing and availability of new hepatitis C treatments to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030.”

In a new NDARC study of 702 people who used drugs during COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown, it was found only 24 percent were able to avoid sharing drug injecting equipment.

Professor Michael Farrell, Director of NDARC, UNSW Sydney, said the research shows that people who use drugs want to limit their risk of contracting viral diseases like COVID-19 and hepatitis C, but this can be challenging due to a range of factors.

“We need to continue to find solutions that support people who use drugs to ensure hepatitis C elimination remains a priority.”

About the online event

Facilitated by health reporter Dr Norman Swan, this event brings together affected communities, doctors, scientists, health and community workers, researchers and the public to discuss the immense challenges COVID-19 brings to hepatitis C elimination and the health of people who use drugs, and to discuss strategies to ensure Australia stays on track to become one of the first countries in the world to eliminate hepatitis C.

Date: Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Time: 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Book here.

Speakers

  • Jude Byrne, National Project Coordinator, Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League
  • Sione Crawford, Chief Executive Officer, Harm Reduction Victoria
  • Greg Dore, Head, Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney
  • Carrie Fowlie, Chief Executive Officer, Hepatitis Australia
  • Jules Kim, Chief Executive Officer, Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association
  • Andrew Lloyd, Head, Viral Immunology Systems Program, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney
  • Stuart Manoj-Margison, Director, BBV, STI and Torres Strait Health Policy Section, Australian Government Department of Health
  • Amy Peacock, Senior Research Fellow, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
  • Melanie Walker, CEO, Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League
  • Michael Farrell, Director, The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research Alerts : Download @AIHW Report Indigenous primary health care results : Our ACCHO’s play a critical role in helping to improve the health of our mob

 ” Comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians through prevention, early intervention, health education, and the timely identification and management of physical and psychological issues. “

Download the 77 Page AIHW Report HERE

Indigenous-primary-health-care-results-from-the-OSR-and-nKPI-collections

Primary health care organisations play a critical role in helping to improve the health of Indigenous Australians.

In 2018–19:

To this end, the Australian Government provides funding through the IAHP to organisations delivering Indigenous-specific primary health care services (referred to hereafter as organisations).

These organisations, designed to be accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, are administered and run by:

  • Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs)
  • state/territory/local health services
  • non-government organisations (NGOs), such as women’s health services (a small proportion of services).

They vary in size, location, governance structure, length of time in operation, workforce composition, sources of funding, the services they offer, the ways in which they operate (for example, stand-alone or part of a consortium), and the needs of their clients.

What they all share in common is a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their Indigenous clients, which often involves addressing a complex mix of health conditions.

Each organisation provides contextual information about their organisation to the OSR once each financial year (covering the period July–June). The OSR includes all activities of the funded organisations, regardless of the percentage of those activities funded by IAHP.

This chapter presents a profile of organisations delivering Indigenous-specific primary health care services, including staffing levels, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and services provided. It excludes data from organisations that received funding only for maternal and child health services.

Trends over time are presented where possible, noting that the organisations providing data can vary over time which may limit comparability for some purposes (see Technical notes and Glossary for more information). Also, in 2018–19, the OSR collection underwent significant change and was scaled back to include only ‘core’ items. Plans are underway to reintroduce key items in a staged approach over the next few years.

The following boxes show key results for organisations providing Indigenous-specific primary health care in 2018–19.

Clicking HERE will go to more information on the selected topic.

Aboriginal Health #CoronaVirus News Alert No 59 : May 12 #KeepOurMobSafe #OurJobProtectOurMob : Adrian Carson CEO @IUIH_ @DeadlyChoices The importance of health promotion and prevention during the #covid-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights more than ever, the need for a robust, agile and culturally relevant health promotion and prevention strategy, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

While traditional public health promotion[1] has delivered important messaging and education to mainstream Australians, it has failed to reach and have meaning to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  This is due to a range of factors including: use of language and terminology that is foreign, lower health literacy, and stigmatisation through ‘failure’ to change lifestyle choices.[2]

The dispersed geographic spread of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities also presents a challenge in ensuring that key health promotion and prevention messages are delivered through a range of appropriate channels and multi-media formats.

Adrian Carson has over 28 years’ experience in the Indigenous Health sector, working within government and non-government organisations.

As CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Ltd, he leads the development and integration of health and wellbeing services to Australia’s largest and fastest growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in South East Queensland.

He has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and on numerous other Aboriginal health organisations.

Originally published HERE 

While many Australians may believe that the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders live in remote and very remote regions, the majority (79%) in fact live in urban areas. [3]

South East Queensland has recorded the largest and equal fastest growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the country.[4]  It is estimated that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population will grow to 133,000 by 2031. [5]

To address the growing population and demand for health services in the region, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) was established in 2009 to assist the four member Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) with regional planning, development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care services.

Deadly Choices was established as the flagship preventative health and community engagement brand of IUIH.  “Deadly” meaning good to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Deadly Choices is a strengths-based approach that uses cultural identity to define what it means to make healthy choices and reinforces our people as leaders and health promoters.[6]

Deadly Choices is considered one of Australia’s most recognizable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brands, with over 30 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations ACCHOS and 16 NRL and AFL clubs nationally already delivering Deadly Choices licensed activities across the country.

Behind the brand is a suite of health education, behaviour change programs and social marketing that have increased the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders taking control of their health by accessing their local health services, completing regular Health Checks, and engaging in physical activity, nutrition, quit smoking and other healthy lifestyle programs – all critical determinants of better health outcomes.

Since 2010-11, Deadly Choices has contributed to:

  • 762% increase in health checks completed in SEQ[7]
  • 33,000 new patients reached
  • 576% increase in GP Management Plans

In 2018-19 alone, there were 38,000 active clients in SEQ and over 23,000 health checks completed.[8]

An external evaluation of Deadly Choices multimedia campaign[9] found very strong campaign recognition (73%), call to action was very high (85% indicated starting some health change after seeing the campaign) and exceptional Net Promoter Score[10] – 59 compared to best industry score of 27.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and increasing restrictions on group assembly and social distancing necessitated a rethinking of the structure and delivery of Deadly Choices programs and activities.

Building on the recognition and experience with highly engaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on social media[11]Deadly Choices dramatically increased our offerings.

Important COVID-19 awareness, education and prevention messaging was developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences.  Social media platforms (FacebookInstagramTwitter, and TikTok) continued to carry these new messages along with existing physical activity, nutrition, quit smoking and competitions.

During the first week of trialing the increased online presence, Deadly Choices achieved a massive 31,683 reach and 876 reactions to our Facebook post on “We Can Control the Spread of Coronavirus – it’s up to us.”  Similarly, the “Deadly Guide to social distancing” reached 16,293 with 244 reactions.

Live streaming of our DCFit physical activity program and Good Quick Tukka (GQT) cooking program commenced in week two.  Current engagement of the first series sits at over 4,300 views of the DCFit session and over 5,400 views of the GQT program.  In week three, the second series of DCFit sits at over 4,000 views and GQT sits at over 1,800 within one hour of live streaming.

VIEW HERE 

There is appetite within our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for health promotion, prevention and education that is a cultural fit and engages with our people in a positive way.

Deadly Choices is well positioned to ensure that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are informed and up to date, not just about healthy lifestyles, but also prevention and recognition of COVID-19 symptoms.

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a rapid opportunity to rethink our traditional messaging and methods of health promotion.  This is something which can be shared with mainstream public health promotion.

Further investment and flexibility of funding to allow such innovation by ACCHSs is needed.  This will ensure that appropriate and timely health promotion and prevention messages reach our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

References:

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia – Stories from the Census, 2016; Cat No. 20171.0

Deadly Choices 2020, Deadly Choices ROI & statistics, Deadly Choices website: https://deadlychoices.com.au/licensees/roi-and-statistics/

Hefler, M; Kerrigan, V; Henryks, J; Freeman, B & D. Thomas 2018, ‘Social media and health information sharing among Australian Indigenous people’ in Health Promotion International, 2019; 34; 706-715.

IUIH 2019, IUIH Annual Report 2018-19, IUIH, Brisbane.

Markham, F & N. Biddle 2017, Indigenous Population Change in the 2016 Census, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.

McPhail-Bell, K (2014), Deadly Choices: better ways of doing health promotion, downloaded 8 April 2020, accessible at https://eprints.qut.edu.au/76238/

McPhail-Bell, K; Appo, N; Haymes, A; Bond, C; Brough, M & B. Fredericks (2018), ‘Deadly Choices empowering Indigenous Australians through social networking sites’, in Health Promotion International, 2018; 33; pp 770-780.

Pollinate 2019, Evaluation of Deadly Choices Statewide Campaign, Pollinate, Melbourne.

World Health Organisation 1986, Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, First International Conference on Health Promotion, Ottawa, 21 November 1986


[1] The Ottawa Charter (WHO 1986) defines health promotion as ‘the process of enabling people to increase control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health’.

[2] McPhail-Bell 2014, Deadly Choices: better ways of doing health promotion, QUT, Brisbane.

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia – Stories from the Census, 2016; Cat No. 20171.0

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia – Stories from the Census, 2016; Cat No. 20171.0

[5] Markham & Biddle 2017, Indigenous Population Change in the 2016 Census, CAEPR, ANU.

[6] McPhail-Bell, K; Appo, N; Haymes, A; Bond, C; Brough, M & B. Fredericks (2018), ‘Deadly Choices empowering Indigenous Australians through social networking sites’, in Health Promotion International, 2018; 33; pp 770-780.

[7] Deadly Choices 2020, Deadly Choices ROI & statistics, Deadly Choices website: https://deadlychoices.com.au/licensees/roi-and-statistics/

[8] IUIH 2019, IUIH Annual Report, IUIH, Brisbane.

[9] Pollinate 2019, Evaluation of Deadly Choices Statewide Campaign, Pollinate, Melbourne.

[10] Net Promotor Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty to brand

[11] Hefler, et al 2018 found that social media use is higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than the general Australian population.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #NovelCoronavirus Resources Fact Sheets Alert : @healthgovau Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the #COVID19 Plan)

The Australian Government’s Chief Medical Officer held a national teleconference yesterday to provide details on the national response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Chief Medical Officer and state and territory Chief Medical Officers have been meeting and teleconferencing daily for several weeks since the outbreak in China.

They have agreed on the Response Plan to guide the health sector response within Australia.

The link to the Response Plan is:

Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the COVID-19 Plan)

The Response Plan is a living document and will be updated as required.

In addition, the Australian Government Department of Health website Coronavirus (COVID-19) includes a collection of resources including fact sheets for the general public, health professionals and industry about COVID-19.

A collection of resources for health professionals, including pathology providers and healthcare managers, about coronavirus (COVID-19).

You are encouraged to subscribe to the page to remain informed and ensure you have the latest information.

The information is updated daily.

Any urgent enquiries can be directed to the Department of Health’s National Incident Room via health.ops@health.gov.au.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Diabetes: This health professional survey is designed to assist Dr Michael Mosley and Ray Kelly with a 3 part SBS series Australia’s Health Revolution.

” Australia’s Health Revolution is a new three-part documentary series for SBS TV that’ll be hosted by popular UK presenter and journalist Dr Michael Mosley and Australian Indigenous diabetes educator and exercise physiologist, Ray Kelly.

The series will feature people all over Australia, from all backgrounds aged between 18 and 70 who have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes and selected to be  part of a 12 week program, following a very low energy diet designed to achieve fast weight loss and help stabilise blood sugar levels.

The documentary will explore the big picture of type 2 diabetes in Australia, and the exciting new science behind diet and lifestyle programs that are reversing type 2 diabetes – previously considered incurable.”

Hear interview with Ray Kelly

We can turn blood sugar levels within seven days. It is really a matter of days and weeks to really transform someone form going toward the massive complications that come with type 2 diabetes and heart disease and turning them to becoming much healthier,”

Ray Kelly has been running a health program across Australia around the same principles as Dr Michal Mosley in the UK with great success covering some of the toughest areas and working closely with our ACCHO’s /Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS).

Read over 160 Aboriginal Health and Diabetes articles published by NACCHO over past 8 years 

How can you be involved ? Complete this diabetes survey.

 ” This GENERAL POPULATION and HEALTH PROFESSIONAL SURVEY designed to help inform some of the themes in the series.

The survey has been devised with help from The Charles Perkins Centre (Sydney Uni). The aim of the survey is to get an understanding of the experience of certain health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, from the perspective of (i) Australians and (ii) specifically, health professional’s (those involved in diabetes care and prevention as well as those who aren’t ).

Complete the survey HERE 

What we’ve known for many years is that type 2 diabetes is both preventable and reversible.

While the solution followed in the series is pretty simple-short term calorie restriction and using fresh, wholefoods as ‘medicine’- presenters want to highlight that low calorie diet programs aren’t routinely offered by most GPs or funded by Medicare.

Ray Kelly says that the TV series cannot come soon enough as Type 2 Diabetes is the fastest growing condition in the Western world yet it is both preventable and reversible.

“What we’ve known for many years is that type 2 diabetes is both preventable and reversible.”

Across 3 episodes, Ray Kelly and Dr Mosley will also shed a light on confronting health disparities and complexities of diabetes risk and prevalence in Australia.

At times they’ll explore confronting issues asking why diabetes death and hospitalisation rates are twice as high in remote areas than in major cities and why Australians are losing a staggering 4400 limbs to diabetes-related amputations every year.

Ray Kelly encouraged families and individual from all backgrounds, especially of Indigenous ancestry, to participate in the program.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SugarTax #5Myths @ausoftheyear Dr James Muecke pushing for Scott Morrison’s government to enact a tax on sugary drinks : Money $ raised could be used to fund health promotion

” This year’s Australian of the Year, Dr James Muecke, is an eye specialist with a clear vision.

He wants to change the way the world looks at sugar and the debilitating consequences of diabetes, which include blindness.

Muecke is pushing for Scott Morrison’s government to enact a tax on sugary drinks to help make that a reality.

Such a tax would increase the price of soft drinks, juices and other sugary drinks by around 20%. The money raised could be used to fund health promotion programs around the country.

The evidence backing his calls is strong. ” 

From the Conversation

” A study of intake of six remote Aboriginal communities, based on store turnover, found that intake of energy, fat and sugar was excessive, with fatty meats making the largest contribution to fat intake.

Compared with national data, intake of sweet and carbonated beverages and sugar was much higher in these communities, with the proportion of energy derived from refined sugars approximately four times the recommended intake.

Recent evidence from Mexico indicates that implementing health-related taxes on sugary drinks and on ‘junk’ food can decrease purchase of these foods and drinks.

A recent Australian study predicted that increasing the price of sugary drinks by 20% could reduce consumption by 12.6%.

Revenue raised by such a measure could be directed to an evaluation of effectiveness and in the longer term be used to subsidise and market healthy food choices as well as promotion of physical activity.

It is imperative that all of these interventions to promote healthy eating should have community-ownership and not undermine the cultural importance of family social events, the role of Elders, or traditional preferences for some food.

Food supply in Indigenous communities needs to ensure healthy, good quality foods are available at affordable prices.” 

Extract from NACCHO Network Submission to the Select Committee’s Obesity Epidemic in Australia Inquiry. 

Download the full 15 Page submission HERE

Obesity Epidemic in Australia – Network Submission – 6.7.18

Also Read over 40 Aboriginal Health and Sugar Tax articles published by NACCHO 


Taxes on sugary drinks work

Several governments around the world have adopted taxes on sugary drinks in recent years. The evidence is clear: they work.

Last year, a summary of 17 studies found health taxes on sugary drinks implemented in Berkeley and other places in the United States, Mexico, Chile, France and Spain reduced both purchases and consumption of sugary drinks.

Reliable evidence from around the world tells us a 10% tax reduces sugary drink intakes by around 10%.

The United Kingdom soft drink tax has also been making headlines recently. Since its introduction, the amount of sugar in drinks has decreased by almost 30%, and six out of ten leading drink companies have dropped the sugar content of more than 50% of their drinks.


Read more: Sugary drinks tax is working – now it’s time to target cakes, biscuits and snacks


In Australia, modelling studies have shown a 20% health tax on sugary drinks is likely to save almost A$2 billion in healthcare costs over the lifetime of the population by preventing diet-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease and several cancers.

This is over and above the cost benefits of preventing dental health issues linked to consumption of sugary drinks.

Most of the health benefits (nearly 50%) would occur among those living in the lowest socioeconomic circumstances.

A 20% health tax on sugary drinks would also raise over A$600 million to invest back into the health of Australians.

After sugar taxes are introduced, people tend to switch from sugar drinks to other product lines, such as bottled water and artificially sweetened drinks. l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock

 

So what’s the problem?

The soft drink industry uses every trick in the book to try to convince politicians a tax on sugary drinks is bad policy.

Here are our responses to some common arguments against these taxes:

Myth 1: Sugary drink taxes unfairly disadvantage the poor

It’s true people on lower incomes would feel the pinch from higher prices on sugary drinks. A 20% tax on sugary drinks in Australia would cost people from low socioeconomic households about A$35 extra per year. But this is just A$4 higher than the cost to the wealthiest households.

Importantly, poorer households are likely to get the biggest health benefits and long-term health care savings.

What’s more, the money raised from the tax could be targeted towards reducing health inequalities.


Read more: Australian sugary drinks tax could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes and save 1,600 lives


Myth 2: Sugary drink taxes would result in job losses

Multiple studies have shown no job losses resulted from taxes on sugar drinks in Mexico and the United States.

This is in contrast to some industry-sponsored studies that try to make the case otherwise.

In Australia, job losses from such a tax are likely to be minimal. The total demand for drinks by Australian manufacturers is unlikely to change substantially because consumers would likely switch from sugary drinks to other product lines, such as bottled water and artificially sweetened drinks.

A tax on sugary drinks is unlikely to cost jobs. Successo images/Shutterstock

 

Despite industry protestations, an Australian tax would have minimal impact on sugar farmers. This is because 80% of our locally grown sugar is exported. Only a small amount of Australian sugar goes to sugary drinks, and the expected 1% drop in demand would be traded elsewhere.

Myth 3: People don’t support health taxes on sugary drinks

There is widespread support for a tax on sugary drinks from major health and consumer groups in Australia.

In addition, a national survey conducted in 2017 showed 77% of Australians supported a tax on sugary drinks, if the proceeds were used to fund obesity prevention.

Myth 4: People will just swap to other unhealthy products, so a tax is useless

Taxes, or levies, can be designed to avoid substitution to unhealthy products by covering a broad range of sugary drink options, including soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.

There is also evidence that shows people switch to water in response to sugary drinks taxes.


Read more: Sweet power: the politics of sugar, sugary drinks and poor nutrition in Australia


Myth 5: There’s no evidence sugary drink taxes reduce obesity or diabetes

Because of the multiple drivers of obesity, it’s difficult to isolate the impact of a single measure. Indeed, we need a comprehensive policy approach to address the problem. That’s why Dr Muecke is calling for a tax on sugary drinks alongside improved food labelling and marketing regulations.

Towards better food policies

The Morrison government has previously and repeatedly rejected pushes for a tax on sugary drinks.

But Australian governments are currently developing a National Obesity Strategy, making it the ideal time to revisit this issue.

We need to stop letting myths get in the way of evidence-backed health policies.

Let’s listen to Dr Muecke – he who knows all too well the devastating effects of products packed full of sugar.

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health #BacktoSchool : What our kids eat can affect not only their physical health but also their mood, mental health and learning

“When kids eat a healthy diet with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in that diet, they actually perform better in the classroom.​     

They’re going to have better stamina with their work, and at the end of the day it means we’ll get better learning results which will impact on them in the long term.”

Marlborough Primary School principal

We know that fuelling children with the appropriate foods helps support their growth and development.

But there is a growing body of research showing that what children eat can affect not only their physical health but also their mood, mental health and learning.

The research suggests that eating a healthy and nutritious diet can improve mental health¹, enhance cognitive skills like concentration and memory²‚³ and improve academic performance⁴.

In fact, young people that have the unhealthiest diets are nearly 80% more likely to have depression than those with the healthiest diets

Continued Part 1 Below

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer increased risk of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Eating healthy food and being physically active lowers your risk of getting kidney disease and type 2 diabetes, and of dying young from heart disease and some cancers.

Being a healthy weight can also makes it easier for you to keep up with your family and look after the kids, nieces, nephews and grandkids. “

Continued Part 2 Below

Part 1

Children should be eating plenty of nutritious, minimally processed foods from the five food groups:

  1. fruit
  2. vegetables and legumes/beans
  3. grains (cereal foods)
  4. lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives.

Consuming too many nutritionally-poor foods and drinks that are high in added fats, sugars and salt, such as lollies, chips and fried foods has been connected to emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents⁵.

In fact, young people that have the unhealthiest diets are nearly 80% more likely to have depression than those with the healthiest diets¹.

Children learn from their parents and carers. If you want your children to eat well, set a good example. If you help them form healthy eating habits early, they’re more likely to stick with them for life.

So here are some good habits to start them on the right path.

Eat with your kids, as a family, without the distraction of the television. Children benefit from routines, so try to eat meals at regular times.

Make sure your kids eat breakfast too – it’s a good source of energy and nutrients to help them start the day. Good choices are high-fibre, low-sugar cereals or wholegrain toast. It’s also a good idea to prepare healthy snacks in advance for them to eat in between meals.

Encourage children to drink water or milk rather than soft drinks, cordial, sports drinks or fruit juice drinks – don’t keep these in the fridge or pantry.

Children over the age of two years can be given reduced fat milk, but children under the age of two years should be given full cream milk.

Why are schools an important place to make changes?

Schools can play a key role in influencing healthy eating habits, as students can consume on average 37% of their energy intake for the day during school hours alone!6

A New South Wales survey found that up to 72% of primary school students purchase foods and drinks from the canteen at least once a week7. Also, in Victoria, while around three-quarters (77%) of children meet the guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, only one in 25 (4%) meet the guidelines for recommended daily serves of vegetables8; and discretionary foods account for nearly 40 per cent of energy intake for Victorian children9.

It’s never too late to encourage healthier eating habits – childhood and adolescence is a key time to build lifelong habits and learn how to enjoy healthy eating.

Get started today

You can start to improve students’ learning outcomes and mental wellbeing by promoting healthy eating throughout your school environment.

Some ideas to get you started:

This blog article was originally published on Healthy Eating Advisory Service . 

Part 2

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer increased risk of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Eating healthy food and being physically active lowers your risk of getting kidney disease and type 2 diabetes, and of dying young from heart disease and some cancers.

Being a healthy weight can also makes it easier for you to keep up with your family and look after the kids, nieces, nephews and grandkids.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may find it useful to chose store foods that are most like traditional animal and plant bush foods – that is, low in saturated fat, added sugar and salt – and use traditional bush foods whenever possible.

The Healthy Weight Guide provides information about maintaining and achieving a healthy weight.

It tells you how to work out if you’re a healthy weight. It lets you know up-to-date information about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid and what and how much physical activity to do. It gives you tips on setting goalsmonitoring what you dogetting support and managing the challenges.

There are also tips on how to eat well if you live in rural and remote areas.

The national Live Longer! Local Community Campaigns Grants Program supports Indigenous communities to help their people to work towards and maintain healthy weights and lifestyles. For more information, see Live Longer!.

Part 3 Parents may not always realise that their children are not a healthy weight.

If you think your child is underweight, the following information will not apply to your situation and you should seek advice from a health professional for an assessment.

If you think your child is overweight you should see your health professional for an assessment. However, if you’re not sure whether your child is overweight, see if you recognise some of the signs below. If you are still not sure, see your health professional for advice.

Overweight children may experience some or all of the following:

  • Having to wear clothes that are too big for their age
  • Having rolls or skin folds around the waist
  • Snoring when they sleep
  • Saying they get teased about their weight
  • Difficulty participating in some physically active games and activities
  • Avoiding taking part in games at school
  • Avoiding going out with other children

Signs that a child is at risk of becoming overweight, if they are not already, include:

  • Eating lots of foods high in saturated fats such as pies, pasties, sausage rolls, hot chips, potato crisps and other snacks, and cakes, biscuits and high-sugar muesli bars
  • Eating take away or fast food meals more than once a week
  • Eating lots of foods high in added sugar such as cakes, biscuits, muffins, ice-cream and deserts
  • Drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks or cordials
  • Eating lots of snacks high in salt and fat such as hot chips, potato crisps and other similar snacks
  • Skipping meals, including breakfast, regularly
  • Watching TV and/or playing video games or on social networks for more than two hours each day
  • Not being physically active on a daily basis.

For more information:

References for Part 1

1 Jacka FN, et al. Associations between diet quality and depressed mood in adolescents: results from the Australian Healthy Neighbourhoods Study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2010 May;44(5):435-42. https://doi.org/10.3109/00048670903571598571598
2 Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: The effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-578. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/
3 Bellisle, F. (2004). Effects of diet on behaviour and cognition in children. British Journal of Nutrition, 92(2), S227–S232
4 Burrows, T., Goldman, S., Pursey, K., Lim, R. (2017) Is there an association between dietary intake and academic achievement: a systematic review. J Hum Nutr Diet. 30, 117– 140 doi: 10.1111/jhn.12407. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jhn.12407
5 Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Moodie M, Leslie ER, et al. (2011) A Prospective Study of Diet Quality and Mental Health in Adolescents. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24805. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024805
6 Bell AC, Swinburn BA. What are the key food groups to target for preventing obesity and improving nutrition in schools? Eur J Clin Nutr2004;58:258–63
7 Hardy L, King L, Espinel P, et al. NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) 2010: Full Report (pg 97). Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2011
8 Department of Education and Training 2019, Child Health and Wellbeing Survey – Summary Findings 2017, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.
9 Department of Health and Human Services 2016, Victoria’s Health; the Chief Health Officer’s report 2014, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.