NACCHO #VoteACCHO Save a Date Conference and Events : #HeartWeek2019 28 April to 4 May #ShowSomeTicker Encourages all our mob to understand their risk factors for heart disease and take steps to reduce this risk. @heartfoundation #LHPNationalForum2019

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

National Heart Week 28 April to 4 May

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

15 May Cultural Safety Consultation closes

21 May First Peoples Disability Network, Is hosting a Human Rights Literacy forum

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

24 May National Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

Featured Save a dates date

National Heart Week 28 April to 4 May 

Heart Week is an opportunity for health professionals and the Australian public to start a conversation about heart health and the steps needed to reduce the risk of heart disease.

In 2019, Heart Week is celebrated from 28 April–4 May. It will focus on the importance of having a heart health check.

Read over 7O + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Heart Articles

In particular we are focusing on:

  • Heart health checks and what they involve
  • Which patients should have a heart health check and why
  • What steps patients can take to manage their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Aboriginal Heart Health Info 

Get involved with – use our health professional resources to have Heart Health Check conversations with your patients.

The Heart Foundation and project partner, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, welcome you to the 2019 Lighthouse Hospital Project National Forum stating today . Follow #LHPnationalForum2019

The 2019 National Forum brings together each of the 18 hospitals participating in the project, as well as their community partners.

This includes Aboriginal Medical Services, Primary Health Networks, and peak bodies involved in improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The 2019 National Forum will provide you with an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the many successful and innovative initiatives implemented through the Lighthouse Hospital Project, and to discuss ways of embedding and sustaining those changes.

The 2018 National Forum was centred around project priorities which had emerged from workshops, engagement and discussion with project stakeholders and challenges and opportunities experienced across the project sites. The following five themes were developed from these priorities and formed the basis of the National Forum agenda:

  • Understanding the patient experience
  • Addressing discharge against medical advice
  • Increasing patient uptake and engagement with services
  • Building service capability to provide culturally safe and clinically competent care
  • Strategies to increase project collaboration

More Details HERE

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

15 May Cultural Safety Consultation closes 

This engagement process is important to ensure the definition is co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, health professionals and organisations across Australia.

Cultural safety is essential to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and we are committed to a genuine partnership approach to develop a clear definition “

NHLF Chair, Pat Turner said the forum’s partnership with the Strategy Group meant that the definition is being led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health experts, which is an important value when developing policies or definitions that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The NHLF has been operating since 2011 and is national representative committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak bodies who provide advice on all aspects of health and well-being.

Help define this important term for the scheme that regulates health practitioners across Australia.

AHPRA, the National Boards and Accreditation Authorities in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which regulates registered health practitioners in Australia have partnered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders and the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) to release a public consultation.

Together, they are seeking feedback on a proposed definition of ‘cultural safety’ to develop an agreed, national baseline definition that can be used as a foundation for embedding cultural safety across all functions in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme and for use by the National Health Leadership Forum.

In total, there are 44 organisations represented in this consultation, which is being coordinated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group (Strategy Group), which is convened by AHPRA, and the NHLF (a list of representatives is available below).

Strategy Group Co-Chair, Professor Gregory Phillips said the consultation is a vital step for achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. (see Picture below )

‘Patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is inextricably linked with cultural safety. We need a baseline definition of ‘cultural safety’ that can be used across the National Scheme so that we can help registered health practitioners understand what cultural safety is and how it can help achieve health equity for all Australians’, said Prof Phillips.

The NHLF has been operating since 2011 and is national representative committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak bodies who provide advice on all aspects of health and well-being.

The consultation is a continuation of the work by the National Scheme’s Strategy Group that has achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as its overall goal. Members of the Group include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders and members from AHPRA, National Boards, Accreditation Authorities and NSW Councils.

AHPRA’s Agency Management Committee Chair, Mr Michael Gorton AM, said the far reach of this work is outlined in the Strategy Group’s Statement of intent, which was published last year.

‘The approach to this consultation is embodied in the Strategy Group’s Statement of intent, which has commitment, accountability, shared priorities, collaboration and high-level participation as its values. As a scheme, we are learning from our engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, who are the appropriate leaders in this work. I thank these leaders, and the experts who have shared their knowledge and expertise with us, for their generosity and leadership which will lead to better health outcomes’, said Mr Gorton.

The six-week consultation is open to the public. Everyone interested in helping to shape the definition of ‘cultural safety’ that will be used in the National Scheme and by NHLF members is warmly invited to share their views.The consultation is open until 5:00pm, Wednesday 15 May 2019.

For more information:

18 May Federal Elections 

Welcome to our special NACCHO #Election2019 #VoteACCHO resource page for Affiliates, ACCHO members, stakeholders and supporters. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is not a partisan political issue and cannot be sidelined any longer.

NACCHO has developed a set of policy #Election2019 recommendations that if adopted, fully funded and implemented by the incoming Federal Government, will provide a pathway forward for improvements in our health outcomes.

We are calling on all political parties to include these recommendations in their election platforms and make a real commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and help us Close the Gap.

With your action and support of our #VoteACCHO campaign we can make the incoming Federal Government accountable.

More info HERE 

NACCHO Acting Chair, Donnella Mills

21 May First Peoples Disability Network, Is hosting a Human Rights Literacy forum. #FPDN #community#humanrights #Indigenous #culture

All welcome, Catering will be provided.
Location: Aboriginal Advancement League
THORNBURY, Tuesday 21 May 2019

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together. Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:
Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • EARLY BIRD – FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION: $1950 AUD plus booking fees
  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change. Please visit http://www.2019wihc.comfor up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

24 May National Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

 

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens 

The opening of the 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round has been moved forward! The National NAIDOC Grants will now officially open on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Head to www.naidoc.org.au to join the National NAIDOC Mailing List and keep up with all things grants or check out the below links for more information now!

https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/grants/grantconnect/

https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/grants-and-funding/naidoc-week-funding

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

SAVE THE DATE for the 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference!!!

We’re so excited to announce the date of our 10 Year Anniversary Conference –
A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition!!! 

NATSIHWA recognises that importance of members sharing and learning from each other, and our key partners within the Health Sector. We hold a biennial conference for all NATSIHWA members to attend. The conference content focusses on the professional support and development of the Health Workers and Health Practitioners, with key side events to support networking among attendees.  We seek feedback from our Membership to make the conferences relevant to their professional needs and expectations and ensure that they are offered in accessible formats and/or locations.The conference is a time to celebrate the important contribution of Health Workers and Health Practitioners, and the Services that support this important profession.

We hold the NATSIHWA Legends Award night at the conference Gala Dinner. Award categories include: Young Warrior, Health Worker Legend, Health Service Legend and Individual Champion.

Watch this space for the release of more dates for registrations, award nominations etc.

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO #Saveadate Aboriginal #SocialDeterminants #Health and #Housing : @2019wihc Registrations for The World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC on the #GoldCoast 20-24 May are now open #Itsabasichumanright

” The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference on the Gold Coast will bring together over 2,000 Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference is pleased to announce the following invited speakers who bring their expertise and knowledge to share with attendees at 2019WIHC.

Our local and international speakers will bring to life the focus areas of this three-day conference on the Gold Coast.

Their keynote presentations will be complemented by concurrent sessions, panel discussions, plenary sessions and networking opportunities.

See details of all speakers HERE

Download the WIHC Conference Brochure and share

2019WIHC_Overview_Feb2019

 ” Thousands of Aboriginal Territorians are being left in limbo as a remote housing squabble between the Commonwealth and NT Governments reaches an “outrageous, crazy” fever pitch.

Key points:

  • The NT Government has handed over the maintenance and management of 44 remote Aboriginal communities’ housing to the Commonwealth
  • Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s move has been slammed by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion as unconstitutional
  • CEO of AMSANT John Paterson said Indigenous Territorians were being treated like political footballs

Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner on Monday relinquished the remote housing leases of 44 remote communities back to the Federal Government — the latest move in an heated public spat over a $550 million housing agreement.

Mr Gunner’s decision will mean the NT Labor Government’s hallmark $1.1 billion housing policy will cease to be rolled out across those 44 communities in Central Australia, the West Daly, Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land.

Treated like a political football’: John Patterson AMSANT 

Indigenous leaders have voiced their anger at how the negotiations have been handled.

John Paterson, chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, said his board was “absolutely furious that we can’t get two governments to sort out … an essential service such as housing for Indigenous Territorians”.

“We have Indigenous Territorians that are suffering from rheumatic heart disease, from other serious chronic illnesses, living in substandard housing throughout the NT, who had all these promises from both levels of government and here we have a big spit-fight between the two governments and using the Aboriginal housing as a political football,” Mr Paterson said.

“This is absolutely disgraceful and a lack of leadership from everyone.”

Mr Paterson said he would be taking further action with the Federal Government if no resolution was sorted out promptly.

“If we can’t get a resolution or find a solution to this fairly quickly, then we’ll be writing to the Prime Minister to seek his intervention as he’s done with the Close the Gap process and demonstrate and provide the appropriate leadership to have this resolved,” he said.

Read todays NT media coverage here

 “ Australian State and Territory Health Ministers discussed the conditions that make up the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are associated with a range of social and environmental determinants.

Communicable diseases in particular share the same environmental risk factors of poor cleanliness and hygiene, the impacts of which are exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions.

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are two examples of diseases resulting from overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. ” 

March 8 Communique :  Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

As you may be aware the National Congress and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority (NATSIHA) are hosting the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

NATSIHA a peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing has been formed as a response to the Redfern Statement.

They have the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples and the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing attending along with Community representatives from Australia, NZ , USA, Canada , Fiji , Samoa , Tonga just to name a few.

There are Ministerial Delegations from a number of Countries and DFAT will be hosting a side event. This will not be a talk fest as a report will be taken to the UN Permeant Forum next year by the UN Special Rapporteur Indigenous Peoples.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together.

Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:

Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change.

Please visit http://www.2019wihc.com for up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #COAG Health Ministers Council Communique : Peak bodies welcome Roadmaps to address high priority health issues #RenalHealth  #EyeHealth #RHD #RheumaticHeartDisease #Hearing Health and #Housing

We welcome the COAG Health Council’s commitment to the RHD Roadmap today.

The RHD Roadmap was developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on behalf of END RHD.

We look forward to supporting the AHMAC review of the RHD Roadmap, and ask that the National RHD Steering Committee – which underpins governance of the RHD Roadmap – be convened as a matter of priority to oversee development of the implementation plan. ” 

END RHD Press Release see 2.30 below for full release 

“ The need to close the gap for vision and achieve a world class system of eye health and vision care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a critically important objective and rightly belongs on the national agenda.”

The fact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still three times more likely to experience blindness than non-Indigenous Australians illustrates the need for action.

We welcome the leadership shown by Minister Wyatt in bringing this issue to the COAG Health Council, and strongly encourage all governments and all sides of politics to join together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and Vision 2020 Australia members to close the gap for vision.”

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott:

The Federal, state and territory Health Ministers met in Adelaide last Friday at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues.

The meeting was chaired by the Hon Roger Cook MLA, Western Australian Minister for Health and Mental Health.

Major items discussed by Health Ministers today included:

1.National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan

2. Roadmaps to address high priority health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

2.1 Renal Health 

2.2 Eye Health 

2.3 Rheumatic Heart Disease 

2.4 Hearing Health

3.Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

1.National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan 

At the August 2018 Indigenous Roundtable Health Ministers agreed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health and Medical Workforce Plan that provides a career path, national scope of practice and attracts more Indigenous people into health professions.

Ministers discussed the approach to develop the Plan noting that the Commonwealth will provide resources to lead its drafting, in full consultation with states and territories and other key stakeholders.

Ministers noted that in the course of developing the Plan, there may be value in engaging with other relevant COAG councils with workforce and skills responsibilities to realise meaningful, sustainable outcomes.

A draft Plan will be submitted to the next CHC Indigenous Roundtable in July 2019.

Roadmaps to address high priority health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

At the July 2018 COAG Health Council meeting, Health Ministers discussed the potentially preventable burden of disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities caused by a number of health conditions. They discussed work to date to address these health conditions and opportunities to build on these efforts within the context of the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

Today Health Ministers discussed four roadmaps to be a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs to address this key health challenge. Ministers committed to working jointly to ending rheumatic heart disease and avoidable blindness and deafness.

Ministers referred the roadmaps to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council for review and reporting back in November 2019.

2.1 Renal Health 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a disproportionate burden of renal disease. Research shows non-Indigenous patients are nearly four times more likely to receive kidney transplants, and Indigenous people are nine times as likely to rely on dialysis.

Ministers noted the Renal Health Roadmap, developed by the Commonwealth in conjunction with key stakeholders, as a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs.

2.2 Eye Health 

The rate of vision impairment and blindness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is three times higher than non-Indigenous Australians. The leading causes of vision loss and blindness in Indigenous adults are uncorrected refractive error, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Ministers noted the Eye Health Roadmap as a framework to deliver collaborative policies and programs.

Vision 2020 Press Release

Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the leadership shown by the Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM, along with his state and territory counterparts, in discussing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health and vision at today’s COAG Health Council Meeting.

Too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still experience avoidable vision loss and blindness, and those who have lost vision often find it difficult to access the support and services they need.

Our members are working hard to improve eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the plan discussed today is a product of their extensive input and expertise.

We encourage all governments, all sides of politics, and the many others involved in this area to work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their organisations to achieve and sustain real improvements in eye health and vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our nation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s eye health – key facts

  • Cataract is the leading cause of blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and is 12 times more common than for non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wait on average 63% longer for cataract surgery than non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Almost two-thirds of vision impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is due to uncorrected refractive error – often treatable with a pair of glasses.
  • One in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults has Diabetic Retinopathy, which can lead to irreversible vision loss.
  • Australia is the only developed country to still have Trachoma, found predominately in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

2.3 Rheumatic Heart Disease 

Rheumatic heart disease is a disease of disadvantage that affects primarily Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is caused by an episode or recurrent episodes of acute rheumatic fever where the heart valves remain stretched or scarred, interrupting normal bloodflow. The Roadmap has used the best available evidence to identify priority actions for the next 10 years.

RHD Press Release

We welcome the COAG Health Council’s commitment to the RHD Roadmap today. The RHD Roadmap was developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on behalf of END RHD.

We look forward to supporting the AHMAC review of the RHD Roadmap, and ask that the National RHD Steering Committee – which underpins governance of the RHD Roadmap – be convened as a matter of priority to oversee development of the implementation plan.

We look forward to working with the Commonwealth and jurisdictional governments, implementing organisations, and communities, to ensure the RHD Roadmap is implemented in a timely, consultative manner, in line with the COAG Implementation Principles as informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

We thank Ministers Wyatt and Hunt for commissioning and championing the RHD Roadmap. We thank all our partners who contributed their experience, wisdom, and energies in preliminary consultation.

Our goal is to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia. This RHD Roadmap provides a critical opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to lead the way to achieve that shared vision.

2.4 Hearing Health

Hearing loss is a complex issue that affects millions of Australians. It is often considered a hidden or invisible issue as, despite the high prevalence of hearing loss, there is limited awareness in the broader community. There is a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to ear disease that profoundly affects their life experiences through childhood and into adulthood. This has a significant impact on community engagement, education, employment and engagement with the criminal justice system. The Roadmap sets out the short, medium and long-term actions to address the key hearing health issues that have been identified.

3. Diseases of housing overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Health Ministers discussed the conditions that make up the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are associated with a range of social and environmental determinants. Communicable diseases in particular share the same environmental risk factors of poor cleanliness and hygiene, the impacts of which are exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions. Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are two examples of diseases resulting from overcrowding and poverty in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Other Issues 

National Health Reform Agreement – Resolving reconciliation and back casting

Health Ministers discussed differing approaches to the application of back casting in the Activity Based Funding model for Commonwealth funding to states and territories under the National Health Reform Agreement.

State and Territory Ministers will develop a joint set of policy principles and directions on a clear methodology for the calculation of hospital funding for use by the national funding bodies, which will be presented to COAG by June 2019.

Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) global nutrition target is to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50 percent by 2025. Low breastfeeding rates and the use of infant formula within the first year of life are linked to obesity and other chronic diseases in later life.

In 2016, Health Ministers agreed to develop an enduring breastfeeding strategy following the conclusion of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015. The latest National Health Survey data shows that only around 25% of babies are exclusively breastfed to around six months.

The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond seeks to achieve the World Health Organization target of 50% of babies exclusively breastfed to around six months by 2025, including a particular focus on those from priority populations and vulnerable groups. To achieve this objective, actions are proposed across three priority areas: structural enablers; settings that enable breastfeeding; and individual enablers.

Ministers discussed the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond and committed to provide a supportive and enabling environment for breastfeeding mothers, infants and families. Ministers were of the view that investing in breastfeeding is an investment in chronic disease prevention and better health.

The Commonwealth Department of Health will lead national policy coordination, monitoring and evaluation and report annually on implementation progress to the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council.

Professional Indemnity Insurance for Privately Practicing Midwives

In 2010, the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 saw the requirement for registered health practitioners to have appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place. Despite exhaustive national and international investigations, no available or affordable commercial product in Australia covers Privately Practicing Midwives for homebirth.

Health Ministers considered the issue of professional indemnity insurance for privately practicing midwives. Health Ministers emphasised that the safety of mothers and their babies is paramount.

Health Ministers recognised that the availability of a suitable professional indemnity insurance product covering private home births would be preferable, as it would allow privately practicing midwives to remain registered under the National Law without the need for an exemption, continue to provide choice to women and take into account the rights of women and children.

In the absence of a suitable professional indemnity insurance product for privately practicing midwives, Health Ministers requested that AHMAC would complete additional work to inform the decision of Ministers in relation to the way forward by June 2020.

Health Ministers agreed for the current exemption under the National Law to be extended until December 2021 to allow time for options to be explored further.

Update on ageing and aged care matters including the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

All Australian Health Ministers are committed to the highest quality care for older Australians.

The Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, provided an update on recent ageing and aged care initiatives, announcements and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Royal Commission has a broad scope to inquire into all forms of Commonwealth-funded aged care services, regardless of the setting in which those services are delivered. It will look at the aged care sector as a whole, including younger people with disabilities living in residential age care.

Ministers also discussed a range of issues relating to safe and quality care for older Australians, for example, the provision of primary and community care services to aged care consumers, access to acute care and rehabilitation services, timely movement of consumers from hospital to aged care services and engagement on the implementation of effective mechanisms to regulate restraint in aged care.

Update on National Missions under the Medical Research Future Fund 

National Medical Research Future Fund Missions are large programs of work with ambitious objectives to address complex and sizeable health issues that are only possible through significant investment, leadership and collaboration. They bring together key researchers, health professionals, stakeholders, industry partners, patients and governments to tackle significant health challenges, for example brain cancer and dementia.

Today Health Ministers received an update from the Commonwealth Minister for Health on the five national Missions and the Indigenous Health Futures announced to date and increased opportunities for contestable grant rounds to support health and medical research.

The five missions are

  1. Australian Brain Cancer Mission
  2. Genomics Health Futures Mission
  3. Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission
  4. Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Research Mission
  5. Mission for Cardiovascular Health

The research work also includes the Indigenous Health Futures for which $160 million from the MRFF has been committed over ten years for a national research initiative to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Health Ministers supported the work of the research Missions and the Indigenous Health Futures, agreeing to work together towards achieving their aims.

Resolving outstanding National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) implementation issues

Health Ministers acknowledged the significant efforts being made by all jurisdictions to resolve issues that arise from the interface between the NDIS and health systems.

Mental Health Services

States and territories expressed concerns about access to necessary primary care mental health services. States, territories and the Commonwealth will work constructively so that access to primary mental health services is improved particularly for consumers outside the NDIS.

Regulation of misleading public health information

The Queensland Health Minister provided an update on regulation of misleading public health information in relation to misleading or inaccurate information regarding vaccines or vaccination programs.

Ministers welcomed the prompt action and leadership of the Outdoor Media Association to apply the intent of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018, so that advertising connected to therapeutic goods ‘must not be inconsistent with current public health campaigns.’

Tobacco industry issues

Australia has been a world leader in legislation restricting the promotion and advertising of tobacco-related products through sport, and in taking a precautionary approach to the control of smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes.

The tobacco industry is investing heavily in smoke-free products and has established associated sports sponsorships launched at the start of the 2019 F1 and MotoGP championship seasons, presenting a challenge to tobacco control legislation.

Victoria raised the issue that e-liquids for use in e-cigarettes are not in child safe packaging, do not contain sufficient warnings and may be dangerous or fatal for young children.

Health Ministers today discussed a national approach to the prohibition of smoke-free,  e-cigarette and related sponsorship and advertising in sport, based on existing tobacco control principles and legislation. This approach will have the capacity to respond to emerging products and forms of marketing.

Health Ministers also noted that the Clinical Principal Committee will develop options to better regulate e-cigarettes and related products including consideration of the need to introduce child proof lids and plain packaging, with options to be provided to the COAG Health Council for consideration.

National Medical Workforce Strategy

A National Medical Workforce Strategy is necessary to guide long-term, collaborative medical workforce planning across Australia.

The Strategy will match the supply of general practitioners, medical specialists and consultant physicians to predicted medical service needs and will involve consultation with a range of stakeholders. Health Ministers will fund the development of a National Medical Workforce Strategy. This will include sharing of data across Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to support the strategy.

It is expected that the Strategy will address several system-level issues including:

  • the number and distribution of specialist training positions and how these might be better aligned to community needs
  • access to the full range of medical services, including maternity services, in regional, rural and remote areas
  • the current reliance on overseas trained doctors to fill specific workforce shortages and how Australia can improve self-sufficiency in medical workforce development
  • integration of medical care between settings and professions
  • improving workplace culture and doctor wellbeing
  • the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in the medical workforce.

A Steering Committee has been established under the National Medical Training Advisory Network to guide this work.

Options for a nationally consistent approach to the regulation of spinal manipulation on children 

Health Ministers noted community concerns about the unsafe spinal manipulation on children performed by chiropractors and agreed that public protection was paramount in resolving this issue.

Ministers welcomed the advice that Victoria will commission an independent review of the practice of spinal manipulation on children under 12 years, and the findings will be reported to the COAG Health Council, including the need for changes to the National Law.

Ministers supported the examination of an increase in penalties for advertising offences, such as false, misleading or deceptive advertising, under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, to bring these into line with community expectations and penalties for other offences under the National Law. This decision was informed by recent consultation about potential reforms to the National Law in 2018.

Ministers will consider the outcomes of the independent review and determine any further changes needed to protect the public.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research : Ministers @GregHuntMP and @KenWyattMP announce $160 million funding for Indigenous health research over 10 years targeting three flagship priorities and five key areas

“It is time to come together as a nation to work as partners in bringing equity in health outcomes”

The right research into improved treatments and services has the potential to dramatically accelerate the progress we have seen over the last six years in achieving better health for Indigenous Australians,”

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM

The fund is a vital step towards improving the health of our Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities. Ultimately, parity in health outcomes is the only acceptable goal, and this fund will help to achieve it.

The research into improving the system is critical, but we are also absolutely committed to delivering real, on-the-ground improvements and frontline services right now “

Health Minister Greg Hunt

” It is a great honour to be asked to co-chair this critical research platform for the future.  Health and social inequity as experienced by Indigenous Australians stands as one of our nations great challenges.  Only through dedicated, collaborative, adequately resourced action, led by community priorities and processes can we hope to make meaningful change. 

Our collective job is to unlock the expertise and capabilities of the Indigenous community, backed the brightest and most gifted scientists and medical researchers and their institutions to make a more equitable future for all Australians.”

Professor Alex Browne : South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

The Federal Government will provide $160 million for a national research initiative to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Indigenous Health Research Fund will be a 10-year research program funded from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

It will support practical, innovative research into the best approaches to prevention, early intervention, and treatment of health conditions of greatest concern to Indigenous communities.

First three flagship priorities

The funding’s first three flagship priorities, which aim to deliver rapid solutions to some of the biggest preventable health challenges faced by our First Nations peoples, are:

  • Ending avoidable blindness
  • Ending avoidable deafness
  • Ending rheumatic heart disease

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM announced the first project to be funded under the Indigenous Health Research Fund on Sunday – $35 million for the development of a vaccine to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia.

Rheumatic heart disease is a complication of bacterial infections of the throat and skin. Australia currently has the highest rate of rheumatic heart disease in the world.

Every year, nearly 250 children are diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever and 50 – 150 people die from rheumatic heart disease in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 64 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to develop rheumatic heart disease, and nearly 20 times as likely to die from it.

“Rheumatic heart disease kills young people and devastates families. This funding will save countless lives in Australia and beyond,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Five key areas of Research

The remaining $125 million Indigenous Health Research funding will be focussed on research projects that fall into five key areas – guaranteeing a healthy start to life, improving primary health care, overcoming the origins of inequality in health, reducing the burden of disease, and addressing emerging challenges.

An advisory panel comprising prominent Indigenous research experts and community leaders, cochaired by Prof. Alex Browne (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) and Prof. Misty Jenkins (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), will guide the Indigenous Health Research Fund investments.

It will be the first national research fund led by Indigenous people, and conducted with close engagement with Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Health Research Fund will also seek contributions from philanthropic organisations, state governments, industry, and the private sector in order to increase the reach and impact of the fund.

The Indigenous Health Research Fund will provide the knowledge and understanding to make health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more effective and lead to lasting health improvements.

This is key to closing the gap in health outcomes since, despite considerable investment by the Commonwealth in existing programmes, Indigenous Australians currently have about a 10 year lower life expectancy and 2.3 times the burden of disease compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

The Morrison Government will provide separate funding of $3.8 million over four years to fund the University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Eye Health Program. This program aims to improve Indigenous eye health in Australia.

“The research into improving the system is critical, but we are also absolutely committed to delivering real, on-the-ground improvements and frontline services right now,” Minister Hunt said.

Our  Government has a long-standing and important commitment to achieving health equity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Government is investing $3.9 billion in Indigenous-specific health initiatives (from 2018-19 to 2021-22), an ongoing increase of around four per cent per year. This includes investment under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.

The MRFF is key to the Government’s health and research plans and is delivering significant benefits for Australian researchers, with over $2 billion in disbursements announced to date

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health : Major health groups welcome cross-party @GregHuntMP  @billshortenmp commitment on health checks @amapresident @heartfoundation   @strokefdn  @ACDPAlliance @CHFofAustralia 

” The support for comprehensive health checks to tackle cardiovascular disease is an acknowledgement of the importance of general practice to preventive health care and we are looking forward to more promises ahead of the federal election

AMA President Tony Bartone welcomed the commitments see full press release Part 2

 “Chronic diseases affect half of the Australian population and are the leading cause of death in Australia , yet, many people are unaware of their risk and the first sign something is wrong is a trip to the hospital.

 Chronic diseases – including heart disease and stroke – account for more than one-third of health spending, with costs expected to increase as the population ages.

Investment in prevention is crucial to address the growing impact of chronic disease and reduce unnecessary hospitalisations,”

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said investment in comprehensive health checks would encourage people to consider their health before a crisis : See full Press Release Part 3 below

“ Even though there is one case of heart attack or stroke occurring in Australia every five minutes according to government figures, too many Australians don’t realise the importance of checking how their heart is performing.   This check should nudge more patients and their doctors to make that check.

Labor has announced that in government it would spend $170 million on a new Medicare item for comprehensive heart health checks to support doctors in better preventing, detecting and managing heart disease.

And from April 1 this year, the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has announced there will be a dedicated Medicare item to support GPs to assess cardiovascular risk”

CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells

Read over 70 Aboriginal Heart Health articles published by NACCHO over last 7 years

Part 1 News summary AAP

Heart disease is a huge and often unrecognised problem for many Australians, and it is good news that both sides of politics today have announced their support for a comprehensive heart health check to be financed by Medicare.

When it comes to matters of the heart, the federal government and Labor are beating to the same rhythm each vowing millions to fund life-saving health checks.

One Australian dies of cardiovascular disease every 12 minutes, with one Australian experiencing a heart attack or stroke every five minutes.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten matched the $170 million over five years for general practice in Melbourne, just hours after a Liberal counterpart announced the same plan.

“Heart disease is Australia’s silent killer,” Mr Shorten told reporters on Sunday.

“My father died prematurely at the age of 70 with a catastrophic heart attack. We will make sure the funding is available so that everyone who wants to get a heart health check will be able to do so.

“It is good the government has agreed that to this proposition as well.”

The checks will be available through Medicare from April.

Health Minister Greg Hunt told Nine’s Weekend Today show it would mean “a better chance for people to have a proper test with their doctor”.

“They can see whether there are any issues either around their lifestyle or whether any further action needs to be taken,” he said.

National Heart Foundation chief executive Garry Jennings AO said it was an important announcement, not for what people will see rather what they won’t see as a result.

“You won’t see people who seem to be going happily through life and suddenly die from coronary disease or have a heart attack,” he said on Sunday, noting about four million Aussies with heart disease may have avoided the condition had they been checked.

Part 2 AMA president Tony Bartone also welcomed the commitments.

The commitment by both major parties to invest an estimated $170 million extra over five years into general practice to support longer health consultations is a welcome start to better investment in primary care.

“The support for comprehensive health checks to tackle cardiovascular disease is an acknowledgement of the importance of general practice to preventive health care,” AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.

“Longer consultations enhance continuity of care, and the AMA looks forward to seeing further announcements detailing plans for investment in general practice in the lead-up to the next election.

“The recent report of the Medicare Benefits Schedule General Practice and Primary Care Clinical Committee recognised the central role of general practice in the health system and called for a significant new investment in general practice. All parties must heed this advice.

“Today’s announcements by the coalition and Labor, targeting one health condition, can be regarded as a good first step. However, much more is needed to support general practice in delivering holistic care to our patients and the whole community.

“It is heartening to see that, as we approach the Federal Election, the major parties have turned their attention to better supporting general practice.

“General practice is in urgent need of an injection of new funding as Australia tackles the growing burden of complex and chronic disease, and the need for prevention.

“High quality, GP led, patient-centred primary health care is key to improving the effectiveness of care, preventing illness, and reducing inequality, variation, and health system costs.

“There is no doubt that a significant investment now in general practice will bring the promise of long-term improvements in health care outcomes for patients and savings to the health system.

“The AMA’s priorities for investment in general practice are detailed in our 2019 Pre-Budget Submission. We will be calling on all major parties to release full details of their general practice policies and their vision for Australia’s health system well ahead of the election.”

The AMA Pre-Budget Submission is at https://ama.com.au/sites/default/files/budget- submission/AMA_Budget_Submission_2019_20.pdf

Part 3 Health groups welcome cross-party commitment on health checks

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance welcomes support by the Australian Government and the federal Opposition for a Medicare item to prevent and manage vascular disease – heart, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. Funding for an integrated health check has also been backed by the Australian Greens.

Alliance members, including the National Heart Foundation, Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Kidney Health Australia and Cancer Council Australia, have long championed integrated health checks to stem the tide of Australia’s chronic disease burden.

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said investment in comprehensive health checks would encourage people to consider their health before a crisis.

Around one-third of chronic disease could be prevented through modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy weight, poor diet and high blood pressure. Although the new item has been focused around vascular disease, key risk factors, such as smoking, cause several chronic diseases and many people suffer co-morbidities through lifestyle.

Ms McGowan said today’s announcement was an important step forward in Government recognition of the importance of prevention as well as cure.

“A Medicare item for integrated health checks provides an important opportunity for people to consider their risk in consultation with their GP and take steps to reduce their risk through lifestyle changes and/or medication,” she said.

Chronic diseases – including heart disease and stroke – account for more than one-third of health spending, with costs expected to increase as the population ages.

“Investment in prevention is crucial to address the growing impact of chronic disease and reduce unnecessary hospitalisations,” Ms McGowan said.

“The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance welcomes the cross-party support for comprehensive health checks to reduce disease risk and improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.”

Part 4 Consumers Health Forum

Heart disease is a huge and often unrecognised problem for many Australians, and it is good news that both sides of politics today have announced their support for a comprehensive heart health check to be financed by Medicare.

“Even though there is one case of heart attack or stroke occurring in Australia every five minutes according to government figures, too many Australians don’t realise the importance of checking how their heart is performing.   This check should nudge more patients and their doctors to make that check,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“Labor has announced that in government it would spend $170 million on a new Medicare item for comprehensive heart health checks to support doctors in better preventing, detecting and managing heart disease.

“And from April 1 this year, the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has announced there will be a dedicated Medicare item to support GPs to assess cardiovascular risk.

“We also need to do much more in the way of preventive health measures to educate people and promote better diet and lifestyles to reduce obesity and other chronic illnesses that increase the risk of heart disease.

“The heart check plan is a good down payment in the wider investment we need in prevention.  It should also provide a platform for more announcements to come about supporting general practice to better prevent and manage chronic disease in enrolled patients.  We will be watching the development of those approaches with much interest.

“The suggestion that this heart health check be part of a Medicare-funded comprehensive health check for other lifestyle risk factors should be embedded in the Health Care Home enrolment model making the most of general practitioners as the accessible, appropriate and trusted setting for preventive health care.

“However, we need to acknowledge that a new Medicare item number is not an end in itself.  Such a development needs to be accompanied by a package of wider reforms that include patient supports such as self-management programs, access to health coaching and use of patient activation measures by GPs so they better understand the likelihood that patients are receptive to and will follow up on lifestyle advice.

“In our Federal Budget submission, we called for more support for patients to take an active and engaged interest in their health care and support for doctors to encourage that engagement.  The Consumers Health Forum will be reinforcing those calls in our soon-to-be released election priorities,” Ms Wells said.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and @END_RHD @telethonkids #RHD : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies welcome Minister @KenWyattMP announcement of $35 million funding for vaccine to end rheumatic heart disease

“Today is a game-changing step. Ending RHD is a critical, tangible target to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy.

Our Government is building on the work of the Coalition to Advance New Vaccines Against Group A Streptococcus (CANVAS) initiative, by providing $35 million over 3 years to fund the creation of a vaccine that will bring an end, once and for all, to RHD in Australia.

The trials and development, led by Australia’s leading infectious disease experts and coordinated by the Telethon Kids Institute, will give hope to thousands of First Nations people whose lives and families have been catastrophically affected by this illness.”

The funding announced today by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM is being provided from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The eradication of rheumatic heart disease, a deadly and devastating illness largely affecting Indigenous communities, is taking a major step forward, with the Federal Government investing $35 million in the development of a vaccine to combat the disease.

SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

Pictured below  : Saving the lives of children like 7 year old Tenaya, who has Rheumatic Heart Disease – Perth Hospital

“It is wonderful that the Commonwealth Government research funds have been directed to address this leading cause of inequality for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. It is a turning point in progress towards a Strep A vaccine.

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector welcomes this funding for the Strep A vaccine as one part of the work needed to end RHD.

It does not distract us from the ultimate goal of addressing the social and environmental factors – such as inequality, overcrowding, inadequate housing infrastructure, insufficient hygiene infrastructure and limited access to appropriate health services – which drive the high rates of RHD in Australia.

We hope that research funds will be mirrored by investment in frontline health services, such as ours, as part of a comprehensive strategy to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia”

NACCHO CEO Ms Pat Turner AM

ACHWA was represented at the launch by Vicki O’Donnell Chairperson

Part 1 : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies welcome Federal Government funding for new Australian-led Strep A vaccine  

Download full Press Release 

ACCHO_END RHD Statement 240219 Announcement_

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies for the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector as leaders of END RHD advocacy alliance, warmly welcome Minister Wyatt’s announcement today of $35 million of funding for the acceleration of an Australian-led Strep A vaccine.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA), Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Aboriginal Health Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC), Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) are Founding Members of END RHD, leading a campaign calling for an end to rheumatic heart disease in Australia.

We congratulate Telethon Kids Institute, one of our fellow END RHD founding members, on being awarded this vital funding, and look forward to further engagement with researchers, communities, and other stakeholders as the project progresses.

END RHD has been calling for investment in strategic research and technology – including the development of a vaccine – as part of a range of funding priorities needed to eliminate rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia. This funding is an important step towards that goal.

A vaccine has an important role to play in reducing the rates of rheumatic heart disease in years to come. We celebrate this announcement and recognise it is one important part of the comprehensive action needed to end RHD in Australia, and truly close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

We invite you to join the movement to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia. You can pledge your support for the END RHD campaign at https://endrhd.org.au/take-action/

Part 2 

It will allow manufacture and testing of a number of vaccines currently being developed, and fast-tracking and funding of clinical trials in Australia. The aim is to accelerate availability of a vaccine for use in Australia and internationally.

“Today is a game-changing step,” said Minister Wyatt. “Ending RHD is a critical, tangible target to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy.

“Our Government is building on the work of the Coalition to Advance New Vaccines Against Group A Streptococcus (CANVAS) initiative, by providing $35 million over 3 years to fund the creation of a vaccine that will bring an end, once and for all, to RHD in Australia.

“The trials and development, led by Australia’s leading infectious disease experts and coordinated by the Telethon Kids Institute, will give hope to thousands of First Nations people whose lives and families have been catastrophically affected by this illness.”

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a complication of bacterial Streptococcus A infections of the throat and skin. Strep A and RHD are major causes of death around the world, with Strep A killing more than 500,000 people each year.

Australia has one of the highest incidences of rheumatic heart disease in the world. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and is most commonly seen in adolescents and young adults.

Alarmingly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 64 times more likely than non Indigenous people to develop rheumatic heart disease, and nearly 20 times as likely to die from it.

Every year in Australia, nearly 250 children are diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever at an average age of 10 years. 50 – 150 people, mainly indigenous children or adolescents, die from RHD every year.

“Rheumatic heart disease kills young people and devastates families. This funding will save countless lives in Australia and beyond,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“This initiative will also benefit Australia by ensuring it continues to be the global leader in Strep A and RHD research and public health implementation, and can build on its worldclass clinical trial and medical industry.

“Vulnerable communities, in particular Indigenous communities, will get the medicines they need; and Australian industry will have the opportunity to collaborate in developing and distributing the breakthrough vaccine, both here and overseas.”

The End RHD vaccine initiative will be directed by Prof Jonathan Carapetis AM (Director of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth) and overseen by a Scientific Advisory Board including leading Australian and International experts.

The project will also be informed by an Indigenous Advisory Committee who will ensure that the voices of our First Nations people are heard and acknowledged, and that all components of the work are culturally safe and appropriate.

This latest initiative builds on funding already provided under our Government’s Rheumatic Fever Strategy. This includes $12.8 million to continue support for the existing state-based register and control programs in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia; and new funding of $6 million for focused prevention activities in high-risk communities to prevent the initial incidence of acute rheumatic fever.

Our Government has also provided $165,000 to the END RHD Alliance to complete development of a roadmap to eliminate the disease in Australia.

“The death and suffering caused by Strep A and RHD is preventable,” said Minister Hunt. “RHD can be stopped and we want to end it on our watch.

“This is a further demonstration of our Government’s strong commitment to health and medical research, which is a key pillar of our Government’s long term health plan.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SocialDeterminants : Download @AIHW Report : Indicators of socioeconomic inequalities in #cardiovascular disease #heartattack #stroke, #diabetes and chronic #kidney disease @ACDPAlliance

 ” Most apparent are inequalities in chronic disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. Social and economic factors are estimated to account for slightly more than one-third (34%) of the ‘good health’ gap between the 2 groups, with health risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and risky alcohol consumption explaining another 19%, and 47% due to other, unexplained factors.

 An estimated 11% of the total health gap can be attributed to the overlap, or interactions between the social determinants and health risk factors (AIHW 2018a).

Download the AIHW Report HERE aihw-cdk-12

‘By better understanding the role social inequality plays in chronic disease, governments at all levels can develop stronger, evidence based policies and programs aimed at preventing and managing these diseases, leading to better health outcomes across our community,’

AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moonn noted that these three diseases are common in Australia and, in addition to the personal costs to an individual’s health and quality of life, they have a significant economic burden in terms of healthcare costs and lost productivity

AIHW Website for more info 

Government investment is essential to encourage health checks, improve understanding of the risk factors for chronic disease, and implement policies and programs to reduce chronic disease risk, particularly in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage,

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said that the data revealed stark inequities in health status amongst Australians.

Download Press Release Here : australianchronicdiseasepreventionalliance

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance is calling on the Government to target these health disparities by increasing the focus on prevention and supporting targeted health checks to proactively manage risk.

AIHW Press Release

Social factors play an important role in a person’s likelihood of developing and dying from certain chronic diseases, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Indicators of socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, examines the relationship between socioeconomic position, income, housing and education and the likelihood of developing and dying from several common chronic diseases—cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack and stroke), diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Above image NACCHO Library

The report reveals that social disadvantage in these areas is linked to higher rates of disease, as well as poorer outcomes, including a greater likelihood of dying.

‘Across the three chronic diseases we looked at—cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease— we saw that people in the lowest of the 5 socioeconomic groups had, on average, higher rates of these diseases than those in the highest socioeconomic groups,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moon.

‘And unfortunately, we also found higher death rates from these diseases among people in the lowest socioeconomic groups.’

The greatest difference in death rates between socioeconomic groups was among people with diabetes.

‘For women in the lowest socioeconomic group, the rate of deaths in 2016 where diabetes was an underlying or associated cause of death was about 2.4 times as high as the rate for those in the highest socioeconomic group. For men, the death rate was 2.2 times as high,’ Dr Moon said.

‘Put another way, if everyone had the same chance of dying from these diseases as people in the highest socioeconomic group, in a one year period there would be 8,600 fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, 6,900 fewer deaths from diabetes, and 4,800 fewer deaths from chronic kidney disease.’

Importantly, the report also suggests that in many instances the gap between those in the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups is growing.

‘For example, while the rate of death from cardiovascular disease has been falling across all socioeconomic groups, the rate has been falling more dramatically for men in the highest socioeconomic group—effectively widening the gap between groups,’ Dr Moon said.

The report also highlights the relationship between education and health, with higher levels of education linked to lower rates of disease and death.

‘If all Australians had the same rates of disease as those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, there would have been 7,800 fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease, 3,700 fewer deaths due to diabetes, and 2,000 fewer deaths due to chronic kidney disease in 2011–12,’ Dr Moon said.

Housing is another social factor where large inequalities are apparent. Data from 2011–12 shows that for women aged 25 and over, the rate of death from chronic kidney disease was 1.5 times as high for those living in rental properties compared with women living in properties they owned. For men, the rate was 1.4 times as high for those in rental properties.

Dr Moon noted that these three diseases are common in Australia and, in addition to the personal costs to an individual’s health and quality of life, they have a significant economic burden in terms of healthcare costs and lost productivity.

‘By better understanding the role social inequality plays in chronic disease, governments at all levels can develop stronger, evidence based policies and programs aimed at preventing and managing these diseases, leading to better health outcomes across our community,’ she said

Underlying causes of socioeconomic inequalities in health

There are various reasons why socioeconomically disadvantaged people experience poorer health. Evidence points to the close relationship between people’s health and the living and working conditions which form their social environment.

Factors such as socioeconomic position, early life, social exclusion, social capital, employment and work, housing and the residential environment— known collectively as the ‘social determinants of health’—can act to either strengthen or to undermine the health of individuals and communities (Wilkinson & Marmot 2003).

These social determinants play a key role in the incidence, treatment and outcomes of chronic diseases. Social determinants can be seen as ‘causes of the causes’—that is, as the foundational determinants which influence other health determinants such as individual lifestyles and exposure to behavioural and biological risk factors.

Socioeconomic factors influence chronic disease through multiple mechanisms. Socioeconomic disadvantage may adversely affect chronic disease risk through its impact on mental health, and in particular, on depression. Socioeconomic gradients exist for multiple health behaviours over the life course, including for smoking, overweight and obesity, and poor diet.

When combined, these unhealthy behaviours help explain much of the socioeconomic health gap. Current research also seeks to link social factors and biological processes which affect chronic disease. In CVD, for example, socioeconomic determinants of health have been associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic stress responses and inflammation (Havranek et al. 2015).

The direction of causality of social determinants on health is not always one-way (Berkman et al. 2014). To illustrate, people with chronic conditions may have a reduced ability to earn an income; family members may reduce or cease employment to provide care for those who are ill; and people or families whose income is reduced may move to disadvantaged areas to access low-cost housing.

Action on social determinants is often seen as the most appropriate way to tackle unfair and avoidable socioeconomic inequalities. There are significant opportunities for reducing death and disability from CVD, diabetes and CKD through addressing their social determinants.

Summary

Australians as a whole enjoy good health, but the benefits are not shared equally by all. People who are socioeconomically disadvantaged have, on average, greater levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

This report uses latest available data to measure socioeconomic inequalities in the incidence, prevalence and mortality from these 3 diseases, and where possible, assess whether these inequalities are growing. Findings include that, in 2016:

  • males aged 25 and over living in the lowest socioeconomic areas of Australia had a heart attack rate 1.55 times as high as males in the highest socioeconomic areas. For females, the disparity was even greater, at 1.76 times as high
  • type 2 diabetes prevalence for females in the lowest socioeconomic areas was 2.07 times as high as for females in the highest socioeconomic areas. The prevalence for males was 1.70 times as high
  • the rate of treated end-stage kidney disease for males in the lowest socioeconomic areas was 1.52 times as high as for males in the highest socioeconomic areas. The rate for females was 1.75 times as high
  • the CVD death rate for males in the lowest socioeconomic areas was 1.52 times as high as for males in the highest socioeconomic areas. For females, the disparity was slightly less, at 1.33 times as high
  • if all Australians had the same CVD death rate as people in the highest socioeconomic areas in 2016, the total CVD death rate would have declined by 25%, and there would have been 8,600 fewer deaths.

CVD death rates have declined for both males and females in all socioeconomic areas since 2001— however there have been greater falls for males in higher socioeconomic areas, and as a result, inequalities in male CVD death rates have grown.

  • Both absolute and relative inequality in male CVD death rates increased—the rate difference increasing from 62 per 100,000 in 2001 to 78 per 100,000 in 2011, and the relative index of inequality (RII) from 0.25 in 2001 to 0.53 in 2016.

Often, the health outcomes affected by socioeconomic inequalities are greater when assessed by individual characteristics (such as income level or highest educational attainment), than by area.

  • Inequalities in CVD death rates by highest education level in 2011–12 (RII = 1.05 for males and 1.05 for females) were greater than by socioeconomic area in 2011 (0.50 for males and 0.41 for females).

The impact on death rates of socioeconomic inequality was generally greater for diabetes and CKD than for CVD.

  • In 2016, the diabetes death rate for females in the lowest socioeconomic areas was 2.39 times as high as for females in the highest socioeconomic areas. This compares to a ratio 1.75 times as high for CKD, and 1.33 for CVD. For males, the equivalent rate ratios were 2.18 (diabetes), 1.64 (CKD) and 1.52 (CVD).viii

Part 2

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #chronicdisease @SandroDemaio How #obesity ups your chronic disease risk and what to do about it

” Almost two in every three Australian adults are now overweight or obese, as are one in four of our children.

This rising obesity burden is the outcome of a host of factors, many of which are beyond our individual control – and obesity is linked to a number of chronic diseases.”

Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases. Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science) see Part 2 below 

This article was originally published HERE 

Part 1 NACCHO Policy

” The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

” Many community members in the NT who suffer from chronic illnesses would benefit immensely from using Health Care Homes.

Unfortunately, with limited English, this meant an increased risk of them being inadvertently excluded from the initiative.

First, Italk Alice Springs produced the English version of the story. Then using qualified interpreters, they produced Aboriginal language versions in eight languages: Anmatyerre, Alyawarr, Arrernte, East Side Kriol, West Side Kriol, Pitjatjantjara, Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha

Read Article HERE

Figure 2.22-1 Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised) by BMI category and Indigenous status, 2012–13
Proportion of persons 15 years and over (age-standardised)

Source: ABS and AIHW analysis of 2012–13 AATSIHS

Read over 60 Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years

What is chronic disease?

Chronic disease is a broad term, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancers, certain lung conditions, mental illness and genetic disorders. They are often defined by having complex and multiple causes, and are long-term or persistent (‘chronic’ actually means long-term).

How is obesity linked to chronic disease?

Obesity increases the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes and at least 13 types of cancer.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity:

Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and even being slightly overweight increases this risk. Type 2 diabetes is characterised physiologically by decreased insulin secretion as well as increased insulin resistance due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Left uncontrolled, this can lead to a host of nasty outcomes like blindness, kidney problems, heart disease and even loss of feeling in our hands and feet.

Obstructive sleep apnoea and obesity:

This is another chronic disease often linked to obesity. Sleep apnoea is caused when our large air passage is partially or fully blocked by a combination of factors, including the weight of fat tissue sitting on our neck. It can cause us to jolt awake, gasping for oxygen. It leads to poor sleep, which adds physiological pressure to critical organs.

A woman preparing vegetables for a meal

Cancer and obesity:

This is a disease of altered gene expression. It originates from changes to the cell’s DNA caused by a range of factors, including inherited mutations, inflammation, hormones, and external factors including tobacco use, radiation from the sun, and carcinogenic agents in food. Strong evidence also links obesity to a number of cancers including throat cancer, bowel cancer, cancer of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and kidney cancer.

Obesity is also associated with high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

This might sound overwhelming, but it’s not all bad news. Here are a few things we can all start to do today to reduce our risk of obesity and associated chronic disease:

1. Eat more fruit and veg

Most dietary advice revolves around eating less. But if we can replace an unhealthy diet with an abundance of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables – at least two servings of fruit per day and five servings of vegetables – we can reduce our risk of obesity whilst still embracing our love for good food.

2. Limit our alcohol consumption

Forgo that glass of wine or beer after a long hard day at work and opt instead for something else that helps us relax. Pure alcohol is inherently full of energy – containing twice the energy per gram as sugar. This energy is surplus and non-essential to our nutritional needs, so contributes to our widening waistlines. And whether we’re out for drinks with mates or at a function, we can reduce our consumption by spacing out our drinks and holding off before reaching for another glass.

3. Get moving

While not everyone loves a morning sprint, there are many enjoyable ways to maintain a sufficient level of physical activity. Doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day is an effective way of keeping our waistlines in check. So, take a break to stretch out the muscles a few times during the workday, spend an afternoon at the local pool, get out into the garden or take some extra time to ride or walk to work. If none of these appeal, do some research to find the right exercise that will be fun and achievable.

Two women exercising in a park together

4. Buddy up

There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to get us healthy and active. Pick a friend who has the same goals and encourage each other to keep going. Sign up for exercise classes together, meet for a walk, have them over for a healthy meal, share tips and seek out support when feeling uninspired.

5. Prioritise sleep

Some argue that sleep is the healthy icing on the longevity cake. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are endless, with recent research suggesting it can even benefit our decision-making and self-discipline, making it easier to resist that ‘between-meal’ treat. Furthermore, lack of sleep can increase our appetite and see us lose the enthusiasm to stay active.

Above all, we need to foster patience and perseverance when it comes to achieving a healthy weight. It might not happen overnight, but it is within reach.

Let’s start today!

Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science), Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #RHD : Download the @END_RHD_CRE report :  Urgent action needed to stop 500 rheumatic heart disease (RHD) preventable deaths

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 55 times more likely to die of rheumatic heart disease than other Australian children.

We’re seeking a commitment from all political parties to stop this preventable disease from ever taking the life of another child in Australia.”

Ms Pat Turner, CEO NACCHO Founding Member of END RHD speaking at #Laborconf18 this week on the need for urgent action to reduce the burden of rheumatic heart disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Together we can

 ” A new report predicts rheumatic heart disease (RHD) will lead to over 500 preventable deaths and cost the Australian health system $317 million by 2031 if no further action to tackle the disease is taken.

The Cost of Inaction on Rheumatic Heart Disease – published by the END RHD Centre of Research Excellence (END RHD CRE), based at the Telethon Kids Institute – puts the number of people affected by RHD or its precursor, acute rheumatic fever, at over 4,500.”

Download RHD report HERE

cost-of-inaction-on-rheumatic-heart-disease

By 2031, the report estimates that number will triple to nearly 15,000 people.

Key findings:

  • There are currently 4,539 people living with rheumatic heart disease
  •  If no further action is taken to address rheumatic heart disease, a further 10,212 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are projected to develop the disease or its precursor – acute rheumatic fever – by 2031. Of these people: o 1,370 will need heart surgery
  •  563 with RHD will die
  • $317 million will be spent on medical care

Lead author Dr Rosemary Wyber said almost all of those predicted to develop acute rheumatic fever would be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children and teenagers.

“Make no mistake about it – when we talk about the cost of inaction on rheumatic heart disease, we’re talking about the burden of disease for another generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their communities,” Dr Wyber said.

The report also predicted that 1,370 people with the disease will need heart surgery and 563 will die with RHD.

“As a GP working in remote communities, I have seen first-hand the toll of RHD and the devastating impact it has on families and communities,” Dr Wyber said.

“This suffering is preventable. Deaths can be avoided, financial costs can be reduced, and new cases of disease prevented.”

RHD is caused by an abnormal reaction to the common Strep A infection. There is no cure for the disease, and people require an injection of long-acting penicillin every 21-28 days for at least a decade to stop it worsening. If people do not receive these injections, the disease can lead to heart failure or stroke.

“RHD should no longer exist in a country like Australia, yet our research predicts the human and economic toll will only continue to rise if we don’t see a significant increase in resourcing and investment in community-led models of care” Dr Wyber said.

“The social and environmental causes of RHD are linked to many other diseases of disparity, such as trachoma and otitis media. By addressing the causes, not only can we end RHD – we’ll significantly help close the gap.”

World renowned RHD expert and Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM, said that in the past year there have been significant steps towards tackling RHD in Australia.

“In February, Minister Wyatt committed to the development of a roadmap; in May, Australia supported a World Health Assembly resolution to eliminate the disease globally; and in October, Minister Wyatt and Shadow Assistant Minister Snowdon made a bipartisan commitment to end RHD in this country” Professor Carapetis said.

This morning I moved a resolution at #ALPConf18 to make Rheumatic heart disease a federal health priority. The motion was seconded by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – Northern Territory and was unanimously supported by delegates.

Rheumatic heart disease is a disease of poverty that disproportionately affects some of our youngest and most vulnerable First Australians.

WATCH VIDEO HERE 

“So with a growing political will, strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, and a solid evidence-base backed by 25 years of research, I believe it’s possible to change the trajectory outlined by this report. We all need to work together and action is urgently needed.”

See Pat Turners full speech from October launch 

The report looked at the four jurisdictions with the highest recorded burden of disease: Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.

Researchers used linked hospital admissions and mortality data over the last two decades to project cases likely to occur between mid-2016 and 2031.

The findings will inform part of the RHD Endgame Strategy, currently being developed by the END RHD CRE and due for release in 2020.

The report was led by the END RHD CRE, with data collected and analysed through the NHMRC Project Grant ‘Burden of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and impact of prevention strategies: comprehensive evidence to drive the RHD Endgame’.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : #refreshtheCTGrefresh : Download the Select Committee into the #Obesity Epidemic in Australia 22 recommendations : With feedback from @ACDPAlliance @janemartinopc

The Federal Government must impose a tax on sugary drinks, mandate Health Star Ratings and ban junk food ads on TV until 9 pm if it wants to drive down Australia’s obesity rates, a Senate committee has concluded.

The Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic, comprising senators from all major parties and chaired by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, has tabled a far-reaching report with 22 recommendations.”

See SMH Article Part 1 below

Download PDF copy of report

Senate Obesity report

Extract from Report Programs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The committee heard that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) run effective programs aimed at preventing and addressing the high prevalence of obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ms Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), gave the example of the Deadly Choices program, which is about organised sports and activities for young people.

She explained that to participate in the program, prospective participants need to have a health check covered by Medicare, which is an opportunity to assess their current state of health and map out a treatment plan if necessary.

However, NACCHO is of the view that ACCHOs need to be better resourced to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity.

Access to healthy and fresh foods in remote Australia

Ms Turner also pointed out that ‘the supply of fresh foods to remote communities and regional communities is a constant problem’.

From NACCHO Submission Read here 

Recommendation 21 see all Recommendations Part 2

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” 

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.See in full Part 3

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it .See part 4 Below for full press release

Part 1 SMH Article 

About 63 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

In a move that will likely delight health groups and enrage the food and beverage industries, it has recommended the government slap a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), saying this would reduce sugar consumption, improve public health and push manufacturers to reformulate their products.

“The World Health Organisation has recommended governments tax sugary drinks and, at present, over 30 jurisdictions across the world have introduced a SSB tax as part of their effort and commitment toward preventing and controlling the rise of obesity,” the report said.

While health groups, such as Cancer Council, have demanded a 20 per cent levy, the committee suggested the government find the best fiscal model to achieve a price increase of at least 20 per cent.

“The impacts of sugary drinks are borne most by those on low income and they will also reap the most benefits from measures that change the behaviour of manufacturers,” it said.

About 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

At the heart of the report is the recognition of the need for a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising government, health, industry and community representatives, which would sit within the Department of Health and be responsible for a National Obesity Strategy as well as a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

“Australia does not have an overarching strategy to combat obesity,” it said.

“Many of the policy areas required to identify the causes, impacts and potential solutions to the obesity problem span every level of government.”

The committee has also urged the government to mandate the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, which is undergoing a five-year review, by 2020.

The voluntary front-of-pack labelling system has come under fire for producing questionable, confusing ratings – such as four stars for Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain – and becoming a “marketing tool”.

“Making it mandatory will drive food companies to reformulate more of their products in order to achieve higher HSR ratings,” the report said.

“The committee also believes that, once the HSR is made mandatory, the HSR calculator could be regularly adjusted to make it harder to achieve a five star rating.”

Pointing to a conflict-of-interest, it has recommended the HSR’s Technical Advisory Group expel members representing the industry.

“Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but [should] no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group,” it said.

The government has also been asked to consider introducing legislation to restrict junk food ads on free-to-air television until 9pm.

The group said existing voluntary codes were inadequate and also suggested that all junk food ads in all forms of media should display the product’s HSR.

The committee is made up of seven senators – two  Liberals, two Labor, one each from the Greens and One Nation and independent Tim Storer.

The Liberals wrote dissenting statements, saying a taskforce was unnecessary, HSR should remain voluntary, there shouldn’t be a sugar tax, and current advertising regulations were enough.

“No witnesses who appeared before the inquiry could point to any jurisdiction in the world where the introduction of a sugar tax led to a fall in obesity rates,” they said.

Labor senators also said there was no need for a sugar tax because there isn’t enough evidence.

“Labor senators are particularly concerned that an Australian SSB would likely be regressive, meaning that it would impact lower-income households disproportionately,” they said.

Committee chair, Dr Di Natale said: “We need the full suite of options recommended by the committee if we’re serious about making Australians happier, healthier, and more active.”

Part 2 ALL 22 Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Commonwealth funding for overweight and obesity prevention efforts and treatment programs should be contingent on the appropriate use of language to avoid stigma and blame in all aspects of public health campaigns, program design and delivery.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Department of Health work with organisations responsible for training medical and allied health professionals to incorporate modules specifically aimed at increasing the understanding and awareness of stigma and blame in medical, psychological and public health interventions of overweight and obesity.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, comprising representatives across all knowledge sectors from federal, state, and local government, and alongside stakeholders from the NGO, private sectors and community members. The Taskforce should sit within the Commonwealth Department of Health and be responsible for all aspects of government policy direction, implementation and the management of funding

Recommendation 3.1

The committee recommends that the newly established National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Obesity Strategy, in consultation with all key stakeholders across government, the NGO and private sectors.

Recommendation 3.2

The committee recommends that the Australian Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of the following changes to the current Health Star Rating system:

  • The Health Star Rating Calculator be modified to address inconsistencies in the calculation of ratings in relation to:
  • foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat;
  • the current treatment of added sugar;
  • the current treatment of fruit juices;
  • the current treatment of unprocessed fruit and vegetables; and
  • the ‘as prepared’ rules.
  • Representatives of the food and beverage industry sectors may be consulted for technical advice but no longer sit on the HSR Calculator Technical Advisory Group.
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends Food Standards Australia New Zealand undertake a review of voluntary front-of-pack labelling schemes to ensure they are fit-forpurpose and adequately represent the nutritional value of foods and beverages.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends the Minister for Rural Health promote to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation the adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar on packaged foods and drinks.

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council work with the Department of Health to develop a nutritional information label for fast food menus with the goal of achieving national consistency and making it mandatory in all jurisdictions.

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends the Australian Government introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with the objectives of reducing consumption, improving public health and accelerating the reformulation of products.

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that, as part of the 2019 annual review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, Free TV Australia introduce restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9.00pm.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the Australian Government consider introducing legislation to restrict discretionary food and drink advertising on free-toair television until 9.00pm if these restrictions are not voluntary introduced by Free TV Australia by 2020.

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends the Australian Government make mandatory the display of the Health Star Rating for food and beverage products advertised on all forms of media.

Recommendation 14

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of a range of National Education Campaigns with different sectors of the Australian community. Educational campaigns will be context dependent and aimed at supporting individuals, families and communities to build on cultural practices and improve nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet, physical activity and well-being.

Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that the National Obesity Taskforce, when established, form a sub-committee directly responsible for the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy.

Recommendation 16

The committee recommends the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) consider adding obesity to the list of medical conditions eligible for the Chronic Disease Management scheme.

Recommendation 17

The committee recommends the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and other college of professional bodies educate their members about the benefits of bariatric surgical interventions for some patients.

Recommendation 18

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce commission evaluations informed by multiple methods of past and current multistrategy prevention programs with the view of designing future programs.

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee the implementation of multi-strategy, community based prevention programs in partnership with communities.

Recommendation 20

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce develop a National Physical Activity Strategy.

Recommendation 21

The committee recommends the proposed National Obesity Taskforce is funded to develop and oversee culturally appropriate prevention and intervention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Recommendation 22

The committee recommends the Commonwealth develop additional initiatives and incentives aimed at increasing access, affordability and consumption of fresh foods in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Part 3 Protect our children chronic disease groups support calls to restrict junk food advertising

Junk food advertising to children urgently needs to be better regulated.

That’s a recommendation from the Senate report on obesity, released last night, and a message that the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance strongly supports.

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said limiting unhealthy food marketing would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and its subsequent consumption.

“Unhealthy weight is a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Preventing obesity in children is particularly important, as it is difficult to reverse weight gain once established,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan said one in four children are already overweight or obese, and more likely to grow into adults who are overweight or obese with greater risk of chronic disease.

“While there are multiple factors influencing unhealthy weight gain, this is not an excuse for inaction,” she said. “Food companies are spending big money targeting our kids, unhealthy food advertising fills our television screens, our smartphones and digital media channels.

“Currently, self-regulation by industry is limited and there are almost no restrictions for advertising unhealthy foods online – this has to stop.

“We need to act now to stem this tide of obesity and preventable chronic disease, or we risk being the first generation to leave our children with a shorter life expectancy than our own.”

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance also welcomed the Report’s recommendations for the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, improvements to the Health Star Rating food labelling system, development a National Physical Activity Strategy and introduction of a sugary drinks levy.

“We support the recent Government commitment to develop a national approach to obesity and urge the government to incorporate the recommendations from the Senate report for a well-rounded approach to tackle obesity in Australia,” Ms McGowan said.

Part 4

Sugary drink levy among 22 recommendations

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has welcomed a Senate Inquiry report into the Obesity Epidemic in Australia as an important step toward saving Australians from a lifetime of chronic disease and even premature death.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that when two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, the Inquiry’s comprehensive report provides an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem and a blueprint for tackling it.

“Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but it is not a problem without a solution. Today’s report demonstrates a willingness from representatives across all political parties to investigate the systemic causes of obesity and develop a way forward.”

A key recommendation from the Inquiry’s report is the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks; something the OPC has led calls for, and which has been supported by around 40 public health, community and academic groups in the Tipping the Scales report.

“Sugar is a problem in our diets and sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar for Australians. Consumption of these beverages is associated with chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and tooth decay,” Ms Martin said.

“We have been calling for a 20% health levy on sugary drinks for a number of years, but Australia continues to lag behind 45 other jurisdictions around the world that have introduced levies. When sugary drinks are often cheaper than water, it’s time to take action.”

The report also calls for a review of the current rules around junk food advertising to children.

Ms Martin insisted any review should prioritise an end to the advertising industry’s selfregulated codes.

“We know industry marketing is having a negative effect; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for. It’s wallpaper in their lives, bombarding them during their favourite TV shows, infiltrating their social media feeds and plastering their sports grounds and uniforms when they play sport,” Ms Martin said.

“With more than one in four Australian children overweight or obese, it’s time for the Government to acknowledge that leaving food and beverage companies to make their own sham rules allows them to continue to prioritise profits over kids’ health.”

While the Inquiry’s report calls for a National Obesity Strategy, a commitment announced by the COAG Health Ministers earlier this year, Ms Martin stressed that this must be developed independently, without the involvement of the ultra-processed food industry, which has already hampered progress to date.

“The OPC, along with 40 leading community and public health groups, have set out clear actions on how best to tackle obesity in our consensus report, Tipping the Scales. These actions came through strongly from many of the groups who participated in the inquiry and we are pleased to see them reflected in the recommendations.

“The evidence is clear on what works to prevent and reduce obesity, but for real impact we need leadership from policy makers. We need to stop placing the blame on individuals. The Federal and State governments must now work together to push those levers under their control to stem the tide of obesity.”

The senate inquiry report contains 22 recommendations which address the causes, control of obesity, including:

  • The establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce, with a view to develop a National Obesity Strategy
  • Introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • The Health Star Rating system be made mandatory by 2020
  • Adoption of mandatory labelling of added sugar
  • Restrictions on discretionary food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9pm
  • Implementation of a National Education Campaign aimed at improving nutrition literacy and behaviours around diet and physical activity
  • Form a sub-committee from the National Obesity Taskforce around the development and management of a National Childhood Obesity Strategy

BACKGROUND:

On 10 May 2018, the Senate voted to establish an inquiry to examine the impacts of Australia’s obesity epidemic.

The Select Committee into the obesity epidemic was established on 16 May 2018 to look at the causes of rising levels of obese and overweight people in Australia and how the issue affects children. It also considered the economic burden of the health concern and the effectiveness of existing programs to improve diets and tackle childhood obesity. The inquiry has received 145 submissions and has published its full report today.

The Committee held public hearings from public health, industry and community groups. The OPC provided a submission and Jane Martin gave evidence at one of these sessions.