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

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

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

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

NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills

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

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

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

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

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

NACCHO Medical Adviser, Dr Jason Agostino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Part 2 Below for link todays event 

Part 1 EC Australia, Partnering to Eliminate Hepatitis C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia

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

The specific goals of EC Australia are to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please visit the below link:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the online event

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

Date: Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Time: 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Book here.

Speakers

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

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research Alert : @HealthInfoNet releases Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2019 social and cultural determinants, chronic conditions, health behaviours, environmental health , alcohol and other drugs

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has released the Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2019

This new plain language publication provides information for a wider (non-academic) audience and incorporates many visual elements.

The Summary is useful for health workers and those studying in the field as a quick source of general information. It provides key information regarding the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the following topics:

  • social and cultural determinants
  • chronic conditions
  • health behaviours
  • environmental health
  • alcohol and other drugs.

The Summary is based on HealthInfoNet‘s comprehensive publication Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2019. It presents statistical information from the Overview in a visual format that is quick and easy for users to digest.

The Summary is available online and in hardcopy format. Please contact HealthInfoNet by email if you wish to order a hardcopy of this Summary. Other reviews and plain language summaries are available here.

Here are the key facts

Please note in an earlier version sent out 7.00 am June 15 a computer error dropped off the last word in many sentences : these are new fixed 

Key facts

Population

  • In 2019, the estimated Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 847,190.
  • In 2019, NSW had the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the estimated population was 281,107 people, 33% of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population).
  • In 2019, NT had the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in its population, with 32% of the NT population identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders
  • In 2016, around 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived in major cities
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is much younger than the non-Indigenous population.

Births and pregnancy outcomes

  • In 2018, there were 21,928 births registered in Australia with one or both parents identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (7% of all births registered).
  • In 2018, the median age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers was 26.0 years.
  • In 2018, total fertility rates were 2,371 births per 1,000 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  • In 2017, the average birthweight of babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers was 3,202 grams
  • The proportion of low birthweight babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers between 2007 and 2017 remained steady at around 13%.

Mortality

  • For 2018, the age-standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT was 1 per 1,000.
  • Between 1998 and 2015, there was a 15% reduction in the death rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT.
  • For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people born 2015-2017, life expectancy was estimated to be 6 years for males and 75.6 years for females, around 8-9 years less than the estimates for non-Indigenous males and females.
  • In 2018, the median age at death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT was 2 years; this was an increase from 55.8 years in 2008.
  • Between 1998 and 2015, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality rate has more than halved (from 5 to 6.3 per 1,000).
  • In 2018, the leading causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT were ischaemic heart disease (IHD), diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases and lung and related cancers.
  • For 2012-2017 the maternal mortality ratio for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 27 deaths per 100,000 women who gave birth.
  • For 1998-2015, in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT there was a 32% decline in the death rate from avoidable causes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 0-74 years

Hospitalisation

  • In 2017-18, 9% of all hospital separations were for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2017-18, the age-adjusted separation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 2.6 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2017-18, the main cause of hospitalisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was for ‘factors influencing health status and contact with health services’ (mostly for care involving dialysis), responsible for 49% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seperations.
  • In 2017-18, the age-standardised rate of overall potentially preventable hospitalisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 80 per 1,000 (38 per 1,000 for chronic conditions and 13 per 1,000 for vaccine-preventable conditions).

Selected health conditions

Cardiovascular health

  • In 2018-19, around 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • In 2018-19, nearly one quarter (23%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were found to have high blood pressure.
  • For 2013-2017, in Qld, WA, SA and the NT combined, there were 1,043 new rheumatic heart disease diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a crude rate of 50 per 100,000.
  • In 2017-18, there 14,945 hospital separations for CVD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, representing 5.4% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospital separations (excluding dialysis).
  • In 2018, ischaemic heart disease (IHD) was the leading specific cause of death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT

Cancer

  • In 2018-19, 1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having cancer (males 1.2%, females 1.1%).
  • For 2010-2014, the most common cancers diagnosed among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Vic, Qld, WA and the NT were lung cancer and breast (females) cancer.
  • Survival rates indicate that of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Vic, Qld, WA, and the NT who were diagnosed with cancer between 2007 and 2014, 50% had a chance of surviving five years after diagnosis
  • In 2016-17, there 8,447 hospital separations for neoplasms2 among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • For 2013-2017, the age-standardised mortality rate due to cancer of any type was 238 per 100,000, an increase of 5% when compared with a rate of 227 per 100,000 in 2010-2014.

Diabetes

  • In 2018-19, 8% of Aboriginal people and 7.9% of Torres Strait Islander people reported having diabetes.
  • In 2015-16, there were around 2,300 hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • In 2018, diabetes was the second leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • The death rate for diabetes decreased by 0% between 2009-2013 and 2014-2018.
  • Some data sources use term ‘neoplasm’ to describe conditions associated with abnormal growth of new tissue, commonly referred to as a Neoplasms can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) [1].

Social and emotional wellbeing

  • In 2018-19, 31% of Aboriginal and 23% of Torres Strait Islander respondents aged 18 years and over reported high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • In 2014-15, 68% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over and 67% of children aged 4-14 years experienced at least one significant stressor in the previous 12 months
  • In 2012-13, 91% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported on feelings of calmness and peacefulness, happiness, fullness of life and energy either some, most, or all of the time.
  • In 2014-15, more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported an overall life satisfaction rating of at least 8 out of 10.
  • In 2018-19, 25% of Aboriginal and 17% of Torres Strait Islander people, aged two years and over, reported having a mental and/or behavioural conditions
  • In 2018-19, anxiety was the most common mental or behavioural condition reported (17%), followed by depression (13%).
  • In 2017-18, there were 21,940 hospital separations with a principal diagnosis of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) ‘mental and behavioural disorders’ identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • In 2018, 169 (129 males and 40 females) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA, and the NT died from intentional self-harm (suicide).
  • Between 2009-2013 and 2014-2018, the NT was the only jurisdiction to record a decrease in intentional self-harm (suicide) death rates.

Kidney health

  • In 2018-19, 8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Aboriginal people 1.9%; Torres Strait Islander people 0.4%) reported kidney disease as a long-term health condition.
  • For 2014-2018, after age-adjustment, the notification rate of end-stage renal disease was 3 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2017-18, ‘care involving dialysis’ was the most common reason for hospitalisation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2018, 310 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people commenced dialysis and 49 were the recipients of new kidneys.
  • For 2013-2017, the age-adjusted death rate from kidney disease was 21 per 100,000 (NT: 47 per 100,000; WA: 38 per 100,000) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and NT
  • In 2018, the most common causes of death among the 217 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were receiving dialysis was CVD (64 deaths) and withdrawal from treatment (51 deaths).

Injury, including family violence

  • In 2012-13, 5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term condition caused by injury.
  • In 2018-19, 16% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced physical harm or threatened physical harm at least once in the last 12 months.
  • In 2016-17, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitalised injury was higher for males (44 per 1,000) than females (39 per 1,000).
  • In 2017-18, 20% of injury-related hospitalisations among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were for assault.
  • In 2018, intentional self-harm was the leading specific cause of injury deaths for NSW, Qld, SA, WA, and NT (5.3% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths).

Respiratory health

  • In 2018-19, 29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term respiratory condition .
  • In 2018-19, 16% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having asthma.
  • In 2014-15, crude hospitalisation rates were highest for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting with influenza and pneumonia (7.4 per 1,000), followed by COPD (5.3 per 1,000), acute upper respiratory infections (3.8 per 1,000) and asthma (2.9 per 1,000).
  • In 2018, chronic lower respiratory disease was the third highest cause of death overall for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT

Eye health

  • In 2018-19, eye and sight problems were reported by 38% of Aboriginal people and 40% of Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2018-19, eye and sight problems were reported by 32% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and by 43% of females.
  • In 2018-19, the most common eye conditions reported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were hyperopia (long sightedness: 22%), myopia (short sightedness: 16%), other diseases of the eye and adnexa (8.7%), cataract (1.4%), blindness (0.9%) and glaucoma (0.5%).
  • In 2014-15, 13% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, aged 4-14 years, were reported to have eye or sight problems.
  • In 2018, 144 cases of trachoma were detected among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in at-risk communities in Qld, WA, SA and the NT
  • For 2015-17, 62% of hospitalisations for diseases of the eye (8,274) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were for disorders of the lens (5,092) (mainly cataracts).

Ear health and hearing

  • In 2018-19, 14% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term ear and/or hearing problem
  • In 2018-19, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-14 years, the prevalence of otitis media (OM) was 6% and of partial or complete deafness was 3.8%.
  • In 2017-18, the age-adjusted hospitalisation rate for ear conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 1 per 1,000 population.

Oral health

  • In 2014-15, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4-14 years with reported tooth or gum problems was 34%, a decrease from 39% in 2008.
  • In 2012-2014, 61% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5-10 years had experienced tooth decay in their baby teeth, and 36% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6-14 years had experienced tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
  • In 2016-17, there were 3,418 potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander The age-standardised rate of hospitalisation was 4.6 per 1,000.

Disability

  • In 2018-19, 27% of Aboriginal and 24% of Torres Strait Islander people reported having a disability or restrictive long-term health
  • In 2018-19, 2% of Aboriginal and 8.3% of Torres Strait Islander people reported a profound or severe core activity limitation.
  • In 2016, 7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a profound or severe disability reported a need for assistance.
  • In 2017-18, 9% of disability service users were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with most aged under 50 years (82%).
  • In 2017-18, the primary disability groups accessing services were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a psychiatric condition (24%), intellectual disability (23%) and physical disability (20%).
  • In 2017-18, 2,524 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Disability Agreement service users transitioned to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Communicable diseases

  • In 2017, there were 7,015 notifications for chlamydia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 7% of the notifications in Australia
  • During 2013-2017, there was a 9% and 9.8% decline in chlamydia notification rates among males and females (respectively).
  • In 2017, there were 4,119 gonorrhoea notifications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 15% of the notifications in Australia.
  • In 2017, there were 779 syphilis notifications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounting for 18% of the notifications in Australia.
  • In 2017, Qld (45%) and the NT (35%) accounted for 80% of the syphilis notifications from all jurisdictions.
  • In 2018, there were 34 cases of newly diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia .
  • In 2017, there were 1,201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with hepatitis C (HCV) in Australia
  • In 2017, there were 151 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with hepatitis B (HBV) in Australia
  • For 2013-2017 there was a 37% decline in the HBV notification rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • For 2011-2015, 1,152 (14%) of the 8,316 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) were identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait people .
  • For 2011-2015, there were 26 deaths attributed to IPD with 11 of the 26 deaths (42%) in the 50 years and over age-group.
  • For 2011-2015, 101 (10%) of the 966 notified cases of meningococcal disease were identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • For 2006-2015, the incidence rate of meningococcal serogroup B was 8 per 100,000, with the age- specific rate highest in infants less than 12 months of age (33 per 100,000).
  • In 2015, of the 1,255 notifications of TB in Australia, 27 (2.2%) were identified as Aboriginal and seven (0.6%) as Torres Strait Islander people
  • For 2011-2015, there were 16 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) in Australia
  • Between 2007-2010 and 2011-2015 notification rates for Hib decreased by around 67%.
  • In 2018-19, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reporting a disease of the skin and subcutaneous tissue was 2% (males 2.4% and females 4.0%).

Aboriginal Health #CoronaVirus News Alert No 49 : April 29 #KeepOurMobSafe #OurJobProtectOurMob : This #WorldImmunisationWeek #VaccinesWork providing greater protections for our mob to minimise the possibility that they could contract both #influenza and #COVID19.

” World Immunization Week – celebrated this week April (24 to 30 April) – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions

Yet, there are still nearly 20 million children in the world today who are not getting the vaccines they need.

The theme this year is #VaccinesWork for All and the campaign will focus on how vaccines – and the people who develop, deliver and receive them – are heroes by working to protect the health of everyone, everywhere.

2020 campaign objectives

The main goal of the campaign is to urge greater engagement around immunization globally and the importance of vaccination in improving health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere throughout life.

As part of the 2020 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:

  • Demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities and the world.
  • Show how routine immunization is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage.
  • Highlight the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment in vaccines and immunization.

“Getting the flu vaccine early will help alleviate pressure on the health system. With many of our health resources focused on saving lives and treating those with COVID-19, we need to reduce the number of presentations for influenza.

We also need to provide greater protections for vulnerable people to minimise the possibility that they could contract both influenza and COVID-19.

The best and safest place to get the flu vaccine is from your GP at your local ACCHO or general practice.”

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone,  reiterated the AMA recommendation that people should get their seasonal flu vaccination somewhat earlier this year to help provide greater individual and community health protection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read full AMA Press Release

Protect your mob and get vaccinated says QAIHC
This World Immunisation Week is an important reminder to ensure that you are up to date with all of your vaccinations.
These includes but is not limited to:
• Hepatitis A
• Pneumococcal disease
• Varicella zoster
• Pertussis.
Make sure you also book in to get your yearly flu vaccination!
Contact your local health service for more information.

About vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to get extra immunisations for free through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to protect you against serious diseases.

These extra immunisations are in addition to all the other routine vaccinations offered throughout life (childrenadultsseniorspregnancy).

Children aged 5 years old or under

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under should receive all routine vaccines under the NIP. You can see a list of these vaccines on the Immunisation for children page.

The Australian Government recommends that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under have the following additional vaccines.

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended and free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months who live in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Hepatitis A

Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are given 6 months apart. These doses should be given from 12 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

The age that both the hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the 4 states and territories. Speak to your state or territory health service for more information.

Visit the Hepatitis A immunisation service page for information on receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Children aged 5 to 9 years old

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 to 9 years should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Children aged 10 to 15 years

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 10 to 15 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Other vaccines

All children should receive routine vaccines for children aged 10 to 15 years old. These are HPV (human papillomavirus) and diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), meningococcal ACWY vaccines given through school immunisation programs.

People aged 15 to 49 years old

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 19 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 49 years old who are at high risk of severe pneumococcal disease.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

People aged 50 years old or more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or more should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or over.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #COVID19 #CoronaVirus and #Influenza @NSWHealth and @ahmrc hosting webinar on what ACCHO’s can do to protect our communities.

We know ATSI people bore the brunt of the flu pandemic in 2009 and had largely been overlooked in planning undertaken to that point.

We are hopeful that the lessons have been learnt and that ATSI people are not only engaged in the planning but also in the governance/decision making on appropriate and proportionate responses to COVID-19.”

Menzies School of Health Research epidemiologist Andrew Ross said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians needed to be involved in outbreak response planning.

A spokeswoman for National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said all its members and affiliates were “being provided with all the latest available information” and holding regular meetings.

From the Australian 3 March : See full report Part 2 Below

Part 1 :NSW Health and the AH&MRC will be hosting a webinar this Wednesday 4th March 2020 from 12-1pm.

This webinar will focus on coronavirus and influenza and what you and your service can do to protect your communities.

The following people will be speaking and there will be an opportunity to raise and discuss concerns and needs that you have:

  • Reuben Robinson, CEO, Galambila Aboriginal Health Service
  • Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, NSW Health
  • Kylie Taylor and Kristy Crooks, Hunter New England Public Health team

The link to participate in the webinar is here:

 https://www.thestreamingguys.com.au/production/nsw-health-040320/

For further information please contact Megan Campbell, Centre for Aboriginal Health on megan.campbell2@health.nsw.gov.au

Read previous NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Corona Virus articles here

Part 2 : Fears are growing that Indigenous people who “bore the brunt” of the 2009 swine flu pandemic could be hit again if novel coronavirus spreads uncontrollably in Australia.

Research published in the wake of the 2009 A(H1N1) swine flu outbreak showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 11 per cent of all identified cases, 20 per cent of hospitalisations and 13 per cent of deaths, despite being just 3 per cent of the population. ATSI people were 8.5 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Although there have been no known cases of COVID-19 among the indigenous community to date, Australia on Monday recorded its first person-to-person transmission. Indigenous people and remote community residents have been designated high-risk due to their generally poorer health and greater disadvantage compared to mainstream Australians.

Scott McConnell, an independent MLA representing a vast seat stretching from near Alice Springs to the Top End coastline, said he had been inundated with calls from constituents worried about the potentially-deadly virus striking their families.

“They are really concerned about what they are hearing in the media, and they are concerned that they are not hearing from the government or indeed the community-controlled health sector,” Mr McConnell said.

“These are places where everyone goes to the same store and shares bathrooms, and there are poor levels of hygiene anyway. Everyone is concerned that if coronavirus does get into their communities, they don’t know what to do.”

The majority of indigenous Australians live in coastal regions, often within reach of major hospitals. However, the most disadvantaged people usually inhabit remote communities spread throughout northern and inland areas of the continent.

The federal government’s COVID-19 response plan talks about tailoring strategies to help at-risk groups, including indigenous people and remote community residents but gives little detail about what those strategies might be.

Research on the swine flu pandemic published in 2015 called for ATSI people to be “prioritised” in future planning.

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said people in her state could “feel confident that local health authorities are leaving no stone unturned in keeping them safe from novel coronavirus”.

She did not respond to questions about what if anything was being done to prepare and protect the indigenous community in particular.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said her government was “paying particular attention to vulnerable Territorians such as those in remote communities due to the high levels of chronic illness” but did not explain how.

A spokeswoman for WA Health Minister Roger Crook did not answer to questions, nor did another for the federal Health Department.

A spokeswoman for National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said all its members and affiliates were “being provided with all the latest available information” and holding regular meetings.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Immunisation Good News #ProtectOurMob : @GregHuntMP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island childhood immunisation rates for 5 yr olds hitting a record high 97 %

The Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to immunisation education is protecting more children from infectious diseases, with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island childhood immunisation rates hitting a record high.

New data for the September 2019 quarter shows immunisation coverage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is at record levels across all three age groups:

  • One-year-old Indigenous coverage continues to move towards the national target of 95 per cent, with September 2019 coverage at 92.48 per cent, up 0.09 per cent since June 2019.
  • Two-year-old Indigenous coverage rate is now at 89.51 per cent, up from 89.10 per cent since June
  • The national coverage rate for Indigenous five year olds has increased by more than a percentage point over the last two years to 97.05 per

At 97.05 per cent, coverage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander five year olds is actually higher than for all five year olds at 94.82 per cent – just short of the 95 per cent target for providing ‘herd immunity’ for highly infectious diseases such as measles.

The Federal Government’s message to protect children from disease with lifesaving vaccines is reaching more parents, and our public health campaigns and immunisation programs are protecting more Australians.

Immunisation saves and protects lives.

Australia has world-leading vaccination rates for children, well above the global vaccination coverage of 85 per cent.

The latest figures show the Government’s No Jab, No Pay policy on childcare benefits, and the $20 million Get the Facts Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign, are working.

Phase three of the Campaign delivered a public relations strategy specifically focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents of children aged from birth to five years.

It also targeted Aboriginal Medical Services, which are a trusted source of information for parents, particularly in regional and remote communities.

Each year, the Federal Government invests more than $400 million in the National Immunisation Program to protect Australians of all ages against disease.

Immunisation is the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Australia’s immunisation services, programs and policies lead the world, and this is reflected in our low incidence of vaccine preventable disease.

Full details of the latest immunisation coverage rates are available at:

About vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to get extra immunisations for free through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to protect you against serious diseases.

These extra immunisations are in addition to all the other routine vaccinations offered throughout life (childrenadultsseniorspregnancy).

Children aged 5 years old or under

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under should receive all routine vaccines under the NIP. You can see a list of these vaccines on the Immunisation for children page.

The Australian Government recommends that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under have the following additional vaccines.

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended between the ages of 12 and 18 months for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Hepatitis A

Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are given 6 months apart. These doses should be given from 12 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

The age that both the hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the 4 states and territories. Speak to your state or territory health service for more information.

Visit the Hepatitis A immunisation service page for information on receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Children aged 5 to 9 years old

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 to 9 years should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Children aged 10 to 15 years

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 10 to 15 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Other vaccines

All children should receive routine vaccines for children aged 10 to 15 years old. These are HPV (human papillomavirus) and diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), meningococcal ACWY vaccines given through school immunisation programs.

People aged 15 to 49 years old

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 19 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 49 years old who are at high risk of severe pneumococcal disease.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

People aged 50 years old or more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or more should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or over.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

 

NACCHO #VoteACCHO Aboriginal Health and Immunisation : It’s World #ImmunisationWeek 24- 30 April . Here are the facts how #vaccination protects you and our mob. #ProtectedTogether #VaccinesWork

The theme this year is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!, and the campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected through the power of vaccines.
Picture above AHCWA 

Feature article

We seek all ACCHO assistance in supporting women to get vaccinated against influenza and pertussis during pregnancy.

The influenza and pertussis vaccines are available at no cost to pregnant women through the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

The most important factor associated with uptake of influenza and pertussis vaccination during pregnancy is a healthcare provider recommendation.

The Department of Health is undertaking an online campaign to promote pertussis and influenza commencing March through to May 2019.

Key campaign messages

  • Antenatal vaccination is recommended to protect both pregnant women and their babies from influenza and pertussis and their complications.
  • Maternal antibodies against pertussis provide protection to babies until they have received at least two doses of pertussis containing vaccines (at six weeks and four months of age).
  • Maternal antibodies against influenza provide protection to babies for the first few months of life until they are able to be vaccinated themselves at six months of age.
  • Babies less than six months of age are at greatest risk of severe disease and death from influenza and pertussis.
  • Pregnant women are also at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from influenza compared with non-pregnant women. Pregnant women are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as other people with influenza.

Please note that the evidence around the timing of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy has recently been reviewed and the pertussis-containing vaccine is now recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks in each pregnancy, including pregnancies that are closely spaced to provide maximal protection to each infant.

This advice is reflected in the Australian Immunisation Handbook at www.immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au.

Please take all opportunities to speak to your pregnant patients and their partners about the importance of getting vaccinated against influenza and pertussis during pregnancy. Ideally, vaccination should be part of routine antenatal care.

To support you in these discussions, I have enclosed a number of resources that you and your patients may find useful.

These resources are also available for order or download from the Department of Health’s immunisation website at www.health.gov.au/immunisation.

About vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Read all previous NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Immunisation Articles Here

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to get extra immunisations for free through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to protect you against serious diseases.

These extra immunisations are in addition to all the other routine vaccinations offered throughout life (childrenadultsseniorspregnancy).

https://beta.health.gov.au/resources/videos/get-the-facts-protect-your-mob-hero-video#

Getting your bub vaccinated is free and helps keep everyone safe from diseases.

My name is Belinda, I have four children.

No I was never late with my vaccinations, because I always check the health book you were given and at the back you know it tells you when you’re due for your vaccinations.

If there are children in your community that are not up to date, let their parents know to bring them to the clinic as soon as possible.

On each vaccination, you know the childhood nurse she explained to me what each injection was for and how often they were to have it.

I would say to other parents that it’s important to have your children immunised. Nothing scary about it.

Vaccinating on time makes sure your bub gets the best protection against serious diseases.

Get the facts at immunisationfacts.gov.au

Children aged 5 years old or under

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under should receive all routine vaccines under the NIP. You can see a list of these vaccines on the Immunisation for children page.

The Australian Government recommends that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under have the following additional vaccines.

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended between the ages of 12 and 18 months for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Hepatitis A

Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are given 6 months apart. These doses should be given from 12 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

The age that both the hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the 4 states and territories. Speak to your state or territory health service for more information.

Visit the Hepatitis A immunisation service page for information on receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Children aged 5 to 9 years old

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 to 9 years should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Children aged 10 to 15 years

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 10 to 15 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Other vaccines

All children should receive routine vaccines for children aged 10 to 15 years old. These are HPV (human papillomavirus) and diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), meningococcal ACWY vaccines given through school immunisation programs.

People aged 15 to 49 years old

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 19 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 49 years old who are at high risk of severe pneumococcal disease.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

People aged 50 years old or more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or more should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or over.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldHepatitisDay : @MenziesResearch Making hepatitis B information more widely available to Indigenous communities

 ” Hepatitis B is the most prevalent form of viral hepatitis worldwide. It’s also the leading cause of liver cancer. Interestingly, hepatitis B used to be known as the “Australia Antigen” as it was first discovered in Australian Aboriginal people in the 1960s.

Hepatitis B is around ten times more prevalent in Indigenous communities than in the rest of Australia. Of the nearly 240,000 Australians estimated to be living with chronic hepatitis B, over 20,000 are thought to be Indigenous people. New infections with hepatitis B remain three times as common in Indigenous people as in non-Indigenous Australians.”

Dr G. Yunupingu’s legacy: it’s time to get rid of chronic hepatitis B in Indigenous Australia

Read HERE 

By making information about HBV accessible and available in first languages, we can improve community health literacy.

This will help people better understand the disease, setting the groundwork for us to work towards eliminating chronic HBV in the NT, by 2023.

“There are just over 4,000 Territorians with HBV, but not all of them understand why they need blood tests or vaccinations.

Menzies researcher, Dr Jane Davies.

The app is currently available in English and Yolngu matha, but in the near future it will also include translations into Kriol, Arrernte, Murrinh-Patha, Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri, Tiwi, Kunwinjku, Anindilyakwa, Burarra and Gurindji.

The Hep B story is a visual, interactive app in English and Yolŋu matha designed for patients living with chronic hepatitis B (hep B) and their families. It tells the story of the hep B virus, how you get it, what happens over time, how you know you have it as well as details about immunisation and treatment (including a game). There is also a separate women’s section dealing with mother to child transmission and ways to prevent it.

MORE INFO Download 

Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) is doing its part to ensure more Indigenous people living in the Northern Territory have access to potentially life-saving information about hepatitis B (HBV) this World Hepatitis Day.

The Menzies HBV research team estimates more than 70 per cent of Indigenous Territorians will benefit from learning about HBV in their first language as the Hep B Story app will be translated into 10 additional Indigenous languages.

The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is ‘Finding the Missing Millions’, which is in line with Menzies’ goal of providing people vulnerable to the virus culturally-appropriate information through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded Hep B PAST research collaboration.

Together with partners, including the Northern Territory Government, Miwatj Aboriginal Corporation, Katherine West Health Board, Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine and the NT AIDS and Hepatitis Council, Menzies is developing a NT HBV clinical registry.

This collaboration will enable appropriate HBV care to be delivered to those who need it in a systematic and sustainable way.

The Hep B Story app was developed by Menzies in 2014. It provides information about how HBV is contracted, as well as symptoms, treatments and immunisation.

ACCHO Activity Other ways to reduce infections

FROM HERE

An example of innovative care has been operating in Dr G. Yunupingu’s home community of Galiwin’ku for over five years. Under the management of Miwatj Health, an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation, a hepatitis specialist visits regularly three to four times per year.

The specialist brings necessary diagnostic equipment and effectively provides a “one-stop shop” for individuals living with hepatitis B in Galiwin’ku. Just as importantly, a local healthcare practitioner champions the cause of hepatitis B treatment and elimination. Those infected are contacted and encouraged to see the specialist team.

Several other regions in the world with large Indigenous populations and high hepatitis B prevalence, such as Alaska and New Zealand, have developed programs to test most of the population and identify those with hepatitis B infections. Affected individuals are offered regular follow-up and care to prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer.

When delivering such care to Indigenous communities, it’s essential to develop trust and ensure culturally appropriate approaches. Also important is partnering with communities and their health workers to develop new ways of building awareness of hepatitis B as an important health issue.

With comprehensive public health initiatives, long-term commitment to funding and policy – including significant workforce development to ensure as many people as possible are tested and appropriately followed up – the impact of hepatitis B on Indigenous communities can be eliminated.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ImmunisationWeek : Hey you mob .#VaccinesWork : Worldwide #Immunization saves millions of lives #Costeffective health interventions #HealthforAll

” Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services, local health services or general practitioners (see part 2 below)

 Health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians continue to be a priority for Australian governments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are significantly more affected by: low birth weight, chronic diseases and trauma resulting in early deaths and poor social and emotional health.

Historically, immunisation has been and remains, a simple, timely, effective and affordable way to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health, delivering positive outcomes for Australians of all ages.

Reports that focus on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are published regularly by the National Centre for Immunisation Research (NCIRS).

From NACCHO Post  #Aboriginal Health and #Immunisation @AIHW reports Aboriginal children aged 5 national immunisation rate of 94.6% 

The AMA says If you’re confused about conflicting information visit this website or ask your ACCHO GP

Picture above and below at the Imanpa Clinic  : Chansey Paech  is a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since 2016, representing the electorate of Namatjira. He is of Aranda and Gurindji descent. Paech is also the Deputy Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative

A number of immunisation programs are available for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These programs provide protection against some of the most harmful infectious diseases that cause severe illness and deaths in our communities.

Specific info about Aboriginal health and Immunisation see part

Download Healthy Communities:

AIHW_HC_Report_Imm_Rates_June_2017

See Previous NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldImmunisationWeek : @healthgovau Vaccination for our Mob

The federal government announced in 2017 it is spending $5.5 million to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.

18 April 2018 Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release

More than 4.5 million Australians who are most at risk of getting sick during this year’s flu season can now access a free influenza vaccine, under the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program.

Last year we saw the highest influenza activity in Australia in almost a decade, mirroring a global trend, with more than 250,000 Australians testing positive for influenza and double the normal hospitalisations.

I urge all Australians to consider getting a flu shot this year. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for any person six months of age and older, with vaccines also available on the private market.

It’s important to get the flu shot every year, as the virus changes year to year.

Those who are eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include people aged 65 years and over, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those who suffer from chronic conditions.

Flu shots are available now at general practices and other vaccination providers. They’re also available for purchase at many pharmacies.

Last year over 90 per cent of the 1,100 influenza-associated deaths were in people aged 65 years and older and this year we have taken specific action to address this.

Two new ground-breaking flu vaccines are now available for Australians aged over 65. These are specifically targeted at this age group, offering stronger doses and now available for the first time in Australia.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said “Getting vaccinated from mid-April will ensure you are protected before Australia’s peak flu period, from around June to September.”

“Getting vaccinated is not only safe, but is it is the most effective way of protecting yourself,” Professor Murphy said.

“All influenza vaccines available in Australia have been through stringent safety testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis.”

“The flu jab does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine and we know that high vaccination rates contribute to a healthy community,” Professor Murphy said.

The following four strains are contained within this year’s flu vaccine:

    • A(H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015(H1N1) pdm09 like virus
    • A(H3N2): an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016(H3N2) like virus
    • B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus
    • B: a B/Brisbane/60/2008 like virus

The composition of the Australian vaccine is decided by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee in consultation with the World Health Organization.

Influenza vaccines are age-specific, so ask your doctor about the best vaccine for you or your child’s circumstances.

For more information visit the Immunise Australia website.

2017 Press Release

Health Minister Greg Hunt says while more than 93 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated, immunisation rates in some parts of Australia remain low.

The “Get Facts about Immunisation” campaign, launched at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital , will target parents in these areas through child care centres and social media.

Immunologist Ian Frazer says vaccinating a child protects not just them but the wider community.

“We still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it’s important immunisation rates are as high as possible,” he said in a statement.

“A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections.”

What is immunisation?

Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting your child against serious diseases.

Immunisation protects your child from harmful infections before they come into contact with them. It uses their body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections. When they come in contact with that disease in the future, their immune system remembers it, and responds quickly to prevent the disease from developing.

After immunisation, your child is far less likely to catch the disease. If your child does catch the disease, their illness will be less severe and their recovery quicker than an unimmunised child.

Immunisation or vaccination – what’s the difference?

‘Vaccination’ means getting a vaccine – either as an injection or an oral dose.

‘Immunisation’ is the term for both the process of getting the vaccine and becoming immune to the disease as a result.

Australia’s National Immunisation Program

The Australian Government funds the National Immunisation Program , which provides vaccines against 17 diseases, including 15 diseases important in childhood.

How immunisation works

Vaccines stimulate the body’s natural defences

Children come into contact with many germs, including bacteria and viruses each day and their immune system responds in various ways to protect the body. Vaccines strengthen the body’s immune system by training it to quickly recognise and clear out germs (bacteria and viruses) that the vaccination has made them familiar with.

When you’re vaccinated, your body produces an immune response. This is how your body defends itself against bacteria and viruses and other harmful substances.

When you come in contact with that disease in the future, your immune system remembers it. Your immune system responds quickly to prevent the disease from developing.

Without a vaccine, a child can only become immune to a disease by being exposed to the germ, with the risk of severe illness. Sometimes your child will need more than one dose of a vaccine. This is because a young child’s immune system does not work as well as an older child or adult. The immune system of young children is still maturing.

Vaccination helps to protect the community from contagious diseases.

The National Immunisation Program has further details about how vaccines help immunity.

Part 2 : Aboriginal health and Immunisation

A number of immunisation programs are available for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These programs provide protection against some of the most harmful infectious diseases that cause severe illness and deaths in our communities.

Immunisations are provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the following age groups:

  • Children aged 0-five
  • Children aged 10-15
  • People aged 15+
  • People aged 50+

Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services, local health services or general practitioners.

Children aged 0-five

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-five should receive the routine vaccines given to other children. You can see a list of these vaccines in the Children 0-five page.

In addition, children aged 0-five of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent can receive the following additional vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program:

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is required between the ages of 12 and 18 months. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia continue to be at risk of pneumococcal disease for a longer period than other children.

This program does not apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory, where the rate of pneumococcal disease is similar to that of non-Indigenous children.

Hepatitis A

This vaccination is given because hepatitis A is more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia than it is among other children. Two doses of vaccine are given six months apart starting over the age of 12 months.

The age at which hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the four states and territories.

Influenza (flu)

From 2015, the flu vaccine will be provided free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years is available under the National Immunisation Program. The flu shot will protect your children against the latest seasonal flu virus.

Some children over the age of five years with other medical conditions should also have the flu shot to reduce their risk of developing severe influenza.

Children aged 10 – 15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 10-15 should receive the following routine vaccines given to other children aged 10-15:

  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa)

People aged 15+

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from 50 years of age, as well as those aged 15 to 49 years who are at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Influenza (Flu)

Due to disease burden influenza vaccines are free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to five years old and 15 years old or over. The flu shot will protect you against the latest seasonal flu virus.

More information:

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health : @DoctorBoffa Meningococcal epidemic targeting Indigenous youth in NT ‘must be taken seriously’

” We need all young people to take this very seriously, visit their local health services and be immunised immediately to stop the spread.

This is a really serious disease, it’s a major outbreak. It’s the biggest Australia has ever seen and its confined to Indigenous children under the age of 10…We need all young people to take this very seriously, visit their local health services and be immunised immediately to stop the spread,”

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Alice Springs, NT Chief Medical Officer Public Health,  Dr John Boffa has urged everyone in the community to take this epidemic very seriously.

He says Aboriginal community controlled health services and NT government clinics were doing well to stop the spread of the virus but warns parents and Indigenous youth that the correct early prevention steps must be taken

 Dr Boffa says the results of this epidemic “highlights the extreme inequality between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the NT.” He says the NT is desperate for more hands-on help to look after people impacted by the disease.

“We urgently need extra help! We need more nurses throughout the territory. If there are any nurses who want work as locums they should contact the central Australia Aboriginal congress in Alice Springs or send me an email, we want your help!”

Pictures Above Nick Hose : Meningococcal outbreak worries families in Central Australia:

Photo 1 : Vanessa Smith is making sure her three grandchildren are vaccinated against meningococcal

Photo 2 Geraldine Ashby is a remote nurse in Santa Teresa, and a parent

The meningococcal disease outbreak continues to hit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people living in Central Australia, the Barkly, Katherine and Katherine West regions.

Originally Published here with the assistance of NACCHO

This year alone has seen 25 confirmed cases of the W strain, a rapid jump from only three cases last year. All cases have affected only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To make matters worse, 19 of those cases have been recorded as children younger than the age of 10.

WHAT IS MENINGOCOCCAL?

A rare, life-threatening illness caused by bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain and occasionally infect other sites, such as large joints.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Fever, neck stiffness, headache, difficulty looking at bright lights, vomiting, diarrhoea, sore muscles or joints, drowsiness or a rash. Babies may refuse food and drink and have a high pitched cry.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

* With antibiotics, but the infection can progress very quickly, so seeking medical attention urgently is vital to survival.

This week, a mass vaccination program is being rolled out in the affected regions. Coordinated by the NT Centers for Disease Control (CDC), government and non-government health services, including Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations will be able to offer NT Health funded vaccines.

A free vaccine will be offered to all Indigenous people aged between 12 months and 19 years, living in remote communities. Aboriginal people aged between 12 months and 19 years living in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine will also have access to the vaccine.

People are also able to pay for the vaccine at their local doctor. There are two vaccines available – one costs $49 while the other is $118 and authorities have advised that ‘the cheaper one is just as effective’.

Photo: Six-year-old Rexena awaits her vaccination against the disease. (ABC News: Nick Hose)

After working in the public health communal disease sector for nearly 30 years, Mr Boffa, speaking on behalf of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, has urged for action to be taken as soon as possible in the NT, such as changes to the national child immunisation schedule.

“This epidemic means plans need to be sped up so we’ll have populational protection through routine immunisation of children.”

Dr Boffa says Aboriginal community controlled health services and NT government clinics were doing well to stop the spread of the virus.

“The positive thing is the health system has diagnosed people early, gotten them to hospital and out of the 25 cases in the NT so far, We’ve been able to pick them up quickly and get them effectively treated.”

Dr Boffa warns parents and Indigenous youth that the correct early prevention steps must be taken.

“The disease presents differently and is hard to clearly identify – which is why any sick child with a fever needs to be assessed and get to their local clinic to be checked,” he said.

“If you have a late diagnosis, late being you only miss it by 24 hours, it can kill you.”

 

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but very serious disease. It is treatable with antibiotics but the infection can progress very quickly. It’s important for people to be aware of the symptoms and to seek medical advice early for either themselves or their children if they have any concerns.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Immunisation : Health Minister @GregHuntMP launches a $5.5 #GetTheFacts campaign encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

” Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services, local health services or general practitioners (see part 2 below)

 Health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians continue to be a priority for Australian governments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are significantly more affected by: low birth weight, chronic diseases and trauma resulting in early deaths and poor social and emotional health.

Historically, immunisation has been and remains, a simple, timely, effective and affordable way to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health, delivering positive outcomes for Australians of all ages.

Reports that focus on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are published regularly by the National Centre for Immunisation Research (NCIRS).

From NACCHO Post  #Aboriginal Health and #Immunisation @AIHW reports Aboriginal children aged 5 national immunisation rate of 94.6% 

Download Healthy Communities:

AIHW_HC_Report_Imm_Rates_June_2017

See Previous NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldImmunisationWeek : @healthgovau Vaccination for our Mob

The federal government is spending $5.5 million to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.

Specific info about Aboriginal health and Immunisation see part 2

Health Minister Greg Hunt says while more than 93 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated, immunisation rates in some parts of Australia remain low.

The “Get Facts about Immunisation” campaign, launched at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital yesterday , will target parents in these areas through child care centres and social media.

Immunologist Ian Frazer says vaccinating a child protects not just them but the wider community.

“We still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it’s important immunisation rates are as high as possible,” he said in a statement.

“A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections.”

What is immunisation?

Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting your child against serious diseases.

Immunisation protects your child from harmful infections before they come into contact with them. It uses their body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections. When they come in contact with that disease in the future, their immune system remembers it, and responds quickly to prevent the disease from developing.

After immunisation, your child is far less likely to catch the disease. If your child does catch the disease, their illness will be less severe and their recovery quicker than an unimmunised child.

Immunisation or vaccination – what’s the difference?

‘Vaccination’ means getting a vaccine – either as an injection or an oral dose.

‘Immunisation’ is the term for both the process of getting the vaccine and becoming immune to the disease as a result.

Australia’s National Immunisation Program 

The Australian Government funds the National Immunisation Program , which provides vaccines against 17 diseases, including 15 diseases important in childhood.

How immunisation works

Vaccines stimulate the body’s natural defences

Children come into contact with many germs, including bacteria and viruses each day and their immune system responds in various ways to protect the body. Vaccines strengthen the body’s immune system by training it to quickly recognise and clear out germs (bacteria and viruses) that the vaccination has made them familiar with.

When you’re vaccinated, your body produces an immune response. This is how your body defends itself against bacteria and viruses and other harmful substances.

When you come in contact with that disease in the future, your immune system remembers it. Your immune system responds quickly to prevent the disease from developing.

Without a vaccine, a child can only become immune to a disease by being exposed to the germ, with the risk of severe illness. Sometimes your child will need more than one dose of a vaccine. This is because a young child’s immune system does not work as well as an older child or adult. The immune system of young children is still maturing.

Vaccination helps to protect the community from contagious diseases.

The National Immunisation Program has further details about how vaccines help immunity.

Part 2 : Aboriginal health and Immunisation

A number of immunisation programs are available for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These programs provide protection against some of the most harmful infectious diseases that cause severe illness and deaths in our communities.

Immunisations are provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the following age groups:

  • Children aged 0-five
  • Children aged 10-15
  • People aged 15+
  • People aged 50+

Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services, local health services or general practitioners.

Children aged 0-five

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-five should receive the routine vaccines given to other children. You can see a list of these vaccines in the Children 0-five page.

In addition, children aged 0-five of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent can receive the following additional vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program:

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is required between the ages of 12 and 18 months. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia continue to be at risk of pneumococcal disease for a longer period than other children.

This program does not apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory, where the rate of pneumococcal disease is similar to that of non-Indigenous children.

Hepatitis A

This vaccination is given because hepatitis A is more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia than it is among other children. Two doses of vaccine are given six months apart starting over the age of 12 months.

The age at which hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the four states and territories.

Influenza (flu)

From 2015, the flu vaccine will be provided free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years is available under the National Immunisation Program. The flu shot will protect your children against the latest seasonal flu virus.

Some children over the age of five years with other medical conditions should also have the flu shot to reduce their risk of developing severe influenza.

Children aged 10 – 15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 10-15 should receive the following routine vaccines given to other children aged 10-15:

  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa)

People aged 15+

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from 50 years of age, as well as those aged 15 to 49 years who are at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Influenza (Flu)

Due to disease burden influenza vaccines are free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to five years old and 15 years old or over. The flu shot will protect you against the latest seasonal flu virus.

More information: