The Morrison government is providing $16.6 million in grants to support the mental health and wellbeing of expectant and new parents through nine new projects.
It is estimated that up to 10% of women experience depression while pregnant, and one in seven women in the year after birth. Men can also experience perinatal mental illness, with approximately one in 10 expectant and new fathers experiencing depression, anxiety or other forms of emotional distress in the perinatal period.
Some of the grants under the mental health initiative include:
$2.59 million for the University of Newcastle to deliver the SMS4dads digital prevention and early intervention service for fathers, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, living in rural and remote regions.
$750,000 for Possums for Mothers and Babies to deliver training and professional peer support for health professionals and new parents in rural communities.
$250,000 for the Murdoch University Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity to produce health practitioner training materials and develop a mobile phone-based app version of the Baby Coming You Ready assessment and screening program for Aboriginal women.
You can read the full story and find out more about the other grants here.
Image source: AAP.
Yolngu Elders kick off COVID-19 vaccinations across Arnhem Land
Miwatj Health are gearing up for a COVID-19 vaccination blitz across the remote northern region of Arnhem Land.
Terry Yumbulul, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation’s Chief Culture Advisor and Head of Regionalisation, and CEO Eddie Mulholland, had their Pfizer vaccine in Gove last week.
They were joined by 10 Board Members of Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation and other local leaders who received their vaccine in an effort to encourage others in the community.
ABC Radio Darwin’s Jo Laverty spoke with Terry Yumbulul about his experience and whether other Yolngu people would follow suit.
You can listen to the ABC Radio Darwin On Breakfast broadcast with Jolene Laverty here.
Yolngu Elder receives vaccine at Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation. Image source: ABC News.
Healing the past project seeking participants
Becoming a parent is exciting but it can be hard. Particularly for parents who have experienced difficulties in their own childhood, which can have long lasting effects on physical, social and emotional wellbeing. This can make the transition to parenthood difficult, causing distress and challenges to creating a nurturing environment for a new baby. On the flip side, growing research shows that becoming a parent offers a unique life-time opportunity to heal from this childhood hurt.
‘Healing the past by nurturing the future’(video)is a community-based participatory research project which is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) parents to develop awareness and support strategies that could be offered during the perinatal period to support Aboriginal parents experiencing complex trauma.
The team are looking for participants for this important research project who are:
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people
living in the NT, SA or Victoria, and
are pregnant, have a partner who is pregnant or have a child (under 5 years in SA; or any age in NT or Vic).
An article published in the Medical Journal of Australia ‘Suicide rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: the influence of community level cultural connectedness’ examines associations between community cultural connectedness indicators and suicide mortality rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This retrospective mortality study looks at suicide deaths of people aged 10‒19 years recorded by the Queensland Suicide Register between 2001‒2015.
The age‐specific suicide rate was 21.1 deaths per 100,000 persons/year for First Nations young people and 5.0 deaths per 100,000 persons/year for non‐Indigenous young people. The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people was higher in areas with low levels of cultural social capital (greater participation of community members in cultural events, ceremonies, organisations, and community activities) than in areas classified as having high levels, and also in communities with high levels of reported discrimination. Associations with proportions of Indigenous language speakers and area level socio‐economic resource levels were not statistically significant.
The study found that suicide mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland were influenced by community level culturally specific risk and protective factors. The findings suggest that strategies for increasing community cultural connectedness at the community level and reducing institutional and personal discrimination could reduce suicide rates.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIS) has released new papers on Personalised Budgets to give more information on the way they propose to build participant budgets in the future.
In 2020 they released a paper on proposed changes to the planning policy for Personalised Budgets and plan flexibility, and encouraged participants, families, carers and the wider sector to respond. The feedback was that people want fairer decisions. People also wanted the NDIS to be more transparent about how they worked out the funds in participants’ plans.
The Personalised Budgets papers give you more information on how the NDIS are developing the new budget model and how they propose budgets will be built.
There are three versions of the Personalised Budgets paper available for increased accessibility. They include:
Personalised Budgets – technical information paper
Personalised Budgets – information paper for participants, their families and carers
Easy Read Guide – A new way to work out how much funding you receive in your NDIS plan
You can read more about the Personalised Budget paper on the NDIS website here.
Health Check 2020
‘Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap – Health Check 2020’
In 2018, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to a genuine, formal partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives to develop the Closing the Gap strategy for the next decade. Governments acknowledged the need for a respectful, collaborative approach with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to achieve productive and sustainable outcomes.
To give effect to that commitment, the Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap 2019-2029 (Partnership Agreement) was negotiated and agreed to by the Coalition of Peaks and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in March 2019. The Partnership Agreement provides an historic opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives to be heard and incorporated into policy and program dimensions across all levels of government. The Partnership Parties committed to an annual Health Check of the Partnership Agreement and agreed to the development and subsequent annual review of a Partnership Risk Register. The objective of the Health Check is to review the state of the Partnership Agreement against success indicators agreed by the Parties. This report gives an account of the first Health Check and includes a draft Risk Register.
This Health Check has found that the Partnership Agreement has been successful in achieving the coming together of the Coalition of Peaks and Governments in partnership to support the Parties’ decision to negotiate a new National Agreement.
Partnership Health Check to inform the Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap.
Digital mental health resources
In honour of National Reconciliation Week, the eMHPrac E-Mental Health in Practice website has decided to explore the Digital Mental Health Resources developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in mind. These resources include culturally relevant and evidence-based information, advice, stories, support, and counselling.
There are a range of digital mental health resources available to support individuals, families, friends, and communities including:
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) has welcomed the extension of Medicare coverage for telehealth consultations for GPs, allied health and specialists to the end of 2021.
To be able to consult with your health care provider by phone or video was an important step in making ongoing healthcare safer for patients during the early days of the pandemic. “This was particularly essential for people with complex and chronic conditions who needed ongoing care.” said the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells.
Before the introduction of the telehealth items, there was fear and concern in the community about the spread and virulence of the virus, to the extent that many people stopped going to their regular medical appointments and were also not following up on referrals. “It makes good use of the technology we already have, Ms Wells said. “Ongoing, telehealth is about modernising Medicare. “Telehealth supports treatment and management plans and has considerable benefits when combined with face-to-face consultations, Ms Wells said.
“Telehealth also presents the opportunity to accelerate new ways of delivering health care – building on remote monitoring and consultations that are already happening in rural and other health care settings”, said Ms Wells. “This means that many rural and regional patients receive fairer opportunities to access health care as they can more often avoid costly travel and accommodation in capital cities.
To view the CHF media release in full click here. Image in the feature tile is from The Fred Hollows Foundation website.
In a pod at Royal Far West’s Centre for Country Kids setting up a therapy session with a child in a rural school. Photo: Denise WIltshire. Image source: Partyline magazine.
BBV & STI Strategy Implementation Workshop
The Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Standing Committee (BBVSS) provides national leadership and advice to the Australian Health Protections Principal Committee on strategic policy, social issues, emerging risks and priority actions. Its membership is comprised of representatives from jurisdictional and peak bodies which address blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs). The Fifth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Strategy articulates the vision, principles, goals, and targets for a national response to BBV and STI in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for the period 2018 to 2022.
The second BBVSS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander BBV and STI Strategy workshop BBV and STI Strategy making an IMPACT in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communitieswas held last week on Thursday 22 April 2021. The workshop, facilitated by Adjunct Professor Jeanette Ward, discussed a range of matters including access to Point of Care Testing, Workforce composition, funding and retention, effective community education, health promotion strategies and critical actions for the BBVSS over the next 18 months to accelerate implementation of the Fifth Strategy in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Attendees at the BBV & STI Strategy Implementation Workshop 22 April 2021.
Dan Murphy’s store will add fuel to drinking problem
Helen Fejo-Frith, 73, likes a bit of a tussle. A former football coach and player in the Top End, she is combative, tough and proud. On a balmy Darwin evening, Helen roams the streets greeting neighbours, walking on her hardened bare feet. She explains it’s likely shards of glass and bits of gravel are lodged into her soles. Her current stoush has been going on for five years. She likens it to a David and Goliath-like contest. Her opponent is retail giant Woolworths. “I’m retired now, but I’ll keep fighting this,” she says.
Helen lives in Bagot, an Aboriginal community located off a main road leading into the city of Darwin, where alcohol and drinking is banned.
To view the ABC News article Community leaders say new Dan Murphy’s store will add fuel to fire of town’s drinking problemclick here.
Helen Fejo-Firth. Photo: Shaun Kingma. Image source: ABC News website.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is also calling upon the NT Government to urgently reconsider its plans to allow a Dan Murphy’s superstore to be built next to electively dry communities in Darwin. “This governmental direction completely undermines the efforts of the Bagot people to protect their community, and their health. We require a government that listens to, and respects First Nations voices above that of large corporations,” AMSA President Sophie Keen said today.
AMSA Indigenous Portfolio Manager Bradley Goff said the members of the Bagot community have exercised their right to self-determination through electively having their community declared dry under the Liquor Act (2019). “This was a course of action grounded in a desire to minimise the impact of alcohol on their community,” Mr Goff said. “The development of a liquor superstore within walking distance of the Bagot community not only jeopardises the effectiveness of their actions, but also renders farcical the legislative provisions that afforded them the opportunity for self-determination in regards to alcohol access.”
To view the AMSA’s media release in full click here.
Artist’s impression of the proposed Dan Murphy’s store near Darwin Airport. Image supplied by NT Airports. Image source: ABC News website.
General Practice COVID-19 Update
The latest in a webinar series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs will take place from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM (AEST) Thursday 29 April 2021.
The webinar will provide the latest information on the vaccine rollout, presented by a panel of Australian Government Department of Health representatives: Dr Lucas de Toca (Chair) First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response; Nick Henderson, Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce; and Dr Steph Davis, General Practitioner and Primary Care Response.
NPS MedicineWise has released a refreshed Prescribing Competencies Framework. The Prescribing Competencies Framework describes the competencies that health professionals require to prescribe medicines judiciously, appropriately, safely and effectively in the Australian healthcare system. NPS MedicineWise recognises the ongoing need for, and value of, a consistent and standard approach to prescribing for all health professionals with prescribing rights.
Since the publication of the original framework in 2012, prescribing rights have been extended to new professional groups. This places an onus on a broader range of health professionals to contribute to quality use of medicines within their scope of practice. The need for, and value of, a consistent and standard approach to prescribing for all health professionals with prescribing rights is therefore ever more prevalent. Adequately preparing health professionals to prescribe within a quality use of medicines framework is essential.
As the national steward of Quality Use of Medicines, NPS MedicineWise, in consultation with key stakeholders in the sector, has undertaken a review of the original frameworkto ensure the document is contemporary, relevant and fit for purpose in order to continue to be of value in supporting quality prescribing decisions by all prescribers.
Decolonising medical education research
A recent article The role of governance in Indigenous medical education research considers the role of governance in Indigenous medical education research through the lens of an Australian Aboriginal research project titled Healing Conversations. The Healing Conversations project is developing and testing a targeted educational framework for improved clinical communication between healthcare practitioners and Australian Aboriginal peoples in regional and urban locations. It is proposed that an effective governance approach can support Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders to work together in decision-making structures to enable outcomes that promote and prioritise Indigenous worldviews and values in medical education research.
Photo: Louisa Billeter. Image source: OXFAM From Poverty to Power blog page.
Fears NDIS reforms will be traumatic & triggering
A doctor of 20 years with patients from the Stolen Generations says she fears contentious National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reforms will traumatise and trigger vulnerable people who already hold deep misgivings about government institutions. Debra Blackmore, a GP with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, made the comments in a submission to the bipartisan parliamentary committee looking into NDIS independent assessments, which have sparked sector-wide backlash.
The proposed assessments (expected to take around three hours), which new NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds has put on hold for the time being, would see people outsourced to a government-approved health professional they don’t know to determine their eligibility for the scheme and the support they receive. Critics say the reforms are a cost-cutting move that will make it harder for people to access the NDIS, leave existing participants worse off and force vulnerable people to be assessed by strangers who don’t know their nuanced medical history.
The NT’s Department of Health and Families No Germs on Me is a social marketing campaign to raise awareness of, and promote the benefits of regular face washing and hand washing with soap. The campaign is designed to be used in schools, at home and in the community to prevent the spread of germs and respiratory illnesses. It was developed to address the high rates of infection among children in Aboriginal communities.
The aim of the campaign was to motivate men, women and children to regularly wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet, after changing babies’ nappies and before touching food. The resources were developed with the assistance of focus groups and in-depth interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Top End and Central Australia, which determined the barriers and drivers to people routinely washing their hands with soap.
To view No Germs on Me campaign resources click here.
Image source: Food Safety Information Council.
World Immunisation Week
Saturday 24 – Friday 30 April 2021
World Immunisation Week – celebrated every year in the last week of April – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunisation saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful health interventions. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million children in the world today who are not getting the vaccines they need, and many miss out on vital vaccines during adolescence, adulthood and into old age.
Using the theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, World Immunization Week 2021 will urge greater engagement around immunisation globally to promote the importance of vaccination in bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere throughout life. As part of the 2021 campaign, WHO, partners and individuals around the world will unite to:
increase trust and confidence in vaccines to maintain or increase vaccine acceptance
increase investment in vaccines, including routine immunisation, to remove barriers to access
For more information about World Immunization Week 2021 click here.
Image sources: World Health Organisation & SBS NITV website.
COVID-19 vaccine info in Yolŋu Matha and English languages
In these vaccine information videos produced by Menzies School of Health Research, you will see Elders and community members discuss about vaccines, answer some pertinent questions and direct you to seek advice from your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
Watch the video featuring COVID-19 expert Dr Jane Davies, Melanie and Rosemary click here.
Measuring risky drinking according to the Australian alcohol guidelines
In December 2020, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released the revised Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol (NHMRC 2020).
These guidelines were created following a review of the health effects of consuming alcohol, and define drinking behaviours that Australians can follow to reduce their risk of alcohol-related disease or injury.
Australian alcohol consumption behaviours are routinely reported in the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) which is undertaken every three years, the most recent collection occurring in 2019. The aim of this technical paper is to provide a methodology for measuring risky alcohol consumption according to the revised Australian alcohol guidelines.
To read the full report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021 click here.
The Social and Emotional Wellbeing #SEWB21 Gathering
The Social and Emotional Wellbeing #SEWB21 Gathering in Perth last week was looking at ways in which effective SEWB services could and are being delivered, how this could be measured, the interaction between SEWB and tertiary mental health. More info
Pat Dudgeon, Director of the UWA Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) and lead CI on a NHMRC Million Minds Mission Grant investigating Indigenous mental health posted on her social media page: This is the Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) Model we have been working with. It explores welbeing from an Indigenous perspective. Different domains make up what is important and these are influenced by social determinants, historical, political and cultural determinants.
The ACCHO sector has been taking this forward. I will post the full report when it is completed.
More information: There is a national strategic MH&SEWB Framework and this diagram is part of it. The Framework was never implemented. The Gathering discussed this and Gayaa Dhuwi has been tasked with refreshing and ensuring it is implemented. Victoria and Western Australia has made funding commitments already but we want the commonwealth also to commit. We are about putting the power back into our communities. Indigenous self-determination is a essential part of SEWB.
This diagram comes from a long line of effort by our communities, it goes back to the Ways Forward Report 1995 and our first MH&SEWB Framework (again not implemented). A group fo Aboriginal psychologists: Graham Gee, Clinton Schultz, Amanda Hart, Kerrie Kelly and myself had promoted it at various community conferences and then we met in Brisbane, locked oursleves away for 2 days and developed the final diagram/model and wrote a chapter for the Working Together Book 2014.
Free online training for health professionals supporting new/expecting parents
Access to training and resources has always been challenging for health and other professionals working in rural, regional and remote Australia, and the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for more online learning opportunities.
Recognising this need, St John of God Social Outreach now provides free online training and materials to support positive outcomes for families through its Connected Parenting resources.
The Connected Parenting resources and training materials have been created to support anyone working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, to promote secure parent child attachment and social and emotional development.
Improvements were noted in several areas. In 2018, 44% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers reported smoking during pregnancy which is a decrease from 52% in 2009. The proportion of expectant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers attending antenatal care in the first trimester has increased from 50% in 2012 to 66% in 2018. In September 2020, 97% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 5 year old children were fully immunised against the recommended vaccine-preventable diseases. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people drink less alcohol than non-Indigenous people, those who do are more likely to at harmful levels. Evidence suggests better health outcomes are seen when there are adequately resourced and culturally safe alcohol and other drug services provided by community controlled organisations.
HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said ‘The 2020 Overview was written in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and I want express our admiration for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led response to OVID-19 that has lessened the impact and protected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. This exemplifies what can be achieved with strong and authoritative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership. With their ongoing support we continue to strive to develop our capacity to accurately and authentically represent the data and statistics to support the efforts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector workforce’.
Partnership a sign of shared commitment to Aboriginal health
Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre is celebrating a partnership with Western NSW Aboriginal Health, and a shared commitment to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people in Forbes.
“Twenty years ago, when I first began Yoorana Gunya, it was in a small house with very limited services,” CEO Donna Bliss says.
“Over the years the needs of the Forbes Aboriginal community have changed and the focus of our organisation today is predominantly on providing primary health care and well-being services.
“This partnership will extend our services even further without losing our common goal, providing a range of health, education and family programs to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.”
The service provides a full range of primary health care services. The team includes; general practitioners, registered nurses, Aboriginal health workers, counsellors, domestic violence specialists, suicide prevention workers, social and emotional well-being workers.
Brendan Cutmore from Western NSW LHD, CEO Yoorana Gunya Donna Bliss, Director of Yoorana Gunya Aunty Mavis Ohlsen, Forbes Shire Mayor Phyllis Miller and Scott McLachlan from Western NSW LHD. Photo courtesy of Council.
AMA states: Time to extend telehealth further
The AMA is again calling on the Government to extend temporary COVID-19 Medicare Telehealth items until the end of the year. The current outbreak in Queensland highlights that the June extension does not go far enough.
“The Queensland outbreak and the flow-on impact on other states is a timely reminder that the pandemic is far from over,” AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said.
“With the emergence of new and more transmissible COVID-19 variants, it is unlikely that this will be the last lockdown before the end of the year.
“But we cannot become complacent. We must continue to plan for the worst.
“We know that every time there is an outbreak, thousands of people face requirements to self isolate and telehealth ensures these patients can continue to assess care.
“Telehealth remains fundamental to the national effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, by protecting the health workforce, while reducing the need for unwell patients to move around the community.
“We need to maintain continuity of care for patients during any future lockdown.
“We need a telehealth framework that can operate in the context of a pandemic response, which is exactly what these temporary telehealth items are designed to do,” AMA President Dr Khorshid said.
South Australians are being asked to help shape a new three-year plan to reduce suicide across the state. The Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention and Wellbeing SA are inviting all South Australians to have their say on the development of a new SA Suicide Prevention Plan for 2022-2025.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said reducing the number of suicides in South Australia is a high priority of the Marshall Liberal Government. “Every life matters and, tragically, so many of us have been touched or impacted by suicide in some way,” Minister Wade said. “That’s why we need to hear from as many South Australians as possible about what could make a difference. We are working in partnership with the community and reaching out to people with lived experience of suicidal distress, and their loved ones, to help us make a meaningful change in suicide prevention.”
Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan has launched a plan to establish a National Anti-Racism Framework and has called on the Federal Government to support and implement it.
The Commission has released a concept paper detailing key components required for a national strategy to address racism and social cohesion, and will soon commence a series of roundtables with peak anti-racism organisations to progress the plan. There has already been widespread support for the framework, including from the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP, and from FECCA, the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Image source: LibGuides at Ursula Frayne Catholic College.
Melbourne/Full-time – Aust Physio Association
Senior Policy Advisor | Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
The Senior Advisor – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (ATSIH) is responsible for the development and implementation of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health policy and advocacy initiatives, including the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan (2021-23), Physiotherapy Cultural Safety Action Plan and our involvement in the Close the Gap (CtG) Campaign.
One in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience chronic ear disease in Australia. Luke Carroll (Actor and Playschool Presenter) and Emma Donovan (Musician), who are both parents, have joined the Hearing Australia campaign to help promote the importance of HAPEE Ears For Early Years.
Hearing Australia’s ongoing ‘Hearing Assessment Program – Early Ears’ or HAPEE, is a result of a $30 million investment by the Australian Government to reduce the long term effects of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children not yet attending full time school are eligible for a free hearing check, and this service is now available across the country, as the program has expanded to care for more communities in urban, regional and metro areas.
Gumbaynggirr, Dhungatti, Yamatji and Bibbulman woman, Emma Donovan is urging other parents and carers to have their children’s ears checked regularly. Emma’s youngest child’s hearing loss was detected early. Wiradjuri man, acclaimed actor and father, Luke Carroll, has a similar message for parents and carers,
“I think it’s extremely important for kids to get their hearing checked. It helps with their speech and their growth as a young person.
To view Hearing Australia’s press release click here.
Emma Donovan with daughter Jirriga & Luke Carroll with son Enzo. Image source: Hearing Australia.
Ophthalmologists call for Voice to Parliament
The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), and Australia’s first Aboriginal ophthalmologist Associate Professor Kris Rallah-Baker have joined forces to call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution. The call supports From the Heart’s Week of Action to promote the Uluru Statement from the Heart and advocate for a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Voice to Parliament.
“As a Nation, Australia is far behind other former British colonies in addressing issues that remain as a consequence of the dispossession and occupation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, which began on 26th January 1788 and has not yet ended,” Associate Professor Rallah-Baker said. “These issues affect us all today and are not a dark and distant memory – they affect the very fibre of who we are as a Nation. Without appropriate address we can never truly decolonise and heal the scars that haunt our collective psyche. The Uluru Statement from the Heart lays out a sensible and collaborative pathway required to move forwards and make Australia truly a place of the ‘fair go’.”
Dr Kris Rallah-Baker, a Yuggera & Biri-Gubba-Juru/Yuggera man, became Australia’s first Indigenous ophthalmologist. Image source: Fred Hollows Foundation.
Pharmacists integral to health outcomes
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called on the Federal Government to implement four strategic measures in its 2021–22 Budget Submission that will enable pharmacists to significantly improve health outcomes for Australians. Among the PSA recommendations for the 2021–22 Federal Budget is a rebate for non-medical health professionals, such as pharmacists, for their attendance at case conferences (this will foster better collaboration and enhanced safe and quality use of medicine outcomes for patients), the establishment of a digital nationally coordinated pharmacovigilance system for primary care and funding of pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
PSA National President Associate Professor Freeman said these recommendations provide an opportunity for the government to take action to reduce medicine-related harm and utilise the skills of pharmacists to improve health outcomes for Australians. “Pharmacists are approachable, knowledgeable and highly trusted within the community and the Australian public want to see the skills of pharmacists put to full use,” he said.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is urging pharmacists to join Australia’s fight against COVID-19 by taking up the Federal Government’s call to assist in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination program to the community. Community pharmacists will join with other healthcare professionals such as GPs to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the community from Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s COVID strategy.
The PSA is encouraging pharmacists to respond to the Government’s Expression of Interest (EOI) to be trained and equipped to assist in vaccinating Australians against the coronavirus. “COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives and pharmacists have supported our community on the frontline – I am confident community pharmacists will step up to join Australia’s vaccination workforce, just as they have done throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” PSA National President Associate Professor Freeman said.
To view the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s media release click here. and to view the related Minister for Health and Aged Care’s media release click here.
Image source: Pharmacy Magazine.
Find Cancer Early campaign
Published Australian research shows that people living in regional Australia are 20–30% more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than people living in metropolitan areas. Previous research in WA shows regional people present at the GP at a later stage because they are less aware of cancer symptoms, more optimistic, more laid back, less willing to seek help and sometimes make excuses for not seeking help, therefore resulting in later stage cancer diagnoses.
Cancer Council WA have launched a new mass media campaign, Regional Champions, through their Find Cancer Earlyprogram to highlight some of the lesser known symptoms of cancer to motivate regional West Australians to seek medical advice earlier. Putting off seeing your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker could be costly. 62-year-old Derek Chapman from Donnybrook, one of six regional champions featured in the campaign said “When you’re out here you can’t muck around. Stop making excuses for symptoms.”
The campaign began on Sunday 31 January appearing on regional and Aboriginal television stations across WA as well as regional and Aboriginal radio stations, regional newspapers, Facebook and YouTube.
A recently launched first-of-its-kind program will help reduce gambling harm in Indigenous communities across NSW by creating a safe space online. The Talking About Gambling(TAG) project will be community driven and has been designed by experts at NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Service and The Australian National University (ANU), along with other research partners. According to Dr Megan Whitty, gambling is often referred to as the “hidden addiction” in Indigenous communities. But starting an open and honest discussion can help break down some of the stigma so communities can identify if gambling is a problem, and how it could be addressed.
To read the ANU media release about this project click here.
Image source: ABC News website.
NCSR Cervical Program survey
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) is conducting an independent review of the performance and operation of the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) in relation to the Cervical Program. The scope of the current review does not include the Bowel Program which may be included in a future review.
DoH is seeking your support for this review by completing this survey and forwarding it to your members for their completion. You can access a letter from Andrew Gately, Assistant Secretary, National Cancer Screening Register Branch with further information about the review by clicking here.
PwC is conducting this survey via Qualtrics. Your participation in this survey is voluntary. The survey should take approximately 10–15 minutes to complete.
Please provide your responses by 5 February 2021.
Please follow this link to participate in the NCSR Review Survey.
Image source: The University of Sydney website.
Mental illness far higher in bush
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that reside in rural Australia, the risk factors associated with remote living are perpetuated by intergenerational trauma and unaddressed socioeconomic deprivation. As a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 12–24 years on average are three times as likely to be hospitalised with a mental health illness than non-Indigenous young people of the same age.
Mental health-related services, where they do exist, predominantly rely on locum professionals that work on a varying, fly-in-fly-out basis. The irregularity of these services contributes to low community participation, voiding citizens of the stable and consistent support required to address mental health issues. In 2016–17, 81 in every 1,000 people in remote areas accessed Medicare-funded mental health services, compared to 495 per 1,000 people in major cities.
To view the Independent Australia article in full click here.
Image source: Triple J Hack podcast website.
Poor mental health an incarceration risk
Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are 18 times more likely to be in custody and 17 times more likely to be on a community based supervision order than non-Indigenous young people. Successive reports over decades have shown troubling rates of incarceration among young Indigenous people.
A Productivity Commission report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing released in December 2020 found that while most Indigenous people had never been in jail, they faced more risk factors that made it more likely, including unemployment, low socioeconomic status and poor mental health.
To view the full article click here. A related article argues that waiting for solutions to youth incarceration is a choice by government to invest in hurting kids and making communities less safe in the meantime – to read this article in The Guardianclick here.
Image source: The Conversation website.
Beyond Blue supports healing and unity
Beyond Blue supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and have said they will continue to play our part in supporting Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing by listening to First Nations people, advocating for culturally appropriate policies and services led by them, and encouraging action to address racism and Close the Gap. Beyond Blue says they want to see institutional and intergenerational disadvantage meaningfully addressed.
To view the full article, including a traditional Ngangkari healing story click here.
Image source: Beyond Blue website.
Virtual care survey
What has been your organisation’s experience of virtual care?
With a view to producing a report based on the results, Telstra Health is conducting a survey to understand the different organisational experiences of virtual care, particularly since the pandemic. For example, perhaps you’ve recently increased the number and range of virtual care services provided but you don’t know what to do next to maintain them. No matter your organisation’s situation, the team at Telstra Health wants to hear from you! They will explore how to support Australian healthcare providers with delivering effective and efficient virtual care solutions.
Telehealth consultations with GPs are booming among urban and rural patients since the Government introduced temporary Medicare Benefit Scheme (MBS) support in March last year – and authors of a new report analysing GP visits at 800 practices across Australia argue the MBS changes should be permanent.
Professor Andrew Georgiou and his co-authors found that phone consultations with GPs in NSW and Victoria climbed from zero during 2019 to more than 138,000 per week between January and September 2020. Despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers found that people consulted GPs more often from January to September 2020, than they did in the same period in 2019. “We think much of that is because people could access telehealth,” said Georgiou, from Macquarie University’s Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research.
Since its establishment with funding from the Australian Government in 1999, the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) has been committed to providing information on a broad range of health and other determinants across the lifespan. Located at Torrens University Australia since November 2015, PHIDU’s emphasis continues to be on the publication of small area statistics for monitoring inequality in health and wellbeing and supporting opportunities to improve population health outcomes.
Since 2008, PHIDU has offered free online access to a comprehensive range of current (and some historical) data at national, jurisdictional, regional and small area levels for Australia. Socioeconomic and geographical variations in health are highlighted in interactive atlases and graphs, and supported by data tables and metadata. This web-based source of data on health and its determinants is unique in Australia, and has been acknowledged internationally by agencies such as the World Health Organization. To access the Indigenous Social Health Atlas of Australia click here.
Image source: Indigenous Social Health Atlas of Australia website.
Support for COVID-19 vaccine ads in language
The Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) in the East Pilbara region services thousands of Martu and Nyiyaparli people who will be among the early recipients of the vaccine when it rolls out in coming weeks. The WA Government, which is working with the Commonwealth on the rollout, said that vulnerable patient cohorts such as people in Aboriginal communities would receive the vaccine early after frontline workers in health care, quarantine facilities, and airports.
The new PAMS clinic in Newman services thousands of mainly Martu and Nyiyaparli people. Image source: ABC News website.
VIC – Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd
Rumbalara is one of the largest providers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health services in Victoria. Rumbalara currently have a number of vacancies within their Health & Wellbeing services area and their Justice & Community services area. Their Health & Wellbeing services provide community members with a full range of services to help address general health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, poor diet and nutritional health, eye health, ear health, contagious diseases, drug and alcohol related issues, mental health and emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Rumbalara’s Justice & Community Services have two vacancies based at its Shepparton office.
Mooroopa Health Promotion Coordinator x 1 FT Aboriginal Health Practitioner/Aboriginal Health Worker x 1 FT Nurse – Lead Chronic Care Coordinator x 1 FT
Shepparton Aboriginal Family Violence Team Leader x 1 FT Aboriginal Family Violence Practitioner x 1 FT
To view position descriptions for the jobs based in Mooroopna click here and for those in Shepparton click here.
Applications close Tuesday 9 February 2021.
National Condom Day – Sunday 14 February
The countdown has well and truly begun, with only 12 days until on National Condom Day and NACCHO is running a fun contest to drive awareness around safe sex and condoms.
Watch this video by Her Rules Her Game Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Services Council for some great inspiration, then unleash your creativity and submit a PHOTO/VIDEO showing your best condom hack and/or send us your BEST SLOGAN on using condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Email your entries to email@example.com with the subject line “Condom hacks & slogans” by Wednesday 10 February 2021.
You can also upload your creations on your social media pages. Make sure to tag us so we can keep sharing your cool posts.
We have some AMAZING PRIZES from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sporting teams and businesses for the top entries:
a signed NRL Indigenous All Stars football. PRICELESS!
Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the number of HIV diagnoses has fluctuated over the past five years, but diagnosis rates are still between 1.3–1.9 times higher than in Australian-born, non-Indigenous Australians. Professor James Ward from the University of Queensland says “To reduce this unacceptable gap, there needs to be sustained investment in targeted, culturally appropriate, community focused campaigns.”
Today (1 December 2020), on World AIDS Day, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) has warmly welcomed a number of announcements from the Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, including the intention to ensure every person living in Australia with HIV has access to life saving antiretroviral medicine, regardless of Medicare eligibility. “This is a critical public health measure,” said Darryl O’Donnell, chief executive of the AFAO, “For too long, too many people in Australia who aren’t eligible for Medicare struggled to afford the medicine needed to keep them healthy. This act of leadership will give access to antiretroviral medicine to everyone in Australia who needs it. This is more than a question of treatment, it is also a question of prevention, because a person with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV.”
Darryl O’Donnell continued, “Australia has always been a global leader in the HIV response and today with 90% of those living in Australia with HIV tested and diagnosed, 91% on treatment and 97% achieving an undetectable viral load, we can be proud of being among a small handful of nations to meet the UNAIDS 2020 global [90-90-90] goal for HIV treatment and prevention. This is an important milestone, however we can and should be more ambitious. We must double down. With renewed political and financial commitment we can achieve 95-95-95 [the ambitious strategy announced by UNAIDS in 2014, aiming to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by achieving 95% diagnosed among all people living with HIV (PLHIV), 95% on antiretroviral therapy (ART) among diagnosed, and 95% virally suppressed (VS) among treated].”
AFAO has produced a number of resources you can view by clicking on the resource title below:
Reconciliation Barometer shows racism heightened in 2020
The 2020 Australian Reconciliation Barometer—a national research study conducted by Reconciliation Australia every two years—shows that the global and local Black Lives Matter movements have challenged experiences and understanding of racism in Australia. “This year’s Barometer shows more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reporting an incident of racial prejudice than the 2018 barometer,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine. “Just over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported to have experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the last six months.”
“More Australians now agree with the statement that ‘Australia is a racist country’, a rise across the board in understanding how racism operates. In 2020 we have seen increasing political and social polarisation due to uncertainty and disruption from COVID-19. Through the 2020 Barometer we hear many more people speaking up, speaking the truth, asking the hard questions, seeing the hard facts, and moving from a space of safe to brave on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
You can view the full 2020 Reconciliation Barometer report, including a summary of the report, by clicking here.
Image source: Reconciliation Australia website.
Permanent telehealth model being developed
The AMA will work with the Federal Government to make Medicare-funded telehealth a permanent part of the Australian healthcare system. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the partnership approach during a joint media conference with AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid. “The AMA has been working with the Government on how to embed telehealth into the Australian healthcare system for months,” Dr Khorshid said. “The AMA has long advocated for telehealth consultations to be subsidised under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). “The temporary COVID-19 arrangements have allowed us to test the model, and shown where refinements can be made. MBS-funded telehealth has been embraced by doctors and patients alike.”
To view the AMA’s media release regarding the model click here.
Image source: The Medical Journal of Australia.
Nurses support public drunkenness decriminalisation
Victoria is close to the decriminalisation of public drunkenness, three decades since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody first made the recommendation. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has welcomed the Andrews Government’s decision to review all recommendations of its Expert Reference Group’s report Seeing the clear light of day. The report reinforces that no one should be in a police cell just because they are intoxicated. ANMF supports the two-year implementation period which will enable the Andrews Government to develop a public health model response to replace the jail cell. The implementation period will include trial sites before rolling the approach out across the state.
To view the ANMF (Victorian Branch) media release click here.
Daughters Apryl Watson and Kimberly Watson with photos of their mother Tanya Day (who was arrested under the public drunkenness law in Victoria and latter died in custody) outside Coroners Court. Image source: The Age.
Mental health lessons from 2020
Menal Illness Education ACT will co-host a stimulating panel discussion on Wednesday 2 December1.00pm–2.20pm (AEDT) to unpack how paid and unpaid workloads have changed in 2020 and the impacts on wellbeing, particularly for women. The discussion will cover the following topics:
We will look at the positives and challenges coming out of the current environment.
Discuss how roles have changed from a range of perspectives and how we have and can respond to those changes as individuals, partners and organisations.
Provide strategies and resources on how to identify and respond to the shifting balance.
This session is for everyone, whether you are single, in a couple, a parent or a carer.
The event will be held on Teams. To register pleas click here.
Stolen Generations bus back on healing mission
Bus operator CDC NSW has committed to a partnership in support of Australia’s indigenous people’s ‘Stolen Generations truth telling’. In cementing its partnership with Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) during its first KBHAC Mobile Education Centre (MEC) community visit post COVID-19, CDC NSW driver Mikhail Mikhail steered the MEC bus to a Healing Session at Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) in Little Bay, where it was unveiled to a group of Kinchela Boy’s Home survivors and AH&MRC staff. The MEC – a converted commuter bus nicknamed ‘Benny’ featuring an audio-visual system and printed historical information on Stolen Generations – is the first of its kind and integral to helping KBHAC members tell their stories in a range of locations. To read the full article click here.
Image source: Australasian Bus & Coach website.
Urgent need to close digital divide
New analysis commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) shows that urgent action is needed to address the digital divide in remote Indigenous communities in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns. While much of the nation turned to digital services such as videoconferencing and telehealth during the rolling lockdowns put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, very few remote Indigenous communities were able to work or learn from home, or access government and health services online.
With access by service providers limited by travel restrictions, many people were left without access to essential services. In some remote communities, the Wi-Fi hotspot, the only point of access, was switched off to avoid people congregating. “COVID-19 saw communities without food and necessities of life because of the lack of access to adequate, reliable, and robust telecommunications,” said ACCAN Board Member and proud Torres Strait Islander, Dr Heron Loban.
In a first for Moree, staff of Pius X Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) have made a clean sweep of GP Synergy’s New England/North West GP training awards, taking out all three regional awards on offer. Pius X’s practice manager Ros Rose was named Practice Manager of the Year, GP supervisor Dr Hamze Hamze was named Supervisor of the Year and GP in training Dr Nada Abu Alrub was named Registrar of the Year in GP Synergy’s New England/North West GP training awards.
Pius X’s GP in training Dr Nada Abu Alrub, practice manager Ros Rose and GP supervisor Dr Hamze Hamze. Image source: Moree Champion News.
COVID-19 vaccination survey
Do you provide immunisations? Do you transport vaccinations or receive them in your workplace? Do you work in rural or remote settings?
Finally, some good COVID-19 news, there have been some positive outcomes in the race outcomes in the race for the COVID-19 vaccine. Nurses, midwives, doctors and Aboriginal Health Practitioners working in primary health care will be very busy in 2021. They will be at the coalface of health promotion, allaying people’s fears, and organising the immunisation logistics to protect their communities. The focus will be on those most at risk, the elderly, men, and the health workforce.
Scaling-up rapid mass immunisation means more trained staff will be needed to administer the vaccinations and provide transportation logistics. The cold chain is only as effective as its ‘weakest’ link. There are many people involved in vaccine cold chain to rural and remote communities, some of whom do not routinely receive training in relation to medicines storage, such as transport drivers, Aboriginal Health Workers, and administration staff.
Central Australian Rural Practitioners Association have made a training video, telling the story of a vaccine’s journey from a supply centre to administration in a remote Aboriginal community, and would like your feedback. Please view the video here and then take 2–3 minutes to complete the 13 question survey here.
Image source: CARPA Inc. Vaccine Story video slide.
60% in remote communities have hearing loss
Chronic ear disease contributes to widespread hearing loss among Indigenous people in Australia. In 2020 it was found 40% of Indigenous people have hearing loss, 60% in remote communities with 79% of people with hearing loss not knowing they did not hear as well as others. Dr Damien Howard and Jody Barney have produced a new video on Indigenous hearing loss. To view the video click here. To take the 13 question survey (approved by the NT Department of Health and Menzies School of Health Research) click here.
Grow Local Cert IV in Mental Health
Despite the challenges this year due to COVID-19, Grow Local participants have worked hard towards completing their Grow Local Certificate IV in Mental Health, meaning communities throughout Western Australia will have additional mental health support available to those who may be struggling. The program has proven to not only be an effective way of meeting these community needs, but also a popular one, with more than 60 participants graduating in towns throughout the state in the coming weeks. The training is provided to community in partnership with the Australian Medical Association (WA), along with support from local organisations including Milligan House, who offered the use of their meeting rooms for the monthly workshops.
To view the WA Primary Health Alliance media release click here.
The World AIDS Day Parliamentary Breakfast is tomorrow
Each year we ask international and Australian HIV/AIDS experts to share their perspectives on HIV/AIDS in the world and our country, and the outlook for the future. We hope you will find their articles interesting and informative.
Please see the link to the World AIDS Day booklet here.
SA – can be based anywhere across SA – Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc.
Systems Implementation Coordinator Aboriginal disAbility Alliance
SA West Coast ACCHO Network (SAWCAN) is a consortia supporting 4,976 Aboriginal people in a region that stretches from Whyalla in the east, right over to the WA border. Nunyara is acting as the lead agent of the consortia and is seeking to employ a suitably qualified person as the Systems Implementation Coordinator to apply a systems-focused approach in the capacity building of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) staff to ensure the seamless integration of NDIS within the comprehensive primary health care model.
Applications close 5.00pm Wednesday 9 December 2020.
SA – Whyalla – Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc.
FT Community Activator – 12 month contract
The Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service is an RACGP accredited service that provides culturally appropriate health care, health promotion and education programs for the Aboriginal community in Whyalla. Nunyara is looking to engage an energetic and motivated person to work as a Community Activator within the Aboriginal disAbility Alliance project. This position will provide assertive outreach and advocacy to Aboriginal people living with a disability, their families and carers in a culturally sensitive manner, breaking down barriers to accessing the NDIS and developing trust and rapport.
Applications close 5.00pm Friday 11 December 2020.
ACT – Canberra – Bimberi Residential Services
FT Family Engagement Officer – temporary
Bimberi Residential Services is seeking an experienced, committed and suitably qualified person to fill the Family Engagement Officer role.
The Family Engagement Officer is designed to assist with the engagement of young people and their families and to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practices and perspectives, in the day to day functions across Bimberi Residential Services. The role also is involved in promoting initiatives and developing innovative approaches to meeting client and program needs.
FT Psychologist – 2 year contract, possibility of extension
Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service (CAHS) is seeking an enthusiastic and committed person to fill a full-time position of Psychologist within the highly successful Aboriginal community-controlled organisation Dubbo Regional Aboriginal Health Service (DRAHS) Social & Emotional Wellbeing Department. This is a busy clinical role working with clients to prevent, diagnose and treat psychological issues within a health clinic in NSW.
OzChild, an organisation established to support vulnerable children and young people by providing healing, preventing abuse and neglect, and strengthening families so all children and young people are safe, respected, and nurtured, and reach their full potential, is looking to employ a Family Practitioner and a Team Leader in their Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program. Both roles will strengthen the benefit of services to children, young people and their families in specified areas utilising an evidence based program. This evidence-based program has been developed to support families, with children and youth aged 12 to 18 years, in the home and the community. To view the position descriptions for the roles click on the role titles below.
Aboriginal health funding boosted, but infrastructure overlooked
NACCHO has welcomed the increase in funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the Budget with the Chair of NACCHO, Donnella Mills, saying, “I am heartened by the additional investment in the Indigenous Australians Health Program with $33m for our hard-working services over the next three years. I am also pleased to hear of the regional-and-remote health funding that will assist many of our clinics and the communities they serve as well as assistance for training and workforce development. These are all very welcome.”
NACCHO Conference 2017 Photo: Geoff Bagnall
“While these measures are significant, NACCHO will continue to press the Government for targeted infrastructure investment in our clinics. If stimulus is the main objective of the Budget, we believe that there is no better way to do so than to invest in local communities. There was a valuable opportunity here to invest in our 550 local clinics across the country where our 410,000 clients reside. This was an opportunity missed.”
To view NACCHO’s media release on the Budget click here.
Armajun Aboriginal Health Service, Inverell. Image source: Adam Marshall MP website.
Mental health support extended in NPY region
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC) and Smiling Mind have partnered to see crucial, prevention-focused mental health support extend even further into Australia’s Indigenous communities. Over the past two years, Smiling Mind has worked closely with NPYWC, translating its popular in-app mindfulness sessions into the region’s Indigenous languages, in order to support the communities’ youth with tools in their native language. To date, the programs have engaged more than 2,500 subscribers, and more than 5,000 meditations have been completed. Three remote schools in the central desert region have also benefited from mindfulness training, where educators were supported to foster positive mental health habits with their students and the wider school community.
Envato Foundation, the philanthropic arm of leading technology business Envato, have donated $100,000 to give new life to the partnership, allowing for an extension to the tools and resources already created to infiltrate further across the NPY region of Central Australia, a region spanning 28 remote communities in the tri state region of NT, SA and WA over an area covering 350,000 square kms.
‘The pandemic experience this year is a clear reason for the establishment of an Australian Centre for Disease Control,’ says Alison Verhoeven, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive. ‘The call for this has been long-standing, with a 2013 recommendation to the Government by the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing overlooked in favour of the development of a National Communicable Disease Framework. Such a Centre would position Australia well to demonstrate global leadership in communicable disease planning and response capabilities. ‘It would also support existing state and territory disease control measures through a cohesive approach to research, diagnosis, screening, reporting, case management, contract tracing, forecasting and trend monitoring.’
Federal AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has commended the Federal Government’s $16 billion COVID-19 health response and further stimulus spending aimed at fending off a COVID-19 recession, saying ‘The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 warrant this scale of health response and stimulus spending directed toward restarting the economy. A safe, effective and widely available vaccine is not guaranteed for next year and if it doesn’t eventuate and a large outbreak occurs, economic recovery will be threatened, along with many Australian lives. Governments cannot drop the ball and must continue a broad range of strong policies to keep COVID-19 out of the community in order to ensure a sustained health and economic recovery.’
CEO of the Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF), Leanne Wells, says the use of telehealth during the pandemic shows transformative change is possible in healthcare. She went on to say ‘telehealth has been stimulated by the pandemic to trigger easier and safe access to doctors, we look forward to further developments after the six month extension to March 2021 expires and we hold great ambition for the scope of services that will be possible under the 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan currently in development.’
Image source: The Fred Hollows Foundation website.
ACT – Canberra – National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
Social Media Communications Coordinator
As the Social Media Communications Coordinator within the NACCHO Communications team, you will manage and maintain NACCHO’s social media presence and the daily blog. You will report to the Director, Communications and seek direction and approval on content delivery. You will work cohesively with the NACCHO Communications teams towards the creation and the delivery of social media campaigns and driving key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector news content across channels.
This position will be offered as a fixed contract on a full time or part time basis depending on the candidate.
To view the full position description click here. Applications close 9.00am Friday 16 October 2020.
NSW – Narooma – Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services
FT Systems Analyst
Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services has a vacancy for a Systems Analyst. The focus of the role is to oversee the implementation, maintenance and upgrading of information technology systems to support the delivery of Katungul’s range of services and for related research, analysis and performance reporting functions. The Systems Analyst will be an integral member of a collaborative team that works closely with Katungul’s service areas to deliver the best outcomes for the community.
To view the position description click here. Applications close 5.00 pm Friday 16 October 2020.
Every day around five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are diagnosed with cancer. Aboriginal and Torres Islander people have a slightly higher rate of cancer diagnosis, however are approximately 40 per cent more likely to die from cancer than other Australians (Reference: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019 – Cancer series no.119. Cat. no. CAN 123).
The daffodil is recognised internationally as the symbol of hope for all people affected by cancer. Cancer Council chose it as its emblem as the bright yellow colouring heralds the return of spring, representing new life and growth. Daffodil Day is Cancer Council’s most iconic and much-loved fundraising campaign. Funds raised this Daffodil Day Appeal will help fund researchers dedicated to discovering the next cancer breakthroughs, including less harsh cancer treatments.
To visit the Cancer Council Daffodil Day Appeal website click here.
ACCHOs’ wealth of expertise much to offer
The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) sector has a wealth of expertise in addressing the social and cultural determinants of health, responsive service development, and providing culturally safe care. The wider health sector needs to gain a deeper understanding of the contributions of the ACCHO sector.
Cover image from the report: Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in practice: Sharing ways of working from the ACCHO sector
These are some of the findings in a report from the work of the Centre of Research Excellence in Aboriginal Chronic Disease Knowledge Translation and Exchange (CREATE), a collaborative enterprise between NACCHO, Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit, at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and the University of Adelaide’s School of Public Health.
More required so well placed to emerge from COVID-19
Yesterday the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and members of the Aboriginal Executive Council (AEC), a group made up of 11 Aboriginal CEOs from peak Aboriginal organisations across Victoria, provided evidence to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher said the low incidence of COVID-19 cases in Victorian Aboriginal Communities was testament to Aboriginal community control and what can be achieved when working meaningfully together. In order for Aboriginal Communities to be well placed to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, more needs to be done now to ensure the sector is better placed to help Aboriginal communities affected by disproportionate rates of mental health and social emotional wellbeing issues, as well as justice and correctional issues.
The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a media release Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Government recognises the mental health impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on individuals and communities, particularly those in areas such as Victoria where more stringent measures have been necessary to stop the spread to the virus.
FT Member Support Regional Manager – Northern Region (Identified)
QAIHC is a non-partisan peak organisation representing all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations across Queensland at both state and national Level. QAIHC members deliver comprehensive and culturally appropriate, world class primary health care services to their communities.
QAIHC is seeking an experienced, passionate and high-level manager to support its members in the Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Sector.
Regional Sexual Health Facilitator – Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service
KAMS now has an opportunity for Regional Sexual Health Facilitatorto join their friendly, multidisciplinary team in Broome WA, on a full-time fixed term contract basis till 30 June 2021.
In this role, will be responsible for providing support for the coordination, development, implementation and review of practice in the area of Sexual Health in the Kimberley. In particular, this position provides advice and facilitation for an increase by clinicians in provision of opportunistic and targeted screening and appropriate management and follow up of people with sexually transmitted infections.
On-the-ground healthcare a priority for new funding
During a radio interview with The Wire NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills said the additional $33 million in government funding to strengthen primary health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, “will be used to ensure we have continuity of care and certainty of funding for three years on the ground. The funding will help with a possibility of expansion towards significant unmet healthcare needs and in areas where we see higher population growth of our people.”
The AMA has called on the Federal Government to extend temporary telehealth arrangements under Medicare, due to end on 30 September, that have supported patients to have a consultation with their doctor either over the phone or by video. AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said “the AMA has long advocated for Medicare-subsidised telehealth consultations, and the COVID-19 arrangements have shown the value of telehealth.”
Images: mivision, the Opthalmic Journal website and AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid.
Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
The Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin is a peer-reviewed electronic journal from the Australian Indigenous HealthInforNet. It facilitates access to new information about research of relevance to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and aims to showcase original articles as well as providing links to reports, publications, journals, resources and theses published externally to the HealthBulletin. To access the Australian Indigenous HealthBulletinclick here.
2020 NAIDOC Local Grants funding round
The National Indigenous Australians Agency is inviting eligible applicants to submit applications for the 2020 NAIDOC Local Grants funding round under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS). This grant funding round provides funding to organisations to contribute to the costs of local and regional NAIDOC activities across Australia during NAIDOC Week 2020 (8–15 November) that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, achievements and continuing contributions to Australia. Activities should align with the National NAIDOC Theme for 2020, ‘Always was, Always will be’.
Organisations need to complete an online application, which can be accessed here, and submit it by 7pm AEST Monday 17 August 2020.
Organisations that submitted an application for the 2020 NAIDOC Local Grants Round that opened in February 2020 but was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic need to resubmit their application.
Antecedents of Renal Disease in Aboriginal Children and Young People Study
The Antecedents of Renal Disease in Aboriginal Children and Young People Study (ARDAC) hopes to find some answers about why the risk of chronic conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes are so much greater for Aboriginal Australians.
The study monitors the kidney and heart health of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and young people in NSW. As a community-based, longitudinal, cohort study, participants remain involved over a long period of time. The study was initiated by Rita Williams, a senior Aboriginal Health professional at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Western Sydney and has been running since 2002.
You can access the ARDAC website here for more information. If your community would like to particpate in the study they can contact ARDAC here.
Image Source: ARDAC website.
Digital health and aged care channels upgrade
Services Australia are upgrading their digital and aged care channels, which will impact members. They have developed the following fact sheets to provide further information about the next steps you need to take:
Fact sheet 1 – Web services for Medicare Online, DVA, AIR and ECLIPSE – click here
Fact sheet 2 – Web services for PBS Online – click here
Fact sheet 3 – PRODA Organisation for web services (also included with fact sheets 1 and 2) – click here
The fact sheets are also available on the Services Australia website, click here. and select ‘How to prepare for web services’ to download the Web Services Kit.
WA – Riverdale
FT Senior Advisor – Aboriginal Health x 1
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) Senior Advisors play a key role in strategy development by taking current policy and industry knowledge and turning it into tangible objectives for WAPHA’s operational teams. WAPHA is currently seeking a Senior Advisor specialised in Aboriginal Health. The role requires extensive strategic experience, strong analytical and research skills and adept communication and interpersonal skills.
You can visit WAPHA’s website here and apply for the position here or send an application directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates must submit a CV along with a cover letter addressing the selection criteria outlined in the job posting.
In addition to the consultation paper, we are running 10 face-to-face workshops and a webinar across Australia.
This consultation builds on an initial round of targeted stakeholder consultation that the Department of Health undertook in late 2018, with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, specific Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and mainstream peak bodies.
At the end of this consultation period, ThinkPlace will produce a report documenting what we have heard during our engagement. This report will support the Department of Health in considering options to retarget the PIP IHI and provide advice to Government.
About the workshops
The workshops are seeking to understand how the PIP IHI currently influences the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease. You do not need to have responded to the consultation paper to take part in a workshop or the webinar.
We are seeking input from all who have experience delivering health care services associated with the PIP IHI including;
Advisory and professional bodies from mainstream health.
Peak body representatives in Indigenous health.
Doctors, nurses and health workers in metro and regional areas.
During the workshops, we will be asking people to share their knowledge and experience.
As we are undertaking recruitment activities now, so we may need to adjust the schedule pending interest in our locations.
We will provide an agenda and information about the venue to any people who register interest by emailing engagePIPIHI@thinkplace.com.au or telephone the PIP IHI team (02) 6282 8852.
Schedule of workshops for your stakeholders are:
Monday 17 June
(1pm – 5pm)
Tuesday 18 June
Tuesday 18 June
Wednesday 19 June
Thursday 20 June
Friday 21 June
Monday 1 July
Monday 1 July
Wednesday 3 July
Wednesday 3 July
Thursday 4 July
Please note: this schedule is subject to change based on stakeholder engagement and availability.