NACCHO Aboriginal Health #HIV #ATSIHAW #WorldAIDSDay :Minister @KenWyattMP speech at launch ” Together, you and me can stop HIV “

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 ” High quality health care must be accessible and appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We have to acknowledge that those with HIV may experience additional barriers in accessing health care which relate to stigma and shame.

Racism is one of the social and cultural determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Racism is part of a vicious circle that contributes to low levels of access to health services by Indigenous Australians and causes psychological distress.

I consider it a huge step forward to have racism recognised within the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Implementation Plan

Together we will build the capacity of the Indigenous community controlled health sector and make a real impact on the HIV rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at Parliament House, Canberra, to launch National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week.

Photo above Ken Wyatt, NACCHO CEO Pat Turner, James Ward , Mark Saunders and Professor Gracelyn Smallwood 

PDF printable version of Together, you and me can stop HIV – PDF 270 KB

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Good morning.

Before I begin I want to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples and pay my respects to Elders past, present and future. I also acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here this morning.

I want to thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week Organising Committee for inviting me to speak this morning. It’s good to be here with Minister Sussan Ley and Senator Dean Smith.

We are here today because HIV continues to be a serious health concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The rate of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is more than twice as high than it is for the Australian-born, non-Indigenous population, increasing to more than three times higher for those aged over 35 years. We know that access to HIV testing and treatment remains an issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for a wide range of reasons.

I welcome the Health Minister’s announcement this morning that $485,000 in funding will go to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute to find out why our young Indigenous people are still at an increased risk of blood borne viruses and STIs.

High quality health care must be accessible and appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We have to acknowledge that those with HIV may experience additional barriers in accessing health care which relate to stigma and shame.

Racism is one of the social and cultural determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Racism is part of a vicious circle that contributes to low levels of access to health services by Indigenous Australians and causes psychological distress. And it is this distress that can contribute to negative coping behaviours such as injecting drug use or just being too ashamed to talk about their health concerns, or ask to be tested for STIs, or access condoms and clean needles.

To make real progress, we need to work together and eliminate discriminatory and stigmatising behaviour wherever and whenever we see it. We must call it out.

We need to provide our people—young and old—with an environment where they can talk about important issues such as their health or sexuality. And they need to do this without the fear of losing the support of, or connection with, their community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples also need to feel culturally safe in the mainstream health system.

I am proud of our close relationship with, and continued support for, community controlled health services, their peak bodies in every state and territory and the National Community Controlled Health Organisation. Aboriginal community controlled health services deliver holistic, culturally competent and safe primary health care and is a model for all health services as they strive to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

An appropriately trained health workforce helps build the cultural competence of mainstream primary health care services. It also supports the ongoing viability of Indigenous specific health services, particularly those delivered through Aboriginal community controlled health services.

To improve access to culturally safe, high quality health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Government continues to invest in the Aboriginal community controlled sector.

In 2015-16, the Government provided funding to three additional community controlled health services to deliver comprehensive primary health care:

    • Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in SA—a newly established service.
    • Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service in NSW, now an independent organisation.
    • And the Werin Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre in NSW, also now an independent organisation.

The Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, was released last year. This important Plan guides our strategies, actions and deliverables to maximise health benefits for Indigenous Australians.

I consider it a huge step forward to have racism recognised within the Implementation Plan. This is the critical issue that must be addressed to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And this is why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is at the centre of the Implementation Plan.

I see the theme of this event, ‘Together, You and Me Can Stop HIV’ as a call to action. Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is critical to addressing poor health outcomes of Indigenous Australians. It is only through working together as true partners— the fundamental and guiding principle—of the Implementation Plan that we will achieve success.

Already we are seeing real progress against the deliverables in the Implementation Plan. The next stage of the Plan is to address health system effectiveness and the social and cultural determinants of health such as racial discrimination.

This Plan will also increase engagement and involvement with other Australian Government agencies, state, territory and local governments, the Aboriginal community controlled sector, the non-government sector and the corporate/private sector. This broader engagement base will provide the mechanism for significant improvements in Indigenous health outcomes, including the reduction of sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses such as HIV.

Finally, to reiterate comments made by the Prime Minister, it is critical that the Government continues its policy of doing things with, and not to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

I am confident that by working with all our partners in developing and implementing actions, we will Close the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians because Closing the Gap is everybody’s business.

I recognise there is a lot of work to be done, but we must all recognise that respect of diversity and respect of cultures must be embedded into the way that all services are run. This is fundamental to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Together we will build the capacity of the Indigenous community controlled health sector and make a real impact on the HIV rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexyHealth #ATSIHAW : Minister @KenWyattMP launches Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIV Awareness Week

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We have to acknowledge that those with HIV in Indigenous communities may experience additional barriers to health care which relate to stigma, shame and racism. To make real progress and combat the spread of HIV we need to work together,

“We need to eliminate discriminatory and stigmatising behaviour wherever, and whenever, we see it so people can seek the treatment they need without the fear of negative consequences.”

Assistant Minister Ken Wyatt announcing funding of $485,000  at ATSIHAW launch with Pat Turner, James Ward , Mark Saunders pictured below

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Picture above NACCHO CEO Pat Turner launching the new website  http://www.atsihiv.org.au at Parliament House this Morning

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NACCHO Aboriginal #SexyHealth #ATSIHAW : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIV Awareness Week

Article from Page 12 and 13  NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

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Funding to conduct a survey to better understand why young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of blood borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections (STI) was announced today.

The Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley, MP and the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM, MP announced the funding at the launch of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week.

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“While Australia has maintained one of the lowest HIV rates in the world it is still present and we need to do more,” Ms Ley said.

According to the Kirby Institute’s Annual Surveillance Report, the rate of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2015 is more than two times higher than the Australian-born, non-Indigenous population, with rates nearly three times higher for those aged over 35 years.

“While huge inroads have been made to prevent the spread of HIV, we need to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have timely access to scientific advances in treatment and diagnosis, as well as access to best practice management of HIV that is culturally safe,” Ms Ley said.

“This is why the Australian Government will provide funding of $485,000 to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute to conduct a second GOANNA Survey to gain a better understanding of why our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of STI.”

The Australian Government remains committed to providing better public health programs that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through targeted initiatives including Closing the Gap, the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 and the BBV and STIs Strategy.

aids-video Watch video here

Or check out the new website http://www.atsihiv.org.au

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NACCHO Aboriginal health : #AIHW #AustraliasHealth2016 : What are the health experts saying about the report ?

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” The report has also pointed out ongoing areas of health inequality in Australia, driven by socioeconomic factors and social determinants.

Communities suffering socioeconomic disadvantage continued to have systematically poorer health including lower life expectancy, higher rates of chronic disease and higher smoking rates.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples recorded improved health indicators in some areas, including lower rates for smoking and infant mortality.

However, the report found life expectancy was shorter by 10 years than for non-Indigenous Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continued to suffer higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and end-stage kidney disease.

The impact of risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful alcohol use have been emphasised as significant contributors to Australia’s rising rates of chronic disease.

This is an opportunity for health leaders and the Commonwealth Government to heed the report’s message that lifestyle factors and social determinants are significant contributors to ill-health, and to address the issues of health inequality and the importance of reform across all of our care systems “

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven

Download the report here australias-health-2016

 #AIHW and Minister Sussan Ley press releases from launch #AustraliasHealth2016 report

Life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade

The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade, according to new statistics.

The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said that while health outcomes had improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they still remain below those of non-Indigenous Australians.

The biennial report, published today, shows Indigenous males born between 2010 and 2012 have a life expectancy of 69.1 years, a decade less than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The gap for women was slightly lower at 9.5 years.

Between 2009 and 2013, 81 per cent of all Indigenous deaths were of people under 75. This is more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, which stands at 34 per cent.

The latest statistics come 10 years after the establishment of the Closing the Gap campaign, which aims to end the disparity on life expectancies.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged that the Government would better engage with Indigenous people in “hope and optimism rather than entrenched despair”.

Indigenous sobriety rate higher than non-Indigenous Australians

While smoking rates have been falling nationally, they remain high among Indigenous Australians, with 44 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over describing themselves as a current smoker.

The report states that 42 per cent smoke daily, 2.6 times the rate of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

However, Indigenous Australians drink less alcohol than non-Indigenous counterparts — 26 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over had not consumed alcohol in past 12 months.

This equates to a sobriety rate 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.

Potentially avoidable deaths — categorised as deaths that could have been avoided given timely and effective health care — accounted for 61 per cent of deaths of Indigenous Australians aged up to 74 years between 2009 to 2013.

This was 10 per cent more than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Australians are living longer than ever but with higher rates of chronic disease, the latest national report card shows.

Reports below from the Conversation

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s Health 2016 report, released today, Australian boys can now expect to live into their 80s (80.3), while the life expectancy for girls has reached the mid-80s (84.4).


A boy born and girl born in 1890 could only expect to live to 47.2 and 50.8 years respectively. AIHW

The single leading cause of death in Australia is coronary heart disease, followed by:

Grouped together, cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) as Australia’s biggest killer. Cancer is also the largest cause of illness, followed by cardiovascular disease:


Burden of disease, by disease group, Australia, 2011 AIHW

Chronic diseases are becoming more common, due to population growth and ageing. Half of Australians (more than 11 million) have at least one chronic disease. One quarter have two or more.

The most common combination of chronic diseases is arthritis with cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke):


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Australians have high rates of the biomedical risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almost a quarter (23%) of Australian adults have high blood pressure and 63% have abnormal levels of cholesterol.


Lifestyle choices

Fron Jackson-Webb, Health + Medicine Editor, The Conversation

The good news is Australians are less likely to smoke and drink at risky levels than in the past.

Australia now has the fourth-lowest smoking rate among 34 OECD countries, at 13% in 2013. This is almost half that of 1991 (24%).


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The volume of alcohol Australians consume fell from 10.8 litres per person in 2007–08 to 9.7 litres in 2013–14. This is the lowest level since 1962–63. But 16% of Australians are still drinking to very risky levels: consuming 11 or more standard drinks on one occasion in the past 12 months.


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Around eight million Australians have tried illicit drugs in their lifetime, including 2.9 million in the last 12 months. The most commonly used illicit drugs are cannabis (10%), ecstasy (2.5%), methamphetamine (2.1%) and cocaine (2.1%).

Use of methamphetamine has remained stable in recent years. However, more methamphetamine users are opting for crystal (ice) rather than powder (speed).

The bad news is Australians are still struggling with their weight. Around 63% are overweight or obese, up from 56% in 1995. This equates to an average increase of 4.4kg for men and women. One in four children are overweight or obese.

Junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar account for around 35% of adults’ energy intake and around 39% of the energy intake for children and young people.

Most Australians (93%) don’t consume the recommended five serves of vegetables a day and only half eat the recommended two serves of fruit. Just 3% of children eat enough vegetables, though 70% consume the recommended amount of fruit.

Almost half (45%) of adults aged 18 to 64 and 23% of children aren’t meeting the national physical activity recommendations. These are for adults to accumulative 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week. Children are advised to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the risk of chronic disease; an estimated 31% of the burden of disease in Australia could have been prevented by reducing risk factors such as smoking, excess weight, risky drinking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

Proportion of the burden attributable to the top five risk factors


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Preventing chronic disease

Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne

This report outlines a number of positives in Australia’s health – our life expectancy, the health services at our beck and call, major declines in tobacco and road deaths. We’re doing well, it says, but we could do better.

If we took prevention and health promotion far more seriously, we could do a lot better.

The report nominates tobacco use, alcohol, high body mass and physical inactivity as the chief causes of preventable illness and the chief causes of our increasing level of chronic illnesses. Yet national investment in prevention is declining.


Further reading: Focus on prevention to control the growing health budget


Tobacco use is rapidly declining because of really effective measures (plain packaging, advertising bans and increasing price through taxes) that save lives and enormous amounts of money over a lifetime for people who used to smoke.

However, we can’t seem to make any major dent in the commercial, industrial and lifestyle diseases related to junk food and drinks, harmful consumption of alcohol and car dependency.

We’ve known what will work for many years but the power of some of these unhealthy industries is still overwhelming – a situation in which our politicians fear these industries and their associations more than they fear the voters.

Our collective health would have been much better if we’d been able to follow the guidance of our own national task forces and learnt from other countries. The report card should read, “Doing well, but could have done a lot better”.


Inequities

Fran Baum, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor and Foundation Director at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity, Flinders University

Australia’s Health 2016 shows many Australians are not getting a fair go at health. There is a gradient across society whereby the richer the area you live in, the longer you can expect to live. The difference between the highest and lowest is four years.

Deaths by socioeconomic group: 1 = lowest; 5 = highest


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The gradient is evident from early life. Children most at risk of exclusion – those from poor areas who experience problems with education, housing and connectedness – are most likely to die before they reach 15 years from potentially preventable or treatable causes.


Further reading: Want to improve the nation’s health? Start by reducing inequalities and improving living conditions


Our most glaring inequity is the ten-year life gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and others. Indigenous life expectancy is 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females.

Compared with the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous Australians are:

  • 3.5 times as likely to have diabetes and four times as likely to be hospitalised with it or to die from it
  • five times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease
  • twice as likely to die from an injury
  • twice as likely to have heart disease.

Australians living outside major cities have higher rates of disease and injury. They also live in environments that make healthy lifestyles choices harder (such as more difficulties buying fresh fruit and vegetables) and so their risk of chronic diseases is increased.


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The data on who has private health insurance coverage points to the emergence of a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford to pay receive better access and quality of care. Just 26% of those in the lowest socioeconomic group have cover compared to about 80% of the top group.

Coverage with private health insurance and government health-care cards


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Cost of care

Professor Stephen Duckett, Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute

Over the last decade, health expenditure grew about 5% each year, above the 2.8% average growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, health took up an increasing share of GDP.

Spending more on health means Australia spent less on other things. This is not necessarily bad, as long as the benefits from that increased expenditure – such as increasing life expectancy or increased quality of life – are worth the increased costs.

But spending above GDP growth cannot continue indefinitely. And the last few years saw an increase in rhetoric about health spending increases being “unsustainable” from so-called “futurists” and politicians.

Informed commentators have generally rejected the unsustainability claim, some labelling it a “myth”, while others take a more nuanced view.

Australia’s Health 2016 shows a slowing of the real growth rate in the most recent two years to about half that of the previous decade – 1.1% from 2011-12 to 2012-13 and 3.1% from 2012–13 to 2013–14.


Annual growth rates in health expenditure AIHW

This suggests the “unsustainability” rhetoric is at least overblown and potentially prompting budget decisions which are counter-productive, such as introducing a co-payment for general practice.

Commonwealth government expenditure was more or less stable over these most recent two years, declining 2.5% initially then increasing 2.4% in the last year.

Health expenditure by area (adjusted for inflation)


AIHW

Savings to the government came from shifting costs to consumers, by slowing the growth in government subsidies to private health insurers, and also by slowing spending on pharmaceuticals.

This latter slowdown was achieved through tighter controls on payments to drug manufacturers and because some big-selling drugs came off patent, resulting in falls in prices.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper Next AGM Edition

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NACCHO #WomensHealthWeek : Healthy Indigenous women are advocates and leaders for community health and wellbeing

Shelly Ware

Shelley Ware is a proud Yankanjatjara and Wirangu woman from Adelaide and as presenter on NITV’s Marngrook Footy Show she has become one of the most respected and recognised female presenters of AFL football in the country.

Shelley shares our passion for education and having the right information to look after your health and future.

Check out “Shelley Ware – Ambassador Women’s Health Week 2016” by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health on Vimeo.

NACCHO has published approx. 180 + on Women’s Health READ HERE

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Its a sea of pink as the Sistas and Aunties yarin it up at ATSICH #ACCHO Brisbane

The Government recognises that while women’s health outcomes are improving overall, there are some marked pockets of significant inequality.

“Most concerning for me is the poorer health outcomes for Indigenous women, and women from lower educational and socio-economic groups, and this includes their experience of ageing,” .

The Government also recognises that healthy women are advocates and leaders for health and wellbeing in their own families, and the broader community.

“If you invest in women’s health, and empower women to make choices about their own health and healthcare, it has significant flow-on effects for the health of the community.”

Minister for Women Michaelia Cash Press Release 1 Below

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” Women’s Health Week 2016 is an opportunity to raise awareness about health issues facing Australian women, and to look at the future of women’s health care under the Turnbull Government’s savage cuts to health.

The theme of this year’s Women’s Health Week is ‘Am I normal?’, encouraging women to talk about the ‘elephants in the room’- such as body image, weight, mental health and sex.

Labor hopes that the Turnbull Government will use this week to reflect on how its policies are hurting women and finally drop their health cuts.”

Catherine King Opposition spokesperson for Health

Check out Am I Normal HERE

Am I Normal

Check out Am I Normal HERE

Women’s Health Week is putting the focus on the health of Australian women and girls, with a range of events across the country and online activities to get women thinking about their health, and taking action to improve it.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said women’s health and wellbeing is one of the Government’s fundamental priorities.

“Australian women are living healthier, longer lives, supported by better, more targeted health services, but there is more work to do to increase awareness, empower women and support them in their goals for better health and wellbeing,” Ms Ley said.

“This week I want women to take a little time out for themselves to think about their own health needs.

“Women’s health needs are diverse – as diverse as women themselves – and our health system has to be responsive, and provide women with information and options, for their own health and the health of their families.”

The Australian Government’s broader health system reforms are designed to streamline and tailor services to meet women’s changing needs. This incorporates the full life cycle – from maternal health, breastfeeding, and broader reproductive health, to preventive health, the management of chronic conditions, mental health, and a patient-focussed aged care system built on choice.

“I am proud of the Government’s range of programs and initiatives that focus on women’s health,” Ms Ley said.

“Initiatives such as the National Breastfeeding Helpline (almost $3 million over 3 years from 2016-17 for workforce training and a 24-hour toll-free helpline), the National Maternity Services Plan, domestic violence services including tailored domestic violence services for Indigenous women, National

Antenatal Care Guidelines, support for BreastScreen Australia, the National Cervical Screening Program, and Healthy Ageing are all crucial for women’s health.

“But our broader transformational reforms to primary health care – like Primary Health Networks, the

National Mental Health Strategy and Health Care Homes – revolutionising the management of chronic and complex conditions – will also have a big impact on health outcomes for women.”

WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK THE TIME FOR TURNBULL TO REVERSE HIS CUTS – Labor Press Release

Data from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health program, defunded by this Government after 18 years of invaluable research on general practice, shows that women visit a GP an average of seven times a year – twice as often as men. Women are also more likely to visit medical specialists.

As a result, women will be hit harder by the Government’s GP Tax by stealth, the six year freeze on Medicare rebates. Practices around Australia are already being forced to abandon bulk billing and increase co-payments.

Women will also be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare bulk billing incentives for vital tests and scans, like pap smears and ultrasounds. Around 60 per cent of Medicare pathology and diagnostic imaging services are provided to women.

Forcing women to pay more to see doctors and have vital tests makes absolutely no sense when many Australian women already struggle to afford health care.

One in 17 women already delay or avoid seeing a GP because of cost, compared to one in 25 men. For some age groups the data is even worse, with one in 11 women aged 25 to 34 years old skipping seeing a GP because of cost – at exactly the time when they are most likely to become mothers.

One in 11 women also delay or avoid filling a prescription due to cost – which will only get worse when the Government hikes the price of medicines by up to $5.

That’s why Labor committed during the election campaign to unfreeze Medicare rebates, restore the Government’s cuts to pathology and diagnostic imaging, and reverse the Government’s price hike to medicines.

Labor also committed to making women’s health a national priority by adopting theAustralian Women’s Health Charter, as proposed by the Australian Women’s Health Network. As part of this pledge, Labor committed to developing a National Women’s Health Policy, funding the Women’s Health Network to continue their important work, and convening a national conference on women’s health.

In contrast, two months after the Prime Minister said he would learn the lesson of the election, he has done absolutely nothing to reverse the Government’s savage health cuts which will impact every Australian woman.

More information on Women’s Health Week is available at

www.womenshealthweek.com.au.

Women’s Health Week goes from Monday 5th- Friday 9th September.

 

 

NACCHO Indigenous Youth Report Alert : Fundamental shift to ensure young people centre of decision making

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Report Infographic_Page_1

The higher rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people taking their life is widely reported. Our young people have to see they have a future and they need access to mental health and alcohol and drug services and suicide prevention programs and vulnerable communities must be empowered and supported to lead their own recovery.

We must do more to invest early in families and communities to avoid these tragedies, address disadvantage, build on strengths and celebrate successes.

Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor, University of Canberra and Co-Chair, Reconciliation Australia, writing in a foreword to the report

Download a PDF copy of the Report

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Report_Detailed results

We need a more inclusive and consultative way of delivering services with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. These approaches must be long-term, with a sustained commitment. Too many effective responses have been ad hoc, cut short and left unsupported.

“The Youth Survey findings make it clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people really want to work and a high proportion see themselves going on to further education or employment. Let’s help them achieve their aspirations, by listening to them, empowering them and investing for their future.”

Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans

Mission Australia is calling for a fundamental shift to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are at the centre of decision making after launching its report which shows they face serious disadvantages compared to non-Indigenous young people.

Catherine Yeomans said the country needed to find a more inclusive and consultative way of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, empowering them to be involved in the identification of their needs, as well as the design and delivery of services.

According to a special report based on the 2015 Mission Australia Youth Survey findings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported higher levels of concern about bullying and emotional abuse, depression, drugs, alcohol, gambling and suicide.

One in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men indicated that their happiness was zero out of ten, as did 5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women. Comparatively, only 1% of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents rated their happiness at this level.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Report Infographic_Page_1 - Copy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were also more likely to have spent time away from home in the past three years because they felt they couldn’t return and to have stayed away more frequently and for longer.

CEO Catherine Yeomans said: “It’s a challenging read and while we see some positivity the overall picture painted is of a cohort of marginalised young people facing some really complex problems without the support they need.

“This report provides further evidence that Indigenous young people are facing more serious challenges than their non-Indigenous peers. As a society, Australia has a moral, social and economic duty to support all young people to reach their potential. And sadly, this report shows we are failing miserably, with too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people falling through the cracks. This is not a sustainable way for us to proceed as a nation and to me it suggests a divided society.

“We need an urgent rethink of how we deliver programs to ensure we are working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to overcome the barriers in front of them – barriers that must sometimes seem insurmountable – leading to these concerning levels of despair.

“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are massively over-represented in Australia’s homeless population. The severely overcrowded living conditions many young people live in make it extremely difficult to go to school or work. It’s no surprise that poor housing has severe impacts on their physical and mental health.

“Their ambitions are often thwarted by the lack of age and culturally appropriate mental health services, alcohol and drug services and homelessness services. These gaps in the service system are leaving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people unsupported during the important time of transition to adulthood and should be urgently remedied.”

Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor, University of Canberra and Co-Chair, Reconciliation Australia, writing in a foreword to the report

“If we are serious about ‘Closing the Gap’ we need to get serious about providing equal opportunities for our young people. We need to recognise the history of colonisation, dispossession, removals and trauma and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to create a brighter future.

“To achieve substantial and sustainable change Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, elders and organisations need to be involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of programs intended to benefit them. Governments, community organisations and businesses need to play their part in building relationships and working towards a reconciled, just and equitable Australia.

“I hope leaders from all walks of life reflect on the findings in this report and the role they can play in addressing the disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people through investing in them to realise their full potential,” he said.

 

KEY FINDINGS FROM REPORT

  • One quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported high levels of personal concern about depression, and around one in five reported high levels of concern about suicide (being either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned about these issues).
    • Comparatively, around one in five non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people indicated high levels of concern about depression and around one in ten reported high levels of concern about suicide.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were more likely to indicate very low levels of happiness, with a disturbing one in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males (10.1%) indicating their happiness was ‘0’, compared with 4.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females.
    • Conversely, only 1.2% of non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander respondents’ reported such low levels of happiness.
  • Over half of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported having moved house in the past three years.
    • This compares to around a third of non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were also more likely than non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people to have spent time away from home in the past three years because they felt they couldn’t return (a proxy indicator for couch surfing), with around three in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reporting having done so.
    • Comparatively, around one in eight non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people had spent time away from home due to feeling unable to return.
  • Importantly, these incidents are not isolated, with over one third of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who had spent time away from home reporting having done so at least ten times over the past three years. Moreover, a concerning number reported that this was often a prolonged absence, with just under half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people typically spending at least one week away from home and around one in five reporting spending more than six months away from home on each occasion.
    • Again, these proportions were notably higher than among non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were more likely than non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people to identify homelessness/housing as an important issue facing Australia currently.

For the last 14 years, Mission Australia has conducted an annual survey of young people aged 15 to 19 across Australia. The survey collects socio-demographic information and asks young Australians about their current circumstances, values, concerns and aspirations.

This report is based on the responses of 18,727 respondents in Mission Australia’s 2015 Survey. Of these, 1,162 identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. It compares the responses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to those of non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background participating in the survey and highlights areas of similarity and difference.

The 2016 Youth Survey is due to be released in December. To receive a copy of the report and media release please email bakeran@missionaustralia.com.au.

 

NACCHO #HIV News : Treatment as Prevention Roadshow included eight meetings with Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services.

HIVED

” The potential exists for HIV to escalate rapidly in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population – as has been the experience in other Indigenous populations globally. This potential is due to three main issues:

  • very high rates of other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) exist in many communities, and the presence of these increases the chances that HIV can be transmitted
  • increasing rates of injecting drug use – including increasing rates of methamphetamine (ice) use in Aboriginal communities, and
  • the close proximity of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the Torres Strait Islands, and the mobility and interaction of PNG nationals and Torres Strait Islanders. PNG has the highest recorded rates of HIV in the Asia-Pacific”

Associate Professor James Ward is Head, Infectious Diseases Research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and a guest editor of HIV Australia.U And Me Can Stop HIV

SEE PREVIOUS ARTICLE

” Currently the lifetime cost of treating someone with HIV ranges from US $250,000 to US $500,000 (2006 figures).

Our Treatment as Prevention Strategy we have reduced new HIV cases in BC from 700 per year to less than 300 – which has provided savings of around $50 m per year.

We have also managed to nearly eliminate AIDS and there’s an important distinctions between AIDS and HIV – AIDS is the result of being infected with HIV for many years without treatment while HIV is an infection we can now treat and control the virus and prevent it from becoming AIDS.

In addition, people with AIDS can also be treated and become healthy and contribute to society like anyone else.”

Assistant Director, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Dr Rolando Barrios

The Queensland HIV Treatment as Prevention (TasP) Roadshow took place over the last week of July and first week of August 2016.

The Roadshow, supported by the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and the HIV Foundation Queensland, engaged with health professionals working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and mainstream services across north –eastern Queensland.

Speakers included Assistant Director, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Dr Rolando Barrios (also principal investigator of the Pharmacovigilance Program and Co-Chair of the Therapeutic Guidelines Committee), Director of Operations British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Ms Irene Day , Positive Living British Columbia Mr Glen Bradford and South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute Associate Head of Infectious Disease Research – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Professor James Ward.

The Roadshow was aimed at educating health professionals and raising community awareness, a job made more urgent because of the spike in STI and HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland over past 12 months.

The Queensland HIV TasP Roadshow included eight meetings with Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services, and evening dinner meetings for health professionals in the same locations, starting in Brisbane on Monday, July 25.

The Roadshow brought together latest practice and evidence from around the globe in HIV prevention including the concept of treatment as a prevention and new medications such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), both of which aim to significantly reduce the number of new HIV diagnoses.

Apunipima caught up with Irene Day and Dr Rolando Barrios at the Wuchopperen Health Service workshop on 1 August.

Apunipima: Tell me about the Roadshow

ID: The Roadshow is travelling throughout north – east Queensland talking about our concept of Treatment as Prevention (TasP) which was introduced by the British Columbia (BC) Centre for Excellence in HIV and AIDS in 2006. We’ve had a great deal of success with it in BC, in terms of driving down the rates of new cases of HIV. We’ve virtually eliminated AIDS, which is, of course different than HIV.

Apunipima: Is this both in the Aboriginal and mainstream populations?

ID: Both, but let me be clear we have not done as good a job in getting our Indigenous populations into care and treatment so that’s an area we are committed to working on more diligently. The good thing is that our provincial and federal government is very supportive and have made a commitment to working with the Indigenous population on HIV.

The virus is an issue not just in British Columbia but there is a significant increase in HIV in our Indigenous population in our prairie provinces, particularly Saskatchewan, as well so we definitely have more work to do there.

Apunipima: Break down Treatment as Prevention for me

So TasP means reaching out, engaging individuals (those who have been diagnosed and those who are at risk of contracting the condition) earlier into care and treatment. The key is getting people into testing, treatment and management early. Sustained treatment, that’s absolutely critical.

If you’re not being treated, the virus will replicate, your viral load will go up, your immune system will drop and you’ll become ill. Also, when you put good treatment in place you’re making spread of virus less likely.

The Treatment of Prevention strategy was introduced by us in 2006 and has been adopted in other countries including by the Queensland Government who signed an MOU with us in 2014.

We still have more work to do though, as BC is the only Canadian province that has adopted this Strategy.

Apunipima: Good treatments are available now – are they considered affordable?

RB: Currently the lifetime cost of treating someone with HIV ranges from US $250,000 to US $500,000 (2006 figures).

Our Treatment as Prevention Strategy we have reduced new HIV cases in BC from 700 per year to less than 300 – which has provided savings of around $50 m per year.

We have also managed to nearly eliminate AIDS and there’s an important distinctions between AIDS and HIV – AIDS is the result of being infected with HIV for many years without treatment while HIV is an infection we can now treat and control the virus and prevent it from becoming AIDS.

In addition, people with AIDS can also be treated and become healthy and contribute to society like anyone else.

Our Government has made the investment because, as our Director says, you make a decision now and pay it off or you mortgage your province and pay it off over many years. If we don’t do anything the infections will continue.

Apunipima: What are your key messages for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations when it comes to prevention, testing, treatment?

It’s no different than other parts of the world including BC, we experience the same issues in terms of marginalisation, low education, low income, drug use, mental health issues and so on. The key element, the message that we are giving to people is know your HIV status.

We know that when people know their HIV status they will immediately change their behaviour and there are studies in the US that show that 58 per cent of people who have been diagnosed immediately change their behaviour to lower risk behaviour.

Also, most people care about others so if you know that you are infected with HIV or you become aware you are HIV positive, you are going to try and prevent the transmission of the virus towards your loved ones.

And we know the importance of families for First Nations people, so it is an important area to consider and lastly, the earlier you are aware of your HIV status, the greater the benefits of the treatment so by starting treatment earlier, you prevent not only AIDS but other things as well as HIV may effect kidney, heart lungs and so on.

Apunipima: I’m old enough to remember what a big story this was in the 1980s , however things have changed since then and it is no longer a hot button issue or, in the West, a fatal disease. How hard is it to get HIV the attention it deserves?

ID: I think your comment is correct because people aren’t seeing the number of deaths related to AIDS. Unfortunately what people are missing is the issue HIV is having on particular populations. The Indigenous population, for sure, are on the cusp of a huge epidemic which needs to be addressed. Men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers also still experience have high rates of HIV.

RB: That said, what a wonderful situation we are in – in the late 80s, we had a condition we didn’t know the cause of. We now have extensive therapies and can extend the life of people with HIV so it’s not on top of the radar but things have improved and we are making a huge difference. We still have work to do but that is one of the reasons why we are here, the raise the profile and call people to action.

Apunipima: How did you link up with the Aussie mob?

ID: In 2014 we were in Melbourne for the International AIDS Conference but prior to that we were working with HIV Foundation for a strategy we could work collaboratively on and that was the treatment as prevention strategy.

So we signed an MOU with QLD who adopted the TasP strategy and as part of the MOU we committed to a knowledge exchange strategy. So we had a group that came from QLD to the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV and AIDS last year who stayed with us for about a week and a half and now we’re reciprocating and doing the roadshow with the HIV Foundation.

Apunipima: Is your goal to eliminate HIV?

ID: We will never eradicate it HIV because of human behaviour but what we want to do is to drive as many cases to undetectable levels as possible because if you are undetectable you don’t transmit.

Apunipima: And that’s doable now with the current treatments?

ID: I think it is doable now, yes.

RB: We have a toolkit of different interventions we can use and combined, this will help us control the HIV epidemic.

Apunipima: Do you think that because of things like PrEP, and effective treatments, people are taking condom use, not sharing needles and things like that less seriously as it’s not a deadly illness anymore?

RB: This was one of our early arguments in 2006 when we brought up the idea of treatment as prevention. If you think about on the back of decreasing HIV rates in BC, there was an outbreak of syphilis and other STIs and increasing rates of hepatitis C. This led us to believe that condom use and education alone are not effective when it comes to preventing HIV transmission. People who don’t want to use condoms and want to behave in certain ways will continue their trajectory in life.

Apunipima: Is this similar to the argument that if you put condoms in men’s jails you’re promoting homosexuality or if you provide safe injecting rooms you’re promoting drug use? But everyone knows that people will do these things anyway so you may as well do it safely? It’s not like if it’s not there it won’t happen.

RB: We know that condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and STIs when used – the problem is if they are not used. Similarly what we would say, through using things like PrEP and Treatment as Prevention is that we are offering harm reduction. What we learn from sexual behaviour is that people don’t always carry that behaviour for the rest of their lives…

Apunipima: … so if you can just get them for that dangerous window?

ID: We look at the value of TasP in terms of four Ps.

Implementing TasP is good for public health policy, good for the public, good for politicians and good for the public purse because if you have people engaged in treatment, sustained on that treatment, and not transmitting, you are actually being cost averting to your healthcare system and I think there an opportunity when there’s limited healthcare dollars which have to be spread over a wide range of things, look at where we can have an impact in a short space of time – it’s like paying off a mortgage, you pay off a lump sum and then you’re able to move on to something else with that money down the road.

The other thing about TASP in BC, we’re applying that strategy to HIV but we’re also starting to apply it to Hepatitis C as well, and we think there’s an opportunity to expand that to addictions so we will be doing further work on that in the coming years.

RB: Treatment a Prevention is good for the person, good for public health in terms of avoiding transmission. Good for the purse because it saves cost for the healthcare system and good for the politicians, but in addition to that, antiretroviral therapy has shown to significantly decrease other medical conditions just because people are actually coming to treatment so we can diagnose diabetes earlier, we can diagnose high blood pressure earlier and several studies showing there is a decrease in co-morbidities particularly tuberculosis in Africa and actually there are a couple of studies in the US showing people with HIV are living longer than mainstream population because they are so engaged in care!

All our evidence points to TasP as a powerful preventative – people think that clients might not be adherent, they might not engage but we have proven this not to be the case with our program: people are highly adherent and committed to the program.

NACCHO #HIV #AIDS2016 : Fears for Indigenous HIV epidemic as diagnosis rates rise in Australia

HIV

” The potential exists for HIV to escalate rapidly in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population – as has been the experience in other Indigenous populations globally. This potential is due to three main issues:

  • very high rates of other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) exist in many communities, and the presence of these increases the chances that HIV can be transmitted
  • increasing rates of injecting drug use – including increasing rates of methamphetamine (ice) use in Aboriginal communities, and
  • the close proximity of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the Torres Strait Islands, and the mobility and interaction of PNG nationals and Torres Strait Islanders. PNG has the highest recorded rates of HIV in the Asia-Pacific”

Associate Professor James Ward is Head, Infectious Diseases Research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and a guest editor of HIV Australia.U And Me Can Stop HIV (article second)

“Public health authorities are warning that Australia could be on its way to an HIV epidemic in Indigenous communities.

We know that Indigenous Australians have poorer health overall and often have poorer access to health services, so just getting diagnosed can be a real problem, Support structures for HIV infection are not always in place in Indigenous communities.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community traditionally hasn’t had high levels of HIV, so there’s still a lot of stigma and fear,

‘The young people we’ve diagnosed have known very little about HIV, so we have a lot of education to do for them, their sexual partners and sometimes their families if they’re willing to involve their families, which often they’re not.

Cathy Van Extel reports on the latest figures from far north Queensland.

“Research into a cure for HIV has been gathering momentum. Global investment in cure research has more than doubled in the last four years, in contrast with investment in other HIV programs.

Given the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in both treating and preventing HIV infection, however, cure research raises a range of important questions about priority setting in global health.

Curing HIV – or at least achieving long-term remission – is possible, under the right circumstances.”

Author Lecturer in ethics, HIV prevention, UNSW Australia: The Conversation Remind me again, how close are we to a cure for HIV?

Image above : To acknowledge #AIDS2016 Conference in South Africa NACCHO  presents an update on Indigenous Australia : Today, there are 36.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and more than 95% of those living with HIV are in developing countries where access to effective health care is often challenging. SEE WEBSITE http://www.aids2016.org/

In the same week that Australia declared AIDS was no longer a public health issue, doctors have raised the alarm about a spike in new HIV cases involving Indigenous Australians in far north Queensland.

If we don’t act soon, there could be a whole lot of misery ahead for a lot of people.

Darren Russell, Cairns Base Hospital

Cairns normally records one or two new cases of HIV infection annually. This year, however, there have been nine diagnoses to date—and all have been Indigenous patients.

Dr Darren Russell, the director of sexual health at Cairns Base Hospital, says the spike comes on the back of a small increase in new cases in north Queensland last year.

‘We’re up to nine cases so far this year and we are only halfway through the year,’ he says.

‘We are concerned about it, and although we don’t think things are out of control, we are a bit worried.’

North Queensland a HIV hotspot

Nationally, homosexual men account for around 85 per cent of HIV cases, compared to 65 per cent among Indigenous people.

The new HIV infections in Cairns primarily involve younger gay or bisexual men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

While Cairns has emerged as a hotspot for new HIV infections, there is concern the virus could spread.

‘A lot of these people are very young and very mobile so there is the potential for spread to occur outside of Cairns,’ Russell says.

Health authorities are worried that Australia could follow Canada in experiencing an HIV epidemic in its indigenous population.

‘The Canadian epidemic came out of nowhere and has been a huge problem,’ Russell says.

‘If we don’t adequately address issues around Indigenous sexual health the same thing could happen here.

‘We don’t want to be too alarmist but at the same time if we don’t act soon there could be a whole lot of misery ahead for a lot of people.’

Indigenous access to services a factor

Russell says there are a range of challenges in managing HIV in Indigenous populations.

‘We know that Indigenous Australians have poorer health overall and often have poorer access to health services, so just getting diagnosed can be a real problem,’ he says.

He says support structures for HIV infection are not always in place in Indigenous communities.

‘The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community traditionally hasn’t had high levels of HIV, so there’s still a lot of stigma and fear,’ he says.

‘The young people we’ve diagnosed have known very little about HIV, so we have a lot of education to do for them, their sexual partners and sometimes their families if they’re willing to involve their families, which often they’re not.

‘In order to address those issues we need to reduce the stigma, get more people tested and diagnosed, and we need to enable them to stay on their medications.

‘They are all big challenges for anyone, let alone the Indigenous population.’

What’s behind the increase?

Doctors believe the increase in HIV infections in Cairns is linked to a syphilis epidemic, which has affected Indigenous communities across northern Australia for several years.

‘There are probably a few factors that are leading to this increase,’ Dr Russell says.

‘We have a syphilis epidemic across far north Queensland along with the Northern Territory and north-west Australia at the moment and we’re seeing a lot of syphilis where previously we had it almost under control.

‘Syphilis makes it much easier to acquire HIV so that could be one of the factors driving it.’

HIV infections by the numbers

The actual number of Indigenous HIV diagnoses each year remains small compared to the overall national figure.

In 2014, of the 1081 new cases of HIV around Australia, 33 involved Indigenous Australians.

Worryingly, the rate of HIV diagnosis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is now higher than the rate for non-Indigenous Australians. In 2014 it was 5.9 per cent compared to 3.7 per cent.

The Kirby Institute reported in its 2015 Annual Surveillance Report that the HIV diagnosis rate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has increased in the past five years and ‘requires a strengthened focus on prevention in this vulnerable population’.

The Kirby Institute also found that the rate of syphilis infection in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in 2014 was four times higher than the rate in the non-Indigenous population.

According to Russell, the number of syphilis infections appears to have plateaued or decreased in some areas such as Cape York and Torres Strait but continues to rise in other northern regions, particularly among younger Indigenous Australians.

Syphilis rates remain a concern in the Top End of the Northern Territory, and are increasing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. There is also a danger of the syphilis epidemic spreading to Indigenous communities in Central Australia.

The role of government

The federal government is under pressure to act to prevent a sexual health crisis. Russell has described the federal response to date as disappointing.

‘We have a Closing the Gap scheme that is really silent on the issue of sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, and yet one of the health factors that could really cause a huge amount of damage to Indigenous Australians is poor sexual health including syphilis and HIV,’ he says.

‘They’re not getting the priority that they should.

‘I’m not suggesting we de-prioritise other chronic health conditions, but we do need to have more focus federally, and more funding and support when it comes to sexual health and HIV.’

U And Me Can Stop HIV December 2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) is an annual program of events that seeks to raise awareness about the impact of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Although the inaugural event was only held twelve months ago, it is already well recognised as key event for raising awareness and mobilising action to address HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

HIV diagnoses among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is increasing, yet for many years now there has been little or no investment by governments targeted at enhancing our communities’ knowledge and awareness of HIV.

While the number of annual HIV diagnoses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is fairly low at present (around 30 new diagnoses per year), in 2014 the notification rate of newly diagnosed HIV infection was 1.6 times higher for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared to the non Indigenous population (5.9 vs 3.7 per 100,000 in 2014).

The potential exists for HIV to escalate rapidly in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population – as has been the experience in other Indigenous populations globally. This potential is due to three main issues:

  • very high rates of other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) exist in many communities, and the presence of these increases the chances that HIV can be transmitted
  • increasing rates of injecting drug use – including increasing rates of methamphetamine (ice) use in Aboriginal communities, and
  • the close proximity of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the Torres Strait Islands, and the mobility and interaction of PNG nationals and Torres Strait Islanders. PNG has the highest recorded rates of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the five year period 2010–2014, when comparing rates of new HIV infection among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population with the non- Indigenous Australian born population, a higher proportion of notifications were attributed to injecting drug use (16% vs 3%); heterosexual sex (20% vs 13%); and 22% vs 5% of new HIV diagnoses were among females.

Based on CD4+ cell counts at diagnosis, in 2014 a third (30%) of the new HIV diagnoses among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were determined to be late.

ATSIHAW events

The 2015 ATSIHAW  launched at the Wuchopperen Aboriginal Health Service in Cairns on the 30 November.

Speakers included Assoc Professor James Ward, SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute), Dr Mark Wenitong, Apunipima Cape York Aboriginal Health Council, HIV-positive speakers, and youth and elders from the Cairns region and community.

The launch was followed by a training day on Tuesday the 1 December for health service staff working in the Cairns region, to learn about updates on HIV diagnosis, risk factors, prevention strategies, treatment updates, care and management of people living with HIV and outbreak management – including privacy confidentiality stigma and discrimination.

On 2–3 December, ATSIHAW, in partnership with the HIV Foundation Queensland, ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, hosted a high level summit in Brisbane to discuss strategies and actions for moving forward an agenda that is urgently required.

The Summit, opened by the Queensland Health Minister, the Hon Cameron Dick MP, was held in recognition of the need to urgently address the fact that STIs and blood borne viruses are part of our communities’ overwhelming burden of disease, particularly:

  • for remote communities – STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomonas), as well as hepatitis B
  • for urban and regional areas – hepatitis C and chlamydia
  • emerging HIV transmission risks from drugs such as methamphetamines (‘ice’) – both due to unsafe injecting and condomless sex.

During ATSIHAW, community events were held across Australia at over 30 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in most jurisdictions and at other HIV organisations such as AIDS Councils, aimed at raising awareness of HIV in our communities.

ATSIHAW also recruited high profile Ambassadors to help spread the word about HIV in our communities and the roles all individuals can play in stopping HIV.

Our ATSIHAW Ambassadors include Prof Pat Anderson AM, Prof Kerry Arabena, Dr Marlene Kong, and Mr Dion Tatow, to name a few.

View profiles of some of our ATSIHAW Ambassadors


Associate Professor James Ward is Head, Infectious Diseases Research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and a guest editor of HIV Australia.

 

Opportunity to support a special edition #HealthElection16 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper PUBLISH DATE June 29

NNEWS


 

    Opportunity to send your Aboriginal Health issue message to Canberra for

ChklggxU4AA8zLA

#HealthElection16

Advertising and editorial is invited from

  • All political parties
  • NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates
  • Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations
  • Peak Health bodies

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

KME623p037-naccho-V2-247x350

DOWNLOAD THE A PDF COPY 24 Pages

Response to our NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper from our members, community, stakeholders and Government  has been nothing short of sensational over the past 3 years , with feedback from around the country suggesting we really kicked a few positive goals for Aboriginal health.

NACCHO is the national peak body for Aboriginal health. It is entrusted to represent the needs and interests of Aboriginal health on behalf of its members in the national arena.

NACCHO has and continues to be a living embodiment of the aspirations of Aboriginal people

10 good reasons to advertise in the NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper :

  1. Highly targeted health sector from CEO’s to all staff audience
  2. Quality production and guaranteed national distribution in partnership with the award-winning Koori Mail 14,000 printed copies
  3. Spend any surplus dollars before the end of the financial year
  4. Article space offered with ad bookings
  5. Newspaper also distributed at NACCHO events and workshops
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  7. Thank you ‘burst’ through NACCHO’s social media network naming all advertisers
  8. Over 100,000 audited readers
  9. Targeted at Aboriginal consumer / clients
  10. Support NACCHO vision to Close the Gap

Our media partner Koori Mail Turns 25 this week

The Koori Mail is an Australian media institution, 100% owned and controlled by Aboriginal people. The fortnightly newspaper circulates all states and covers the issues that matter the most to black Australians. 25 years since its first print, the Indigenous paper is still breaking ground for Indigenous journalism.

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Editorial Proposals  10 June 2016
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Publication date 29 June 2016

Editorial Opportunities

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We are now looking to all our members, programs and sector stakeholders for advertising, compelling articles, eye-catching images and commentary for inclusion in our next edition.

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Please Note: All submitted advertising and editorial content is subject to space availability and review by the NACCHO Newspaper editorial committee

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This 24-page newspaper is produced and distributed as an insert in the Koori Mail, circulating 14,000 full-colour print copies nationally via newsagents and subscriptions.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers!

Our target audience also includes over 1,500 NACCHO member and affiliate health organisations, relevant government departments, subsidiary indigenous health services and suppliers, as well as the end-users of Australian Indigenous health services nationally.

Your advertising support means we can build this newspaper to a cost-neutral endeavour, thereby guaranteeing its future.

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NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthElection16 News Alert : New Report confirms important improvements in the health of Aboriginal people

Info net

The Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2015 provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2015

The Overview shows that that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continues to improve slowly and that there have been declines in infant mortality rates and increase in life expectancy.

There have also been improvements in a number of areas contributing to health status such as increased immunisation coverage and a slight decrease in the prevalence of tobacco use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/overviews

The Overview, which draws on the most up-to-date, authoritative sources and undertakes some special analyses, is freely available on the HealthInfoNet web resource, along with downloadable PowerPoint presentations of key facts, tables, and figures. It is an important part of the HealthInfoNet’s commitment to collaborative knowledge exchange, which contributes to ‘closing the gap’ in health between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians by making research and other knowledge available in a form that is easily understood and readily accessible to both practitioners and policy makers.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew said ‘The Overview is our flagship publication and has proved to be a valuable resource for a very wide range of health professionals, policy makers and others working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector.  The Overview provides an accurate, evidence based summary of many health conditions in a form that makes it easy for time poor professionals to keep up to date with the current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.

This year, we have made some important changes including a greater focus on strengths based approaches. Also, as part of our ongoing commitment to using culturally respectful language we have changed the title to further acknowledge the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples.’

The 2015 Overview is dedicated to the memory of the HealthInfoNet founding Director, Professor Neil Thomson, who passed away in January 2016.

Key facts

Population

  • At 30 June 2015, the estimated Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 729,048 people.
  • For 2015, it was estimated that NSW had the highest number of Indigenous people (225,349 people, 31% of the total Indigenous population).
  • For 2015, it was estimated that the NT had the highest proportion of Indigenous people in its population (30% of the NT population were Indigenous).
  • In 2015, around 35% of Indigenous people lived in a capital city.
  • The Indigenous population is much younger than the non-Indigenous population.

Births and pregnancy outcome

  • In 2014, there were 17,779 births registered in Australia with one or both parents identified as Indigenous (5.9% of all births registered).
  • In 2014, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers were younger than non-Indigenous mothers; the median age was 25.1 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and 30.9 years for all mothers.
  • In 2014, total fertility rates were 2,222 births per 1,000 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and 1,804 per 1,000 for all women.
  • In 2013, the average birthweight of babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers was 3,200 grams compared with 3,361 grams for babies born to non-Indigenous mothers.
  • In 2013, the proportion of low birthweight babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was twice that of non-Indigenous women (12% compared with 6.1%).

Mortality

  • In 2009-2013, the age-standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 1.7 times the rate for non-Indigenous people.
  • Between 1998 and 2013, there was a 16% reduction in the death rates for Indigenous people in WA, SA and the NT.
  • For Indigenous people born 2010-2012, life expectancy was estimated to be 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females, around 10-11 years less than the estimates for non-Indigenous males and females.
  • In 2010-2014, age-specific death rates were higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people across all age-groups, and were much higher in the young and middle adult years.
  • For 2012-2014, the infant mortality rate was higher for Indigenous infants than for non-Indigenous infants; the rate for Indigenous infants was highest in the NT.
  • From 1998 to 2012, there were significant declines in infant mortality rates for Indigenous infants.
  • For 2012, the leading causes of death among Indigenous people were cardiovascular disease, neoplasms (almost entirely cancers) and injury.
  • In 2008-2012, for direct maternal deaths the rate ratio was 2.2 times higher for Indigenous women than for non-Indigenous women.

Hospitalisation

  • In 2013-14, 4.2% of all hospitalisations were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2013-14, the age-standardised separation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 2.3 times higher than for other Australians.
  • In 2011-13, the main cause of hospitalisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was for ‘care involving dialysis’, responsible for 45% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander separations.

Selected health conditions

Cardiovascular disease

  • In 2012-2013, 13% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term heart or related condition; after age-adjustment, these conditions were around 1.2 times more common for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013-14, hospitalisation rates for circulatory disease were almost twice as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 24% of Indigenous deaths.
  • In 2013, the age-adjusted death rates from ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were both 1.6 times the rates for non-Indigenous people.

Cancer

  • In 2005-2009, age-adjusted cancer incidence rates were slightly lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2005-2009, the most common cancers diagnosed among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were lung and breast cancers.
  • In 2012-13, age-standardised hospitalisation rates for cancer were lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013, the age-standardised death rate for cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 1.3 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.

Diabetes

  • In 2012-2013, 9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having diabetes; after age-adjustment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than 3 times more likely to report having some form of diabetes than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-13, age-adjusted hospitalisation rates for diabetes for Indigenous males and females were 3.5 and 4.7 times the rates for other males and females.
  • In 2013, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died from diabetes at 6 times the rate of non-Indigenous people.

Social and emotional wellbeing

  • In 2012-13, after age-adjustment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 2.7 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to feel high or very high levels of psychological distress.
  • In 2012-13, 69% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults 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 2013-14, there were 16,070 hospital separations with a principal diagnosis of ICD ‘Mental and behavioural disorders’ identified as Indigenous.
  • In 2013, the death rate for ICD ‘Intentional self-harm’ (suicide) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 2.2 times the rate reported for non-Indigenous people.

Kidney health

  • In 2010-2014, after age-adjustment, the notification rate of end stage renal disease was 6.6 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2011-13, ‘care involving dialysis’ was the most common reason for hospitalisation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2008-2012, the age-standardised death rate from kidney disease was 2.6 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.

Injury

  • In 2013-14, after age-adjustment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were hospitalised for injury at nearly twice the rate for other Australians.
  • In 2012-13, the hospitalisation rate for assault was 34 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than for other women.
  • In 2013, injury was the third most common cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 15% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

Respiratory disease

  • In 2012-2013, 31% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having a respiratory condition. After age-adjustment, the level of respiratory disease was 1.2 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2012-2013, 18% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported having asthma.
  • In 2012-13, after age-adjustment, hospitalisation rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 4.4 times higher for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3.3 times higher for influenza and pneumonia, 1.8 times higher for asthma, 1.8 times higher for acute upper respiratory infections and 1.4 times higher for whooping cough, than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2013, after age-adjustment, the death rate for respiratory disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 2.0 times that for non-Indigenous people.

Eye health

  • In 2012-2013, eye and sight problems were reported by 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2012-2013, myopia and hyperopia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were reported at 0.8 and 1.1 times the proportions for their non-Indigenous counterparts. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who reported blindness was 7.4 times more than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Ear health and hearing

  • In 2012-2013, ear/hearing problems were reported by 12% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In 2013-14, the hospitalisation rate for ear/hearing problems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4-14 years was 1.6 times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous children.

Oral health

  • In 2010, in Qld, WA, SA, Tas, ACT and the NT, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had more dental problems than non-Indigenous children.
  • In 2004-2006, caries and periodontal diseases were more prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults than among non-Indigenous adults.

Disability

  • In 2012, after age-adjustment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 1.7 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have a profound/core activity restriction.

Communicable diseases

  • In 2009-2013, after age-adjustment, the notification rate for tuberculosis was 11.3 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2010-2015, the crude notification rate for hepatitis B was 3.6 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2010-2014, the crude notification rate for hepatitis C for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 7.8 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2007-2010, notification rates for Haemophilus influenza type b were 12.9 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2007-10, the age-standardised rates of invasive pneumococcal disease were highest in the 50 years and older age-group followed by the 0-4 years age-group. Rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-49 were almost 12 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2007-2010, the age-standardised notification rate of meningococcal disease was 2.7 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for other Australians; the rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-4 years was 3.8 times higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2014, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had higher crude notification rates for gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2013, age-standardised rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis were 1.3 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander than non-Indigenous people.

Factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Nutrition

  • In 2012-2013, 54% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported eating an adequate amount of fruit but only 8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported eating an adequate amount of vegetables.
  • In 2012-2013, on average, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consumed 41% of their total daily energy in the form of discretionary foods.

Physical activity

  • In 2012-13, 47% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in non-remote areas met the target of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days.
  • In 2012-2013, after age-adjustment, 61% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas reported that they were physically inactive, a similar level to that of non-Indigenous people.

Bodyweight

  • In 2012-2013, 66% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were classified as overweight or obese; after age-adjustment, the level of obesity/overweight was 1.2 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.

Immunisation

  • In 2014, 93% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years were fully immunised against the recommended vaccine-preventable diseases.

Breastfeeding

  • In 2010, breastfeeding initiation levels were similar among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous mothers (87% and 90% respectively).

Tobacco use

  • In 2012-13, 44% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were current smokers; after age-adjustment, this proportion was 2.5 times higher than the proportion among non-Indigenous adults.
  • In 2011, 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers reported smoking during pregnancy.

Alcohol use

  • In 2012-13, 23% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults abstained from alcohol; this level was 1.6 times higher than among the non-Indigenous population.
  • In 2012-2013, after age-adjustment, lifetime drinking risk was similar for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous population.
  • In 2011-13, after age-adjustment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were hospitalised at 4.5 times and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females at 3.6 times the rates of their non-Indigenous counterparts for a principal diagnosis related to alcohol use.
  • In 2008-2012, the age-standardised death rates for alcohol-related deaths for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 4.9 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.

Illicit drug use

  • In 2012-13, 22% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults reported that they had used an illicit substance in the previous 12 months.
  • In 2008-2012, the rate of drug-induced deaths was 1.5 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people.
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NACCHO Women’s Health News Alert : Aboriginal women’s lives really do matter

FVPLS

“Lynette was battered, bruised and ultimately destroyed by men’s violence. It was ended by the most obscene disregard for her humanity. The system did not protect her and justice has not been done.

What does it say about us as a nation that it requires an investigative journalist to bring this extreme injustice into the national spotlight before we can expect anything close to an appropriate response?

Tragically, the abuse and violence inflicted on Lynette is not an isolated case. Aboriginal women are at the epicentre of the national family violence crisis.”

Antoinette Braybrook is a Kuku Yalanji woman, the convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Services Victoria.

Photo above : File image

It shouldn’t require Four Corners to expose the failure of our justice system in dealing with domestic violence towards Aboriginal women. There needs to be urgent investment to tackle this epidemic, writes Antoinette Braybrook in THE DRUM

Australians watching were confronted this week by a tragic reality for too many Aboriginal women.

Four Corners recounted – in horrifying detail – the brutal killing of an Aboriginal woman, the failure of our justice system to respond, and the failure of our community to care.

Lynette was battered, bruised and ultimately destroyed by men’s violence. It was ended by the most obscene disregard for her humanity. The system did not protect her and justice has not been done.

What does it say about us as a nation that it requires an investigative journalist to bring this extreme injustice into the national spotlight before we can expect anything close to an appropriate response?

Tragically, the abuse and violence inflicted on Lynette is not an isolated case. Aboriginal women are at the epicentre of the national family violence crisis.

This reality sadly doesn’t cut through into the national conversation. Stories like Lynette’s are rarely told and justice is a scarcer commodity. The violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women is routinely ignored and our communities’ silence stifles the kind of urgent action that is required.

To protect women like Lynette, our justice system needs to heed the evidence at hand and we need urgent investment in the services for the safety of Aboriginal women – including Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS), women’s refugees and housing, counselling and health services.

Instead, like so many frontline services, FVPLSs are not funded to support all the women relying on our service for their safety. This year’s budget includes just a fraction of the funding needed for family violence services across the board – and is expected to leave thousands of Aboriginal women without access to this vital service.

Violence against Aboriginal women and their children is at epidemic levels. If you are an Aboriginal women you are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised and 10 times more likely to be killed by someone who purports to love you.

It is important to note that as with Lynette, the Aboriginal women we work with are hurt by men from many different cultures and backgrounds. Talking about violence against our women is not about pointing the finger at Aboriginal men. This is about addressing men’s violence against women and the system that is failing the women it should be working hardest to support.

By 2021-22 violence against Aboriginal women is estimated to cost the nation an extraordinary $2.2 billion a year. Its moral cost – which sees lives lost and communities destroyed – is unquantifiable.

We must start listening to the voices of Aboriginal women and take strong action to ensure the lives lost and destroyed are not confined to a mere statistical footnote.

Despite these disproportionate statistics, violence against Aboriginal women rarely makes the nation’s media. Two recent cases have also broken this silence and highlighted the failure of the justice system to protect vulnerable women.

Take the case of Ms Dhu, a victim of violence, who at 22 died whilst in police custody for unpaid fines. Or that of Andrea Pickett, who at 39 died at the hands of her husband in front of her young children after police failed to uphold restraining orders.

Sadly, unlike the reporting, these deaths are not isolated. What does it say that these injustices rarely penetrate the national psyche? Can it really be that Aboriginal women’s lives don’t matter?

FVPLSs respond to this crisis by providing essential services for safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence. Our wrap around legal and support services would not reach those most in need, or at risk of violence, without our early intervention prevention programs to break the vicious cycle of violence.

Women who come to us do so after being subjected to abuse and violence for many years. Our specialist, culturally safe services ensures women can access the support they need knowing they will not be judged, knowing that we will fight hard for them and their kids in a system that has a history of forced child removal and systematically failing our community. They know that we will use their experiences, without compromising their confidentiality, to call for systemic change.

To address this national crisis we need strong national leadership and huge political will. So far political rhetoric has not been matched with funding commitments needed. And we need to set targets to reduce violence against our women.

To end the unacceptable impact of violence against Aboriginal women, like Lynette, Ms Dhu and Andrea Pickett and the many others we don’t hear about, we need all parties to back up words with investment in services for safety. This includes investment in FVPLSs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and community legal centres.

As a nation we must draw a line in the sand. We must start listening to the voices of Aboriginal women and take strong action to ensure the lives lost and destroyed are not confined to a mere statistical footnote – out of sight, out of mind.

The NSW Attorney General has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to review Lynette’s case. This is the least that should happen. Lynette deserves better. All Aboriginal women deserve better because Aboriginal women’s lives really do matter.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 7321800 737 732 FREE or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

Learn more about the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention legal Services across Australia.

Antoinette Braybrook is a Kuku Yalanji woman, the convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Services Victoria. Follow Antoinette on Twitter @BraybrookA and the National FVPLS Forum