- Steven Oliver: HIV Awareness Week Trivia host!
- Navigating the path to health justice
- Boosting sexual health engagement in rural areas
- Rotavirus study to reduce child hospitalisations
- What’s needed to fix NDIS for mob
- Seatbelts saving lives in remote WA
- Sector Jobs
The image in the feature tile is of comedian Steven Oliver – Bigger & Blacker: Steven Oliver, My Life in Cabaret, SBS OnDemand September 2021. Photo: Dylan Evan Photography.
The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.
We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.
Steven Oliver: HIV Awareness Week Trivia host!
NACCHO is beyond excited to announce the 2023 HIV Awareness Week Trivia host is the hilarious and wonderful STEVEN OLIVER! 🤩
Don’t miss out TOMORROW Thursday 7 December!!!! Join us for a hilarious time, and you might learn a thing or two… You can register here.
This outrageously fun event is open to individuals and teams, with generous PRIZES on offer for the winners.
Costumes and props are HIGHLY encouraged (just wait till you see what we are wearing). There will be prizes for best dressed and ‘innovative props.’ BE CREATIVE!
Get in early, as registrations are limited – ACCHOs will be given priority to join.
We can’t wait 🎉🍆
For all questions and queries please contact the Communicable Diseases team at NACCHO by email here.
You can find more information about HIV Awareness Week on the NACCHO website here.
Navigating the path the health justice
A year ago, at the Law Society’s Annual Members’ Dinner and Awards Night, Anthony Levin was elated to be the recipient of the John Hennessy Legal Scholarship. This award is made to a public sector solicitor interested in undertaking a research project on legal systems in another jurisdiction. “I’ve been working on prison health issues for about 10 years,” says Levin, who is Manager and Senior Solicitor in Legal Aid NSW’s Human Rights team.
He was researching on how the unmet health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contribute to the cycle of incarceration, and how effective, culturally safe continuity of care could address health inequalities – for the benefit of both prisoners and the public.
Levin’s research led him to discover a new initiative in Prince George, British Columbia (BC), Canada. This is a patient navigator system for Indigenous prisoners, Levin explains, where each Indigenous patient navigator (IPN) “has the job of helping Indigenous people navigate the health system inside and also potentially on their return to the community outside, depending on the location of the navigator and the jail that they’re working in.
“So in some locations and prisons, the IPNs work almost exclusively with people inside, spending time with them to build rapport during cultural activities and culturally safe spaces that were purpose built in the prison. It struck me this could be useful for our justice system,” Levin adds. “I think there are certain universal principles that can be applied to addressing health inequalities.”
To read the Law Society Journal article Nudges, not earthquakes: Navigating the path to health justice in full click here.
Boosting sexual health engagement in rural areas
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in rural and remote regions are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhoea and infectious syphilis than their non-Indigenous peers – but an innovative health information project is looking to change these statistics.
The Walkabout Barber Bus is a built for purpose barber shop on wheels. Recently, it travelled to Kempsey, a regional town on the traditional lands of the Dunghutti people, 423km north of Sydney, to provide free haircuts to young Aboriginal men in the area, and to open a judgement-free space for them to talk and learn about mental and sexual health.
Robert Monaghan, Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research at the Kirby Institute, says awareness and engagement, particularly among young men, are crucial to drive down sexually transmissible infections (STIs). “We need to find new ways to engage young men, because what’s been done isn’t working,” says Mr Monaghan. “That’s where the Walkabout Barber comes in. We wanted to pilot an integration of sexual health information into the Walkabout Barber services. In this way, we can normalise conversations about sexual health.”
To read the University of NSW article ‘It’s about the conversation’: improving engagement in sexual health services in rural Aboriginal communities in full click here.
Rotavirus study aims to reduce child hospitalisation
Researchers in the NT are conducting a study to determine if an additional vaccination would better protect Indigenous infants from rotavirus. A highly infectious gastrointestinal disease which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration, rotavirus is the leading cause of paediatric diarrhoea deaths worldwide.
Since the global introduction of oral rotavirus vaccines in 2006, early childhood deaths due to the virus have dropped significantly having almost eliminated severe rotavirus disease for most Australian children. However according to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Foundation, hospitalisations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural and remote northern Australia remain more than 20 times higher than for non-Indigenous children in southern states and territories.
The research project into whether Indigenous children six to 12 months old should receive a third booster dose of rotavirus vaccine is being headed by paediatrician and Royal Australasian College of Physicians Fellowship award recipient, Dr Bianca Middleton, who says clinicians are urgently seeking new ways to better protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from diarrhoea illness. “Right now, the rotavirus vaccine is not fully protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children against severe rotavirus disease, and we still see young children being admitted to hospital with rotavirus infection,” Dr Middleton said.
To view the National Indigenous Times article World first rotavirus study aims to reduce hospitalisation rates of Indigenous children in full click here.
What’s needed to fix NDIS for mob
The federal government is this week expected to release the long-awaited National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) review, laying out a suite of recommendations to improve the system and participant experience as the scheme buckles under surging costs.
Among those hoping for change are many in First Nations communities, where disability is more prevalent and complex, but the system is harder for some to access.
In an interview on ABC Rational National Breakfast yesterday, Scott Avery, Worimi man and Professor of Indigenous Health at the University of Technology Sydney spoke about what’s needed to fix the NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
You can listen to the ABC Rational National Breakfast interview What’s needed to fix the NDIS for First Nations people? in full here.
Seatbelts saving lives in remote WA
This December saw the launch of an important campaign to encourage Aboriginal people living in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields to ‘buckle up’. The radio campaign, voiced in Kimberley Kriol, Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Plain English and Yindjibarndi will run on popular local radio stations. The sad truth is that Aboriginal people are more likely to die or suffer serious injury because of vehicle crashes compared to other Australians.
NACCHO’s 2021 submission to the Australian Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, available here, found that First Nations people are 2.7 times more likely to die and 1.4 times more likely to suffer serious injury in vehicle crashes than other Australians.
Why this is the case is difficult to establish but we know seatbelts save lives. Between 2018 and 2022 in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields, 25% of motor vehicle occupants killed or seriously injured in a crash were not wearing a seatbelt. The script for the radio advertisements was written and voiced by Aboriginal staff at the Aboriginal owned business, Aboriginal Interpreting WA.
To view the WA Government news article Putting on seatbelts and saving lives in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields in full click here.
Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.
Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.