NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health : #SH19 #HIVAUS19: We call on all delegates and organisations to support the Noongar Boodja Statement on #closingthegap on #STIs & #BBVs among Indigenous peoples of Australasia

” The signatories to this statement gather for the Australasian HIV & AIDS and Sexual Health Conference 2019 in Perth – traditional lands of the Noongar Whadjuk peoples, and the 41st New Zealand Sexual Health Conference 2019 in Wellington – traditional lands of the peoples of Ngāti Toa and Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui.

Australasian signatories – peoples of Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Oceania including Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia – come together to share, collaborate and discuss the successes and challenges that lay ahead for the Australasian region in addressing STIs, viral hepatitis and HIV.” 

Click on the link to sign The NOONGAR BOODJA statement on CLOSING THE GAP on STIs & BBVs among Indigenous peoples of Australasia

Read over 50 Aboriginal Sexual Health Articles HERE published by NACCHO 

A strong theme of these conferences are the persistent inequities in sexual health outcomes for the Indigenous Peoples of the Australasian nations.

Despite recent investments in this area to address syphilis, much work remains to be done by all to address endemic rates of STIs in regional and remote Australia (chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas) and BBVs nationally (HIV and viral hepatitis).

This is unacceptable, because high rates of STIs particularly impact young women and their reproductive health (PID, premature birth, stillbirth and infertility) and the occurrence of BBVs should be decreasing at rates similar to the non-Indigenous population.

We confirm that these inequities are in contravention of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which all Australasian countries have endorsed.

Specifically, we commit to and call upon national and jurisdictional governments to appropriately fund and work with Indigenous communities, their community-based organisations and leaders to:

  • Action the right of Indigenous peoples to co-design culturally responsive policies and strategies that match their sexual health priorities, knowledges and practices;
  • Support Indigenous communities to provide health promotion and harm reduction services, particularly to young Indigenous peoples;
  • Provide high quality testing and care, in primary health care programs for Indigenous peoples;
  • Sustain a culturally responsive and expert STI, HIV and blood-borne virus (BBV) health workforce in Indigenous communities;
  • Build our knowledge to improve sexual health outcomes and reduce inequities.

For organisational sign up please send an endorsement email including your logo to Karen.Seager@ashm.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth News : New PBS Doctors Bag listing for benzathine penicillin to address syphilis outbreak Plus new clinician resource STI and BBV control in remote communities: clinical practice and resource manual

  “ STI and BBV control in remote communities: clinical practice and resource manual was developed by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute for clinicians practising in remote communities.

It’s for doctors, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers and is designed as an induction tool for new recruits as well as a resource manual for more experienced practitioners. ”

See Part 2 SAHMRI Press Release below for download link 

Read over 50 Aboriginal Sexual Health articles published recently by NACCHO

Part 1 New PBS Doctors Bag listing for benzathine penicillin to address Syphilis outbreak

Starting September 1st 2019, benzathine benzlypenicillin (Bicillin L-A) is listed on the Emergency Drug Supply Schedule (also known as Prescribers Bag or Doctors Bag).

The listing can be found here.

NACCHO worked in consultation with ACCHO members services, expert clinicians and the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) to co-author a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in early 2019 to improve syphilis treatment options for health services.

This was supported by the PBAC and now this item can be prescribed through the Doctors Bag scheme.

The listing of benzathine benzlypenicillin (Bicillin L-A) will support the timely treatment of syphilis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by providing a mechanism for health services to have stock on site, and/or obtain supply for patients in advance of a consultation.

Part 2 New clinician resource STI and BBV control in remote communities: clinical practice and resource manual

SAHMRI consulted widely with remote clinicians in developing this resource.

Many highlighted the same main challenges regarding STI and BBV control in remote communities:

  • difficulty navigating health systems and models of care
  • limited exposure to and knowledge with some of the STIs and BBVs endemic in many remote communities
  • accessing and navigating relevant STI and BBV clinical guidelines
  • limited cultural orientation, and or guidance on how to best engage young people in the clinic and community settings.

This feedback informed the development of the manual, which includes links to useful online induction resources, training modules and remote practice manuals from across Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

View the full manual here.

Or Download the PDF Copy HERE

STI-BBV-control-clinical-practice-manual-31072019

 

The manual also collates national, jurisdictional and regional STI and BBV clinical guidelines as well as highlighting national guidelines for addressing the current syphilis outbreak affecting much of remote Australia.

It’s important to note that the information contained within this manual does not constitute clinical advice or guidance and should not be relied on by health practitioners in providing clinical care.

SAMRI sends a huge thank you to the many doctors, nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners who generously provided feedback and advice in developing this manual.

We also acknowledge the young people, Elders, community leaders – and whole communities – who graciously and enthusiastically offered their time to developing the Young Deadly Free health promotion resources catalogued in the manual.

View the full manual here.

 

NACCHO #VoteACCHO Aboriginal Health #Election2019 @billshortenmp and @SenatorDodson set to unveil a $115 million #Labor plan to tackle the Indigenous health crisis today in Darwin : Including $ for @DeadlyChoices #SuicidePrevention  #MentalHealth #RHD #SexualHealth #EyeHealth

“Labor believes innovative and culturally appropriate health care models are central to improving the health outcomes of First Australians and closing the gap, noting that improving Indigenous health was “critical to our journey towards reconciliation. Labor would be funding programs “co-designed with and led by First Nations peoples – driven by the Aboriginal health workforce “

The Opposition Leader, who is also Labor’s spokesman for Indigenous affairs, will unveil the commitment while on the campaign trail with his assistant spokesman Senator Pat Dodson in the Northern Territory today;

Summary of the Labor Party $115 million commitments against NACCHO #VoteACCHO Recommendations

See all 10 NACCHO #VoteACCHO Recommendations Here

Refer NACCHO Recommendation 4

$29.6 million to improve mental health and prevent youth suicide : to administer the mental health funds through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

See our NACCHO Chair Press Release yesterday

Refer NACCHO Recommendation 6

Sexual health promotion would get a $20 million boost

$13 million would be invested to tackle preventable eye diseases and blindness.

$3 million in seed funding provided to Aboriginal Medical Services to develop health and justice programs addressing the link between incarceration and poor health

Deadly Choices campaign would get $16.5 million for advertising to raise awareness of health and lifestyle choices

Refer NACCHO Recommendation 3

$33 million to address rheumatic heart disease

Media report from

‘Critical to reconciliation’: Labor’s plan to close the gap on Indigenous health

Bill Shorten is set to unveil a $115 million plan to tackle the Indigenous health crisis, as he seeks to position Labor as the only party capable of closing the ten-year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and their non-Indigenous peers.

The package includes $29.6 million to improve mental health and prevent youth suicide, which has rocked communities in remote areas including the Kimberley where a spate of deaths has been linked to intergenerational trauma, violence and poverty.

The Opposition Leader, who is also Labor’s spokesman for Indigenous affairs, will unveil the commitment while on the campaign trail with his assistant spokesman Senator Pat Dodson in the Northern Territory on Thursday.

“Labor believes innovative and culturally appropriate health care models are central to improving the health outcomes of First Australians and closing the gap,” Mr Shorten said, noting that improving Indigenous health was “critical to our journey towards reconciliation”.

Labor’s package is $10 million more than the $19.6 million Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced for Indigenous suicide prevention on Saturday, after the suicide of an 18-year-old girl from the Kimberley last week.

Indigenous health advocates have previously raised concerns that the Coalition’s wider mental health package could be consumed by “mainstream” services like Headspace.

Mr Shorten highlighted Labor would be funding programs “co-designed with and led by First Nations peoples – driven by the Aboriginal health workforce”.

The Labor plan is to administer the mental health funds through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, which employ teams of paediatricians, child psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners in vulnerable communities.

Official statistics show a ten-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with the rate of preventable hospital admissions and deaths three times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Labor’s Indigenous health plan, which would be delivered over four years, also includes $33 million to address rheumatic heart disease, a preventable cause of heart failure, death and disability which is common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Sexual health promotion would get a $20 million boost, while $13 million would be invested to tackle preventable eye diseases and blindness.

The Deadly Choices campaign would get $16.5 million for advertising to raise awareness of health and lifestyle choices and $3 million in seed funding provided to Aboriginal Medical Services to develop health and justice programs addressing the link between incarceration and poor health.

Mr Shorten said Labor would reinstate the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council, abolished by the Abbott Government in 2014.

Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 and suicidecallbackservice.org.au) and beyondblue (1300 224 636 and beyondblue.org.au) Or 1 of 302 ACCHO Clinics 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @IndigenousPHAA #Prevention : Download @_PHAA_ Report : Saving lives a million at a time: Australia’s #top10publichealth successes over the last 20 years

As we edge closer to the federal election, it’s critical our parties consider what public health successes we must achieve next, and how they can lead on issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, obesity, nutrition, environmental and ecological issues such as climate change, and advancing health equity.”

PHAA CEO Terry Slevin

Today the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA) launched its new report, the Top 10 Public Health Successes Over the Last 20 Years at Australian Parliament House.

PHAA CEO Terry Slevin stated, “Public health initiatives have prevented an extraordinary amount of ill health and death in our communities – there is a saying in our field that nurses and doctors save lives, and public health professionals also save lives – they just do so a million at a time.”

The report has been compiled by Australia’s leading public health experts, and the top ten achievements are presented in no particular order as they are all considered to have been of equal importance to Australian public health.

The top ten public health successes include:

  • Folate: reduced neural tube defects
  • Immunisation and eliminating infectious disease
  • Containing the spread of HPV and its related cancers
  • Oral health: reduced dental decay
  • Reduced incidence of skin cancer
  • Tobacco control: reduced deaths caused by smoking
  • Reduced the road death and injury toll
  • Gun control: reduced gun deaths in Australia
  • Contained the spread of HIV
  • Prevented deaths from bowel and breast cancer

Download the PHAA report HERE 

PHAA Top 10 Public Health Successes_FINAL

“This report paints a clear picture of exactly which programs and initiatives have had the greatest impact – from cancer screening to vaccines, from road safety to tobacco control. These have all saved thousands of lives and protected the health of millions of Australians.”

“Public health is about preventing or minimising harm – it is always better than cure. We aim to intervene before illness, death or injury occurs, creating safe and healthy environments for all Australians. This is why in public health, we’re for birthdays,” Mr Slevin said.

“We aspire to give Australians more birthdays (five more for each person is our starting goal) and other important celebrations – weddings, births, graduations – all of the significant milestones we value in life. Perhaps most importantly, we want Australians to be healthy enough to really enjoy these extra years and milestones,” Mr Slevin said.

“So the next question we ask is, who will be the policy leaders and decision makers to help us achieve this aspiration? The report acknowledges key decision makers at the federal, state and territory government levels who were instrumental in making the top ten public health successes happen.”

“As we edge closer to the federal election, it’s critical our parties consider what public health successes we must achieve next, and how they can lead on issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, obesity, nutrition, environmental and ecological issues such as climate change, and advancing health equity.”

The UK has just released a new preventive health vision statement proving that western conservative governments can prioritise prevention. This is key not just because it is the most effective form of public health practice, but also the most economically sound.

“Preventive public health measures are often cheap to implement and more than pay for themselves through reduced health care costs and increased productivity through keeping people out of hospitals.”

“Public health investment in Australia currently amounts to less than 2% of the national health budget, and has been generally declining since at least 2001. It is essential we allocate adequate resources to public health programs and initiatives to build a healthier population, stem the tide of chronic disease that is enveloping the nation, and reduce future health expenditure,” Mr Slevin said.

“We owe it to ourselves and to our children to look back in twenty years’ time and say we did all we could.”

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth #UandMeCanStopHIV Check out #ACCHO Events this week @atsihaw and we cover Minister @KenWyattMP Launches new TV and Social Media campaign to tackle First Nations #HIV

 

” A new television, social media and community campaign has been launched during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, to increase understanding of HIV and reduce new cases among First Nations people.

Part of a $3.4 million project funded by the Federal Government, through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the campaign aims to capitalise on a reduction in new HIV diagnoses last year.”

To view or download the new campaign resources visit see link below 

Check out over NACCHO 40 Aboriginal Sexual Health Articles like this HERE 

 “ Each year in the first week of December, to coincide with World AIDS Day, we host Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week – “ATSIHAW”.

The inaugural ATSIHAW was held in November 2014 to get a conversation going in our community about HIV prevention and the importance of regular testing for HIV.

The theme of ATSIHAW is “U AND ME CAN STOP HIV”.

ATSIHAW has proven itself to be a popular event – engaging our communities, as well as HIV researchers, doctors, health workers and policy-makers. Each year ATSIHAW events that aim to promote awareness of HIV are run in local community based organisations. Engagement is continuing to grow with the number of events reaching over 60 during the week of ATSIHAW in 2016.

ATSIHAW 2018 will run from 27 November to 1 December 2018, with the official launch at Parliament House, Canberra, on 27 November 2018. Senator Dean Smith hosted the launch, in his capacity as Chair of the Parliamentary Liaison Group on HIV/AIDS, Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.” 

ATSIHAW community events and activities are held across Australia

See full list of events below or HERE 

The campaign has First Nations voices and people speaking directly to First Nations people – communicating with cultural understanding, to help ensure these lifesaving messages get through.

To view or download the new campaign resources visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizXGcmiz9tKjrf6BvdMlOQ 

In 2017 there were 31 new HIV cases diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – 30 per cent less than in 2016 – but HIV among First Australians remains too high.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

At 4.6 cases per 100,000, the per capita rate of HIV infection last year was still 1.6 times the rate for the non-Indigenous Australian-born population.

Although the majority of HIV cases in First Australians are in men who have sex with men, compared to other Australians, First Nations people are six times as likely to contract HIV as a result of injecting drugs, and more likely to contract it from heterosexual sex.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also more likely to have undiagnosed HIV.

This is particularly concerning as international evidence shows that people diagnosed with HIV who receive appropriate treatment can reduce HIV to levels so low that it is undetectable.

This reduces the risk of transmission significantly. This is known as ‘Treatment as Prevention’, and it is essential that it is better promoted and understood in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

VIEW HERE

As well as the SAHMRI education campaign, our Government is funding awareness raising about the use of HIV medicines to prevent HIV transmission – known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP.

We have committed $1.2 million over five years for education and awareness activities about PrEP for both doctors and other prescribers, and affected communities, including First Australians.

Since April, PrEP had been available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for all. If taken daily, PrEP has been shown to be highly effective in protecting people from contracting HIV.

The Government will provide an estimated $180 million a year in subsidies for PrEP to reduce HIV, especially among First Australians, some migrant groups, and gay and bisexual men.

To continue the fight against HIV – among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and across the whole country – we will shortly be announcing new national Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections strategies.

To view or download the new campaign resources visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizXGcmiz9tKjrf6BvdMlOQ 

ACT

NATSISN (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network)

HIV and community – Awareness event
26 Nov – 3 Dec
Department of Health foyer
51 Ellerston Ave
Isabella Plains ACT 2905

Contact: Kartika Medcraft kartika.medcraft@health.gov.au
Awareness of rise of HIV/ STI in indigenous community, local services and prevention campaigns


Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services

Community BBQ
3-Dec
Winnunga Aboriginal Health Service
63 Boolimba Cres
Narrabundah ACT 2604

HIV Awareness

Contact: Christine Saddler, christine.saddler@winnunga.org.au

New South Wales

Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC)

Redfern AMS
28 Nov – 5 Dec at Redfern AMS
U and Me can stop HIV

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Sophie Scobie: sscobie@ahmrc.org.au


Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC)

Rural Doctors Network

28 Nov – 5 Dec Rural Doctors Network – Conf. stall
U and Me can stop HIV
Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families to GPs

Contact: Angela Draper adraper@ahmrc.org.au


Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC) – Tharawal AMS

U and Me can stop HIV
28 Nov – 5 Dec Tharawal AMS

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Pauline Weldon-bowen pbowen@ahmrc.org.au


Albury Community Health

596 Smollett Street Albury NSW 2640

STIGMA Performance
8-Dec 7:20pm
Hothouse Theatre

Examining the prejudices, discrimination and stigma experiences by people living with HIV

Contact: Helen Best helen.best@awh.org.au


Bega Sexual Health Clinic (SERH, SNSWLH)

4 Virginia Drive Beg NSW 2550

You and Me can Stop HIV
29 and 30 November 10:00 – 2:00
SERH foyer and Bega AMS Katungul waiting room

Promote HIV prevention, testing and treatment
HIV prevention, safe sex promotion, promote HIV testing. Promote awareness of HIV treatment to prevent transmission and PeP and PrEP

Contact: Fiona Mckenna fiona.mckenna@health.nsw.gov.au


Griffith Community Health Centre Sexual Health

39 Yambil Street Griffith NSW 2680

World AIDS Day community Event
1-Dec 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Memorial Gardens Griffith

Remembrance and raising awareness of stigma of positive people. Community engagement and prevention, testing and treatment of HIV in the local region
Contact: Sally Davoren sally.davoren@health.nsw.gov.au


HARP Unit M & SNSW LHD

Level 3, 34 Lowe Street Queanbeyan NSW 2620

Displays and Information Stalls – U and Me can stop HIV, come have a yarn
10am – 2pm on 23 Nov – 30 Nov
Queanbeyan Hospital Foyer and Goulburn Community Health Centre.

Prevention, testing and treatment and information of HIV to local community members and health care workers. 
Discussions on our free and confidential services in the local area which offers, information, screening, treatment and support

Contact: Kevin Schamburg  kevin.schamburg@health.nsw.gov.au


Illawara Aboriginal Medical Service

2/30 Princess highway Dapto NSW 2530

U and Me can stop HIV BBQ
29-Nov at Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service (Wollongong)

Raising awareness, treatment and support options for clients and families

Contact: Debbie Gaudie dgaudie@illawarraamd.com.au


MLHD Brookong Centre Sexual Health

79 Brookong Avenue Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Distribution to local Aboriginal services during week
26 Nov – 31 Nov at local Aboriginal and youth based services
That as a community we can all do our part in ending HIV as well as show our support for people living with HIV

Contact: Janine Sutton janine.sutton@health.nsw.gov.au


Aboriginal Health Goulburn

Aunty Jeans Goulburn
6-Dec 10:00am – 2:00pm
Bourke Street Health Service

HIV prevention and awareness for the local Aboriginal community

Contact: Rick Shipp richard.shipp@health.nsw.gov.au


Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

27-31 Perc Griffith Way Orange NSW 2800

HIV awareness week
28 Nov – 5 Dec
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service

Get tested more treatment options

Contact: Michael Halls michaelh@oams.net.au


Riverina Aboriginal Medical & Dental Corp

14 Trail Street Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Yandarra
11-Nov 8:30 – 4:00
Jack mission Oval, Ashmont

Caring for our community for 30 years

Contact: Latoya Terry latoya.terry@rivmed.org


SNSWLHD – Eurobodalla

2 River street Moruya NSW 2537

1 December from 9:00 – 1:00
Batemans Bay and Moruya WAD Roadshow

Promotion and availability of HIV testing and treatment services in Eurobodalla 

Contact: Will Hooke william.hooke@health.nsw.gov.au


South East Regional Hospital, Health NSW

4 Virginia Drive Bega NSW 2550

Awareness of HIV
1-Dec 9:00am
Foyer of hospital

Heighten awareness

Contact: Jo Donovan, joanne.donovan@health.nsw.gov.au


Yoorana Gunya Aboriginal Family Healing Centre

40-70 Church Street Forbes NSW 2871

Health Awareness Day
14-Nov Main Street, Forbes
Knowledge of what testing can be done for HIV? AIDS and treatment

Contact: Deanne Anderson dee@yooranagunya.com.au

Northern Territory

Marthakal Homelands Health Service

World AIDS Day
1-Dec at Mapurrui Health Clinic

We want to tell people about HIV – encourage testing & promote prevention

Contact: Peter Malavisi: health.manager@marthakal.org


Royal Darwin Hospital – SHBBVU

Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi NT

Raising Awareness among community and staff around reducing the risk of infection.
29th Nov from 10am – 12:00pm at the Royal Darwin Hospital

Contact: Letishia Parter: letihsia.parter@nt.gov.au


Royal Darwin Hospital – SHBBVU

Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi NT

ATSIHAW BBQ 

Raising Awareness
Friday 30th Nov 7am- 9am – Casuarina shopping centre (Woolworth’s side under the carpark)
The Darwin Sexual Health Blood Borne Virus Unit will have an ATSIHAW BBQ in the Casuarina shopping centre carpark with the Larrakia Nations HEAL program for the homeless from 7am-9am. 
Come along learn about HIV and grab some free ATSIHAW merchandise.

Contact: Letishia Parter: letihsia.parter@nt.gov.au


Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

32 Priest Street Alice Springs NT 870

Health Promotion event 
30-Nov 10:00am
Congress main clinic

Safe sex, preventative programs and health promotion including other services

Contact: Natalee Norsworthy: natalee.norsworthy@caac.org.au

Queensland

Gar’ban’djee’lum Network

Brown Sugar
30-Nov 7:00pm til late
Australian National Hotel, 867 Stanley St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
Raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and positive sexual health. 
Condoman and Lubelicious will be handing out condom and lube packs

Contact: ddtat64@gmail.com


 Giradula

 

50 George Street Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
29-Nov at Collinsville Town Park
To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Giradula

50 George Street Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
27-Nov at Proserpine Town Park

To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Mamu Health Service 23 Glady Street Innisfail QLD

HIV awareness week 
7-Dec at Main Clinic, Innisfail

Keep you clean, palya, Keep you safe

Contact: Teayana Salter: tsalter@mamuhsl.org.au


Giradula, Bowen QLD

Together as a community we can stop HIV
28-Nov at Bowen Town Square

To encourage all of community to be aware of HIV and how as a community we can stop HIV

Contact: Leanne Prise: lprise@girudala.com.au


Mens and Womens Health Torres NPA

WAD Ball
1-Dec evening
Thursday Island Bowling Club

To inform and educate the indigenous and non-indigenous people living in the Torres Strait communities about the risks involved with unsafe sex, having more than one partner and the importance of regular screening and testing. We need to let the community know about the importance of knowledge and understanding in regard to sexual health, also the Men’s and Women’s health staff will be promoting HIV Awareness Week leading up to world AIDS day

Contact: Sandra or Richard: sandra.gregson@health.qld.au or Richard.Mola@health.qld.gov.au

South Australia

Aboriginal Health Council of SA

220 Franklin Street Adelaide SA 5000

HIV is Everybodys business!
You and me can stop HIV
Information Stall 28 Nov – 5 Dec all day
Reception area of Aboriginal Health Council of SA

Contact: Sarah Betts: sarah.betts@ahcsa.org


Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service

1 Eyre Highway Ceduna SA 5690

CKAHSAC HIV awareness day
HIV day 22-Nov 10:30am – 1:00pm

Contact: Con Miller con.miller2@ckahsac.org.au


Drug and Alcohol Services SA

91 Magill Road Stepney SA 5069

ATSIHAW promotion through our clean needle exchange program 
26-Nov from 9:00am  at 91 Magill Road Stepney 
Promoting ATSIHAW to all clean needle program clients, making them aware of the importance of the week

Contact: Kendall Robertson kendall.robertson@sa.gov.au


Nunkuwarrin Yunti

182 – 190 Wakefield St Adelaide SA 5000

ATSIHIV awareness week 
31 Nov – 4 Dec 9:00am – 5:00pm at Nunkuwarrin Yunti Health Service 
You and Me can stop HIV

Contact: Jorge Carvajal jorgec@nunku.org.au


Pangula Mannamurna Aboriginal Corporation

191 Commercial St West Mt Gambier SA 5291

Community Awareness 28 Nov – 5 Dec 9am – 5pm 
Pangula Mannamurna reception area and clinic treatment room 
By getting information out to all community in the hope to raise awareness and start the conversation

Contact: Narelle Winterfield narelle@pangula.org.au


Pika Wiya

40-44 Dartmouth Street Pt Augusta SA 5700

Lets talk about HIV
28-Nov Pika Wiya Health Service – Well Womens House
A lot of education on HIV, risk what treatment, STI’s, give out pamphlets

Contact: Kerryn Dadleh kerryn.dadleh@pikawiya.org.au


SAMESH

57 Hyde street Adelaide SA 5000

ATSIHAW Red Ribbon Appeal
28-Nov 7:00am – 9:00am
Adelaide Railway Station and Tram stops 
Aboriginal people are effected by HIV percentage wise more than the rest of the population.

Contact: Daniel Jeffries daniel.jeffries@samesh.org.au


SIN

220 South Rd Mile End SA 5031

HIV awareness week at SIN 
28 Nov – 5 Dec daily 
HIV awareness, decreasing stigma

Contact: street@sin.org.au


Tullawon

303 Tullawon Square, Yalata Community Ceduna SA 5690

HIV awareness day 
10-Dec Yalata Clinic 
With HIV awareness we can prevent disease prevalence

Contact: Natasha Desai natashad@tullawon.org.au


Nungay Night 2018 – Get your Glitter on Gurl

Saturday 24th November 2018 at Chateau Apollo, 74 Frome Street, Adelaide

Black n Deadly Live Acts, food, drinks, laughs, DJ
Special guests, door prizes and silent auction
Due to Adult Themes, the event is 16+

Order your tickets here:  https://www.feast.org.au/events/nungay-night/

Victoria

Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

9 Nolan Street Kerang VIC 3579

HIV Awareness and Support Services
U and Me can stop HIV BBQ Event 
30-Nov 11:30am at MDAS Kerang

Contact: Melanie Lane mlane@mdas.org.au


Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

70 Nyah Road Swan Hill VIC 3585

HIV statistics and stigma, sexual health and support services
U and me, HIV community BBQ 
30-Nov 12:00pm at MDAS Community Hall

Contact: Djallarna Hamilton dhamilton@mdas.org.au


Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

186 Nicholson Street Fitzroy VIC 3065

HIV & AIDS Awareness day 
30-Nov 9:00 – 5:00 at VAHS Medical clinic 
Fitzroy HIV and awareness information

Contact: Jermaine Charles jermaine.charles@vahs.org.au


Thorne Harbour Health

Level 5, 615 St Kilda road Melbourne VIC

HIV awareness 
30-Nov 11:00 – 1:00 at Dandenong Aboriginal Health Service 
Be aware of the rising rates of HIV in the Aboriginal community and the new options for prevention, care and treatment

Contact: Peter Waples-Crow peter.wapless-crowe@thorneharbour.org

Western Australia

Aboriginal Health Council of WA
450 Beaufort Street Highgate WA

Be STI and BBV free
Encouraging health checks in your people, normalising STI and BBV testing with any presentation, showing the new animation for STI/BBV including what HIV and AIDS is
26/27/28 Nov 9:30 – 10:30 at  AHCWA offices for staff inviting DYHS and MC staff

Contact: Jen Needham jennifer.needham@ahcwa.org


Bega Gambirringu

16-18 Mcdonald Street Kalgoorlie WA 6430

HIV awareness week at Bega
Testing availability at Bega – confidentiality and culturally appropriate
3 – 7 Dec 8:30am – 4:30pm at the Aboriginal Health Service Courtyard at Bega

Contact: Alicia Sheridan alicia.sheridan@bega.org.au


Bega Gambirringu

16 – 18 McDonald Street Kalgoorlie WA 6430

HIV Awareness
10-Nov 8:30am at the Community Health Service HIV awareness within the indigenous community of the goldfields

Contact: Sonia Talamo robert.bell@bega.org.au


DAHS

1 Stanley Street Derby WA 6728

World AIDS Day 
7-Dec 8am – 12:30pm at DAHS waiting room 
World AIDS day messages/ yarning. We can walk hand in hand together

Contact: Theresa Kitaura traceyk@dahs.org.au


Derbal Yerrigan Health Service

156 Wittenoom Street East Perth WA 6004

No shame in getting a test 
19-Nov 12:00pm Derbarl Yerrigan Aboriginal Health Service 
No shame in getting a test

Contact: Jarrod Minnecon jarrod.minniecon@dyhs.org.au


Great southern Aboriginal Health Service

61 Serpentine Road Albany WA 6330

Family Fun Day 
28-Nov 11:00 – 2:00pm at the local Park 
To increase community awareness of HIV and other BBVS and STI’s and to promote safer sex and injecting practices and testing and treatment

Contact: Megan Robson megan.robson@health.wa.gov.au


Nullagine Clinic

Cooke Street Nullagine WA 6758

Random talks at the clinic when people present daily opening hours 
Informal meetings to be held at Nullagine Clinic Screen and stay safe. 
Protection

Contact: Mary Anne Hanson mary-anne.hanson@health.wa.gov.au


Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service

1125 Ironwood Dr Kununurra WA 6743

Yarning HIV over Billy Tea 
27-Nov tbc at Ski Beach, bush location 
General education regarding HIV/ AIDS – so many young peoople have never hear of HIV much less understand it

Contact: Jane Anglis jane.a@ovahs.org.au


Pilbara Population Health

62 Balmoral Road Karratha WA 6714

School HIV awareness day in class with Girls Academy/ CLONTARF indigenous students at Karratha Senior High School 
The focus will be on de-stigmatising HIV and the testing process. 
How pilbara polulation health has free and easy testing available as well as free access to clean needles and condoms.

Contact: Chantelle Pears chantelle.pears@health.wa.gov.au


WACHS Public Health Karratha Health Campus 

63 Balmoral Road Karratha WA 6714

School Health Promotion 
26-Nov all day School, community HIV education including prevention and safe sex messages

Contact: Jan Marie Grantham jan-marie.grantham@health.wa.gov.au.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and events : This week #WorldMentalHealthDay #WMHD2018 #MentalHealthPromise #10OCT This Month : Register and Download #NACCHOagm2018 Oct 30 – Nov 2 Program @hosw2018 #HOSW18 #HealingOurWay @June_Oscar #WomensVoices #IndigBizMth

 

This week 

World Mental Health Day Oct 10

World Mental Health Week Oct 7- 13 

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) 28th November to 5th December : Expression of Interest open but close 26 October

This Month

NACCHO AGM 2018 Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2 Registrations now open : Download the Program 

Future events /conferences

Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship applications Close October 14 October
National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Third edition) Workshop 10 October 

Now open: Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grant opportunity.$500,000  closes 24 October 2018

The fourth annual Indigenous Business Month this year will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in business, to coincide with the 2018 NAIDOC theme Because of Her, We Can.

 

Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project. 

2018 International Indigenous Allied Health Forum at the Mercure Hotel, Sydney, Australia on the 30 November 2018

AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference 20-21 November Perth

2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019
This week 

This World Mental Health Day – on Wednesday 10 October – will be the biggest yet in Australia, with more than 700 organisations, companies, community groups and charities taking part, as well an official Guinness World Record Attempt in Wagga Wagga to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

The ‘Do You See What I See?’ campaign encourages people to make a #MentalHealthPromise and shed a more positive light on mental health in a bid to reduce stigma for the one in five Australians who are affected by mental illness annually.

More than 700 organisations have engaged with the campaign already this year, which has also seen more than 20,000 mental health promises made by individuals at http://www.1010.org.au .

Five days out from World Mental Health Day itself, on Wednesday 10 October, Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan says this year’s response has been the biggest ever.

“Year-on-year the interest in World Mental Health Day continues to grow and to me that’s a clear sign that we are reducing stigma, and more and more people are prepared to talk and hopefully seek help,” said Mr. Quinlan.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the participation of workplaces over the last two years, and have tailored our messaging accordingly to encourage people to shed a more positive light on mental health at work.”

“We know from our recent Investing to Save Report with KPMG that investment in workplace initiatives could save the nation more than $4.5 billion, and to see some of the biggest employers in the country engage with this year’s campaign, is a clear sign that people are becoming more and more aware of just how important it is to look after mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.”

To help celebrate this year’s World Mental Health Day, and to add to the success of the campaign, Mental Health Australia has also linked up with the Wagga Wagga City Council and Bunnings Warehouse to attempt a Guinness World Record for the most number of people wearing high visibility vests in one location.

Aimed to again shed a positive light, and raise the visibility and awareness of mental health in a community, particularly amongst young men, tradies, farmers and their families, the high-viz world record attempt in Wagga on World Mental Health Day has already seen the people of the Riverina come together.

“We often speak about mentally healthy communities and this fun Guinness World Record Attempt has been a great opportunity to engage with, and unite the people of Wagga Wagga for a common goal,” said Mr. Quinlan.

“Thanks to the fantastic support of Bunnings and the Wagga Wagga City Council, as well as 3M and Triple M Riverina, we can’t wait to see a sea of high visibility vests in the Bunnings carpark next Wednesday morning, and who knows we might even break the current record of 2,136.”

To find out more or to register for the Guinness World Record Attempt go to www.1010.org.au/wagga (link is external)

Mental Health Australia would like to thank all the organisations who have shown their support this year and will be helping to raise awareness and reduce stigma next Wednesday 10 October on World Mental Health Day.

To find our more go to www.1010.org.au

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) 28th November to 5th December : Expression of Interest open but close 26 October

In 2017 we supported more than 60 ACCHS to run community events during ATSIHAW.

We are now seeking final EOIs to host 2018 ATSIHAW Events

EOI’s will remain open until 26th October 2018

ATSIHAW coincides each year with World AIDS Day- our aim is to promote conversation and action around HIV in our communities. Our long lasting theme of ATSIHAW is U AND ME CAN STOP HIV”.

If you would like to host an ATSIHAW event in 2018, please complete the EOI form here Expression of Interest 2018 and then send back to us to at  atsihaw@sahmri.com

Once registered we will send merchandise to your service to help with your event.

For more information about ATSIHAW please visit http://www.atsihiv.org.au/hiv-awareness-week/merchandise/

ATSIHAW on Facebook     https://www.facebook.com/ATSIHAW/

ATSIHAW on Twitter          https://twitter.com/atsihaw

NACCHO AGM 2018 Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2 Registrations still open

Follow our conference using HASH TAG #NACCHOagm2018

Download Draft Program as at 2 October

NACCHO 7 Page Conference Program 2018_v3

Register HERE

Conference Website Link:

Accommodation Link:                   

The NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM provides a forum for the Aboriginal community controlled health services workforce, bureaucrats, educators, suppliers and consumers to:

  • Present on innovative local economic development solutions to issues that can be applied to address similar issues nationally and across disciplines
  • Have input and influence from the ‘grassroots’ into national and state health policy and service delivery
  • Demonstrate leadership in workforce and service delivery innovation
  • Promote continuing education and professional development activities essential to the Aboriginal community controlled health services in urban, rural and remote Australia
  • Promote Aboriginal health research by professionals who practice in these areas and the presentation of research findings
  • Develop supportive networks
  • Promote good health and well-being through the delivery of health services to and by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout Australia.

Conference Website Link

Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship applications Close October 14 October

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme is designed to encourage and assist undergraduate students in health-related disciplines to complete their studies and join the health workforce.

Dr Puggy Hunter was the NACCHO Chair 1991-2001

Puggy was the elected chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, (NACCHO), which is the peak national advisory body on Aboriginal health. NACCHO has a membership of over 144 + Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and is the representative body of these services. Puggy was the inaugural Chair of NACCHO from 1991 until his death.[1]

Puggy was the vice-chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, the Federal Health Minister’s main advisory body on Aboriginal health established in 1996. He was also Chair of the National Public Health Partnership Aboriginal and Islander Health Working Group which reports to the Partnership and to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council. He was a member of the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC), the General Practice Partnership Advisory Council, the Joint Advisory Group on Population Health and the National Health Priority Areas Action Council as well as a number of other key Aboriginal health policy and advisory groups on national issues.[1]

The scheme provides scholarships for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people studying an entry level health course.

Applications for PHMSS 2019 scholarship round are now open.

Click the button below to start your online application.

Applications must be completed and submitted before midnight AEDT (Sydney/Canberra time) Sunday 14 October 2018. After this time the system will shut down and any incomplete applications will be lost.

Eligible health areas

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health work
  • Allied health (excluding pharmacy)
  • Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)
  • Direct entry midwifery
  • Medicine
  • Nursing; registered and enrolled

Eligibility criteria

Applications will be considered from applicants who are:

  • of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
    Applicants must identify as and be able to confirm their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status.
  • enrolled or intending to enrol in an entry level or graduate entry level health related course
    Courses must be provided by an Australian registered training organisation or university. Funding is not available for postgraduate study.
  • intending to study in the academic year that the scholarship is offered.

A significant number of applications are received each year; meeting the eligibility criteria will not guarantee applicants a scholarship offer.

Value of scholarship

Funding is provided for the normal duration of the course. Full time scholarship awardees will receive up to $15,000 per year and part time recipients will receive up to $7,500 per year. The funding is paid in 24 fortnightly instalments throughout the study period of each year.

Selection criteria

These are competitive scholarships and will be awarded on the recommendation of the independent selection committee whose assessment will be based on how applicants address the following questions:

  • Describe what has been your driving influence/motivation in wanting to become a health professional in your chosen area.
  • Discuss what you hope to accomplish as a health professional in the next 5-10 years.
  • Discuss your commitment to study in your chosen course.
  • Outline your involvement in community activities, including promoting the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The scholarships are funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health and administered by the Australian College of Nursing. The scheme was established in recognition of Dr Arnold ‘Puggy’ Hunter’s significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and his role as Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Important links

Links to Indigenous health professional associations

Contact ACN

e scholarships@acn.edu.au
t 1800 688 628

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Third edition) Workshop 10 October 

The RACGP and NACCHO invite you to a workshop to be held prior to GP18, that
will support your practice team to maximise the opportunity for the prevention of
disease at each health service visit.

A National Guide contributor and a cultural educator will discuss how best to utilise
the third edition of the National Guide when providing care for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people.

The workshop will also include a focus group exploring implementation of the
National Guide in both mainstream and Aboriginal Community Controlled Primary
Health Care Services (ACCHSs), as well as the characteristics of a culturally
responsive general practice.

Program

• Background and purpose of the National Guide
• Features of the National Guide, including:
• Recommendation tables
• Good practice points
• Evidence base
• Lifecycle wall chart
• Putting the National Guide

Date
Wednesday 10 October 2018

Time
Registration and lunch 12.00 pm
Workshop 12.30–4.00 pm

Venue
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
1711 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Cost
Free of charge

RSVP
Friday 5 October 2018

Registration essential

Registration
Email daniela.doblanovic@racgp.org.au
or call Daniela Doblanovic on 03 8699 0528.

We will then contact you to confirm

 

Now open: Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grant opportunity.$500,000  closes 24 October 2018

This grant opportunity is designed to assist existing approved residential and home care providers in regional, rural and remote areas to invest in infrastructure. Commonwealth Home Support Programme services will also be considered, where there is exceptional need. Funding will be prioritised to aged care services most in need and where geographical constraints and significantly higher costs impede services’ ability to invest in infrastructure works.

Up to $500,000 (GST exclusive) will be available per service via a competitive application process.

Eligibility:

To be eligible you must be:

  • an approved residential or home care provider (as defined under the Aged Care Act 1997) or an approved Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) provider in exceptional circumstances (refer Frequently asked Questions) ; and
  • currently operating an aged care service located in Modified Monash Model Classification 3-7 or if a CHSP provider, the service is located in MMM 6-7. (MMM Locator).

More Info Apply 

The fourth annual Indigenous Business Month this year will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in business, to coincide with the 2018 NAIDOC theme Because of Her, We Can.

Throughout October, twenty national Indigenous Business Month events will take place showcasing the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women entrepreneurs from a variety of business sectors. These events aim to ignite conversations about Indigenous business development and innovation, focusing on women’s roles and leadership.

Indigenous Business Month is an initiative driven by the alumni of Melbourne Business School’s MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class, who see business as a way of providing positive role models for young Indigenous Australians and improving quality of life in Indigenous communities.

Since the launch of Indigenous Business Month in 2015, [1] the Indigenous business sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia delivering over $1 billion in goods and services for the Australian economy.

Jason Eades, Director, Consulting at Social Ventures Australia and Indigenous Business Month 2018 host said:

It is a privilege to be involved in Indigenous Business Month, to be able to take the time to celebrate and acknowledge the great achievements of our Indigenous entrepreneurs and their respective businesses. Indigenous entrepreneurs are showing the rest of the world that we can do business and do it well, whilst maintaining our strong cultural values.”

The latest ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2014-15 shows that only 51.5 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women participate in the workforce compared to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men at 65 percent.

The Australian Government has invested in a range of initiatives to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women entrepreneurs in the work-placeincluding: [2) Continued funding for girls’ academies in high schools, so that young women can realise their leadership potential, greater access to finance and business support suited to the needs of Indigenous businesses with a focus on Indigenous entrepreneurs and start-ups, and expanding the ParentsNextprogram and Fund pre-employment projects via the new Launch into Work program providing flexibility to meet the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Michelle Evans, MURRA Program Director AND Associate Professor of Leadership at the University of Melbourne said:

The Indigenous Business Month’s aim is to inspire, showcase and engage the Indigenous business community. This year it is more significant than ever to support the female Indigenous business community and provide a platform for them to network and encourage young Indigenous women to consider developing a business as a career option.”

Indigenous Business Month runs from October 1 to October 31. Check out the website for an event near you (spaces are limited).

The initiative is supported by 33 Creative, Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre at the University of Melbourne, Iscariot Media, and PwC.

For more information on Indigenous Business Month visit

·         The Websitewww.indigenousbusinessmonth.com.au

·         Facebook

·         Twitter

·         LinkedIn

Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project.

June Oscar AO and her team are excited to hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls across the country as a part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project.

Whilst we will not be able to get to every community, we hope to hear from as many women and girls as possible through this process. If we are not coming to your community we encourage you to please visit the Have your Say! page of the website to find out more about the other ways to have your voice included through our survey and submission process.

We will be hosting public sessions as advertised below but also a number of private sessions to enable women and girls from particularly vulnerable settings like justice and care to participate.

Details about current, upcoming and past gatherings appears below, however it is subject to change. We will update this page regularly with further details about upcoming gatherings closer to the date of the events.

Please get in touch with us via email wiyiyaniuthangani@humanrights.gov.au or phone on (02) 9284 9600 if you would like more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Pathways borders

Current gatherings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls are invited to register for one of the following gatherings

Pathways borders

Upcoming gatherings

If your community is listed below and you would like to be involved in planning for our visit or would like more information, please write to us at wiyiyaniuthangani@humanrights.gov.au or phone (02) 9284 9600.

Location Dates
Port Headland October 2018
Newman October 2018
Dubbo TBC
Brewarrina TBC
Rockhampton TBC
Longreach TBC
Kempsey TBC

Pathways borders

 

Download HERE

2018 International Indigenous Allied Health Forum at the Mercure Hotel, Sydney, Australia on the 30 November 2018.

This Forum will bring together Indigenous and First Nation presenters and panellists from across the world to discuss shared experiences and practices in building, supporting and retaining an Indigenous allied health workforce.

This full-day event will provide a platform to share information and build an integrated approach to improving culturally safe and responsive health care and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous peoples and communities.

Delegates will include Indigenous and First Nation allied health professionals and students from Australia, Canada, the USA and New Zealand. There will also be delegates from a range of sectors including, health, wellbeing, education, disability, academia and community.

MORE INFO 

AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action


Building on the foundations of our membership, history and diversity, AIDA is shaping a future where we continue to innovate, lead and stay strong in culture. It’s an exciting time of change and opportunity in Indigenous health.

The AIDA conference supports our members and the health sector by creating an inspiring networking space that engages sector experts, key decision makers, Indigenous medical students and doctors to join in an Indigenous health focused academic and scientific program.

AIDA recognises and respects that the pathway to achieving equitable and culturally-safe healthcare for Indigenous Australians is dynamic and complex. Through unity, leadership and collaboration, we create a future where our vision translates into measureable and significantly improved health outcomes for our communities. Now is the time to put that vision into action.

Registrations Close August 31

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide

Global gathering of Indigenous people to be held in Sydney
University of Sydney, The Healing Foundation to co-host Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
Gawuwi gamarda Healing Our Spirit Worldwidegu Ngalya nangari nura Cadigalmirung.
Calling our friends to come, to be at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. We meet on the country of the Cadigal.
In November 2018, up to 2,000 Indigenous people from around the world will gather in Sydney to take part in Healing Our Spirit Worldwide: The Eighth Gathering.
A global movement, Healing Our Spirit Worldwidebegan in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of substance abuse and dependence among Indigenous people around the world. Since 1992 it has held a gathering approximately every four years, in a different part of the world, focusing on a diverse range of topics relevant to Indigenous lives including health, politics, social inclusion, stolen generations, education, governance and resilience.
The International Indigenous Council – the governing body of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide – has invited the University of Sydney and The Healing Foundation to co-host the Eighth Gathering with them in Sydney this year. The second gathering was also held in Sydney, in 1994.
 Please also feel free to tag us in any relevant cross posting: @HOSW8 @hosw2018 #HOSW18 #HealingOurWay #TheUniversityofSydney

2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference 20-21 November Perth

” The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference Committee invite and welcome you to Perth for the second National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference, and the second World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference.

Our Indigenous communities, both nationally and internationally, share common histories and are confronted with similar issues stemming from colonisation. Strengthening our communities so that we can address high rates of suicide is one of these shared issues. The Conferences will provide more opportunities to network and collaborate between Indigenous people and communities, policy makers, and researchers. The Conferences are unique opportunities to share what we have learned and to collaborate on solutions that work in suicide prevention.

This also enables us to highlight our shared priorities with political leaders in our respective countries and communities.

Conference Website 

2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019
Indigenous Eye Health and co-host Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) are pleased to announce the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019 which will be held in Alice Springs, Northern Territory on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 March 2019 at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.
The 2019 conference will run over two days with the aim of bringing people together and connecting people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care from local communities, ACCOs, health services, non-government organisations, professional bodies and government departments from across the country. We would like to invite everyone who is working on or interested in improving eye health and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
More information available at: go.unimelb.edu.au/wqb6 

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth News Alert : @sahmriAU #NT #QLD #WA #SA Syphilis outbreak : New #YoungDeadlySyphilisFree TV and Radio campaign launched today 9 September @atsihaw : Plus @researchjames article

 ” SAHMRI launches Phase 2 of its Young Deadly Syphilis Free campaign today, with two new TV commercials screening in syphilis outbreak areas across Queensland the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. Radio snippets will also be broadcast, in English and local languages.”

Watch here 

No 2 Watch here 

Medical experts describe the top end’s syphilis epidemic as a “failure of public health at every level of government .

As an infectious syphilis epidemic continues to ravage northern Australia – now threatening the lives of newborn babies – Indigenous sexual health specialist James Ward is leading a campaign to help remote communities. By Michele Tydd.

From The Saturday Paper see in full Part 2 Below

Aboriginal #Sexualhealth News : 

NACCHO is co-leading a coordinated Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) $8.8 million response to address the #syphilis outbreak in Northern Australia. @Wuchopperen @DanilaDilba @TAIHS__

Read over 40 Aboriginal Sexual Health articles published over past 6 years

Part 1 : The TV and radio syphilis campaign will build on messaging developed for Phase 1 of the campaign, which ran until March this year.

Once again the campaign will be strongly supported by social media, with regular Facebook posts, Divas Chat advertising  and promotion on our website www.youngdeadlyfree.org.au featuring all new video clips and infographics.

The campaign promotes whole communities’ involvement in tackling syphilis as a public health issue along with other STIs, and has involved young people, clinicians and people of influence such as parents and extended family members/carers.

New clinician resources for those practising in remote communities will also be developed over the next year, promoting appropriate testing to those most at risk, including testing of antenatal women during pregnancy.

Have a look at the TV commercials and a couple of the new short videos by clicking the images below OR access them on the syphilis outbreak webpages at http://youngdeadlyfree.org.au/

Problems downloading the videos?

Contact SAHMRI at kathleen.brodie@sahmri.com for a USB containing Young Deadly Syphilis Free videos, as well as STI and BBV resources developed for the Remote STI and BBV Project – Young Deadly Free; and HIV resources developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week – ATSIHAW.

Phase 1 Rescreened

No 2 Watch Here 

The Young Deadly Syphilis Free campaign is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Part 2 As an infectious syphilis epidemic continues to ravage northern Australia – now threatening the lives of newborn babies – Indigenous sexual health specialist James Ward is leading a campaign to help remote communities.

By Michele Tydd

While the federal government committed $8.8 million this year to fight an ongoing syphilis epidemic sweeping Australia’s top end, many prominent sexual health physicians and academics claim the money is too little too late.

From The Saturday Paper 

“Every day there are more cases, so we are not seeing a downward trend yet,” says Dr Manoji Gunathilake, who heads up a government-run health service known as Clinic 34.

Gunathilake is the Northern Territory’s only specialist sexual health physician. She says local health workers are ramping up testing as part of a fight to contain the infection, which particularly affects young sexually active Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the territory. However, it seems those measures are struggling to contain the STI’s spread.

Nearly seven years ago, an increase in syphilis notifications showed up in north-west Queensland. The outbreak soon moved across to the NT, then to Western Australia and more recently into South Australia. So far, more than 2100 cases – evenly split between males and females – have been recorded across the affected zones.

However, the key concern for health-care professionals is the potential health consequences for babies born to women with the infection. Syphilis is primarily spread through sexual contact, but it can also be passed from mother to baby. Since 2011, six babies have died from congenital syphilis – the latest death came in January this year in northern Queensland. The STI also carries antenatal risks, increasing the chance of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Darren Russell, a Cairns-based associate professor of medicine at both James Cook University and the University of Melbourne, has been working in sexual health for 25 years. He describes the top end’s syphilis epidemic as a “failure of public health at every level of government”.

He says he’s not sure whether the outbreak could have been prevented entirely. However, he believes there was an opportunity for public health officials to stop it from escalating.

“The first case occurred in the Gulf country of north-west Queensland in January 2012 and the first Northern Territory cases weren’t found until July 2013,” says Russell. “There was a window of opportunity in 2012 to work with the affected local communities and to fly in extra nurses, doctors and Indigenous health workers to do some good culturally appropriate health promotion. But nothing at all happened, absolutely nothing as the epidemic spread.

“The first Queensland state funding to deal with the now widespread epidemic was rolled out in 2016, more than five years after the epidemic began, and the first Commonwealth money has only been allocated this year.”

Russell says he could not imagine the same happening if a deadly epidemic broke out in a major city.

“For years now a multijurisdictional syphilis outbreak committee has been coordinating the response largely without additional resourcing to reach people most at risk,” says Associate Professor James Ward, an Indigenous researcher and sexual health specialist who heads the Aboriginal infection and immunity program at SAHMRI (the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) in Adelaide. Ward has been working behind the scenes for years, trying to bring more attention and funding to this outbreak.

“Workforce is certainly an issue because syphilis is an infection that not many clinicians have been exposed to in clinical practice and this is further exacerbated by a high turnover of staff in remote communities,” he says. “Community awareness and understanding of the infection has been very low, so we have been recently trying to get the message out on the internet and social media”.

The multi-strategy STI awareness-raising campaign urging people to be tested is targeted at the 30,000 young people aged between 15 and 34 in affected outbreak areas through the website youngdeadlyfree.org.au/syphilis as well as a dedicated Facebook page.

“We’ve also been tapping into online chat programs young people are using in remote areas such as Diva Chat,” says Ward.

Since the 1940s, penicillin has been used to successfully treat the syphilis infection, although people can become reinfected. While deaths in adults are now rare, the consequences can be dire for babies born to mothers who have been infected at some stage either before or during the pregnancy.

“There is a wide range of quite sinister pathology in babies born with syphilis,” says Professor Basil Donovan of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, who has been treating syphilis cases for nearly four decades.

Some babies are merely snuffly and miserable, sometimes with heavily blood-stained nasal discharge. Others can suffer neurological damage and bone deformities that can cause great pain when they move their limbs.

Donovan says that, for the past 60 years, every pregnant woman in Australia should have been routinely tested for syphilis. “The big difference between adults and babies is that all the damage is done before they are born,” he says. “If there is more syphilis about, then catastrophe becomes inevitable.”

Syphilis, caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, is an infection primarily spread through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

The first sign in adults is most likely a painless sore on the skin, normally where the bacteria has entered the body during sexual intercourse – in the genital area or in the mouth.

Secondary syphilis occurs about six weeks later with symptoms that include a general feeling of being unwell, a rash on the hands, feet or other parts of the body. Soft lumps might also develop on the warm, moist areas of the body such as the genitals and around the anus. Symptoms can often be dismissed as being due to flu or cold.

Outward symptoms of secondary syphilis, such as the initial sores, will disappear without treatment, but the person affected will still have latent syphilis.

The third stage, known as early and late latent syphilis, which may develop any time between one and 30 years later, can seriously affect the brain, spinal cord or heart and – rarely now – can lead to death.

“Before penicillin, syphilis was a terrible way to die,” says Donovan. “In about a third of those who contracted it, it would go on to cause serious neurological or brain disease, spinal disease or heart problems particularly with the aorta.

“That said, even now one in about 30 per cent who get syphilis will get some neurological disease. All of us clinicians have got patients who might have lost sight in one eye or gone deaf in one ear as a result.”

Donovan stresses the current outbreak in the top end has nothing to do with sexual behaviour. “[Residents in these regions] have the same number of partners [as the broader population] so very high levels of STIs including syphilis are more the result of failure in health-care delivery,” he says.

Gunathilake says the NT has seen more than 800 cases of infectious syphilis since the outbreak began. She wants to help build an educated and stable workforce, especially to support the remote clinicians.

“In these remote areas health-care workers don’t tend to say for long periods so it’s important to train and update new staff members quickly,” she says.

Work is also being done in community engagement by producing promotional material in several Indigenous languages to help people better understand the importance of testing and treatment as well as tracing and informing sexual partners.

“Going home and passing on the diagnosis to sexual partners is very difficult for anybody and much more challenging in any close-knit community,” says Gunathilake.

“Many people regardless of background feel ashamed about having STIs and they don’t want to tell anyone, so it is a psychological burden, but our staff are trained to help people in this situation.”

She says contact tracing can be more difficult for people who have casual or anonymous partners. Gay men are represented in the NT outbreak, but only in relatively small numbers.

A spokeswoman for the federal government says the first round of the federal money has gone to three urban Aboriginal health-care centres in Cairns, Darwin and Townsville, which will roll out a new “test and treat” model at the point of care.

The next phase of funding is expected to be directed at remote communities.

There is no indication when this outbreak will start to retract, says Basil Donovan, who was working as a doctor during the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s. This is because once STIs outbreaks take off, they don’t just cycle through like a flu epidemic. “It takes at least five to 10 years to get a major outbreak under control, and part of that involves a permanent [health-care] workforce to develop trust,” he says. “People flying in and flying out won’t even touch the sides.”

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 8, 2018 as “Into the outbreak”. Subscribe here.

Aboriginal #Sexualhealth News : @KenWyattMP : NACCHO is co-leading a coordinated Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) $8.8 million response to address the #syphilis outbreak in Northern Australia. @Wuchopperen @DanilaDilba @TAIHS__

These tests are a critical weapon in the fight to curb and control the spread of syphilis,

Previously, it could take up to a fortnight for results of traditional blood tests to be returned, leading in some cases to problems locating patients who had moved on after giving blood samples.

These instant tests will allow people to be diagnosed on-the-spot for syphilis and given immediate treatment if needed, hopefully providing a vital circuit-breaker against the spread of the disease.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM  : The Turnbull Government has committed $8.8 million over three years to support the work of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to combat the syphilis outbreak.

Read over 45 Aboriginal Sexual Health articles pubished by NACCHO over the past 6 years 

 

NACCHO is co-leading a coordinated Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services(ACCHS) $8.8 million response to address the syphilis outbreak in Northern Australia.

This will address the disproportionately high rates of syphilis and other Blood-Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) in regional and remote Indigenous communities.

Graph above Outbreak from

There is an ongoing outbreak of infectious syphilis affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, predominately aged between 15 and 29 years, living in northern Australia.

The outbreak began in northern Queensland in January 2011, extended to the Northern Territory in July 2013, and then onto the Kimberley region of Western Australia in June 2014. In March 2017, South Australia declared an outbreak in the Western, Eyre and Far North regions from November 2016.

Current outbreak data to 31 May 2018 are attached in the surveillance report below. For historical data, please refer to the Reports section below.

NACCHO press release continued

NACCHO has appointed an Enhanced Response Coordinator to build community awareness and work with Wuchopperen Health Service, Danila Dilba Health Service and Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services (TAIHS).

The Training Coordinator Flinders Univesity is already at work rolling out a series of workshops and training of Point of Care (PoC) testing for a 12-month period that has been supported by a grant of $8.8 million from the Federal Department of Health.

NACCHO is also delivering education, testing kits and organising pharmaceutical supplies across Northern Australia.

For more information please email the NACCHO Enhanced Response Coordinator:

ESR@naccho.org.au

Part 2

From today, rapid point-of-care testing is underway across three high-risk regions of Northern Australia, as part of the Turnbull Government’s $8.8 million surge response to the syphilis outbreak.

After months of extensive preparations, followed by recent intensive staff training, 3,000 test kits have been sent to the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service, 3,000 to the Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns and 4,000 to the Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin.

“The three sites we are initially targeting have been chosen in consultation with the Queensland and Northern Territory governments and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, based on the high number of syphilis cases in these areas,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Quality assurance programs have also been provided to support the health services to increase syphilis testing and treatment rates, including a strong focus on expectant mothers and women considering pregnancy.

“The Department of Health has finalised negotiations with suppliers for the provision of 62,000 test kits, so all services involved will have further supplies available.”

Minister Wyatt said curbing the syphilis outbreak and ensuring the safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities was a top priority for the Turnbull Government.

The surge response funding includes provision for:

  1. Any extra workforce required to implement the ‘test and treat’ strategy
  2. Additional training in syphilis testing and sexual health care
  3. Development of targeted, culturally appropriate communication and education materials

“The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer is leading this nationally coordinated response, in conjunction with relevant states and territories, which have the primary role of delivering sexual health services and dealing with infectious disease outbreaks,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Discussions are now underway for a second phase of the rollout over the next few months. Sites under consideration are in Katherine, Arnhem Land and the Kimberley. Potential locations in South Australia, as well as additional services in the Northern Territory and Queensland are also being investigated for further phases.”

The Turnbull Government has committed $8.8 million over three years to support the work of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to combat the syphilis outbreak.

 

NACCHO Media Alerts : Top 10 Current Aboriginal Health News Stories to keep you up to date

1. Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about our cultural safety

4.AMSANT has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

5.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

9.Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

10. Your guide to a healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

 

1.Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

“These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,”

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this.

Read full article in Easter Monday The Australian or Part B below

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

Read full press release here

 

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about cultural safety

SEE NACCHO Response

SEE an Indigenous Patients Response

See Nurses PAQ Misleading and false campaign

4. AMSANT  has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

Read full AMSANT press Release

Listen to interview with Donna Ah Chee

Press Release @NACCHOChair calls on the Federal Government to work with us to keep our children safe

#WeHaveTheSolutions Plus comments from CEO’s @Anyinginyi @DanilaDilba

4.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

Read full Story HERE

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;

Read Download Full Transcript

Senator Patrick Dodson

Download the report from HERE

Community Groups Call For Action on Indigenous Incarceration Rates

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

The Australian Government has committed $29.4 million to extend the Healthy Ears – Better Hearing, Better Listening Program, to help ensure tens of thousands more Indigenous children and young adults grow up with good hearing and the opportunities it brings.

Read Press Release HEAR

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

This week the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group from Alice Springs were in Canberra. They shared with politicians, their own solutions for their own communities, and they are making an enormous difference.
Big thanks to all the Tangentyere women who made it to Canberra.

Read Download the Press Release

TANGENTYERE WOMEN’S FAMILY SAFETY GROUP (FED

9. Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Read press releases and link to Download the National Guide

10. Your guide to a  healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

And finally hope you had a Happy Easter all you mob ! After you have enjoyed your chocolate eggs and hot cross buns , this is how much exercise you will require to work of those Easter treats .

For medical and nutrition advice please check with your ACCHO Doctor , Health Promotion / Lifestyle teams or one of our ACCHO nutritionists

 

Part B Full Text The Australian Article Easter Monday

There is no reason it should have happened, especially not in a first-world country like Australia, but it has: indigenous communities in the country’s north are in the grip of wholly treatable sexually transmitted diseases.

In the case of syphilis, it is an epidemic — West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson ­described it as such, in a fury, when health department bureaucrats mumbled during Senate estimates about having held a few “meetings” on the matter.

There have been about 2000 syphilis notifications — with at least 13 congenital cases, six of them fatal — since the outbreak began in northern Queensland in 2011, before spreading to the Northern Territory, Western Australia and, finally, South Australia.

What’s worse, it could have been stopped. James Ward, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, wrote in mid-2011 that there had been a “downward trend” over several years and it was likely at that point that the “elimination of syphilis is achievable within indigenous ­remote communities”.

But governments were slow to react, and Ward is now assisting in the design of an $8.8 million emergency “surge” treatment approach on the cusp of being rolled out in Cairns and Darwin, with sites in the two remaining affected states yet to be identified.

It will be an aggressive strategy — under previous guidelines, you had to have been identified during a health check as an active carrier of syphilis to be treated. Now, anyone who registers antibodies for the pathogen during a blood prick test, whether actively carrying syphilis or not, will receive an ­immediate penicillin injection in an attempt to halt the infection’s geographical spread.

This is key: the high mobility of indigenous people in northern and central Australia means pathogens cross jurisdictions with ­impunity. Australian Medical ­Association president Michael Gannon calls syphilis a “clever bacterium that will never go away”, warning that “bugs don’t respect state borders”.

Olga Havnen, one of the Northern Territory’s most respected public health experts, points out that many people “will have connections and relations from the Torres Strait through to the Kimberley and on to Broome — and it’s only a matter of seven or eight kilometres between PNG and the northernmost islands there in the Torres Strait”.

“This is probably something that’s not really understood by the broader Australian community,” Havnen says. “I suspect once you get a major outbreak of something like encephalitis or Dengue fever, any of those mosquito-borne diseases, and that starts to encroach onto the mainland, then people will start to get a bit worried.”

Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.
Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.

But it is not just syphilis — ­indeed, not even just STIs — that have infectious disease authorities concerned and the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations stretched.

Chlamydia, the nation’s most frequently diagnosed STI in 2016 based on figures from the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, is three times more likely to be contracted by an indigenous Australian than a non-­indigenous one.

The rate was highest in the NT, at 1689.1 notifications per 100,000 indigenous people, compared with 607.9 per 100,000 non-indigenous Territorians. If you’re indigenous, you’re seven times more likely to contract gonorrhoea, spiking to 15 times more likely if only women are considered. Syphilis, five times more likely.

As the syphilis response gets under way, health services such as the one Havnen leads, the Darwin-based Danila Dilba, will be given extra resources to tackle it. “With proper resourcing, if you want to be doing outreach with those people who might be visitors to town living in the long grass, then we’re probably best placed to be able to do that,” she says.

But the extra focus comes with a warning. A spate of alleged sexual assaults on Aboriginal children, beginning with a two-year-old in Tennant Creek last month and followed by three more alleged ­attacks, has raised speculation of a link between high STI rates and evidence of child sexual assault.

After the first case, former NT children’s commissioner Howard Bath told this newspaper that STI rates were “a better indicator of background levels of abuse than reporting because so many of those cases don’t get reported to anyone, whereas kids with serious infections do tend to go to a ­doctor”. Others, including Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine, raised the ­spectre of the need for removing more at-risk indigenous children from dangerous environments.

Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards
Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards

However, Sarah Giles, Danila Dilba’s clinical director and a medical practitioner of 20 years’ standing in northern Australia, warns this kind of response only exacerbates the problem. She is one of a range of public health authorities who, like Havnen, say connecting high STI figures to the very real scourge of child sex abuse simply makes no sense. They do not carry correlated data sets, the experts say.

“One of the things that’s really unhelpful about trying to manage STIs at a population level is to link it with child abuse and mandatory reporting, and for people to be fearful of STIs,” Giles says. “The problem is that when they’re conflated and when communities feel that they can’t get help ­because things might be misinterpreted or things might be reported, they’re less likely to present with symptoms. The majority of STIs are in adults and they’re sexually transmitted.”

Havnen says there is evidence of STIs being transmitted non-sexually, including to children, such as through poor hand ­hygiene, although Giles says that is “reasonably rare”. And while NT data shows five children under 12 contracted either chlamydia or gonorrhoea in 2016 (none had syphilis), and there were another five under 12 last year, Havnen points to the fact that over the past decade there has been no increasing trend in under 12s being affected. Where there has been a rise in the NT is in people aged between 13 and 19, with annual gonorrhoea notifications increasing from 64 cases in the 14-15-year-old ­female cohort in 2006 to 94 notifications in 2016.

In the 16-17-year-old female ­cohort the same figures were 96 and 141 and in the 12-13-year-old group it rose from 20 in 2006 to 33 in 2016. Overall, for both boys and girls under 16, annual gonorrhoea notifications rose from 109 in 2006 to 186 in 2016, according to figures provided to the royal ­commission into child detention by NT Health. Havnen describes the rise as “concerning but not, on its own, evidence of increasing ­levels of sexual abuse”.

Ward is more direct. Not all STIs are the result of sexual abuse, he warns, and not all sexual abuse results in an STI. If you’re a health professional trying to deal with an epidemiological wildfire, the distinction matters — the data and its correct interpretations can literally be a matter of life and death.

Indeed, in its own written cav­eats to the material it provided to the royal commission, the department warns that sexual health data is “very much subject to variations in testing” and warns against making “misleading assumptions about trends”. Ward says: “Most STIs notified in remote indigenous communities are ­assumed to be the result of sex ­between consenting adults — that is, 16 to 30-year-olds. Of the under 16s, the majority are 14 and 15-year-olds.” He says a historically high background prevalence of STIs in remote indigenous communities — along with a range of other ­infectious diseases long eradicated elsewhere — is to blame for their ongoing presence. Poor education, health services and hygiene contribute, and where drug and ­alcohol problems exist, sexually risky behaviour is more likely too. The lingering impact of colonisation and arrival of diseases then still common in broader ­society cannot be underestimated.

But Ward claims that an apparently high territory police figure of about 700 cases of “suspected child sexual offences” in the NT over the past five years may be misleading. He says a large number of these are likely to be the result of mandatory reporting, where someone under 16 is known to have a partner with an age gap of more than two years, or someone under 14 is known to be engaging in sexual activity. Ward points out that 15 is the nationwide ­median sexual debut age, an age he suggests is dropping. At any rate, he argues, child sex abuse is unlikely to be the main reason for that high rate of mandatory ­reporting in the NT.

Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.
Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.

Data matters, and so does how it is used. Chipping away at the perception of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities are the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing the rate of removals for that crime is actually higher in non-indigenous Australia.

According to a report this month from the AIHW, removals based on substantiated sex abuse cases in 2016-17 were starkly different for each cohort: 8.3 per cent for indigenous children, from a total of 13,749 removals, and 13.4 per cent for non-indigenous children, from 34,915 removals.

Havnen concedes there is a need for better reporting of child abuse and has called for a confidential helpline that would be free of charge and staffed around the clock by health professionals.

It’s based on a model already in use in Europe that she says deals with millions of calls a year — but it would require a comprehensive education and publicity campaign if it were to gain traction in remote Australia. And that means starting with the adults.

“If you’re going to do sex ­education in schools and you start to move into the area about sexual abuse and violence and so on, it’s really important that adults are ­educated first about what to do with that information,” she says. “Because too often if you just ­educate kids, and they come home and make a disclosure, they end up being told they’re liars.”

These challenges exist against the backdrop of a community already beset by a range of infectious diseases barely present elsewhere in the country, including the STIs that should be so easily treatable. It is, as Havnen is the first to admit, a complex matter.

Cheryl Jones, president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, says the answer is better primary treatment solutions and education, rather than trying to solve the problem after it has ­occurred. “For any of these public health infectious disease problems in ­remote and rural areas, we need to support basic infrastructure at the point of care and work alongside communities to come up with ­solutions,” she says.

Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy's 'town camp' on the outskirts of Alice Springs.
Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy’s ‘town camp’ on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this. “These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,” Turner says.

The Australian Medical ­Association has called for the formation of a national Centre for Disease Control, focusing on global surveillance and most likely based in the north, as being “urgently needed to provide national leadership and to co-ordinate rapid and effective public health responses to manage communicable diseases and outbreaks”.

“The current approach to disease threats, and control of infectious diseases, relies on disjointed state and commonwealth formal structures, informal networks, collaborations, and the goodwill of public health and infectious disease physicians,” the association warned in a submission to the Turnbull government last year.

However, the federal health ­department has rebuffed the CDC argument, telling the association that “our current arrangements are effective” and warning the suggestion could introduce “considerable overlap and duplication with existing functions”.

“I think it (the CDC) might have some merit, if it helps to ­advocate with government about what needs to happen,” Havnen says, “but if these things are going to be targeted at Aboriginal bodies, it needs to be a genuine partnership. It’s got to be informed by the realities on the ground and what we know. That information has to be fed up into the planning process.”

Minister @KenWyattMP launches NACCHO @RACGP National guide for healthcare professionals to improve health of #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

 

All of our 6000 staff in 145 member services in 305 health settings across Australia will have access to this new and update edition of the National Guide. It’s a comprehensive edition for our clinicians and support staff that updates them all with current medical practice.

“NACCHO is committed to quality healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and will work with all levels of government to ensure accessibility for all.”

NACCHO Chair John Singer said the updated National Guide would help governments improve health policy and lead initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can Download the Guide via this LINK

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house this morning

“Prevention is always better than cure. Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

Minister Ken Wyatt highlights what is new to the 3rd Edition of the National Guide-including FASD, lung cancer, young people lifecycle, family abuse & violence and supporting families to optimise child safety & wellbeing : Pic Lisa Whop SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have joined forces to produce a guide that aims to improve the level of healthcare currently being delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and close the gap.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) is an important resource for all health professionals to deliver best practice healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“The National Guide will support all healthcare providers, not just GPs, across Australia to improve prevention and early detection of disease and illness,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The prevention and early detection of disease and illness can improve people’s lives and increase their lifespans.

“The National Guide will support healthcare providers to feel more confident that they are looking for health issues in the right way.”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP is committed to tackling the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The National Guide plays a vital role in closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disparity,” Dr Seidel said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have equal access to quality healthcare across Australia and the National guide is an essential part of ensuring these services are provided.

“GPs and other healthcare providers who implement the recommendations within the National Guide will play an integral role in reducing health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ensuring culturally responsive and appropriate healthcare is always available.”

The updated third edition of the National Guide can be found on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website.

 

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and NACCHO

Part 2 Prevention and Early Diagnosis Focus for a Healthier Future

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” said Minister Wyatt. “Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

“The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.

“It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

The guide, which was first published in 2005, is a joint project between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP).

“To give you some idea of the high regard in which it is held, the last edition was downloaded 645,000 times since its release in 2012,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The latest edition highlights the importance of individual, patient-centred care and has been developed to reflect local and regional needs.

“Integrating resources like the national guide across the whole health system plays a pivotal role in helping us meet our Closing the Gap targets.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to accelerating positive change and is investing in targeted activities that have delivered significant reductions in the burden of disease.

“Rates of heart disease, smoking and binge drinking are down. We are on track to achieve the child mortality target for 2018 and deaths associated with kidney and respiratory diseases have also reduced.”

The National Guide is funded under the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme as part of a record $3.6 billion investment across four financial years.

The RACGP received $429,000 to review, update, publish and distribute the third edition, in hard copy and electronic formats.

The National Guide is available on the RACGP website or by contacting RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au.