NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Cashless welfare card in Indigenous communities ‘cuts use of alcohol and drugs says new report

“But what we had before the card, which is just open sort of slather of people buying heaps of alcohol with the money that they get, the amount of damage it was doing, I think that this is definitely an improvement on what we had previously,”

I  would support the card being rolled out across the country.

Yes I do, I think this is a more responsible way of actually delivering support and social services to our people regardless of what colour they are,”

Ian Trust, the executive director of the Wunan Foundation, an Aboriginal development organisation in the East Kimberley in Western Australia, said his support for the card had come at a personal cost. SEE ABC Report Photo: A Kununurra resident in WA’s Kimberley holding a cashless welfare card. (ABC News: Erin Parke)

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse.

The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. Reported by Sarah Martin in Todays Australian

A cashless welfare card that stops government benefits being spent on drugs and alcohol will be made permanent in two remote communities and looks set to be ­expanded, after trials found it greatly reduced rates of substance abuse and gambling.

The 175-page government commissioned review by Orima Research of the year-long trial.

The evaluation involved interviewing stakeholders, participants and their families.

It found on average a quarter of people using the card who drank said they were not drinking as often.

While just under a third of gamblers said they had curbed that habit.

The Turnbull government will today release the first major independent audit of the cashless welfare system and announce that the card will continue in Ceduna and East Kimberley, subject to six-monthly reviews.

Establishing a clear “proof of concept” in the two predomin­antly indigenous communities also paves the way for the ­Coalition to roll out the welfare spending restrictions further, with townships in regional Western Australia and South Australia believed to be under consideration.

In October, Malcolm Turnbull flagged that an expansion of the welfare card was dependent on the results of the 12-month trial, but praised the scheme’s ­initial success in reducing the amount of taxpayer money being spent on alcohol and illicit drugs.

Under the welfare shake-up, first flagged in Andrew Forrest’s review of the welfare system in 2014, 80 per cent of a person’s benefit is restricted to a Visa debit card that cannot be used for spending on alcohol or gambling products or converted to cash. After year-long trials at the two sites capturing $10 million in welfare payments, the first quantitative assessment of the scheme has found that 24 per cent of card users reported less alcohol consumption and drug use in their communities, with 27 per cent of people noting a drop in gambling.

See full details support and Q and A below from DSS

Binge drinking and the frequency of alcohol consumption by card users was also down by about 25 per cent among those who said they were drinkers ­before the trials began.

Those not on welfare saw even greater benefits, with an average of 41 per cent of non-participant community members across the two trial sites reporting a ­reduction in the drinking of alcohol in their area since the trial started. The report concluded that, overall, the card “has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling — establishing a clear ‘proof-of-concept’ and meeting the necessary preconditions for the planned medium-term outcomes in relation to reduced levels of harm related to these behaviours”.

However the audit, undertaken by ORIMA Research, found that despite the community improvements, many people remained unhappy with the welfare restrictions, with about half saying it had made their lives worse, and 46 per cent reporting they had problems with the card.

This view was reversed in the wider community, with 46 per cent of non-participants saying the trial had made life in their community better, and only 18 per cent reporting that it had made life worse.

Many of the reported problems with the card were attributed to user error or “imperfect knowledge and systems” among some merchants. Of the 32,237 declined transactions between April and September last year, 86.2 per cent were because of user error, with more than half found to be because account holders had insufficient funds.

While there was a large amount of anecdotal evidence in favour of the card, there were also reports of a rise in humbugging — where family members are harassed for money — and some reports of an increase in crime linked to the need for cash, including prostitution.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. However, he stressed that no decision had been made to expand the card to new sites, which would require legislation.

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse,” Mr Tudge said. “The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

The government has introduced the card only to regions where it has the support of community leaders, allowing the Coalition to secure the backing of Labor for the two trial sites despite opposition from the Greens and the Australian Council of Social Service.

Liberal MP Melissa Price, who represents the vast West Australian regional electorate of Durack, said yesterday she was hopeful the card could be rolled out across the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Goldfields, estimating that about half of the 52 councils in her electorate had expressed an interest in signing up.

“I know it is not popular with everybody, but we are in government and we need to make these decisions to improve people’s lives; if we don’t make changes, nothing changes,” Ms Price said.

Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview

The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.

How the cashless debit card works

The cashless debit card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash.

The card can be used anywhere that accepts debit cards. It will work online, for shopping and paying bills. The Indue website lists the approved merchants (link is external) and excluded merchants (link is external) for the trial.

Who will take part in the trial?

Under the trial, all recipients of working age income support payments who live in a trial location will receive a cashless debit card.

The full list of included payments is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website (link is external).

How will it affect Centrelink payments?

The trial doesn’t change the amount of money a person receives from Centrelink. It only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments:

  • 80 per cent is paid onto the cashless debit card
  • 20 per cent is paid into a person’s regular bank account.

Cashless debit card calculator

To work out how much will be paid onto your cashless debit card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.

Enter amount of fortnightly Centrelink payment Calculate

Money on the card 

Use it for:

  • Groceries
  • Pay bills
  • Buy clothes
  • Travel
  • Online

Anywhere with eftpos except:

  • No grog
  • No gambling
  • No cash

   Note: 100% of lump sum payments will be placed on the card. More information is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

More information

For more information, email debitcardtrial@dss.gov.au (link sends e-mail) or call 1800 252 604

This weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will  include

Wednesday Job alerts Thursday NACCHO Members Good News

How to submit ? Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media   4.30 pm  day before publication

NACCHO Aboriginal #prevention Health : #ALPHealthSummit : With $3.3 billion budget savings on the table, Parliament urged to put #preventivehealth on national agenda

prevention-copy

 ” Recently the Federal Government has spoken in favour of investment in preventive health.

 In an address to the National Press Club in February this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, “in 2017, a new focus on preventive health will give people the right tools and information to live active and healthy lives”.

Health Minister Greg Hunt echoed that sentiment on 20 February announcing the Government was committed to tackling obesity.

Prevention 1st, however, argues the need for a more comprehensive, long-term approach to the problem. Press Release

mathew-cooke

NACCHO was represented at the #ALPHealthSummit by Chair Matthew Cooke pictured above with Stephen Jones MP

Leading health organisations are calling on the Commonwealth to address Australia’s significant under-investment in preventive health and set the national agenda to tackle chronic disease ahead of Labor’s National Health Policy Summit today.

Chronic disease is Australia’s greatest health challenge, yet many chronic diseases are preventable, with one third of cases traced to four modifiable risk factors: poor diet, tobacco use, physical inactivity and risky alcohol consumption.

Adopting preventive health measures would address significant areas flagged as critical by the both major parties, including ensuring universal access to world-class healthcare, preventing and managing chronic disease, reducing emergency department and elective surgery waiting times, and tackling health inequalities faced by Indigenous Australians.

prevention-copy-2

Prevention 1st – a campaign led by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF Australia), and Alzheimer’s Australia – is urging the ALP to adopt the group’s Pre-Budget submission recommendations as part of the party’s key health policy framework.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says it is up to federal policymakers to address Australia’s healthcare shortfalls and that Labor has the perfect opportunity to reignite its strong track record and lead the way in fixing the country’s deteriorating investment in preventive healthcare.

“Australia’s investment in preventive health is declining, despite chronic disease being the leading cause of illness in Australia. Chronic disease costs Australian taxpayers $27 billion a year and accounts for more than a third of our national health budget. The ALP has both the opportunity and a responsibility as the alternate government to set the national agenda in the preventive healthcare space. Ultimately, however, it falls to the Government of the day to show leadership on this issue,” said Mr Thorn.

Its Pre-Budget submission 2017-18, Prevention 1st identifies a four-point action plan targeting key chronic disease risk factors.

Prevention 1st has called for Australia to phase out the promotion of unhealthy food and beverages, and for long overdue national public education campaigns to raise awareness of the risks associated with alcohol, tobacco, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition. Under the proposal, these measures would be supported by coordinated action across governments and increased expenditure on preventive health.

The costed plan also puts forward budget savings measures, recommending the use of corrective taxes to maximise the health and economic benefits to the community. Taxing products appropriate to their risk of harm will not only encourage healthier food and beverage choices but would generate much needed revenue – around $3.3 billion annually.

With return on investment studies showing that small investments in prevention are cost-effective in both the short and longer terms, and the opportunity to contribute to happier and healthier communities, Consumers Health Forum of Australia Chief Executive Officer Leanne Wells urged both the Australian Government and Opposition to take advantage of the opportunity to stem the tide of chronic disease.

“There is an obvious benefit in adopting forward-thinking on preventive healthcare to reduce pressure on the health budget and the impact of preventable illness and injury on society,” Ms Wells said.

The ALP National Health Policy Summit will be held at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday 3 March.


View the submission

View media release in PDF

NACCHO Aboriginal #Healthmatters : @AustralianLabor National #HealthPolicy Summit Agenda this week and getting evidence into health policy

smoking-nr

Question to the Honourable Nicola Roxon, former Australian Labor Minister for Health and Ageing (2007–2011) : Can you give an example of this more courageous leadership during your time as minister?

A: One example is a cause close to my heart: Australia’s introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products. We are proud to be world leaders in introducing our shocking and ugly plain packs, and even more proud of the lively discussion and action it is generating elsewhere around the world on the future of tobacco control.

Picture above : Lessons learnt : Plain packaging for tobacco products is a great example of implementing good health policy where trusted health organisations worked across political groups, provided expert research and supported the government to take action

What’s planned for this weeks Labor National Health Policy Summit 

According to the Federal Opposition, Labour will build on a legacy as the party of health care reform by hosting a National Health Policy Summit next Friday 3 March in Canberra , led by Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King :

See interim Full day Agenda below

 “One of the most challenging aspects of the current Government is the complete lack of any vision for health in Australia. Instead of building our health system up and preparing for the future, the tenure of the Abbott/Turnbull Governments has been characterised by cuts and chaos.

Not only does our health system deserve more – it needs more. The government simply isn’t filling this space, so Labor will.”

The National Health Policy Summit will put the people who know best at the centre of health discussions – giving patients, providers, stakeholders and experts a much-needed voice in health reform.

It will give representatives the chance to not only contribute to our health debate, but to challenge the direction of our health system.

Labor has a long history of reforming Australia’s healthcare system for the benefit of all.”

 NACCHO Note : Both NACCHO and Croakey will be covering

croakey-new

See Croakey Coverage

We welcome articles and press releases from all political parties

Interview with the Hon. Nicola Roxon:

Getting evidence into health policy

Editor-in-Chief of Public Health Research & Practice, Don Nutbeam spoke to the Honourable Nicola Roxon, former Australian Labor Minister for Health and Ageing (2007–2011), to gain some insight into the process, and advice on how to engage most productively with government.

Q: Often ministers and policy makers must try to make good policy decisions in areas where evidence is incomplete or contested. What strategies or processes did you employ when trying to make good public health decisions at a federal level when the evidence was insufficient? What were the main challenges involved and how did you overcome them?

A: I think it is very rare for ministers or governments to want to make decisions where evidence is incomplete or contested (provided the contest is real, not fabricated by vested interests). There are so many competing, worthy, evidence based causes – especially in health – that these will usually be given priority. However, in a crowded political agenda, having a worthy cause isn’t always enough to capture the imagination of government. The biggest single mistake I saw when I was Health Minister was repeated over and over again, by decent, hard-working researchers, medicos and advocates – and it was the naive assumption that, because they were working on something good, or had developed a worthy project, the government would therefore act on it.

As a minister, I was able to act on some fabulous ideas, and I’m proud of that. But many good ideas were not acted upon – often because of financial constraints, but also many other reasons played a role.

Just because your idea is good, even worthy, isn’t enough.

Q: So, how does evidence inform policy decisions in the real world?

A: To get real decisions and actions in your area, you must think closely and carefully about who you are putting your evidence to, their needs and priorities, and why your proposal will help them. In a world where most interventions cost money – and, in health, usually a lot of money – simply appealing to their good nature is too simplistic. You need to make it easy for decision makers to see how acting on your idea is worth taking up time, money and political energy.

Knowing what is going on in the decision maker’s portfolio, what is troubling them, what is taking up their time and giving them sleepless nights helps you find a way to fit your issue into their thinking space. Start by putting yourself in the position of the minister you want to take action. Do you know what they are trying to achieve? Have you read any of their speeches or policies or recent interviews? Demonstrating your understanding of their issues and pressures is good manners, but also helps you shape your pitch to their current interests or pressures.

For example, when the Australian Government announced health reform negotiations with the states, a few groups came to us with proposals that could be part of those discussions. Not all were successful, but it showed they were tuned in to opportunities, and ready to make the most of them in a way that might suit government.

Even a scandal or problem can sometimes be a chance to offer a helpful solution. It might help solve the problem, or detract from it! Either way, this might be welcome.

The more in tune you are with the decision maker’s pressures, the more likely you are to be agile and think laterally, to find good opportunities to raise your cause at the right time.

Q: When these opportunities present themselves, what is the best way to communicate?

A: Are you clear on what you would say and how you would say it if you got a brief chance to pitch your idea? A lot of people talk about having an ‘elevator pitch’ – this is the idea of what you would say if you were, by good luck, in an elevator with the decision maker. Could you explain your idea simply? And quickly enough?

The aim is to first capture the imagination of the decision maker – get them to be interested in your idea, impressed with your focus and your offer to help them.

I had too many meetings to recall where people tried to download 20 years of in-depth research in a 10-minute meeting – the minister needs to know it is there, to appreciate your expertise or credibility, but they don’t need to be able to present a paper on it to the next technical meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO)!

Stick to the headline message or your core thesis to support a proposal – then you can leave the detailed summary for an adviser or official to mull over.

What you want from your meeting is to spark enough interest that the minister asks for more work to be done on your issue – not that they decide to write a book on it. Worse, your clear message will be diluted or lost if you try to do too much in a short meeting.

Q: What do you say to the researchers who feel that their work is ignored?

A: I am frustrated that governments are almost universally criticised for not taking action on public health. Sometimes that criticism of governments is fair and well based. We are right to expect courage and leadership from our governments. But, in truth, criticism of governments is also sometimes lazy. It can be easier to criticise a government for not acting on your issues than to ask whether you’ve done all you can to help them take that decision.

From the perspective of a former minister, I want to urge researchers, advocates and clinicians to assess whether they have done all they can to create a fertile environment to encourage government leadership. When they do, governments will provide leadership.

Q: Can you give an example of this more courageous leadership during your time as minister?

A: One example is a cause close to my heart: Australia’s introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products. We are proud to be world leaders in introducing our shocking and ugly plain packs, and even more proud of the lively discussion and action it is generating elsewhere around the world on the future of tobacco control.

I have been very flattered, and often overwhelmed, by the recognition I get from introducing this measure. But the truth that ought to be acknowledged is that there were many people and many factors that made this courageous public health decision a good one for government, and easier than people imagine.

What made us choose this courageous path, when there were so many other competing issues on the table? It offers a good case study about advocacy.

The work of so many researchers, advocates, doctors, past governments, journalists and ordinary Australians moved this seemingly courageous decision into a political ‘sweet spot’. Ultimately, it was a good policy decision that was good politics too.

It was an inexpensive policy with high impact; a policy with lots of supporters and a disliked opponent (the tobacco industry); a highly visible policy that complemented other measures important to the government, but perhaps less ‘sexy’.

On each of these issues, advocates and supporters of the initiative sought to make the necessary links to our broader health reforms, our fresh focus on prevention and our interest in Indigenous health.

And it helped that the public had responded well in the past to tobacco control interventions, showing the huge benefits of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control measures. The research was strong, and the international treaty on tobacco (the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) supportive.

Q: What role would you expect from civil society in this process?

A: The Cancer Council and Heart Foundation in Australia were the rolled-gold best examples of this on plain packaging – they worked across political groups, and had expert research as well as highly responsive media teams. They are trusted voices for consumers and were prepared to use that voice to not just criticise, but to help government act, as well. Their expertise and advice were vital.

Their advice on potential problems was also invaluable to the government. In tobacco control, you need a good working knowledge of international tobacco control developments and global industry tactics. Being carefully prepared for attacks is smart for governments, but just as vital is for other civil society participants to be ready to explain to the media or to parliamentary committees.

Q: What of more contested issues, such as alcohol regulation and tackling obesity in the population?

A: In Australia, it has been harder to garner support for strong interventions on alcohol and obesity. On obesity in particular, the mixed approaches from advocates and researchers about what is needed to be successful have made it more difficult for governments to act decisively. When multifactorial approaches are likely to be needed, this can make the ‘ask’ confusing – governments often want a clear plan, or a clear starting point. In some public health areas, it is often hotly contested where one should start.

With alcohol, at least in Australia, it is sometimes difficult to find the lever. Do we target individuals or the community? Consumers or business? And it can be even more perplexing with food, where mixed messages make the need to improve public awareness of the risks of obesity even more complicated.

The challenge to advocates on these issues and most other public health priorities is to find that lever – the right lever, at the right time for the decision maker you are trying to convince. Be careful, of course, not to weaken the argument by going in too many directions at once.

Developing alliances across consumers, clinicians, advocates and researchers will always be very powerful. The same proposal from multiple groups gives your argument weight and depth. Instead of all asking for something slightly different, if you can agree on one major initiative or a good starting point, it is a very much more convincing request. It automatically lifts it above the 20 other meetings and requests the minister has that day. You can be confident that everyone else asking the minister for something that day will probably not have done that work – so it is a way to make your cause better and more attractive, easier to sit up and take notice.

bill-a-ck

What’s planned for the Summit

Labor says the Summit will bring together more than 130 of Australia’s leading thinkers on health to be part of roundtable discussions via a packed program, with two blocks of four concurrent sessions, led by Shadow Ministers and leading health figures.

The event will begin with a welcome from Shadow Health Minister Catherine King and a keynote from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and will end with a panel discussion between chairs to report back on the following policy roundtables (see also the co-chairs, some who are still to be announced).

1.Opportunities and challenges in our health sectors

Protection, prevention and promotion

Public Health Association of Australia CEO Michael Moore
Stephen Jones, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Stephen Jones.

  • the preventable chronic disease crisis
  • risk factors
  • protective factors

Primary, secondary and community care

 Sharon Claydon, Chair, Medicare Caucus Committee

  • general practice
  • specialist primary health
  • allied health
  • pathology & imaging
  • pharmacy & medicines
  • dental

 Hospitals

Brian Owler, former President, Australian Medical Association

  • post-2020 public hospital funding
  • reducing emergency department and elective surgery waiting times
  • interaction between public and private hospitals
  • private health insurance
  • improving quality, safety and value in hospitals
  • outpatient clinics

Mental health and suicide prevention

Frank Quinlan, Mental Health Australia and Sue Murray, Suicide Prevention Australia
Julie Collins, Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health

Mental health priorities

  • Mental health reform
  • Measuring outcomes
  • Stigma and awareness
  • Workforce

Suicide reduction priorities

  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Integrated services
  • Research and data collection

2.Where to for health reform?

Ensuring universal access for all Australians

Dr Stephen Duckett, Grattan Institute
Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services

  • access, including out-of-pocket costs and waiting times
  • integration of primary care
  • coordination of primary, secondary and acute care
  • health financing

Designing our health workforce for the future

Professor Mary Chiarella, Sydney University
Tony Zappia, Shadow Assistant Minister for Medicare

  • future health service needs
  • health workforce reform
  • Commonwealth health workforce programs

Tackling health inequality and other whole-of-government challenges

 Professor Sharon Friel, Australian National University
Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy

  • Regional, rural and remote health
  • Indigenous health
  • Other health inequalities
  • Interface with aged care
  • Interface with NDIS
  • Other social policy issues
  • Climate change and health

Innovation across our health system

Professor Christine Bennett AO, School of Medicine, Sydney, The University of Notre Dame Australia and past Chair of Research Australia
Murray Watt, Senate Community Affairs Committee

  • Health, medical and translational research
  • eHealth and digital technologies
  • Safety and quality
  • Precision medicine
  • New technologies
  • Partnerships and collaboration.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health supports the @Lungfoundation first ever Australia-wide #Indigenous Lung Health Checklist

cfree

 

 ” Lung Foundation Australia in collaboration with the Queensland Government’s Indigenous Respiratory Outreach Care Program (IROC) have developed the Checklist specifically for the Indigenous community.

It only takes a few minutes to answer 8 questions that could save your or a loved one’s life.

It can be completed on a mobile phone, tablet or computer.

indigenous_lunghealthchecklist_page_2

The Indigenous Lung Health Checklist is narrated by the Lung Foundation’s Ambassador and Olympic Legend Cathy Freeman.

Read or Download the PDF Brochure

indigenous_lunghealthchecklist

Please go to the site as Indigenous peoples are almost twice as likely to die from a lung-related condition than non-Indigenous Australians.

# Indigenous Lung Health Checklist at

http://indigenouslungscheck.lungfoundation.com.au/.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Smoking : Pack warning labels help Aboriginal smokers butt out

166824-new-cigarette-packets

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across 140 health settings are helping smokers in our communities to quit.

Pack warning labels are also an important element as smokers read, think about and discuss large, prominent and  graphic labels.

This comprehensive approach works to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking and the harm it causes in our communities,’

Matthew Cooke from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

Pack warning labels are motivating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers to quit smoking according to new research released by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) today.

The study has shown that graphic warning labels not only motivate quit attempts but increase Indigenous smokers’ awareness of the health issues caused by smoking.

Forming part of the national Talking About The Smokes study led by Menzies in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the 642 study participants completed baseline surveys and follow-up surveys a year later.

The study found that 30% of Indigenous smokers at baseline said that pack warning labels had stopped them having a smoke when they were about to smoke.

Study leader, Menzies’ Professor David Thomas said, ‘This reaction rose significantly among smokers who were exposed to plain packaging for the first time during the period of research. The introduction of new and enlarged warning labels on plain packs had a positive impact upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers.’

Professor David Thomas, explained the significance of this finding, ‘Reacting to warning labels by forgoing a cigarette may not seem like much on its own. However, forgoing cigarettes due to warning labels was associated with becoming more concerned about the health consequences of smoking, developing an interest in quitting and attempting to quit. This is significant for our understanding of future tobacco control strategies.’

In addition, Indigenous smokers who said at baseline they often noticed warning labels on their packs were 80% more likely to identify the harms of smoking that have featured on warning labels.

Just under two in five (39%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over smoke daily. Smoking is responsible for 23% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

In 2012, pack warning labels in Australia were increased in size to 75% on the front of all packs and 90% of the back at the same time as tobacco plain packaging was introduced.

The study was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal and available at:

http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2017/01/08/ntr.ntw396.full.pdf+html.

Summary of findings
  • The research is part of the Talking About the Smokes study http://www.menzies.edu.au/page/Research/Projects/Smoking/Talking_About_the_Smokes/
  • A total of 642 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers completed surveys at baseline (April 2012-October 2013) and follow-up (August 2013-August 2014)
  • At baseline, 66% of smokers reported they had often noticed warning labels in the past month, 30% said they had stopped smoking due to warning labels in the past month and 50% perceived that warning labels were somewhat or very effective to help them quit or stay quit
  • At follow-up, an increase in stopping smoking due to warning labels was found only those first surveyed before plain packaging was introduced (19% vs 34%, p=0.002), but not for those surveyed during the phase-in period (34% vs 37%, p=0.8) or after it was mandated (35% vs 36%, p=0.7). There were no other differences in reactions to warning labels according to time periods associated with plain packaging.
  • Smokers who reported they had stopped smoking due to warning labels in the month prior to baseline had 1.5 times the odds of quitting when compared with those who reported never doing so or never noticing labels (AOR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.02-2.06, p=0.04), adjusting for other factors.
  • Smokers who reported they had often noticed warning labels on their packs at baseline had 1.8 times the odds of correctly responding to five questions about the health effects of smoking that had featured on packs (AOR: 1.84, 95% CI: 1.20-2.82, p=0.006), but not those that had not featured on packs (AOR: 1.03, 95%CI 0.73-1.45, p=0.9) when compared to smokers who did not often notice warning labels.

NACCHO Advertisement

nhn

NACCHO has announced the publishing date for the 9 th edition of Australia’s first national health Aboriginal newspaper, the NACCHO Health News .

Publish date 6 April 2017

Working with Aboriginal community controlled and award-winning national newspaper the Koori Mail, NACCHO aims to bring relevant advertising and information on health services, policy and programs to key industry staff, decision makers and stakeholders at the grassroots level.

And who writes for and reads the NACCHO Newspaper ?

km-kw

While NACCHO’s websites ,social media and annual report have been valued sources of information for national and local Aboriginal health care issues for many years, the launch of NACCHO Health News creates a fresh, vitalised platform that will inevitably reach your targeted audiences beyond the boardrooms.

NACCHO will leverage the brand, coverage and award-winning production skills of the Koori Mail to produce a 24 page three times a year, to be distributed as a ‘lift-out’ in the 14,000 Koori Mail circulation, as well as an extra 1,500 copies to be sent directly to NACCHO member organisations across Australia.

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

For more details rate card

Contact : Colin Cowell Editor

Mobile : 0401 331 251

Email  : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health : How Redfern’s Sol Bellear prevented a massive life-threatening heart attack

sol-4-copy

 ” I’ve been part of campaigns urging Aboriginal men to lead healthy lifestyles and get regular medical checks, but I didn’t follow my own advice.

If there’s one legacy I leave, I want it to be that Aboriginal men more regularly present for check-ups.”

“We need to take responsibility. We owe this to our families and our communities. We don’t need to keep dying too early from preventable heart disease.”

As the long-term Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Service and a Board member since 1975, Sol didn’t practice what he preached when it came to his own health.

Originally published by Our Mob 22 Dec 2017

Watch recent NACCHO TV Interview with Sol Bellear

All images in this story: Courtesy of the Bellear family

Land Rights legend Sol Bellear considers himself one of the lucky ones.

A decision Sol made some nine months ago to lead a healthier lifestyle not only saved his life but made him more determined to lead the campaign for men’s health.

A few months before he was to die from a massive heart attack, Sol decided to change his life.

While driving back together from a New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) meeting in West Wyalong, Sol’s colleague, Acting CEO, Cal Davis told him about a diet he had started to control his diabetes.

“Sol was pretty interested in the diet and said he wanted to try it out,” Cal says.

“So I got him some books and he started to get his calories down and eat more low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style meals.”

The diet immediately brought results. Within eight weeks, Sol had lost seven kilos. But then his weight plateaued. When he started to do some light exercise he found he was short of breath after only a few steps.

Sol’s doctor referred him to cardiologist, Dr Raj Puranik who for seven years has conducted monthly clinics at the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service.

“We took an ultrasound and I was concerned that an area of Sol‘s heart muscle wasn’t working,“ Dr Puranik said.

“After we did an angiogram (or x-ray of the heart), we found that two of his coronary arteries were 100 percent blocked and the other was 90 percent blocked.  So he was surviving on just ten percent blood flow.”

Sol could have suffered a life-threatening heart attack at any time.

How Sol Bellear prevented a massive life-threatening heart attack

A member of the surgical team that operated on Sol later told him that he was just three to four weeks away from a massive heart attack that would most likely have killed him.

Sol was rushed to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where surgeons performed an emergency coronary bypass operation.

Surgeons split his chest open and grafts were used to bypass the blockages in his arteries.

After four hours the operation was a success and Sol woke to see his concerned family huddled around his bed.

“You wake up in the Intensive Care Unit and all your family are there.  And you look at their faces and see all their grief.  You think, so this is what I’ve put them through,” he said.

As the long-term Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Service and a Board member since 1975, Sol didn’t practice what he preached when it came to his own health.

“I’ve been part of campaigns urging Aboriginal men to lead healthy lifestyles and get regular medical checks, but I didn’t follow my own advice.”

Sol was a keen sportsman who played rugby league for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Redfern All Blacks, but after he retired from football he didn’t maintain regular exercise or watch his diet.

“I was working long hours, drinking too much and eating too many rubbish foods.”

Although he spent a large part of his life at the Aboriginal Medical Service, Sol, like many men, didn’t prioritise a visit to the doctor.

“It’s an ego thing. We think we’re bullet proof … it will never happen to me. But it did happen.”

Since his brush with death, Sol has been struck by how many of his friends and colleagues have had heart bi-passes.

“They say to me: ‘Brother, you’re now a member of the zipper club.’  But this isn’t a club where we want any new members.”

However, Sol knows that he is one of the lucky ones. After the operation he was at home recovering and feeling bored so he got out some old photos from his playing days.

There was one that was of the Redfern All Blacks team from 1978.

There are 20 young men in the photo including the ball boys.

Now all but six of them are dead, many from heart disease.

sol-1978-team

“The greatest tragedy is that many of the deaths of these young men were preventable,” Sol says.

“The only thing separating me from them is luck.”

Dr Puranik says that Australia will never close the mortality gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people without action on heart disease.

“Heart disease is the number one driving factor behind the gap. It’s the number one killer but 90 percent of cardiac disease is preventable,” he says.

His years at the Redfern AMS have convinced Dr Puranik that getting the model of health care delivery right is crucial to overcoming the problem.

“We need to take our clinics to Aboriginal people in their community-controlled medical services and show through images rather than just tell them how their heart muscle is working.”

The secret, he says, is patience and building trust.

“When we first started out at Redfern in June 2009 we had a no show rate of around 90 percent.  Now we have seen more than 6,000 patients and the number of people who don’t turn up for appointments is down to 10 percent.”

Sol says that Aboriginal men can’t just leave it to the doctors to solve the problem.

“We now have some of the best doctors in the world at our Medical Services, but only we can change the way that we live by having regular check-ups and a healthier lifestyle,” he says.

Sol says that when you hit 40, you need to start getting regular check-ups – even if you play regular sport and feel fit and healthy.

“By the time you move through your 50s and 60s you should have a clear idea of your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

You don’t want to leave it as long as I did – where you’re playing Russian roulette with your heart.”

Sol urges Aboriginal men to adopt a healthier lifestyle by not smoking, cutting down on alcohol and keeping weight down through healthy foods and regular exercise.

Dr Puranik says that there are some clear warning signs that indicate you should seek urgent medical attention.

These include pain to the left side of the central chest, neck or arm pain – particularly related to exercise, dizzy spells or blackouts, chest pain that wakes you up from sleep as well as breathlessness or palpitations.

Incredibly, given how close he came to death, just one month after surgery Sol’s normal heart function had been fully restored.

A veteran of the Aboriginal Land Rights movement and a pioneer of Aboriginal media, sports legal and health services, Sol says that nothing now matters as much to him as overcoming heart disease amongst Aboriginal men.

“If there’s one legacy I leave, I want it to be that Aboriginal men more regularly present for check-ups.”

“We need to take responsibility. We owe this to our families and our communities. We don’t need to keep dying too early from preventable heart disease.”

c1cc7hcveaaxzbh

For NACCHO Media Contact

Colin Cowell Editor 0401 331 251

Email mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health ” Tackling Indigenous Smoking ” : New Year #healthyfutures #quit message from Tom Calma

tom
 ” I want to say some more about New Year Eve resolutions or pledges.  Common among smokers around the world is the pledge they make to give up.  

This is great, but the common experience is that within a couple of months the pledge is put on the back burner and old habits re-emerge.  Now is a good time to mount a campaign to talk to your constituents about the “give up the smokes pledge” and encourage them to call Quitline or visit their doctor to talk about developing a strategy and getting support to quit and stay quit.

It would be great for colleagues to get on the Yarning Place and share successful strategies and to post success stories.  We might even want to host a pledge board and to monitor people’s pledges in three and six months’ time.

It has been a big year of learning and successes; please stay safe and healthy over the festive period and enjoy quality family time, drink alcohol responsibly and be smoke free of course “

Professor Tom Calma, National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking, in his final Monthly Message of the year : Included in the National Best Practice Unit for Tackling Indigenous Smoking Update of the 12 December 2016 see below , is urging all Aboriginal organisations to take control and resolve in 2017 to implement smoke free workplaces.

  ‘Our mob have the right to work in a smoke free environment just like everyone else in this country.’
 
Visit the Tackling Indigenous Smoking portal on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet to access resources to help you achieve smoke free workplaces,homes, cars and events:
 asite
 
For those individuals who are thinking of making a ‘give up smokes pledge’ this New Year, there are several supports available, including:
·         Quitline – 13 78 48
ql-web-mqb-home-page-banner-v2
·         The QuitNow website: http://www.quitnow.gov.au/internet/quitnow/publishing.nsf/Content/home for other resources
·         Your Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and /or Tackling Indigenous Smoking regional team can provide you with smoking cessation support.
naccho-app

 Download the NACCHO APP

Hi colleagues,

 

Tackling smoking in the workplace is often put in the ‘too hard basket’.  In 2016 this is no longer excusable.

 
If we want to make significant inroads into tackling our smoking rates, we must have the courage and will to take control of our workplaces and have Board members, CEOs and Managers and staff step up and set an example to their communities.  Our mob have the right to work in a smoke free environment just like everyone else in this country.

On the 30 November this year, the Commonwealth Department of Health celebrated 30 years of being smoke free.    Think of the benefits to all those working in this Department over these three decades.   Health lead the way in the Commonwealth, with all other Departments becoming smoke free by 1988.  Public and private sector offices implemented their own smoke free policies in the mid-1990s.  Why is it that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, corporations and workplaces are either not smoke free, or do not enforce smoke free policies?
 
The Smoke Free Workplace Policy currently operating in the Department bans smoking and use of e-cigarettes/personal vaporisers within 15 metres of all health buildings at all time.  There may be elements of this Policy that you can draw on, including ideas on the assistance available to staff to quit.   So when you work with or interact with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation or group encourage them to develop a smoke free policy and give them some guidance on how to do it.

The TIS Portal includes resources on smoke free spaces: 
http://www.aodknowledgecentre.net.au/aodkc/aodkc-tobacco/tackling-indigenous-smoking/resources-that-work/tools-and-resources-to-support-activities-that-work.    I encourage you to engage with colleagues on the Yarning Place to share strategies and ideas for smoke free workplace success.

The 30 November was also the fourth anniversary of commencement of Australia’s world-leading tobacco plain packaging measures.  If we can be world leading on tobacco control for all Australians, we can become leaders in Indigenous tobacco control to save our people, our culture and our languages.

As this is my last message for 2016 I would urge you to place at the top of your New Year resolutions list adopting and enforcing smoke free workplace policies in your organisation and encouraging and helping our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to also realise these goals.
 
I want to say some more about New Year Eve resolutions or pledges.  Common among smokers around the world is the pledge they make to give up.  This is great, but the common experience is that within a couple of months the pledge is put on the back burner and old habits re-emerge.  Now is a good time to mount a campaign to talk to your constituents about the “give up the smokes pledge” and encourage them to call Quitline or visit their doctor to talk about developing a strategy and getting support to quit and stay quit.   It would be great for colleagues to get on the Yarning Place and share successful strategies and to post success stories.  We might even want to host a pledge board and to monitor people’s pledges in three and six months’ time.
 
It has been a big year of learning and successes; please stay safe and healthy over the festive period and enjoy quality family time, drink alcohol responsibly and be smoke free of course. J  
 
Regards TOM
 
cost-of-smokes
 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @AIHW download 3 reports Alert : Obesity and smoking rates higher in regional Australia

obesity

 ” Australians living in regional areas are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

A second report reveals a similar pattern in relation to daily tobacco smoking with adults in regional areas more likely to smoke daily than their city counterparts.

These reports highlight local areas where efforts can be targeted to reduce rates of smoking, overweight and obesity.

The results are intended to assist local communities in defining their priorities for improvements in health care and to better target and drive health system improvements specific to their local community’s needs.”

The Healthy Communities reports look at local-level variation in obesity and smoking rates across Australia’s Primary Health Network (PHN) areas.

 ” The release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on overweight and obesity rates should serve as a shocking wake up call for the Turnbull Government – stop sitting on your hands and start acting on this critical public health issue by putting a National Physical Activity Strategy in place

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has gutted preventative health programs and cut $368 million out of prevention.

This forced the closure of successful health promotion programs including the Healthy Children program which provided funding to states and territories to run physical activity and healthy eating programs for children in schools, early childhood centres and preschools.”

CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE ( see full press release below )

Image above : Please note for specific data from our NACCHO 302 Clinics

Download NACCHO Healthy Futures

reportcard-1

MyHealthyCommunities

MyHealthyCommunities is an interactive site that lets you see how your local health area is performing and how it compares against other similar areas.

The website is managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare. We provide nationally consistent, locally relevant and comparable information about health care services in Australia.

The aim of this website is to provide information in a way that helps you to make informed decisions. By publicly reporting in this way we also aim to empower clinicians and service providers to drive improvements, and increase transparency and accountability within the health system.

http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/

The first report, Healthy Communities: Overweight and obesity rates across Australia, 2014–15,

DOWNLOAD report Here

aihw_hc_report_overweight_and_obesity_report_december_2016

shows that the highest rate of overweight and obesity in adults was 73% in Country South Australia, while Northern Sydney had the lowest rate at 53% – still over half the adult population in that area who were overweight or obese.

When looking at just obesity (a body mass index of 30 and above) a wider variation was seen in adults across PHN areas.

‘With obesity we see even wider variation with 16% of adults who were shown to be obese in Central and Eastern Sydney, compared with 38% in Country South Australia. Again, the highest obesity rates were recorded in regional areas,’ said AIHW spokesperson Michael Frost.

Today’s second report, Healthy Communities: Tobacco smoking rates across Australia, 2014–15

smokes-1smokes-2

Image above :

Please note for specific data from our NACCHO 302 Clinics

Download NACCHO Healthy Futures

For AIHW DOWNLOAD report here

aihw_hc_report_tobacco_smoking_rates_report_december_2016

shows that while daily smoking rates in Australia have continued to fall, they remain relatively high in some PHN areas – particularly regional areas.

‘Northern Sydney had the lowest rate of daily smoking at around 5%, while Western NSW had the highest rate of 23%,’ Mr Frost said.

‘Overall, regional PHN areas had higher smoking rates than city-based PHNs.’

Both reports are available on the MyHealthyCommunities website (http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au).

Opposition Response AUSTRALIA PAYING A HEAVY PRICE WHILE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACT ON OBESITY

Today’s release of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on overweight and obesity rates should serve as a shocking wake up call for the Turnbull Government – stop sitting on your hands and start acting on this critical public health issue by putting a National Physical Activity Strategy in place.

The AIHW’s Healthy Communities report illustrates why overweight and obesity rates are a serious problem for the future of our health system, finding that around 64 per cent of Australian adults – 11.2 million – are now overweight or obese.

The Government needs to get serious and start putting in place serious strategies to combat this epidemic. We don’t need more inquiries – Australia needs action.

The Global Burden of Disease study identified dietary risk and high body mass index as the top two contributors to burden of disease – even higher than smoking – linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

That’s why during the election, Labor committed to developing Australia’s first National Physical Activity Strategy.

Australia is falling behind the pack when it comes to tackling obesity – more than a dozen countries already have strategies in place to increase activity and reduce obesity.

We also committed to introduce a National Nutrition Framework, to work with food producers and retailers to expand the utilisation of the Health Star Rating system, something Labor developed in Government.

In contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has gutted preventative health programs and cut $368 million out of prevention. This forced the closure of successful health promotion programs including the Healthy Children program which provided funding to states and territories to run physical activity and healthy eating programs for children in schools, early childhood centres and preschools.

Australia needs a Government prepared to take action in recognition of the cost of obesity and associated co-morbidities, and actively help Australians to change their behaviour. The Turnbull Government either doesn’t care, or isn’t up to the task.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Smoking Research : The Don’t Make Smokes Your Story advertising is helping smokers to quit

history

 ” The Don’t Make Smokes Your Story Campaign was effective because it reflected the impact of smoking on family and community.

The evaluation showed

  •  9 per cent of people interviewed had quit as a result of seeing the campaign and
  • 27 per cent had cut down on their smoking.
  • A further 26 per cent intended to quit in the next month

The campaign shares the story of a young man who decides to quit to make sure he will be around to look after his children as they grow,

Approximately 39 percent of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over are daily smokers, which is nearly three times the rate for other Australians.

Smoking is estimated to account for one-in-five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, so changing attitudes to smoking is vital to closing the gap on health.”

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt

 ” Most of our people understand that smoking is harmful to themselves, to their children, to partners and to the community. One in five of our mob die from smoking related diseases and many others are sick because of smoking.

Passive smoking, that’s breathing in somebody else’s smoke, is as dangerous as smoking a cigarette and children are amongst those most affected. We all need to take on the challenge and make our homes, our cars, our social events, our meeting places, our council rooms and our workplaces smoke free.”

Tom Calma National Coordinator for the Australian Government’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program- see full message below

A significant portion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers have taken action to quit smoking after seeing the Don’t Make Smokes Your Story advertising campaign.

Watch video here

Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, said an independent evaluation of the campaign by ORC International found that it had generated high awareness and was very effective.

The campaign, launched in May this year, focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 to 40 years who smoke or have recently quit.

“This is an important campaign that seeks to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers to quit smoking for themselves and their families,” Dr Gillespie said.

Don’t Make Smokes Your Story – National Tobacco Campaign

TV script – 45 seconds

Ted and his family sitting on the back steps with his guitar.

VO: Family is everything to me.

We see Ted in the kitchen with his extended family.

VO: I can’t imagine life without them, to be honest.

We see Ted in the hospital with an oxygen mask on his face. A close up of his finger with a pulse monitor attached.

VO: I’ve had my battles with smokes.

We see Ted’s wife standing at his hospital bedside.

VO: My lungs got pretty bad

We see a close up of Ted’s face with the oxygen mask.

VO: Sometimes I could hardly breathe and that was tough on everyone.

We see Ted and his sons outside together.

VO: and that was tough on everyone.

In a flashback, we cut to a younger Ted at a skate park, smoking with a mate. We then see them passing cigarettes to each other as they sit in the skate bowl.

VO: I’m not sure why I smoked; I just did.

We see Ted playing with his children in the backyard.

VO: My kids, Jarrah and Yani, I wanted to be there for them, so I quit. I’ve quit before; I just kept trying.

We see Ted kicking a football with his children.

VO: now I can keep up with them in the yard….

Ted helps his children riding their bikes on the street.

VO: …and I’ve got more money to spend on better things.

We see Ted standing in front of his house taking a selfie with his Mum.

VO: Mum and the Aunties are pretty happy that I quit.

We see Ted with his extended family in the kitchen.

VO: They didn’t want me to die from smokes like Dad did.

We see Ted’s face and a shot of Ted standing in front of his house with his children playing football behind him.

VO: My name is Ted, and family is my story.

SUPER: DON’T MAKE SMOKES YOUR STORY.

Quit now: My Quitbuddy logo, Quitline 137848, Australia.gov.au/quitnow, Australian Government crest

VO: Don’t make smokes your story. Download the app, call the Quitline, or visit quitnow.

SUPER: Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra.

ANNCR: Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra.

“The Coalition Government is committed to reducing high Indigenous smoking rates.”

The campaign highlights the dangers of smoking, the reasons for quitting, and the tools and support available to help support people who have quit. It featured on television, radio, print, online and outdoor media, with a strong presence in regional and remote communities.

quit

The evaluation showed

  •  9 per cent of people interviewed had quit as a result of seeing the campaign and
  • 27 per cent had cut down on their smoking.
  • A further 26 per cent intended to quit in the next month.

Calls to the Quitline increased over the campaign period and downloads of the My QuitBuddy app reached more than 30,000 new users.

Download here

0

The campaign complements the Coalition Government’s $116.8 million Tackling Indigenous Smoking program which delivers targeted smoking prevention and cessation activities.

Video message – Professor Tom Calma

Welcome to the Quitnow website.

My name is Tom Calma. I am from Darwin and I am Kungarakan on my mother’s side and Iwaidja on my father’s side.

As the National Coordinator for the Australian Government’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program, it’s my job to support those working with our mob to quit, or not take up smoking.

If you need help to stop smoking or you want to try and help somebody else quit, then you’ve come to the right place.

This website has got all the information you need about how to quit and what support services are available to help you on your journey.

Most of our people understand that smoking is harmful to themselves, to their children, to partners and to the community. One in five of our mob die from smoking related diseases and many others are sick because of smoking.

Passive smoking, that’s breathing in somebody else’s smoke, is as dangerous as smoking a cigarette and children are amongst those most affected. We all need to take on the challenge and make our homes, our cars, our social events, our meeting places, our council rooms and our workplaces smoke free.

Smoking or breathing in somebody else’s smoking while you’re pregnant also puts a mum and the baby at higher risk of health problems, and some of these problems can affect the baby for life.

Children with parents who smoke are more likely to take up smoking themselves. Be a positive role model for the children around you and break the smoking cycle.

Not only is smoking bad for your health, it is also expensive. Think about how much money you and your family could save if you support each other to quit!

Now most smokers want to quit and have tried to quit. While our people have done a fantastic job in quitting smoking, we still have a long way to go.

I ask my brothers and sisters, Aunties and Uncles and young ones to give up smoking or not take it up. I also ask you to help others you care about to choose the no smoking path. That way we can all lead long and healthy lives.

So enjoy the website and I wish you all the best in quitting and staying smoke free. Don’t make smokes your story!

Background

The Australian Government has strengthened its commitment to closing the gap in Indigenous life expectancy, with the launch of the latest phase of the National Tobacco Campaign.

Don’t Make Smokes Your Story features new advertising materials specifically targeted at encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers to make a serious quit attempt, not just for themselves but also for the health and wellbeing of their families.

Approximately 39 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 15 are daily smokers, 2.8 times the smoking rate for other Australians. It is estimated that smoking accounts for one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

The Don’t Make Smokes Your Story campaign aims to change this. It tells the inspiring story of Ted, a mid-thirties Aboriginal and South Sea Islander man who decided to quit smoking for his family, to make sure he’d be around to look after his kids. The campaign highlights the dangers of smoking, the reasons for quitting, and the tools and support available to help people stay quit.

Find out more from your nearest ACCHO or

The Quit Now website has more useful information about quitting smoking.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert #GetonTrack Report : The ten things we need to do to improve our health

 health-2

” Australia’s Health Tracker reports that 25.6% of children and 29.5% of young people are overweight or obese, with even higher prevalence reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Over-consumption of discretionary or junk foods contributes to Australia’s inability to halt the rise of diabetes and obesity. Australia’s Health Tracker also reports that junk foods contribute, on average, to approximately 40% of children and young people’s daily energy needs.

These foods and drinks tend to have low levels of essential nutrients and can take the place of other, more nutritious foods. They are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

Obesity during adolescence is a risk factor for chronic disease later in life and can seriously hinder children’s and young people’s physical and mental development. ”

From the Getting Australia’s Health on Track

health-4

Download the report here getting-australias-health-on-track-ahpc-nov2016

page-1-copy

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Newspaper What Works Part 3 : Healthy Futures for our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services the 2016 Report Card will say

Report from the Conversation

In Australia, one in every two people has a chronic disease. These diseases, such as cancer, mental illness and heart disease, reduce quality of life and can lead to premature death. Younger generations are increasingly at risk.

Crucially, one-third of the disease burden could be prevented and chronic diseases often share the same risk factors.

A collaboration of Australia’s leading scientists, clinicians and health organisations has produced health targets for Australia’s population to reach by the year 2025.

health-3

These are in line with the World Health Organisation’s agenda for a 25% global reduction in premature deaths from chronic diseases, endorsed by all member states including Australia.

Today the collaboration is announcing its top ten priority policy actions in response to a recent health report card that identifies challenges to meeting the targets.

The actions will drive down risk factors and help create a healthier Australia.

health-1

1. Drink fewer sugary drinks

One in two adults and three out of four children and young people consume too much sugar. Sugary drinks are the main source of sugar in the Australian diet and while many other factors influence health, these drinks are directly linked to weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes.

Putting a 20% tax on sugary drinks could save lives and prevent heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The tax would also generate A$400 million each year that could be spent on much needed health programs.

2. Stop unhealthy food marketing aimed at kids

Almost 40% of children and young people’s energy comes from junk food. Children are very responsive to marketing and it is no coincidence almost two-thirds of food marketing during popular viewing times are unhealthy products.

Restricting food marketing aimed at children is an effective way to significantly reduce junk food consumption and Australians want action in this area. Government-led regulation is needed to drive this change.

3. Keep up the smoking-reduction campaigns

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, although the trends are positive.

Campaigns that highlight the dangers of smoking reduce the number of young people who start smoking, increase the number of people who attempt to quit and support former smokers to remain tobacco free.

4. Help everyone quit

About 40% of Aboriginal people and 24% of people with a mental illness smoke.

To support attempts to quit, compliance with smoke-free legislation across all work and public places is vital. Media campaigns need to continue to reach broad audiences. GPs and other local health services that serve disadvantaged communities should include smoking cessation in routine care.

5. Get active in the streets

More than 90% of Australian young people are not meeting guidelines for sufficient physical activity – the 2025 target is to reduce this by at least 10%.

Active travel to and from school programs will reach 3.7 million of Australia’s children and young people. This can only occur in conjunction with safe paths and urban environments that are designed in line with the latest evidence to get everyone moving.

6. Tax alcohol responsibly

The Henry Review concluded that health and social harms have not been adequately considered in current alcohol taxation. A 10% increase on the current excise, and the consistent application of volume-based taxation, are the 2017 priority actions.

Fortunately, the trends suggest most people are drinking more responsibly. However approximately 5,500 deaths and 157,000 hospital admissions occur as a consequence of alcohol each year.

7. Use work as medicine

People with a mental illness are over-represented in national unemployment statistics. The 2025 target is to halve the employment gap.

Unemployment and the associated financial duress exerts a significant toll on the health of people with a mental illness, and costs an estimated A$2.5 billion in lost productivity each year.

Supported vocational programs have 20 years of evidence showing their effectiveness. Scaling up and better integrating these programs is an urgent priority, along with suicide prevention and broader efforts.

8. Cut down on salt

Most Australian adults consume in excess of the recommended maximum salt intake of 5 grams daily. This contributes to a high prevalence of elevated blood pressure among adults (23%), which is a major risk factor for heart diseases.

Around 75% of Australian’s salt intake comes from processed foods. Reducing salt intake by 30% by 2025, via food reformulation, could save 3,500 lives a year through reductions in heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

9. Promote heart health

Heart disease is Australia’s single largest cause of death, and yet an estimated 970,000 adults at high risk of a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke) are not receiving appropriate treatment to reduce risk factors such as combined blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. Under-treatment can be exacerbated by people’s lack of awareness about their own risk factors.

National heart risk assessment programs, along with care planning for high-risk individuals, offer a cost-effective solution.

10. Measure what matters

A comprehensive Australian Health Survey must be a permanent and routine survey every five years, so Australia knows how we are tracking on chronic disease.

All of these policies are effective, affordable and feasible opportunities to prevent, rather than treat, Australia’s biggest killer diseases