- Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course: Helping health professionals put their best ally-foot forward
- VACCHO launches Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing
- Antibiotic shortage hampers treatment of infectious kidney disease in Yarrabah
- Indigenous Disability Research Symposium calls for collaboration
- Community see plans for new SWAMS Health Hub
- Sector Jobs
The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.
We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.
Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course: Helping health professionals put their best ally-foot forward
Understanding is key to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve health outcomes, says Curtis Ruhnau, Community Pharmacist and Partner at Emerton Pharmacy. In pursuit of a greater understanding of his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, Mr Ruhnau and all staff at Emerton Amcal Pharmacy, on Darug/Gundungurra Country, completed the Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Course developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
Mr Ruhnau stated, “Western medicine’s very good at treating aliments and pretty terrible at seeing the whole person, and that’s where this course really helps us to connect a little bit better.
“You can’t treat the person without being able to at least acknowledge, even if you can’t directly address, things like intergenerational trauma.
“We can’t even start to treat the person unless we can look at all of that.”
The Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course is an interactive online course which includes seven modules covering topics such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, communication skills including how to use clinical yarning within a practice, and conditions of prevalence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A crucial takeaway for Mr Ruhnau was unpacking and unlearning “some of the lies that we were taught at school as kids.”
“A lot of the lies we were taught back when I went to school about colonisation of the country. In place of that [the course], gives us the facts about what really did happen with colonisation and dispossession, and what we as a country have done to our First Nations people over the past 235 years,” Mr Ruhnau said.
Wanting to put his best ally-foot forward, Mr Ruhnau says “education is never wasted and it’s always a good thing to have more information about what it is that you’re doing, and what it is that the people you’re working for are actually dealing with.”
A part of the course is around ‘closing the gap,’ acknowledging what the gaps are between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians, and what work is needed in closing those gaps. For Mr Ruhnau this meant seeing patients as a whole person, rather than the health problem they are dealing with.
On completion of the course, the Emerton Amcal Pharmacy staff proudly wear their Deadly Pharmacists’ shirts, which have been unanimously well received by patients.
“It gives them a feeling of their experience is respected by us, because we’ve gone out of our way to spend that time to learn more so that we can better help them in our day-to-day job,” Mr Ruhnau said.
To enroll in the Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course go here.
VACCHO launches Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing
The Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing is dedicated to advancing the rights and social and emotional wellbeing of families in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities throughout Victoria. Traditional, ancient Aboriginal models of parenting and raising children promote holistic health and wellbeing, cultural resilience, and a strong sense of community and identity. The Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing will champion these models that celebrate the strengths, resilience, and cultural richness within Aboriginal families.
The Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing’s vision is that Aboriginal families are emotionally, spiritually, and culturally strong, live in safe and caring environments within their Communities, and are afforded the same life opportunities available to all Australians to achieve their full potential.
Dr Jill Gallagher AO, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO says the centre will advocate for prioritising the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal families as the cornerstone of prosperity for Communities.
“The Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Families Wellbeing is an exciting initiative that will focus on keeping families together and keeping families safe and strong. Doing so leads to better education outcomes, employment prospects – and in turn helps break cycles of disadvantage.
“Aboriginal families deserve to be set up for parenting success before birth and have access to culturally strong, safe, and responsive Aboriginal and mainstream health and wellbeing services that build on our strengths and enable healing.
“Aboriginal families also have the right to participate in – and have control over – decisions that affect our children and our lives.”
Learn more here.
Antibiotic shortage hampers treatment of infectious kidney disease in Yarrabah
Doctors dealing with outbreak of an infectious kidney disease in Far North Queensland are grappling with a shortage of the preferred medical treatment. Six children in the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah, south of Cairns, have contracted post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, or APSGN, which is a rare disease that can develop after infections with streptococcus bacteria. Dr Jason King, Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service director said the symptoms of APSGN could be “subtle”, but it was a serious infectious condition that could “rapidly spread” and cause long-term health effects.
“Due to a number of factors, it can compound and create a population that has earlier and worse rates of chronic kidney disease,” he said.
The outbreak comes as healthcare practitioners nationwide experience a shortfall in supply of an antibiotic sold under the name Bicillin L-A, which Dr King said was the preferred treatment for APSGN, rheumatic heart disease and syphilis.
“We’re really faced with difficult circumstances where we’re forced to use second-line alternatives which are often more difficult to administer across a time frame,” Dr King said.
In a statement, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said it acknowledged “the importance of reliable antibiotic supply,” but had been advised by manufacturer Pfizer that a worldwide shortage of higher and lower-strength varieties of the medicine would continue until November next year.
A spokesperson said the TGA had issued a notice allowing wholesalers to “to constrain supply to facilitate equitable distribution” and that the issue was being worked on with the relevant federal, state and territory government bodies.
Read the full ABC News article here.
Indigenous Disability Research Symposium calls for collaboration
Indigenous scholars from Australia, the US, Canada and Sweeden shared their ideas at the inaugural International Indigenous Disability Research Symposium, held at the University of Sydney. Presentation topics included First Nations Disability and Inclusion in Australia, Overview of Indigenous Sign Language, and Research with Blind or Vision Impaired Aboriginal People. Strength and collaboration were the key words to emerge from presenters and those attending, calling for educators, clinicians, and researchers to come together to influence policy.
Dr Jocelyn Jones, a Noongar woman from Curtin University National Drug Research Institute spoke about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability who have experienced domestic and family violence. Her research focus has been on the inequalities around juvenile justice, disability, and child protection.
Rodney Adams, a deaf Koori man and University of Sydney adjunct lecturer, is working on a new course ‘Disability and Decolonisation.’ His research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is essential for understanding deaf health, Indigenous health, education, and social wellbeing.
Dr Sheelah Daniels-Maye a Gamilaraay/Gomeroi woman and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne spoke about the Equity Needs Assessment Tool. The tool is designed to outline difficulties students with disability are experiencing, what they are doing to overcome these barriers, and how much it is adding to their workload.
The big takeaway from the symposium was to hold an international conference for people with different abilities to collaborate on multi-disciplinary initiatives.
One speaker said, “We cannot accept the status quo as it will not get us very far. Strength becomes stronger when it is done together, and we don’t leave anyone behind. Research driven by us, based on the principles of collaboration, should be embedded in what we do.”
Read the full article here.
Community see plans for new SWAMS Health Hub
Community members gathered on the site of South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) new Health Hub this week, to see the plans of the upcoming facility onsite at Jaycee Park. The Health Hub will bring SWAMS Bunbury’s services under one roof.
It comes as SWAMS Health Hub is a step closer to construction after the Federal Government allocated $18.3 million for the development. The funding allocation delivers on a pre-election promise to support the Health Hub being developed at Jaycee Park, Bunbury. The facility will provide a permanent location for SWAMS’ administration, clinical services and programs which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the South West.
“The Health Hub will have an enormous positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the South West,” said Lesley Nelson, SWAMS CEO.
Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.
Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.