NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Smoking : Survey #Nosmokes How #socialmedia supports positive health behaviour

How does accessing the NoSmokes health campaign support anti-smoking behaviour in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth?

What is this project about?

The aim of this project is to explore how the NoSmokes health campaign supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to deal with smoking situations. We will also explore whether accessing NoSmokes supports young people to stay quit or resist starting smoking.

What are the benefits of the project?
This project will help us to understand more about how online technology and social media can be used to support positive health behaviour, particularly in relation to smoking. You may also learn more about your own confidence in dealing with a number of different smoking situations.

What will I have to do?

To participate you must use /view

1.NoSmokes Facebook page.

VIEW HERE

2. NoSmokes website.

VIEW HERE

3. NoSmokes YouTube channel.

VIEW HERE

4. NoSmokes  Instagram page

VIEW HERE

5.and be 16 years of age or older.

Your participation is voluntary, so you don’t need to take part if you don’t want to. If you choose to take part, you will complete an online questionnaire answering questions about: your experience with smoking; your experience of NoSmokes, your confidence in dealing with different smoking situations. This will take around 20-25 minutes.

If there are any questions in the survey you don’t like, or that you do not feel comfortable answering, then leave that question and move onto the next one. You can complete the survey on your mobile phone or computer. If you change your mind about participating, or are feeling uncomfortable, you can choose to stop the survey at any time by closing the web page or by not pressing the ‘submit’ button. Any data collected before you withdraw will be deleted at the end of the data collection period.

What will happen to my information?

Only the researcher will have access to the individual information provided by participants. Privacy and confidentiality will be assured at all times. The project findings will be used as part of the researcher’s Honours Thesis project, and will be published on the NoSmokes and Ninti One websites. The research may also be presented at conferences and written up for publication.

Only anonymous information will be gathered – you will not be required to provide any identifiable personal information, such as your name or date of birth. No one will know you have taken part in this research from reading the thesis, reports or other publications.

If you are interested in viewing the results of this research, a summary report will be available on the NoSmokes website http://nosmokes.com.au/ in December 2017. You can also request a copy of the final thesis by emailing Neeti Rangnath on u3105740@uni.canberra.edu.au.

Researcher
Neeti Rangnath
Honours Student
Discipline of Psychology, Faculty of Health
University of Canberra, ACT 2601
Email: u3105740@uni.canberra.edu.au
Supervisor
Dr Penney Upton
Associate Professor in Health
Centre for Research and Action in Public Health
University of Canberra, ACT 2601
Ph: 02 6201 2638
Email: penney.upton@canberra.edu.au
Data storage
During the project, the anonymous data will be stored securely on a password protected computer, and then stored securely on the University of Canberra network server. The information will be kept for 5 years, after which it will be destroyed according to University of Canberra protocols.

Ethics Committee Clearance
The project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Canberra (HREC 17-83).

Queries and Concerns
If you have any questions or concerns about this project you can contact the researchers, whose details are provided at the top of this form. If you are concerned about the conduct of this project please contact

Mr Hendryk Flaegel, Ethics and Compliance Officer at the University of Canberra (p) 02 6201 5220 (e) humanethicscommittee@canberra.edu.au

There are no anticipated risks associated with participating in this research. However, if completing this questionnaire makes you feel uncomfortable, sad, or angry about your own smoking or the smoking behaviour of someone you know, you are encouraged to visit the following website to find support with smoking-related issues in your state or territory:

http://www.quitnow.gov.au/internet/quitnow/publishing.nsf 

Consent Statement 
I have read and understood the information about the research. I am not aware of any reason that I should not be participating in this research, and I agree to participate in this project. I have had the opportunity to ask questions about my participation in the research. All questions I have asked have been answered to my satisfaction.

Complete consent and start survey here

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Community Development Programme (CDP) Debate : Is it adult childcare for Aboriginal people ?

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” Adult childcare for Aboriginal people. That’s how one CDP participant described the failing CDP.

Working for less than the minimum wage, people unable to afford food or pay their rent. And no jobs. This report says what many CDP participants and providers in the NT have been telling me – it’s just not working.

Senator Nigel Scullion needs to listen and make urgent changes so CDP works.”

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy is a Northern Territory Labor Senator in the Federal Parliament

Download the Job Creation and Income Support in Remote Indigenous Australia: Moving Forward with a Better System report here

 ” If I had been invited to contribute to the report, I would have pointed to the significant progress the CDP has delivered in terms of engagement and participation rates,

The last thing the communities I visit and engage with on a regular basis say to me is that they want a return to passive welfare and disengagement – which is precisely what would happen if we ended the CDP.

It is disappointing that public debate is being dominated by urban academics like Dr Jordan whose professional experience is limited to being an academic in east coast universities, and the union organisations like the ACTU that have only opposed mutual obligation requirements since the change of Government in 2013.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has strongly rejected the findings contained in an Australian National University (ANU) report about the Coalition Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) that has been released last week .see press release in Article 2

Picture above : Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion chats with local tradesmen and trainees in the Indigenous community of Milingimbi in the Northern Territory in July 2015 while launching the government’s Community Development Program. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

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Researchers call for urgent rethink of remote policy – ANU press release

The Community Development Programme (CDP) is a remote-area Work for the Dole scheme that principally affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program is billed by the government as ‘helping people find work, and allowing them to contribute to their communities and gain skills while looking for work.’ But there is mounting evidence that CDP is creating significant hardship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, leading to increasing pressure for the scheme to be scrapped or radically overhauled.

This series of short articles provides background to these developments and offers insights into a productive way ahead. The contributors are academics and representatives from key Indigenous institutions, all of whom have a longstanding interest in the field and are deeply concerned by the current policy direction.

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have called for an urgent rethink of the Federal Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP), a work-for-the-dole style initiative for remote areas, after a report found it is causing major problems.

The CDP was introduced in July 2015 and includes around 34,000 people of whom 84 per cent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The program replaced the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme (RJCP) and the earlier Community Development Employment Program (CDEP).

Report editor Dr Kirrily Jordan said the program has significant ramifications for Australia’s remote communities.

“We’re getting reports of people going hungry and not able to feed their kids,” Dr Jordan said.

“In some places there are reduced store sales, a big increase in those falling behind in rent, people are unable to pay back fines which puts them at risk of imprisonment, and we’re hearing about increased tensions in communities because of conflicts about money.”

The new scheme increased the number of hours required for most people to receive unemployment benefits from 15 hours a week in CDEP to 25 hours a week, for at least 46 weeks per year.

In contrast participants in jobactive, the equivalent program in regional and urban areas, generally have much less onerous work for the dole requirements, and only for six months of the year.

Dr Jordan of the ANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research said the changes had resulted in a number of serious issues for people living in remote communities.

“In a lot of these places people don’t have reasonable access to Centrelink. There’s often very limited  internet and phone coverage, so people who want to contact Centrelink are sometimes having to use the one or two community phones, often lining up for days on end to try to talk to someone,” Dr Jordan said.

“Even once they do get through they often can’t understand each other, so people are being penalised unfairly.

“Being required to do 25 hours per week is a lot tougher than unemployment schemes for people in urban and regional areas.

“That means there is a much higher likelihood of penalties, just because the obligations are so much higher.”

The report found under CDP 146,000 financial penalties have been applied in 2015-16 to 34,000 participants, compared to 104,000 penalties applied to around 750,000 jobactive participants.

The report’s authors believe there needs to be an urgent rethink of the CDP policy.

“We’re saying here that a number of experienced academics and representatives of Aboriginal organisations feel the scheme is a policy disaster and an affront to human rights,” Dr Jordan said.

“People living in remote Aboriginal communities often get characterised as living ‘dysfunctional’ lives, when CDP is a clear example of people trying their best and being undermined by dysfunctional government policy.”

“Work needs to start on designing a whole new program. It’s so flawed and broken that they need to go back to basics and this time collaborate properly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations and design a scheme that will work in a remote context.”

The report titled ‘Job creation and income support in remote Indigenous Australia: moving forward with a better system’ has been prepared by researchers at the ANU’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Deakin University, The University of Melbourne, and the CEOs of the Northern Land Council and Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.  The full report is available at http://caepr.anu.edu.au/Publications/topical/2016TI2.php.

Facts don’t back up ANU report on CDP

Minister Scullion noted the report, Job Creation and Income Support in Remote Indigenous Australia: Moving Forward with a Better System, was compiled by ANU academics, Dr Kirrily Jordan and Lisa Fowkes, without any input from his office or department.

If I had been invited to contribute to the report, I would have pointed to the significant progress the CDP has delivered in terms of engagement and participation rates,” Minister Scullion said.

“The last thing the communities I visit and engage with on a regular basis say to me is that they want a return to passive welfare and disengagement – which is precisely what would happen if we ended the CDP.

“Support for the CDP is demonstrated by the number of participants who volunteer to participate in activities: more than 7000 or around 22 per cent of the caseload.

“Under the CDP, 85 per cent of eligible job seekers have been placed in work -like activities, up from 45 per cent at the end of the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme (RJCP).

“The CDP has supported job seekers into more than 11,000 jobs and achieved more than 3600 26-week employment outcomes for job seekers in remote communities.

“The rate of job seekers actively participating in the programme has increased from less than 7 per cent in July 2015 to 62 per cent in November 2016 – reversing the failed arrangements ofthe former RJCP that facilitated passive welfare at the expense of community engagement.

“We estimate the Government provides about $400 million every quarter in welfare payments to remote communities covered by the CDP. Less than 1 per cent of this is deducted as a result of financial penalties imposed because of non-attendance at CDP work-for-the-dole activities.

“I remain committed to working in partnership with the Opposition, communities and providers to continue to improve the operation of the CDP and ensure local communities have more control, including through the delivery of the programme by local providers rather than Centrelink.

“This proposed reform to support local delivery of the CDP would address many of the issues the authors of this report raise but fail to acknowledge.”

Minister Scullion said Dr Jordan also failed to acknowledge the mutual obligation requirements for remote job seekers were not more demanding than those of non-remote job seekers.

“All activity-tested job seekers nationally are required to undertake up to 25 hours of mutual obligation activity (depending on their assessed capacity to work) in return for their income support.

“Furthermore, waiver provisions are in place to ensure that financial penalties such as the eightweek non-payment period do not cause undue financial hardship. More than 90 per cent of eight – week non-payment penalties are waived.

“It is disappointing that public debate is being dominated by urban academics like Dr Jordan whose professional experience is limited to being an academic in east coast universities, and the union organisations like the ACTU that have only opposed mutual obligation requirements since the change of Government in 2013.

“In contrast, the Government is working in partnership with communities to reduce sit down welfare in remote communities and get job seekers into work and actively engaged.

“I have visited more than 150 communities on more than 200 occasions to talk with communitie s about the CDP and am committed to continuing to engage with communities.

“I encourage the report’s authors to talk to me and the communities I visit that have strongly welcomed the introduction of the CDP before reaching conclusions about the CDP that are not backed up by the real evidence.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Smoking :Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates,health researchers say

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“Facebook is a more effective way of reaching Indigenous Australians than traditional forms of communication; what we need to figure out is how to harness that message,”

Marita Hefler from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

“On Facebook I have seen some of my friends quitting smoking, using Facebook as a diary, and they’ve been very successful. I’m hoping that sharing my experiences will also help me quit,”

After suffering a heart attack on her 50th birthday, Chuna Lowah is trying to quit smoking, and is hopeful Facebook can help.

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Articles are from Page 8  NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

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

Indigenous people have the highest rates of smoking in the country, but researchers in the Top End believe Facebook could be the most effective way of helping them quit.

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As reported the ABC

Aboriginal people living in remote communities smoke at three times the rate of other Australians, according to research fellow Marita Hefler from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

Preliminary research into the role of Facebook in helping smokers to quit has found that although the living situations of Indigenous Australians differs widely across the Northern Territory, even those who lack food or clothing may still own a smartphone.

“We know that Aboriginal people use social media at very high rates; it’s been taken up even in remote communities, particularly where people have limited communication through other means,” Ms Hefler said.

Researchers believe Indigenous people use Facebook at higher rates than the overall population, making it one of the most effective ways to reach out.

“Facebook is a more effective way of reaching Indigenous Australians than traditional forms of communication; what we need to figure out is how to harness that message,” Ms Hefler said.

Early findings show that when friends and family talk about quitting smoking on social media, it has a greater effect than traditional hardline anti-smoking ads.

“The people in your Facebook networks influence you the most,” Ms Hefler said.

“In the past, anti-smoking advertising has relied heavily on having a captive audience; we know that smokers don’t like the content they are seeing, but they can’t get away. Now with the advent of Facebook, all you have to do is swipe and the message is gone.”

Cigarettes more popular than fruit in outback stores

Customers in remote Australia spent roughly four and a half times more on cigarettes than fruit and vegetables in 2015-16, said Stephen Bradley, chairman of Outback Stores, a government-owned company which manages 37 businesses in some of the remotest parts of the country.

An incentive program run by Outback Stores to improve community health has resulted in a 0.5 per cent drop in soft drink sales and a five per cent increase in fruit and vegetable sales, but Mr. Bradley admits more needs to be done.

“We remain convinced that a significant dietary change will take many years and our support programs need to operate for the longer term to be effective,” he said.

The Federal Government is aiming to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy within a generation.

Indigenous deaths caused by heart disease and strokes have been dropping but on average Indigenous people are still dying 10 years younger than non-Indigenous Australians.

“Smoking in Aboriginal communities looks quite different to what it does in the rest of Australia,” Ms Hefler said.

“There’s historical reasons why the smoking rate is higher: it’s tied up in inter-generational trauma, and we also know the stolen generations are more likely to smoke.”

Using Facebook to quit

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After suffering a heart attack on her 50th birthday, Chuna Lowah is trying to quit smoking, and is hopeful Facebook can help.

Ms Lowah has been a smoker for more than half her life and agrees the tough traditional anti-smoking ads are too easy to ignore.

“On Facebook I have seen some of my friends quitting smoking, using Facebook as a diary, and they’ve been very successful. I’m hoping that sharing my experiences will also help me quit,” she said.

The preliminary research findings from Menzies have been welcomed by NT Territory Labor MP Chansey Paech, whose central Australian electorate of Namatjira has a high Indigenous population.

“Both the Territory and Federal Governments have made significant contributions over the last several years to reduce the rates of smoking, so I’m looking forward to reading the report and seeing what the recommendations are, and hopefully reducing the smoking rate in the Northern Territory, which we know is too high,” he said.

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NACCHO Aboriginal health and smoking : Some good news but 40 % of mums to be still smoking

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 “South Australia is leading the nation in efforts to reduce smoking rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, according to data released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

The 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey shows a significant decrease in daily smoking rates in South Australia, down from 48.9 per cent in 2008 to 38.2 per cent in 2014/15.

SA leads the way in reducing Indigenous smoking rates

 ” If you’re pregnant or planning to be, ‘Quit for you – Quit for two’ provides support and encouragement to help you give up smoking.

It will take your mind off the cravings with fun exercises and games to keep your hands busy. It distracts you when you feel the urge to light up, with practical quit tips and advice. It inspires you to keep going with amazing facts about your baby’s development.

Download the free APP ‘Quit for you – Quit for two’  see article 2 below

 “Aboriginal communities across Australia will benefit from a $2.26 million national grant awarded to University of Newcastle (UON) public health researchers for a culturally competent smoking cessation program focused on the health and wellbeing of pregnant Aboriginal women.

The study, called ‘Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) QUIT in Pregnancy’, was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

In Australia we have declining rates of smoking among pregnant women in general – the rate is currently around 10% – but with Aboriginal women the rate is up around 40% and there has been no decline,”

Professor Bonevski

$2.2 million grant for quit-smoking trial helping pregnant Aboriginal mums  see Article 3 below

This decrease of 10.7 percentage points means South Australia now has one of the lowest daily smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

Background

Drug and Alcohol Services SA delivers an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focussed program to tackle smoking.

This includes working in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled health services and a social marketing campaign called ‘Give up Smokes for Good’ featuring respected Aboriginal non-smoking ambassadors who deliver positive tobacco related health messages to their local communities.

Smoking data compiled by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute shows that, across the whole South Australian population:

  • The smoking rate among South Australians declined from 20.5% in 2010 to 15.7% in 2015
  • Smoking among people aged 15 to 29 declined from 22.9% in 2010 to 16.9% in 2015
  • Smoking among people with a mental illness declined from 34.5% in 2010 to 26% in 2015

Quotes attributable to Substance Abuse Minister Leesa Vlahos

This data shows that South Australia is leading the way nationally in the decline of daily smoking rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

While we know there is still more to do, our Closing the Gap initiatives are positively impacting smoking rates. These include our stop smoking support services and our ‘Give up Smokes for Good’ campaign.

There is still significant progress to be made to reduce the burden of disease from tobacco smoking in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but these recent figures show an encouraging trend.

 ‘Quit for you – Quit for two’ Article 2

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If you’re pregnant or planning to be, ‘Quit for you – Quit for two’ provides support and encouragement to help you give up smoking.

It will take your mind off the cravings with fun exercises and games to keep your hands busy. It distracts you when you feel the urge to light up, with practical quit tips and advice. It inspires you to keep going with amazing facts about your baby’s development. And, it gives you ideas for what you could buy with the money you’re saving every day you don’t spend money on cigarettes.

You can even personalise the app with your details so that you get daily reminders and words of encouragement. Enter your due date and the app will automatically message you to let you know how your baby’s growing.

It’s a fun and really practical way to quit and stay smoke-free for the health of you and your baby.

Download the ‘Quit for you – Quit for Two’ app free on your iPhone or iPad from the Apple iTunes online store or for your android phone at Google Play store

$2.2 million grant for quit-smoking trial helping pregnant Aboriginal mums Article 3

Aboriginal communities across Australia will benefit from a $2.26 million national grant awarded to University of Newcastle (UON) public health researchers for a culturally competent smoking cessation program focused on the health and wellbeing of pregnant Aboriginal women.

The study, called ‘Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) QUIT in Pregnancy’, was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

With a four-year funding package announced yesterday under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) scheme, the team led by Professor Billie Bonevski and Dr Gillian Gould will now collaborate with a larger group of around 30 Aboriginal health care services around the nation.

“In Australia we have declining rates of smoking among pregnant women in general – the rate is currently around 10% – but with Aboriginal women the rate is up around 40% and there has been no decline,” Professor Bonevski said.

“A lot of tobacco control measures in Australia have, until recently, been targeted at non-Aboriginal Australians whereas the (ICAN) QUIT in Pregnancy resources have been specifically developed to be a health promotion platform for Aboriginal communities as they draw on the knowledge and expertise of the community.

“They are grounded in culturally appropriate material and Aboriginal people deliver the smoking cessation support. From a cultural perspective this is very important.

“During the first phase of the study our quit smoking resources were pre-tested with Aboriginal women, elders and health professionals in three States. They received very favorable responses, are were thought to reflect the diversity of Aboriginal peoples in Australia,” Dr Gillian Gould said.

The NHMRC grant will enable researchers to provide full training and resources to staff at half of the health services involved in the trial, with the other half serving as a control group so that program outcomes can be effectively evaluated.

Under the trial, health data such as baby birth weight and lung health will also be collected by Professor Jorge Mattes and Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM from the UON’s GrowUpWell and Mothers and Babies research centres to highlight the benefit of quitting for the newborn child.

Professor Bonevski and Dr Gould research in conjunction with HMRI’s Public Health program. Pilot research was funded by the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance and the NSW Ministry for Health. Dr Gould also has fellowship funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Institute of NSW.

   

NACCHO #Health Press Release : #AIHW reveals the extent of the health crisis facing Aboriginal communities

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“In a wealthy country such as Australia, I am appalled by the unacceptable gap in the health of Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people.  More than one-third (37%) of the diseases or illness experienced by Aboriginal people are preventable.

“We need to act before another generation of young Aboriginal people have to live with avoidable diseases and die far too young.

If we are serious about turning this crisis around we need sustained investment in evidence-based programs for Aboriginal people, by Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal community controlled health services –  a model we know works.

Matthew Cooke Chair of NACCHO pictured above with Vice Chair Sandy Davies 

New figures show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience ill health at more than double that of non-Indigenous Australians.

The peak Aboriginal health organisation, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) said the report highlights the urgent need for a rethink on actions to address the already known and growing crisis in Aboriginal health.

The report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released today shows Aboriginal Australians experience a burden of disease at 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.

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Download the report aihw-australian-burden-of-disease-study

NACCHO Chair, Matthew Cooke, said it is the first ever in-depth study of the scale of disease in Indigenous communities.

See AIHW Press Release

“It’s given us a clearer picture of the real impact for Aboriginal communities of poor health in terms of years of health lives lost, quality of life and wellbeing and what the risks factors really are,” Mr Cooke said.

“It’s shown that we still have a massive challenge to address the overwhelming level of non-fatal burden in mental health in particular – which makes up 43 per cent of non-fatal illness in men and 35 per cent of these conditions in women.

The AIHW report found that injuries, including suicide, heart disease and cancer are the biggest causes of death in Aboriginal people. Levels of diabetes and kidney disease are five and seven times higher in Aboriginal people than non-Aboriginal people.

Mr Cooke said the report must trigger a rethink on how health programs are funded and delivered to Aboriginal people.

“The risk factors causing health problems include tobacco use, alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and dietary factors – all of which can be addressed with the right programs on the ground and delivered by the right people.

“All levels of government should urgently act on this evidence; we need to see these findings translated into programs, policies and funding priorities that are proven to work. Too many programs aimed at addressing Aboriginal health are still fragmented, out of touch with local communities, unaffordable or inaccessible.

“If we are serious about turning this crisis around we need sustained investment in evidence-based programs for Aboriginal people, by Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal community controlled health services –  a model we know works.”

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NACCHO #ACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Sir Michael Marmot inspired by Aboriginal community controlled health

 marmot

” I hold no illusions. There are deep-seated structural problems that account for the dramatic life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

But I challenge anyone to come away from a visit to Tharawal and say it is all hopeless. I saw evidence of community empowerment: a community controlling the services needed for its population.

To repeat, funding for services is vital, as are good schools and job opportunities. But here was a centre dedicated to improving things for its own community.

Inspiring, indeed.”

Professor Sir Michael Marmot is Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, which works to reduce health inequities through action on the social determinants of health :

NACCHO Thanks Dr Tim Senior for ACCHO promotion

The Institute of Health Equity

It is easy to find accounts of Australian Aboriginal health – strictly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – that are lacking in hope. The standard narrative is that $billions have been spent, but aboriginal families are characterised by violence, alcohol, drugs, worklessness and high rates of crime.

Billions have been spent and Aboriginal health is bad compared to the non-indigenous population – 11 years shorter life expectancy for men and just under 10 years for women. But a different account says that when people’s lives are characterised by betrayal of trust and systematic destruction of identity and self-worth leading to powerlessness perhaps it is no surprise that this Spiritual Sickness can lead to destructive behaviours.

Money spent is not irrelevant. But the psychosocial issues are central. My starting position is that if communities and individuals are empowered it is more likely that money spent will lead to progress.

On my recent trip to Sydney to give the first Boyer Lecture for the ABC, the Australian Medical Association wrote to ask how could they help.

I said I would like to see examples of doctors in action on social determinants of health. Prof Brad Frankum, President, and Fiona Davies, Chief Executive of the New South Wales Branch of AMA took me to Tharawal Community Centre in Campbelltown, a suburb 50 km South-West of Sydney. Sydney spreads and spreads and spreads…

As I understand it, the two names are emblematic of Australian history. The Tharawal people were the original Aboriginal residents of the area. The Colonial Administration established a settlement named after the Governor Macquarie’s wife, Elizabeth Campbell. Indigenous people make up just over 3% of the Campbelltown population, compared to 1.2% of greater Sydney.

The Centre was an inspiration. I was shown around by two enthusiasts, Aboriginal women, who were key in the administration. I was also greeted by one of the doctors, Tim Senior, with a sign: #Fantasyland (Warren Mundine Q and A)

welcome-to-fanstasyland

The evening before, on ABC Television’s national discussion programme, QandA, I had talked of a fairer distribution of power, money and resources, and was told I was in Fantasy Land. This aboriginal centre was making a difference. It was making fantasy a reality.

Among its many roles is providing medical care:

But it is a prime example of what we mean by doctors working in partnership. As I went round the Centre, I was shown where the ante-natal classes took place, and activities at every stage of the life course: from early childhood to older age:

“Bringing them home” is significant.

A psychologist at the Centre told me that she works with the psychological consequences for children and the family of a child’s removal from home. I asked if she was talking about the stolen generations – Aboriginal children taken from their families between the 1890s and 1970s with the presumed intent of destroying aboriginal culture.

The psychologist said that it is still going on. Children are removed because of family disruption but the consequences are severe.

There is also a variety of services that deal with the reality of people’s needs:

Not to mention subsidised fruit and vegetables to make healthy eating more of a possibility:

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We then came to the part of the Centre that dealt with drug and alcohol problems:

I said to the woman in charge: you must have the toughest job in this whole centre.

No, she said, I have the most rewarding job.

She showed me a painting on the wall. The man who painted this had come to the centre with huge problems of drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. By the time he left, the centre had made a step difference to him. He came back with this painting to say thank you.

The Institute of Health Equity

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NACCHO Aboriginal health News : Murri Carnival promotes Deadly Choices #ACCHO health messages

deadly

But importantly, there’s plenty of healthy food around the place and I think the big thing is we can all get together and meet and see people we haven’t seen for a long time.

“To have something like this and promote important health messages at the Murri Carnival is great, as we promote the benefits of living healthy”.

League legend Steve Renouf told NITV’s League Nation Live

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Some boys from Murri United under 15’s team finished doing a Tobacco Survey! Thanks boys

The 2016 Murri Carnival will showcase Queensland Indigenous Rugby League at its best, but also provide an important health message to all involved.

The Murri Carnival is not just about Rugby League, with plenty of events happening away from the footy field.

League legend Steve Renouf is an ambassador for the carnival and will have two of his sons participating in the junior tournament.

Whilst the Queensland and Australian star is happy to play a part in the Rugby League showcase, he’s also thrilled to be making an impact on the health of many Indigenous Australians.

 Murri Rugby

Organisers have ensured that the event is a drug, smoke, alcohol and sugar free carnival as well as providing free health checks, with plenty of fun stuff as well for the younger at heart.

“There’s a lot of fun stuff happening around the ground with rides and that for the kids,” Renouf told NITV’s League Nation Live.

The Murri Carnival is already underway, but the Senior Men’s and Women’s competitions begin on Wednesday at Redcliffe Oval in Queensland.

Unlike the New South Wales equivalent, the Murri Carnival isn’t a knockout tournament, with each team guaranteed three matches.

Renouf says the fact that teams play a pool format gives the Murri Carnival a significant boost over its Koori Knockout rival.

 Murri Rugby

“That’s very important I think when you’ve got guys from all over the state, they don’t want to just play a game and be knocked out, that’s it,” said Renouf.

“There are some very good players amongst those playing and we do have scouts here. Even if you’re not going to be in the team that wins the competition, you still get the opportunity to show your wares.”

NITV will show coverage of the Semi Finals and Final of the Murri Carnival. Check your local guides for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Andrew Bolt V Linda Burney in Recognition: Yes or No

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” You would have thought, why would an indigenous politician go anywhere near Andrew Bolt? The thing is, Linda Burney  was keen to do this. She wants to take on opponents. She thinks they’re wrong, and thinks she can convince them. Which she can use to convince other people.

She never hesitated … she didn’t hate Andrew Bolt. She judged him as an individual rather than a brand. She took quite a bit of heat from within the Indigenous community about doing this. As you can imagine people had a lot of suspicions … I admire her for that.”

Simon Nasht, the executive producer and writer of Recognition: Yes or No, September 20 at 8.30pm on ABC & iview.

See NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism articles

Andrew Bolt’s views on indigenous affairs are representative of those held by a lot of Australians, says Simon Nasht,  which will air on the ABC tonight.

This makes engaging with Bolt’s views necessary if a constitutional referendum on indigenous constitutional recognition has any hope of succeeding.

Recognition: Yes or No pits Bolt against Linda Burney, a newly elected member of federal Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to be elected in the House of Representatives.

Over the course of a month, the two of them travelled across Australia and New Zealand, teasing out the many views and potential complications of the issue. Burney was a NSW politician when the documentary was filmed — her higher profile on the federal Labor frontbench is an unexpected benefit for the program.

The format mirrors that of an earlier program by the same production house, I Can Change Your Mind About Climate, in which climate change sceptic and former politician Nick Minchin starred alongside climate activist Anna Rose.

The idea is to “throw a bit of light on the issue, and not just heat,” Nasht says. He cites studies that have found when it comes to political issues such as this, people’s positions are often more informed by their values, rather than their knowledge about the subject itself; he hopes the in-depth, respectful examination of the issue from both sides can help overcome this.
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Ms Burney and Bolt sit with Murrumu, a Yidinji man who renounced his Australian citizenship. Photo: ABC

When Bolt’s involvement in the program was revealed by Crikey last year, the question many had was: why him? Even within the ABC, the decision was controversial — the Bonner staff committee on indigenous affairs had many questions about the program earlier this year.

There are good reasons for the scepticism, given Bolt’s history with indigenous affairs. It’s a subject he’s devoted much coverage to, but generally not from any close association or careful study of indigenous Australia.

Within News Corp, where many commentators — particularly at The Australian — have expressed their views in favour of constitutional indigenous recognition, Bolt stands as one of the idea’s most persistent critics.

Bolt also has the distinction of being the only commentator found in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act — a judge in 2011 found he had breached the 18C provisions in two articles that criticised a handful of prominent Aboriginal people for identifying as such, despite their European heritage.

Bolt claimed they claimed Aboriginal identity for personal gain.

Given all this baggage, is Bolt really the best person to present the No case on constitutional reform? Nasht tells Crikey it’s not like there were many others he could approach.

One of the great proponents of recognition is former PM and conservative leader Tony Abbott, Nasht points out. Prominent conservatives have thrown their weight behind the reform, narrowing the field considerably. “The funny thing about those who oppose this case is, with all due respect, they’re not an impressive bunch,” Nasht said. “Andrew at least has an intellectual consistency.” “The usual suspects on the right”, Nasht says, are frequently not opposed to constitutional recognition.

Bolt’s involvement, he acknowledges, was difficult to handle. Bolt himself was rather sceptical about the whole thing. Perhaps it helped that Nasht and Bolt have a prior association: both were cadets at The Age in the late 1970s. “My proposition to him was … a hatchet job wouldn’t change anyone’s mind.”

As for Burney, she was keen to take Bolt on. “You would have thought, why would an indigenous politician go anywhere near Andrew Bolt? The thing is, she was keen to do this. She wants to take on opponents. She thinks they’re wrong, and thinks she can convince them. Which she can use to convince other people.

“She never hesitated … she didn’t hate Andrew Bolt. She judged him as an individual rather than a brand. She took quite a bit of heat from within the indigenous community about doing this. As you can imagine people had a lot of suspicions … I admire her for that.”

There were other challenges. Some Aboriginal groups were reluctant to participate. But most, Nasht says, welcomed the opportunity. “Andrew was welcomed into a couple of indigenous communities. I mean that, really welcomed. It’s a measure of what a remarkable culture it is … 200 years of being marginalised and still willing to sit down and talk. And I want more Australians to understand that … how lucky we are to have this culture in our midst.”

Bolt’s breach of the Racial Discrimination Act is mentioned at the start of the program, but the program does not dwell on that case. Burney doesn’t make it a part of her argument. Nasht says none of the indigenous groups Bolt met brought it up, which is “a measure of their willingness to have a proper discussion with the rest of Australia”.

Refusing to give Andrew Bolt a voice, Nasht says, makes no sense given his views are representative of a large number of Australians. “He has his audience, he has his monologue — in this film he’s forced into a dialogue,” Nasht said. “Here he’s forced to confront not only indigenous Australia … but a politician who’s widely experienced and not shy about expressing her own view.

The audience gets the benefit of seeing that. It’s also about the body language … people get to see him stretched, intellectually, emotionally, and from that they can take away their own judgement.

“I am fully aware that a lot of Australians have been offended by Andrew Bolt … but a grown-up democracy has to be prepared to confront this. And I’m thankful that the ABC thinks it should be in the middle of the argument, not on the edges.”

Nasht hopes indigenous Australia will view the program as part of the process towards indigenous constitutional recognition. Part of the issue, he says, is that mainstream Australia has yet to grapple with the idea or its consequences. The success rate of constitutional referendums is as low as it is, so success is impossible if more people do not educate themselves on the issue. “If it takes Andrew Bolt to get people to concentrate, so be it,” Nasht said.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #strokeweek : “No more stroke for our mob “: rap spreads awareness

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

Too many Australians couldn’t spot a stroke if it was happening right in front of them. We know that in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this awareness is even lower. This Stroke Week we want all Australians, regardless of where they live or what community they’re from, to learn the signs of stroke.

Naomi and Rukmani’s stroke rap runs through vital stroke awareness messages, such as lifestyle advice, learning the signs of stroke, and crucially the need to seek medical advice when stroke strikes.

Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song and remember the FAST message – it could save their life,”

Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan 

Naomi Wenitong  pictured with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE

                                       or Hear

A new rap song promoting stroke awareness and prevention is set to hit the airwaves across the country during National Stroke Week (12-18 September).

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch (pictured below)and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

fast

This year National Stroke Week centres on the theme Speed Saves in recognition of the impact time has on stroke. Many stroke treatments can only be administered within a short time after stroke, which is why knowing the signs of stroke is so critical.

Read 34 Aboriginal Stroke related NACCHO Articles Here

Ms Dunstan said too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year.

“There will be more than 50,000 strokes in Australia this year and sadly many people miss out on accessing life-saving treatment as they don’t get to hospital on time,” Ms Dunstan said.

“We want the community to be aware that stroke is always a medical emergency. When you have a stroke, your brain cells start to die at a rate of almost two million per minute.

“Being aware of the signs of stroke and knowing to call 000 as soon as it strikes is crucial in the fight against this terrible disease.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

“This National Stroke Week you can help us make a difference.

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate Stroke Week in your community.

“It is all about bringing people together to have fun, while raising awareness of stroke.”

Think FAST this National Stroke Week and raise awareness of stroke.

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Find out more, register your event at www.strokefoundation.com.au.

Free resource packs and information are available to assist with events; including posters fundraising ideas and information about stroke awareness.

National Stroke Week runs from September 12 to 18. It is an annual event which aims to raise the awareness of stroke within the community and encourage Australians to take action to prevent stroke.

Declaration of Interest Colin Cowell

acted F.A.S.T. and saved his life

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Please note : The Editor of NACCHO News is a stroke survivor and is currently a board member of the Stroke Foundation and chair of the National Stroke Consumer Council Read his story

fast

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : New poll shows 76% Australians want increased funding for preventive health

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“Australians are sending a message to Government – we need more preventive measures in place so we can improve our overall health.

The majority of Australian adults are either overweight or obese and they are recognising the fact that something needs to done early on to prevent this unhealthy way of life.

A sugar tax on soft drink is a clear way to reduce obesity and should be implemented in the context of a National Nutrition Policy in order to sensibly address chronic conditions caused by obesity

 Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) CEO Michael Moore.

” Amata was an alcohol-free community, but some years earlier its population of just under 400 people had been consuming 40,000 litres of soft drink annually.

The thing that I say in community meetings all the time is that, the reason we’re doing this is so that the young children now do not end up going down the same track of diabetes, kidney failure, dialysis machines and early death, which is the track that many, many people out here are on now,”

Mai Wiru, meaning good health, and managed by long-time community consultant John Tregenza. SEE NACCHO POST this week

The Roy Morgan Research poll conducted for Research Australia shows 76% Australians rank investment into preventive health among the top ten priorities for the Australian Government.

Download the Research Report Here

research-australia_polling-report-2016

Over 1000 people participated in the poll which suggests the Government needs to invest in preventive health programs with 83% of Australians trying to lose weight and/or improve their fitness. It also showed 90% of Australians view looking after and/or improving our health as very or extremely important.

“This data is another in the long line of evidence the Government has to invest more in prevention. Prevention is better than cure and the Australian public are tooting the same horn as public health experts. It’s time the Government listened to both,” continued Mr Moore also President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA).

The poll also asked if Australians were willing to support a sugar tax on soft drinks. 75% would support the tax with 48% definitely supporting a tax.

“A sugar tax on soft drink is a clear way to reduce obesity and should be implemented in the context of a National Nutrition Policy in order to sensibly address chronic conditions caused by obesity. The poll showed an overwhelming majority of Australians know it is a good move to reduce obesity and improve overall health,

“Mexico, the United Kingdom and some American states have implemented a sugar tax on soft drink with great results. Australia can make a difference to the health of the population by taxing a beverage with zero nutritional benefits consumed by adults and children,” said Mr Moore.

Australia’s Health Tracker by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), shows one in two Australians have a chronic disease yet the Government only invests 1.5% into prevention for chronic diseases.

“1000 Australians are calling on the Government to do more and improve the health of the population. This isn’t about losing votes, it’s about doing the right thing for the country and improving the overall health of the Australian people,” concluded Mr Moore.

The joint PHAA 44th Annual Conference and 20th Chronic Diseases Network Conference will be held from 18 – 21 September 2016 in Alice Springs, NT. The theme is Protection, Prevention, Promotion, Healthy Futures: Chronic Conditions and Public Health. #PHAACDN2016