NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: International Day of Indigenous Peoples

The image in the feature tile shows bush tucker as part of the connectedness with the land and each other that nourishes body and soul in Indigenous communities. Photo: Paul Miller, AAP. Image source: The Conversation 24 June 2015.

International Day of Indigenous Peoples

The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge

On 9 August, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IDWIP) is celebrated globally. This year’s theme is: “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”.

“Indigenous women are the backbone of Indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge. They have an integral collective and community role as carers of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge.” The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Indigenous Peoples IDWIP 2022

On IDWIP it is important to note that according to the Law Council of Australia (LCA) despite announcing support for the UN Declaration of Rights on Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in 2009, Australian governments and parliaments are yet to recognise and implement its standards in a formal and comprehensive way (see LCA media release Australian must formally adopt UNDRIP here).

In June this year NACCHO provided a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs into the application of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in Australia. In their submission, NACCHO’s made nine recommendations, including:

  • the Australian Government introduce legislative measures to enact the UNDRIP into Commonwealth law, in line with the UNDRIP Article 38.
  • there be acknowledgement of the key role ACCHOs have played in paving the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination
  • the National Agreement on Closing the Gap be acknowledged as a critical precursor for full enactment of the UNDRIP.

You can read NACCHO’s submission in full here.

Image source: World Vision website.

National Stroke Week

This week marks National Stroke Week Monday 8 – Sunday 14 August 2022, an annual campaign run by Australia’s Stroke Foundation. The Stroke Foundation was set up 1983 to conduct research to improve the treatment of diseases impacting the brain and nervous system. When stroke emerged as one of Australia’s top health priorities, the focus of the changed to be exclusively on stroke and in 1996 the National Stroke Foundation was established.

The ambitions that informed early research efforts continue to inform the Foundation’s primary objectives, which are to champion innovative stroke research and treatments; to advocate for widespread access to these innovative treatments; to educate health professionals in delivering best-practice care for stroke sufferers; and, to raise public awareness about preventing and recognising stroke.

National Stroke Week helps the Foundation achieve its primary objectives by providing a platform with which to roll out stroke education and awareness to the general public about identifying and managing the signs of stroke. The focus of this year’s National Stroke Week is to spread the F.A.S.T signs of stroke message among family and friends, so that stroke casualties can receive medical attention early, and thereby continue to enjoy more of life’s precious moments.

For more information about National Stroke Week visit the Stroke Foundation website here.

Black nurses and midwives stories exhibition

A new exhibition charting the activist history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives will for the first time privilege and recognise CATSINaM’s trailblazing women and men, spanning seven decades from the 1950s to the present. CATSINaM CEO, Professor Roianne West, said the “In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses and Midwives Stories National Exhibition” was a “must see” for every Australian nurse and midwife.

“It’s an opportunity to see nursing and midwifery in Australia through the eyes of Australia’s First Nations nurses and midwives,” said Professor West, a descendant of the Kalkadoon and Djunke peoples. “Our nurses and midwives experienced so much adversity in their training and working lives, but they fought every step of the way for justice and equity for those who would follow them. Our Elders and our leaders want our young people to hear these stories.”

Auntie Dr Doseena Fergie OAM, a member of CATSINaM’s Elders Circle, said the exhibition highlighted CATSINaM’s goal since its inception to increase the recruitment and retention of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery workforce. “This exhibition pays tribute to the courage of these trailblazers then, and professional role models since, who actively challenged the health system that ostracised First Australians, and who now advocate for culturally safe health services for Mob. The intimate, private, and heart-wrenching stories told will penetrate the hearts and souls of even the most hardened hearer,” she said.

To view the Croakey Health Media article Previewing a “must see” exhibition: In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses and Midwives Stories in full click here.

Gudanji and Garrwa woman Jayvina Raggett recreates a nursing scene from the 1960s for “In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses and Midwives Stories” exhibition. Photo courtesy CATSINaM. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

Critical need for allied health workers

A new report has revealed alarming shortages and increasing staff turnover rates of allied health workers across the country, which could put people with disability at risk. The data, released by the peak body for disability, National Disability Services (NDS), is part of its latest Workforce Census Report and found difficulty accessing allied health services was a contributing factor to underutilisation of NDIS funds, particularly for remote areas.

The report also states the data may point to the long-term national neglect of allied health workforce needs, which it finds the NDIS National Workforce Plan is unlikely to effectively address. NDS CEO Laurie Leigh said the report shines a light on the continued disruption the sector has faced over the last financial year, with urgent need for collaboration between industry and government.

“It is clear from the findings in this annual census report that the disability workforce is still feeling the ongoing impact of COVID-19,” she said. “With the Federal Government Job and Skills Summit coming up in a few weeks, now is the time for the government and providers to come together to ensure we are moving forward with the right measures to ensure disability workforces are supported during this turbulent period for the sector. This report also highlights the ongoing issues faced by the disability sector in recruiting the allied health workforce needed, especially to provide services in remote and very remote areas.”

To view The National Tribune article New report shows critical need for allied health workers, as wait lists grow across country in full click here.

Gunyangara Clinic. Image source: Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation website.

Indigenous data governance

In 2016, Professor Tahu Kukutai and Emeritus Professor John Taylor from ANU’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research asked, “what does data sovereignty mean for Indigenous peoples, and how is it being used in their pursuit of self-determination?”. These were just two of the questions addressed by 183 Indigenous data users, data scientists, researchers and government and community representatives at the Indigenous Data Governance and Sovereignty Roundtable by the Indigenous Data Network (IDN) in Narrm at the University of Melbourne.

The Roundtable, convened by Professor Marcia Langton, Dr Kristen Smith, Dr Vanessa Russ and Levi-Craig Murray, was an important step in the IDN’s project – Improving Indigenous Research Capabilities: An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Data Commons. Its objective is to build national Indigenous research capabilities, framed by a set of agreed Indigenous governance principles that can leverage existing data assets and link them to new and existing data.

To view The National Tribune article Indigenous data governance for 21st century click here.

Many institutions won’t permit researchers to see these materials without “permission from communities”. Picture: Getty Images. Image source: University of Melbourne online magazine Pursuit.

Australia-first health and wellbeing campus

The McGowan Government is set to begin work on a unique, Australian-first health and wellbeing campus that will focus on culturally appropriate care for the Broome community. The Yinajalan Ngarrungunil (Care for People) Broome Health and Wellbeing Campus will take shape on Dora Street on land owned by Nyamba Buru Yawuru (NBY), the operational company of the Yawuru people – Traditional Owners of the land and waters in and around Rubibi (Broome). The McGowan Government has allocated $8 million to the project’s subdivision consultancy and civil works. Broome business Roadline Civil Contractors will undertake the project, helping to support local jobs. The campus will combine a holistic range of new facilities and services with a focus on enhancing the delivery of collaborative healthcare services in Broome.

To view the media release click here.

Nyamba Buru Yawuru CEO Nini Mills and WA Premier Mark McGowan, centre, with Yawuru staff and government members. Picture: Yawuru Image source: National Indigenous Times.

End of Cashless Debit Card welcome

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia welcomes the Albanese Government’s introduction into Parliament of legislation to abolish the Cashless Debit Card. ‘The Society has been a leading voice calling for the abolition of the Cashless Debit Card,’ said National President Ms Claire Victory. ‘We have held concerns that this approach has had significant unintended and expensive consequences across Government and the community, including social exclusion and stigmatisation, increased financial hardship, and the erosion of autonomy and dignity. ‘The Society believes the best form of assistance is the type that helps people to feel, and recover, their own dignity, as this empowers them and enables them to forge ahead and change their own destinies and those of their local communities.

To view the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia’s media release Legislation to abolish cashless debit card welcome – St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia click here.

Image source: The Guardian.

Sector Jobs

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.

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NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: NACCHO-RACGP National Guide user review

NACCHO-RACGP National Guide user review

NACCHO and RACGP are keen to hear from members of primary healthcare teams to help create a fourth edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that best meets your needs and supports effective preventive healthcare that is valued by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and communities.

The National Guide is part of a suite of resources developed by NACCHO and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners which aim to support health promoting and disease preventing activities that are valued by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

By having your say in this 7-minute survey, you’ll be helping NACCHO and RACGP to understand how you are using the 3rd edition of the National Guide, what suggestions you have for future content, the format of the 4th edition and ideas that can support implementation. Your feedback will support development of the fourth edition of the National Guide due for publication in the second half of 2023.

If you have any questions about this survey or the NACCHO-RACGP Partnership Project, you can contact RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health using this email.

This anonymous and confidential survey can be completed on your smart phone, tablet or computer and is open from Tuesday 24 May 2022 until midnight Monday 13 June 2022. To complete the survey click here.

Binjilaanii founder Midwife of the Year

Winners of the 2022 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards have been announced. Now in their 16th year, the national awards recognise Australia’s nurses, midwives, nurse educators, researchers and personal care workers for their contributions to improving health outcomes. Each of the winners received $10,000, courtesy of ME – the bank for you, for professional development or to improve services or processes in the workplace.

Melanie Briggs, Waminda South Coast Women’s Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, Binjilaanii Maternity Services, Nowra, NSW was awarded Midwife of the Year in recognition of her tireless work to improve First Nations’ maternal and infant health. A descendant of the Dharawal and Gumbaynggirr peoples, Melanie is the Director and Founder of Binjilaanii, the first Aboriginal-led maternity model of care in Australia. She is also a Senior Midwife at Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation.

Briggs said she was honoured to hear she had been named Midwife of the Year. “Being recognised and being an Aboriginal midwife and caring for women on Country is a privilege and I feel incredibly proud,” she said. “My team should be here standing here with me. This award is in recognition of the amazing work our team and organisation do in the community to ensure that our First Nations mums and bubs receive the best start to life.”

Briggs is renowned for her strong advocacy, implementing the Waminda Birthing on Country Model. The model incorporates culture into maternity care to improve outcomes for First Nations women and babies. Her vision is to see Aboriginal women birthing on their homelands, practising traditional lore and continuing cultural connections to Country for their baby and their families. “Practising culture and working with First Nations mothers and supporting women on that journey during pregnancy is so important for us; it is empowering for our women as it brings incredible outcomes — seeing that is the most rewarding part of my job,” she said.

Briggs plans to use the $10,000 prize money to conduct further research and embed cultural practices into the Birthing on Country model of care.

To view the Hospital and Healthcare article HESTA nurses and midwives awards — winners announced in full click here.

Midwife Melanie Briggs holds newborn Talekai during a special cultural ceremony. Photo: Naomi Locke Photography. Image source: ABC News.

Culturally safe stroke screening needed

Professor Ben Freedman, Director of External Affairs at the Heart Research Institute and founder of AF-SCREEN International Collaboration is warning revision of guidelines to screen Aboriginal people for atrial fibrillation (AF), a leading cause of stroke, is needed to help prevent cardiovascular disease in this at-risk population.

Prof Freedman said research shows Indigenous Australians are experiencing catastrophic strokes at a much younger age than other Australians. AF occurs more commonly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at an earlier age, and when AF is found earlier, the risk of stroke is much higher than for non-Aboriginal people.

“We’re look­ing at intro­duc­ing life-sav­ing screen­ing for Aus­tralians aged over 65 but that’s too late for half of Abo­rig­i­nal suf­fer­ers. We’re call­ing on cul­tur­al­ly-spe­cif­ic screen­ing guide­lines that will pro­tect this at-risk pop­u­la­tion from an ear­li­er age,” Prof Freed­man said.

Yesterday Professor Freedman is travelled to Armidale with a team led by Dr Kylie Gwynn to take part in a combined health screening program at the Armajun Aboriginal Health Service. Dr Gwynne and Professor Freedman and the team will be using a handheld ECG device which they successfully trialled in Aboriginal health services around Australia previously.

To view The National Tribune article Leading Australian heart expert to improve Indigenous health in full click here.

Rapid skin infection test for First Nations kids

A rapid test to detect antibiotic-resistant skin infections in Aboriginal children could be a step closer, thanks to support from the WA Government’s Future Health Research and Innovation Fund (FHRIF). Telethon Kids Institute and The University of WA researcher, Dr Tim Barnett, has been awarded a FHRIF Translation Fellowship to lead a research project to tackle the burden of skin disease in Aboriginal children. It will aim to develop a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for antibiotic-resistant Strep A and Staph aureus bacteria, which would fast track accurate treatment.

Dr Barnett said untreated skin infections from both Strep A and Staph aureus bacteria cause significant health problems for young Aboriginal people. “Half of all Aboriginal children suffer from the burden of skin infection, which can lead to severe illness including blood infections and autoimmune diseases like Rheumatic Heart Disease,.” he said. “To combat this, we need to be able to identify resistant infections early for alternative antibiotics to be prescribed.”

84% of Aboriginal children are diagnosed with skin sores caused by Strep A and Staph aureus before their first birthday. Dr Barnett said antimicrobial resistance from regular antibiotic use was common in remote Aboriginal communities but can be well-managed if there is a fast diagnosis.

To view the University of WA article Funding for rapid test to detect antibiotic-resistant skin infections in Aboriginal children in full click here.

Dr Tim Barnett, Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia researcher. Image source: The University of WA website.

Labor’s First Nations health promises

An article Health promises we must hold Anthony Albanese published yesterday has looked at promises Albanese and his party made during the election campaign including a commitment to training “500 new First Nations health workers, increasing access to lifesaving dialysis treatment for those living with chronic kidney disease and expanding efforts to eradicate rheumatic heart disease in remote communities”. The funding promises include:

  • $52.9 million for a First Nations Health Worker Traineeship Program, following a co-design process with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and community-controlled registered training organisations. Traineeships will be rolled out over 4 years, with 100 new trainees starting in the first 2 years of the program, increasing to 150 in the later 2 years;
  • $45 million for better renal services in the city and bush, including $30 million for up to 30 four-chair dialysis units in urban and remote locations across the country, and $15 million for small scale water infrastructure projects that improve access to clean water critical for dialysis; and,
  • $13.5 million to help eradicate rheumatic heart disease, including $12 million to double current federal funding to combat rheumatic heart disease, and $1.5 million to fund portable echo-cardio machines and screening efforts.

To view the Insight article Health promises we must hold Anthony Albanese to click here.

Image source: The New Daily.

Pastor Willie Dumas on COVID-19 vax

In this video developed by the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH), Pastor Willie Dumas from Tweed Heads, NSW, says that the COVID-19 vaccines are here to bring hope and solutions to our lives and invites his mob to yarn with their local healthcare worker and get vaccinated today.

In the video Paster Dumas says “COVID-19 vaccinations bring security and safety. They’re a way to help our Mob and all of humanity. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what COVID is, and what the vaccine is. Which leads to a lot of fear but the vaccines are here to bring hope and solutions to our lives. It’s only our prejudices that can stand in the way. So, yarn with your local healthcare worker – and get vaccinated.”

For further information visit the Australian Government DoH COVID-19 vaccination – Pastor Willie Dumas shares his COVID-19 message (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) webpage here.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking video resources

Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Cairns, Queensland, has developed a Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) video resource package. The videos (including the one below), created by the Apunipima Cape York Health Council TIS Team feature community members from Napranum, Queensland discussing their quit smoking journeys:

You can access the Apunipma Cape York Health Council website here; their TIS webpage here; and their contact details here.

Cultural considerations in SEWB support

Emerging Minds has released a recording of its webinar Cultural considerations in the social and emotional wellbeing support provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The webinar aims to increase health practitioners’ understanding of the significance of cultural identity when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, and has the following learning outcomes:

  • outline the importance of cultural identity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • describe self-determination when working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  • identify strategies and resources that support the cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families at an individual, family, community and organisational level.

The webinar was facilitated by Dana Shen, Aboriginal Cultural Consultant, with an interdisciplinary panel of experts including  Adele Cox, SNAICC Sector Development Manager, and Tricia Nagel, Psychiatrist and Senior Researcher.

You can access the Emerging Minds website, including a link to the webinar here.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Gayaa Dhuwi Australia virtual conference

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia (GDPSA) are extremely excited to announce the first ever Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia Conference, which will be held over two days from Tuesday 7- Wednesday 8 June 2022. The theme for the 2022 Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia Conference is ‘Keeping Our Spirit Strong’.

The theme #KeepingOurSpiritStrong is an acknowledgment to the achievements of the organisation in building a national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention, as well as the achievements of the sector and their initiatives contributing to strengthening approaches and access to mental health care. It also draws on the challenges our communities have faced over the past three years with COVID-19 and natural disasters, and our resilience to keeping a strong spirit in times of isolation and worry.

The conference will be an entirely FREE to attend. Registrations will go live within the week, so make sure you save the dates in your calendars and set your reminders so you don’t miss out on this innovative and exciting virtual event! For further information on this event and how you and your organisation can get involved, please contact Ethan French using this email link.

NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: RHD impacts on young First Nations people

Image in feature tile from Bupa Take Heart of RHD webpage.

RHD impacts on young First Nations people

Mrs Vicki Wade, a Director at RHDAustralia and Senior Cultural Advisor at Menzies School of Health Research, is a senior Noongar woman with over 40 years’ experience in health at state and national levels. In 2021, she received a Heart Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award for her project investigating the impacts of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in young Aboriginal and and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Vicki is undertaking research to explore the social and emotional needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (aged 15 to 25 years) with RHD. The Heart Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award will support her PhD, and build the capacity of an Aboriginal community researcher. The award will also build the capacity of Aboriginal individuals and communities to advocate for their own needs – beyond their medical needs – which must be addressed to improve health outcomes.

To view the article Q&A with Mrs Vicki Wade – Beyond the Scars: The social and emotional wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with RHD on the Australian Heart Foundation website click here. You can also view Vick Wade talking in the video below about the an RHDAustralia program, Champions4change, which involves over 60 champions across Australia who are passionate about making a difference in their communities. These champions are ideally placed to support the emotional and social needs of their communities, as they have the lived experience of rheumatic heart disease.

Myriad issues compound poor youth health

WA’s north feels the pinch due to food insecurity more than most, according to a host of Boab Health Services professionals. Dieticians Mandy Cripps, Tara Rawson and Isabelle Walker, and paediatric dieticians Aimee Sullivan and Sally Conte said a large proportion of children and youth seen by Boab present with issues such as growth faltering, iron deficiency and obesity, often stemming from varying levels of food insecurity.

The group said many factors drive food insecurity at an individual and systemic level, including weather, remoteness, environment, power supply, poverty, unemployment, high staff turnover and a lack of locally produced food, all of which drive up the price of food. “The Kimberley Region has people who are amongst the most disadvantaged in Australia paying the most for their food,” they said. Boab also identified the lack of personal transport to purchase food, overcrowded housing, a lack of adequate cooking facilities, trans-generational trauma and significant rates of poor mental health.

The Boab dieticians said it was important any solutions to the crisis were co-designed and community driven. “There is an obvious need for crisis food provision – giving food to those in need short term – as well as a longer-term strategic approach,” they said. “Not having enough good food to eat impacts on learning and life outcomes, and we are keen to see what can be done to help children in this situation.”

To view the National Indigenous Times article Myriad issues compounding poor health among WA’s youth revealed as govt launches inquiry in full click here.

Empty shelves in the Kimberley, WA. Photo: ABC. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Water woes for remote NT communities

Yuelamu is a small indigenous community of 200–300 people, with the population varying depending on which family came to visit. Located 280 kms NW of Alice Springs, the community is in one of the most remote areas of the country, nestled among rocky hills at the end of a long stretch of red dirt road. The large community dam and lush greenery surrounding the township are deceiving. The reality is that this is one of the most water-stressed communities in the country.

The most recent measurements from NT’s Power and Water Corporation suggest that the small aquifer that has been the community’s main source of water since 2016 has just 18 months of supply left. It’s an improvement from measures last month, when the utility announced that groundwater supplies had reached an all-time high and crews were immediately trucked to the community for water.

As the latest sampling put an end to the need to truck in water, crews began work on the facilities to truck water in from a temporary borehole on the highway. Tanami, 20 kms away, which should open by the end of May. It’s a band-aid solution with a hefty price tag, but one that could be the lifeline of Yuelamu.

You can read the Duchetridao article Indigenous Yuelamu community faces water crisis as aquifer dries up in full here and watch a short video about the water availability issues in Yuelamu here.

Signs around Yuelamu explain to locals how to save water. Photo: Saskia Mabin, ABC Alice Springs. Image source: Dicjetrodap.

Brain injury support for mob

An Edith Cowan University (ECU) research project has established in-community stroke and brain injury support groups run by, and catering to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Project lead Professor Beth Armstrong said the initiative was created after previous research identified a gap in the continuity of care of Aboriginal Australians following a stroke or traumatic brain injury caused by an incident such as a car accident, fall, or assault.

“The essential component involves providing a culturally safe space that Aboriginal Australians will be comfortable with and will want to come back to,” Professor Armstrong said. They aim to help improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians, who are often underrepresented in rehabilitation services.

You can access the SBS NITV radio interview Bridging the gap for Aboriginal Australians with traumatic brain injury SBS NITV Radio here.

Photo: Edith Cowan University. Image source: SBS NITV Radio.

Regional Australians avoid bowel cancer diagnosis

Listen to your body and don’t ignore what it’s telling you — that’s the advice of Geraldton man John McLellan who has battled bowel cancer and knows all too well how important it is to react quickly to unusual body changes. He recommended regional men and women listen to their bodies. “If you think you’re not well, don’t ignore it and seek advice,” he said. The Cancer Council is urging adults in the Mid West to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of bowel cancer, and to visit a doctor if they begin experiencing symptoms.

“In the Mid West region in 2019, 50 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer and 17 people died from it,” Cancer Council Mid West regional educational officer Aiden McDowell said. Cancer Council WA’s recent data shows 25 people a week are diagnosed with bowel cancer in WA alone, with regional Australians less likely to be alive five years after diagnosis compared with Australians living in metropolitan areas. Mr McDowell said in 2019, bowel cancer — or colorectal cancer — was the third most common cancer in men and women in WA.

“If you’re unsure about a possible symptom you should make an appointment to discuss the change with your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker as soon as possible,” he said. Common symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in faeces, a new pain, lump or swelling in the stomach, fatigue, paleness, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite and unusual bowel movements.

To view The West Australian article Cancer Council statistics show Mid West bowel cancer figures are high and regional Australians avoid diagnosis in full click here. You can also view a WA Cancer Council bowel cancer screening campaign Youtube video featuring Mary G below.

FASD clinician guideline questionnaire

The University of Queensland in collaboration with 12 organisations around Australia are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Australian Guide for Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). As part of the process of revising the guideline, they would like to gather experiences, input, and feedback from Australian clinicians and are inviting you to complete the Australian clinicians’ determinants questionnaire to better understand clinicians’ awareness and current utilisation of the guideline.

Participation of this questionnaire is completely voluntary and should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. If you are interested in participating this research, you can access the questionnaire here and if you have any questions regarding the study, please contact Dr. Natasha Reid via email here.

You can view a recent article Key Stakeholder Priorities for the Review and Update of the Australian Guide to Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Qualitative Descriptive Study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health which summarises initial input gathered from the project’s Advisory Group members here.

Image source: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

New treatment keeps bush kids close to home

Medical researchers have started a project designed to treat sick outback kids near where they live – keeping them close to home and family, and saving millions of dollars in aeromedical transport costs. Ms Sally West, a Clinical Nurse, researcher and PhD student at James Cook University’s Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health, is part of a study that includes researchers from Griffith University, James Cook University, Wesley Hospital and Metro South Hospital and Health Services. She said the team will focus on the treatment of children suffering Acute Respiratory Failure (ARF) in rural and remote areas.

“Acute respiratory distress in children is the most common reason for emergency department (ED) presentations in Australia and is the reason for more than half of all hospital admissions of children under one year of age. It’s also the most common reason for paediatric aeromedical transfers in remote Australia. We saw an opportunity to collaborate with lead world respiratory paediatric researcher Dr Andreas Schibler, this was the obvious step forward given his landmark work in nasal high flow therapy” said Ms West.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Donna Franklin from Griffith University  said many rural and remote hospitals see delays in transfers due to the distances involved, availability of aircraft or weather, often resulting in an extended stay in the local ED for the children and increased pressure on local resources. “What we are setting out to do is introduce nasal high-flow (NHF) therapy to rural and remote hospitals,’’ she said. “This is a relatively new and effective approach to help children with ARF. The uptake of NHF in urban and tertiary hospitals has been rapid over the past few years, but rural/remote health care settings are lagging behind.”

To view the James Cook University article New Treatment keeps bush kids close to home in full click here.

Proud Arrernte and Garrwa actor Dujuan Hoosan. Photo: Maya Newel. Image source: Outdoors Queensland.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ACCHO to host allied health student training

feature tile text 'QLD ACCHO thrilled with funding for much needed allied health services and training opportunities' & Goondir health worker & child with headphonesa

Image in the feature tile from the Goondir Health Services Community Wellbeing Centre website.

ACCHO to host allied health student training

The Federal Government is providing $2 million over two years to the University of Queensland to expand allied health student training opportunities in St George, in rural Queensland. Through the South Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) University Department of Rural Health, in Toowoomba, allied health students will participate in intensive high-quality rural education experiences.

The project will fill gaps in health care through a student-led clinic, operated from the ACCHO Goondir Health Services Community Wellbeing Centre, which has agreed to host SQRH staff at the centre. The investment will provide staff and support infrastructure to deliver health and wellbeing services to the local community.

Member for Groom, Garth Hamilton said “This is a terrific local initiative and partnership building off the strong established RHMT facilities here in Toowoomba. I’m pleased the health services at this clinic is a partnership with local ACCHO Goondir Health Services, and other community stakeholders. This great initiative will support chronic disease prevention and management for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members. The clinic will also support the Goondir adolescent wellbeing program by offering age-appropriate healthy eating, fitness, and positive peer engagement programs.”

Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, a former rural doctor, said the SQRH will employ several allied health clinical academics and administrative staff who will be located at the Goondir Community Wellbeing Centre in St George. “Goondir has agreed to collaborate with SQRH to provide cultural mentoring support to students and staff,” Minister Gillespie said. “Student recruitment will preference students from a rural background, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin or those with a demonstrated commitment to rural practice.”

To view the Dr Guillespie’s media release in full click here.

Goondir Health Service QLD CEO Floyd Leedie speaking with press

Goondir Health Service CEO Floyd Leedie at the announcement of funding for the much needed Allied Health services and training opportunities in St George. Image source: Goondir HS Facebook post 3 February 2022.

Yarrabah passes 90% vax milestone

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service chief executive, Suzanne Andrews announced yesterday that the critical 90% first vaccination level in the Yarrabah community had been achieved. “This is a critical milestone to achieve and a credit to the way the local community has embraced the vaccination message. Our second vaccination level continues to grow and we are only days away from reaching the 80% double vaxxed milestone,” she said.

Ms Andrews also praised the dedication and commitment to the vaccination rollout of all the Gurriny staff and Queensland Health employees. “This has been a total team effort, community, Gurriny and Queensland Health, all pulling together to keep our mob safe. In October we commenced with a door-to-door vaccination drive. This initiative was spearheaded by our Community Care Health workers and proved to be very successful in lifting our vaccination levels. Community healthcare is exactly that, working in the community to improve the health outcomes. Our outreach teams are in our community on a daily basis. This daily contact has been essential in educating our community about COVID as well as lifting the vaccination rates.”

CHHHS executive director COVID-19 vaccine program, Dr Don Mackie, welcomed news that the single-dose vaccination rate in Yarrabah had increased to more than 90%. “About three months ago, Yarrabah was singled out as having one of the lowest vaccination rates in Queensland,” Dr Mackie said. “To go from there to where we are now, is a great achievement. This is a result of the hard work of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service, together with Queensland Health staff at Yarrabah, our First Nations COVID-19 Response team, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, and our other health partners. “Let’s keep the good work up, and get more than 90% of the community double-vaxxed. We need to ensure that people in our communities have the best protection from serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19.”

male & 2 female Gurriny Yealamuck employees with thumbs up

Gurriny Yealamucka employees, Jilara Murgha, Dr Matt Durden, Heather Robertson all celebrating the 90% milestone . Photo supplied by GYHS.

NT communities put selves into lockdown

Maningrida’s health service, Mala’la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, passed on the request from Traditonal Owners and Nja-Marléya Leaders in a social media post on yesterday. “With positive cases of COVID-19 now across all camps in Maningrida, Traditional Owners and Nja-Marléya Leaders are urging everybody to stay at home to help stop the virus from spreading more,” the post reads.

“Please stay at home unless you have to: Get medical help (ie. go to the clinic), buy food (only 1 person going to shop), provide care for someone who can’t look after themselves, escape family violence, leave in an emergency.”

To view the Katherine Times article in full click here.

aerial view of Maningrida

aningrida has put itself into lockdown to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Image source: Airlines-Airports website.

Quarantine camps for rough sleepers

Quarantine facilities have opened in regional SA to house people with COVID-19, or have been identified as close contacts and are unable to isolate safely at home. The Port Augusta Regional COVID Accommodation facility caters for around 100 people including Aboriginal people unable to return to their homelands and communities in the far north.

“[The Port Augusta] hub will be instrumental in looking after these guys if they test positive,” said Glen Wingfield, heritage manager for the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation. Mr Wingfield said the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation gave permission to SA Health to develop a hub on their land in Port Augusta to look after the COVID-19 positive community. Over on the west coast, the COVID Accommodation Support Centre has opened to provide the same services in Ceduna, on Wirangu Country at Emu Farm.

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

view of covid-19 quarantine facility Port Augusta SA

The Port Augusta quarantine facility will provide healthcare, shelter, culturally appropriate food, and interpretation services. Photo: Tyson Shine, ABC News.

Darwin visitor accommodation for Mob

The Federal Government has committed $10 million towards a new Darwin Visitor Accommodation Precinct to provide lodging and more flexible options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people sleeping rough. The $10 million commitment to the precinct will complement the NT Government’s $30.15 million investment, expanding the project to support more Territorians from remote and very remote areas when they need to visit Darwin.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said a memorandum of understanding signed with the NT Government will allow the development of a new accommodation facility at Batten Road. “Darwin is a significant regional centre and a lot of people come into town for medical appointments, meetings, visiting family and often can’t find suitable places to stay,” Minister Wyatt said.

To view Minister Wyatt’s media release in full click here.

homeless man lying on pavement Darwin

Before COVID-19, the NT’s rate of homelessness was 12 times the national average. Photo: Danielle Bonica, ABC News.

Regional NSW allied health training expands

Charles Sturt University will expand allied health student training and placements across the Riverina region with a grant of $1.87 million under the federal government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program, announced yesterday in Parkes.

Charles Sturt, in partnership with the Western NSW Local Health District and Primary Health Network, identified opportunities to increase local training and student placements across allied health disciplines, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, exercise physiology, speech pathology and podiatry. This has the added benefit of improving residents’ access to healthcare. The funding will allow Charles Sturt to provide intensive, high-quality rural education experiences in Forbes and Parkes through its Three Rivers Department of Rural Health which is based in Wagga Wagga.

Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor, Professor Renée Leon, said “Part of that support and training will include a half-day cultural immersion experience with Indigenous Elders, cultural understanding support by Aboriginal Health Workers, and cultural safety/rural readiness training from the Clinical Educator,” he said. “Indigenous students can access Charles Sturt’s mentoring program to support them through an exciting and valuable program of study.”

To read the Charles Sturt University news story in full click here. You can also watch a film below showcasing the stories of Charles Sturt University First Nations students, health professionals in community, and elders. The film shares how they have overcome healthcare struggles, societal determinants, and barriers towards their studies and daily lives.

Be aware of cancer early warning signs

As we mark World Cancer Day, the Australian Government is urging all Australians to be aware of the early warning signs of cancer and take part in free screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. It is also a timely reminder of the steps all Australians can take to minimise cancer risk factors including tobacco use, obesity, and exposure to UV rays.

Cancer can take a long time to develop, and screening can find cancer in the early stages. It can also find changes to cells before they become cancer or identify infections that may cause cancer in the future. Early detection and treatment gives people the best chance of survival. This year, World Cancer Day is about understanding and recognising inequities in cancer care across the globe. Here in Australia, there are differences in the incidence of cancer and survival outcomes across the population.

To view the media release in full click here. You can also watch the Finding Cancer Early – Aboriginal Education Video produced by the Cancer Council of WA below.

Free weekly stroke and recovery webinars

In response to the strain on the health system from COVID 19, Stroke Foundation has developed a Stroke & Recovery Webinar for survivors of stroke, carers, and their families and friends. The aim is to provide education about stroke and information about how to access community services to help fill the gaps we’ve seen happening.

If you know someone who has recently had a stroke and has been discharged from hospital without the information that they need, or have questions please join the webinars on Wednesdays at 11am ASDT. You can register for upcoming webinars here.

Aboriginal Elder, black beanie with Aboriginal flag, red singlet

Image source: Australian Stroke Alliance.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day held every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we are all working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live. Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history. For more information about World Cancer Day click here.

Cancer is one of the most serious health threats affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their second leading cause of death. Research from The Australian Institute of Health and welfare has found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are 1.1 times as likely to be diagnosed with cancer as non-Indigenous Australians (2009–13 figures) and have lower five-year relative survival compared with on-Indigenous Australians (2007–14 figures).

Cancer Australia launched a Yarn For Life – It’s OK to talk about cancer campaign in 2019, specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You can access information on the Cancer Australia website about Yarn for Life here. This site includes videos, posters, case studies and important information about talking about cancer.tile text ' world cancer day 4 feb, close the care gap' & cartoon drawing of Aboriginal dr & Aboriginal patient

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Racism, a significant health determinant

feature tile text 'mental and physical health significantly impacted by racism' & black and white image of Aboriginal woman overlaid with text 'racism makes me sick'

Image in feature tile: IndigenousX Twitter.

Racism, a significant health determinant

The research paper Impact of racism and discrimination on physical and mental health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples living in Australia: a systematic scoping review says racism is increasingly recognised as a significant health determinant that contributes to health inequalities.

In Australia efforts have been made to bridge the recognised health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. This systematic scoping review aimed to assess, synthesise, and analyse the evidence in Australia about the impacts of racism on the mental and physical health of Aboriginal and Torrens Strait Islander peoples.

Racism is associated with negative overall mental and negative general health outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Strategies to prevent all forms and sources of racism are necessary to move forward to bridging the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. Further research is needed to understand in more detail the impact of racism from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander definition of health and wellbeing.

To view the full article click here.

cut out of paper people different colours holding hands in a circle

Image source: AMA website.

Sepsis costs more than breast and lung cancer

A new report commissioned by The George Institute for Global Health estimates that the total annual cost of sepsis in Australia is $4.8bn with direct hospital costs accounting for $700m a year. This compares to direct hospital costs of $642m for breast and lung cancer combined.

The George Institute’s Professor Simon Finfer, past chair of the Council of the International Sepsis Forum, and Vice President of the Global Sepsis Alliance said “Despite the fact that more than 18,000 Australians are treated for sepsis in Intensive Care each year and as many as 5,000 of these will die, awareness of sepsis is low compared to other conditions that are less costly for hospitals to manage.”

“Given that four in five cases start outside hospital, being able to recognise the point where a seemingly simple infection is developing into life-threatening sepsis is crucial, as accessing the right medical care quickly is vital to minimising the significant long-term consequences.” With leading global experts recently recognising that patients critically ill with COVID-19 have viral sepsis, the picture is likely to look much worse as the global pandemic progresses.

To view the full article click here.

gloved hand holding petri dish of sepsis growth

Image source: The University of Chicago website.

The following article First population level study to assess the incidence and outcomes of sepsis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australiansclick here.

gloved hand touching patient's hand, patient lying in hospital bed

Image source: ABC News.

Cultural Safety and Wellbeing Evidence Review

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has commissioned an evidence review on cultural safety and wellbeing for Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities in early intervention services.

Gamarada Universal Indigenous Resources Pty Ltd (GUIR) is undertaking this work, in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. The need for this evidence review was identified in a forum with Aboriginal Targeted Earlier Intervention service providers earlier this year when GUIR presented its findings from an evidence review on preventing child maltreatment. Providers highlighted that cultural wellbeing and safety is a critical part of service delivery and lack of cultural safety, racism and fear are main barriers to accessing essential services.

The findings from this evidence review will be embedded into the content on the (DCJ) Evidence Portal currently under development. The Evidence Portal will then assist service providers to find and implement culturally safe and inclusive activities and services for Aboriginal children, young people, families, and communities.

As part of the review, GUIR has sought contributions from Aboriginal service providers and organisations who work with Aboriginal families and communities to ensure the review reflects service providers’ experience designing and delivering culturally safe services.

You can visit the DCJ website for more information here.

painting of silhouette of child looking out of window to Aboriginal family in bush setting

Artwork by Charmaine Mumbulla, Mumbulla Creative. Image source: Family is Culture website.

Transparency of Aboriginal health research needed

Indigenous health researchers Dr Roxanne Bainbridge, Dr Veronica Matthews,  Dr Janine Mohamed and Associate Professor Megan Williams have written to the editor of The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) arguing the need to enhance the ability to efficiently distinguish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarship in health research.

The letter to the MJA editors claims persistent health disparities between Indigenous and other Australians signal the ineffectiveness of allegedly well intentioned policy and research that have largely produced deficit‐focused research, describing the extent of the problem rather than being driven by the priorities and solutions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Institutions are now acknowledging that to close the gap in health disparities, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must determine, drive and own the desired outcomes”.

Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers are more often leading the way in key health system domains, such as research ethics, education and effective community‐based research, there is currently no systematic way of identifying their scholarship in the peer‐reviewed literature. The authors of the letter point out the need to develop strategies to rectify and improve transparency of Indigenous health research.

This would enhance the ability to efficiently distinguish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarship, increasing the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait knowledges and perspectives in research and translation, thereby improving the transparency of academic literature to guide decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

To read the letter to the MJA editor in full click here.

ATSI health researchers

Image source: The University of Melbourne website.

$21m for NSW Aboriginal mental health workforce

The NSW Government is investing $21 million to expand the Aboriginal mental health and suicide prevention workforce as part of $131 million mental health recovery package. Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the lockdown has exacerbated underlying mental health conditions and added to people’s distress levels, especially among groups known to be at greater risk of suicide.

“As we return to doing the things we love with the people we love, we want to make sure that no-one is left behind,” Mrs Taylor said. “We know that mental health issues and thoughts of suicide can emerge in the weeks, months and years after a trauma, so our focus over the next two years is connecting people with the most appropriate services and support as early as possible.”

To view the media release in full click here.

Image source: Curtin University.

Enhancing Aboriginal homelessness services

Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness will receive better support under a $12 million NSW Government plan to boost the capacity of Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations (ACCOs). Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the Aboriginal Homelessness Sector Growth project will lead to more ACCOs delivering quality services and support to vulnerable people.

“The NSW Government is investing close to $300 million in homelessness services and this project builds on that record funding to address issues in Aboriginal communities,” Mr Henskens said. “The initiative aims to prevent and respond to homelessness by enhancing services and support by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people in Southern NSW, Western Sydney and the New England region.

To view the media release in full click here.

palms holding cardboard cutout of house with Aboriginal flag

Image source: NITV website.

New dashboards monitor medication safety

A collaboration with the University of Queensland, Queensland’s Metro North Health and Queensland Health, Enhanced data extraction and modelling from electronic medical records and phenotyping for clinical care and research, is an exciting project which has recently achieved a significant milestone.

This digital health research project is focused on developing a new, efficient capability for data extraction from electronic medical records, starting with Queensland’s integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR). Two dashboards, developed to monitor opioid prescribing and insulin safety, have now been commissioned and in production for use at Australia’s newest digital hospital, Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS).

Associate Professor Clair Sullivan, lead researcher from the Queensland Digital Health Research Network at the Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland (UQ) is excited about the potential for this research to significantly reduce medication errors, “Medication errors are a leading cause of injury and harm across the Australian healthcare system and reducing these is a priority for all healthcare providers. Digital health is our most powerful tool in this important mission.”

Using live analytics is essential when it comes to prioritising patient care and shifting from the current ‘break-fix healthcare model to a more sustainable ‘predict-prevent’ model. This project will pioneer this more desirable and constructive approach to healthcare and aims to pave the way for Australian hospitals to increase their efficiency and improve patient care outcomes.

For more information click here.

hands using iPad

Image source: Digital Health CRC website.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

World Stroke Day

World Stroke Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the serious nature and high rates of stroke and talk about ways in which we can reduce the burden of stroke through better public awareness of the risk factors and signs of stroke. It is also an opportunity to advocate for action by decision makers at global, regional and national levels that are essential to improve stroke prevention, access to acute treatment and support for survivors and caregivers.

For 2021 and 2022 the World Stroke Day campaign will be focused on raising awareness of the signs of stroke and the need for timely access to quality stroke treatment.

For more information click here.

On World Stroke Day, Stroke Foundation Australia is reminding the community that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, seeking urgent medial help is essential. It can save lives! Stroke attacks the brain and is always a time-critical medical emergency.

Stroke Foundation is inviting you to celebrate World Stroke Day by joining their Facebook Live chat with StrokeSafe Speaker and Associate Professor Caleb Ferguson to learn about the benefits of knowing the signs of stroke and acting FAST after a stroke.

12:00 PM EST – Friday 29th October – click here to RSVP to the event.banner text 'learn the signs of a stroke - precious minutes'

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Community-led healthy food initiatives

Community-led healthy food initiatives

The year to June 2021 saw 8 tonnes less sugar consumed* and 508 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables sold across the 41 remote Indigenous communities serviced by Outback Stores. This outcome is the joint result of the Outback Stores Healthy Food Policy and strong, community-led decision making from local store directors to tackle diet-related health problems.

Communities such as Engawala, Santa Teresa and Ali Curung have implemented restrictions on the size of soft drink bottles sold, as well as introduced sugar-free days of the week. “At first people didn’t like it, but as store workers we told them it was better for our health and they understood,” said store director Audrey Inkamala, about implementing ‘Sugar-Free Wednesdays’ in Engawala.

Since 2012 an ongoing trend has seen the proportion of full-sugar drinks fall by 23.24% across stores serviced by Outback Stores. The proportion of water sold increased 2.46% and sugar-free drinks also increased 0.25%. The result of this is 80,079 litres less of sugary drinks sold in remote communities, enough to fill an average backyard swimming pool.

“It’s great to see Outback Stores and local store directors working together to promote a healthier retail environment for stores and communities,” said Anna Murison, Health & Nutrition Manager for Outback Stores.

Improving access to nutritious and affordable food continues to be a key component in the Outback Stores nutrition policy. In the last financial year customers bought a total of 508 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables, which is a quantity four times greater than the average amount sold per store in 2011.

To view the Outback Stores media release click here.

two Aboriginal male store workers Ali Curung

Store workers, Ali Curung, Barkly Region, NT. The image in feature tile  is another store worker, Audrey Inkamala.

World’s first children’s mental health strategy

The Morrison Government has launched the world’s first National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The Strategy provides a framework to guide the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of services to maintain and support the mental health and wellbeing of children aged 0-12 and their families.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the Strategy was part of the Morrison Government’s long-term national health plan. “Caring for the mental health and wellbeing of our younger children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is critical. We know that proper support can improve long-term outcomes and can help children achieve their full potential in life,” Minister Hunt said.

To view Minister Hunt’s media release in full click here.logo for The National Children's Health and Wellbeing Strategy; line drawing red head, arms, orange semi-circle, sunrays blue & green

A number of organisations have commented on the new strategy. Thrive by Five welcomed the recognition of early education in the strategy and urged the Federal Government to introduce universally accessible, high quality early learning and care for every child. Thrive by Five, CEO Jay Weatherill, said: “so many children and families are struggling right now, making the work of our early educators more vital than ever. Thrive by Five is calling for the Federal Government to fast-track the professional training and development of guidelines for educators to follow when they believe a child or family is struggling.”

To view Thrive by Five’s media release click here.

Image source: SNAICC website.

Mental health aides assist police

A new initiative to help people suffering with mental illness involved in incidents where police are called has been praised as a success just four weeks into the trial, thanks to a reduction in the number of people hospitalised which has kept police on the streets for longer.

The first regional roll-out of the police mental health co-response program, which has successfully run in four metropolitan districts since 2016, has seen the detainment of people at the centre of mental health-related police call-outs decrease as much as 60 per cent over the four weeks of the trial.

The program has involved 16 selected Geraldton police officers receiving special Department of Health training. A clinician and an Aboriginal health worker are assigned to the mental health team each shift.

Geraldton police officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin said the result had drastically reduced the amount of time officers had to spend at hospitals dealing with mental-health incidents, which had previously been up to three hours for each case.

To access the article in full click here.

Assistant Commissioner Jo McCabe, Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton, Police Minister Paul Papalia, Aboriginal Health Worker Chris Fitzgerald and Mid-West Gascoyne Supt Roger Beer standing in front of a paddy wagon in front of police station

Assistant Commissioner Jo McCabe, Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton, Police Minister Paul Papalia, Aboriginal Health Worker Chris Fitzgerald and Mid-West Gascoyne Supt Roger Beer. Photo: Edward Scown, Midwest Times. Image source: The West Australian

First Nations perspectives in curriculum

The Australian Physiotherapy Council’s Accreditation Committee member Danielle Manton recently shared her story and why all Australian physiotherapists should become culturally safe healthcare practitioners.

Danielle, is a proud Barunggam woman and Indigenous Health Lecturer. Her work, embedding Indigenous perspectives in the health curriculum involves many community partnerships. Danielle says community partnerships are exceptionally important “the community must lead this and have a direct voice and influence within healthcare education. All the work I do is firmly entrenched in advocating for my family, my community and a better future for my people. There is still a long way to go to influence change in healthcare access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“It is important to educate yourself, it is not the responsibility of the community or your Indigenous friends and employees to educate you. The Council has developed a great cultural safety training resource, which will also contribute to continuing professional development to help get you started.”

“The key to inclusive practice for all peoples is communication, authentic relationship building and being proactive, flexible and responsive to client’s needs – the same approach doesn’t always work for all people, it may just be simple adaptations such as allowing clients to attend appointments together or moving to an outdoor space.”

To access the interview in full click here.

Danielle Manton & Australian Physiotherapy Council logo

Danielle Manton. Image source: Australian Physiotherapy Council website.

Oral health workforce needs to grow

Tooth decay and gum disease, the main dental diseases affecting Australians, can cause pain and deformity as well as affecting eating and speech. Dental practitioners are efficient and effective in relieving dental pain, and they can effectively restore oral function. There is good evidence that better health care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients are associated with care from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.

Unfortunately, the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the dental practitioner workforce is very low. The authors a research article Addressing the oral health workforce needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians argue that a strategic approach, along with additional investment, is needed to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people qualified as dental practitioners.

To view the article in full click here.

University of Newcastle Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy students completed clinical placements at Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation in Singleton for the first time in 2017. Image source: Newcastle Herald.

EnableMe Stroke newsletters

The EnableMe newsletter features news, stories and advice on every aspect of life after stroke, whether you are a stroke survivor, carer or family member.

The Stroke Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month and the October EnableMe newsletter looks back over the years. Twenty five years ago, when a stroke happened, we watched and waited as families were devastated by the impact of stroke. Advances in medical treatment now mean that when someone experiences a stroke, emergency treatment is available including life-saving blood clot-busting drugs or blood clot removal in hospital.

The EnableMe newsletter September issue highlights how the Australian Stroke Alliance is one step closer to achieving its goal of treating regional and remote stroke patients faster. An Adelaide company has started developing a small CT brain scanner that can be fitted in ambulances and emergency aircraft. If successful, the device will allow paramedics and retrieval teams to diagnose and then start treating stroke patients in the golden hour – the first hour after a stroke, wherever they live.

You can view the EnableMe September newsletter edition here and the October edition here.

banner orange with white font, Stroke Foundation logo & enable me stronger after stroke'

Partyline magazine contributions sought

Partyline magazine, a publication produced by the National Rural Health Alliance, has a strong following across the rural health and services sectors. It is a platform to promote products or services to people and organisations of influence that care about health ‘in the bush’. The latest Partyline issue is available here.

Through technology we are increasingly able to merge our digital and physical health systems. This particularly benefits the rural healthcare system in Australia which has unique constraints, such as geographical distance and the sustainability of services in thin markets.

With the end of the publishing year in sight, Partyline would like to celebrate the technology, innovation and digital wins that are helping to strengthen our rural health services in communities across the country.

The Alliance is now seeking contributions for Partyline, Issue 77, to be published in December 2021. Contributions are due by COB Thursday 11 November 2021 and can be submitted using the email link here.

PARTYLINE logo

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

COVID-19 vaccine update for GPs webinar

The latest in the Australian Government Department of Health’s series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs webinar will be held from:

11:30am–12:00pm (AEST) tomorrow, Thursday 14 October 2021.

At this webinar, you’ll be provided with the latest information on the vaccine rollout. GPs and all health professionals are welcome.

Joining Professor Michael Kidd AM this week will be Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health and Penny Shakespeare, Deputy Secretary, Health Resourcing Group, Department of Health.

This week’s GP webinar will have a slightly different look and feel as it will be held via webex. This will enable guests from other locations to join the GP webinar panel. If you’re unable to view this webinar live, you can view it on-demand using the same link, within a few hours of the live stream ending.

When you’re ready to join, use this link.

COROONAVIRUS (COVID-19) update for GPs banner, blue background, pink virus vector images

Allied Health Professions Day

Allied Health Professions (AHP) Day 2021 is happening tomorrow Thursday 14 October 2021. As with previous years you are invited to join other Allied Healthcare Professionals in a day of collective action, by doing something that is meaningful and important to you.

The first ever AHP’s Day was held on the 15th October 2018 to celebrate, appreciate and recognise the extraordinary work of the AHP workforce. In 2019 we were all about sharing why we were proud to be an AHP and joined by AHPs from across the globe including Singapore, NZ and Australia making it a truly international social movement.

For more information about AHP Day click here.

banner - Indigenous Allied Health Professionals Day

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Every year, around 110,000 Australians have a miscarriage. 2,200 more endure the pain of stillbirth, 600 lose their baby in the first 28 days after birth and many more face the grief of termination for medical reasons. October is a time for Australia to break the silence and acknowledge the heartbreak happening too often right now.

With October marking International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, hundreds of Australian parents are sharing what’s hurting them right now – silence. From now until the end of October, families are sharing their silence stories with Red Nose in a bid to get Australia talking about this too-often taboo topic.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month events are happening right around Australia and online throughout October, giving families an important opportunity to publicly remember their much-loved babies.

You can read a media release from the ACT Legislative Assembly recognising International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day here.

For more information about International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day visit the SANDS website here.

banner text 'International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day 15 OCT' & line drawing of red heart held in palms of hands

Image source: SANDS website.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: QAIHC comments on vax rates

feature tile text 'vulnerable First Nations communities could be at risk of being overwhelmed according to QAIHC' & image of cartoon drawing of two Aboriginal people wearing masks & 'QAIHC' along footer

QAIHC comments on vax rates

Vulnerable indigenous communities could be at risk of being ‘overwhelmed’ by COVID-19 if their vaccination rates continue to dwindle, the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has said.

Modelling based on current vaccination rates for indigenous populations suggests the 80% inoculation target for First Nations Queenslanders won’t be achieved until February 2022. The QAIHC says current health data shows 34.2% of Indigenous Queenslanders have had at least one vaccine dose. The state’s lowest vaccinated Indigenous population is in central Queensland at 17.78% fully vaccinated, with Townsville second last at 19.19%.

With target vaccination rates being set, and the notion of opening the borders to ‘live with the virus’, Queensland’s First Nations communities face the very real threat of being completely overwhelmed by COVID-19, QAIHC chair Matthew Cooke says.

“Targeted investment is needed immediately from both levels of government, otherwise our mob will be left behind when the borders open and be left most vulnerable to this virus”, Mr Cooke said. He says the vaccination gap is a grave cause for concern, particularly as discussions shift to reopening borders.

To view the full article in The West Australian click here.

Aboriginal woman with mask & health worker with mask & face shield

Image source: Yahoo! News website.

Min Wyatt outlines COVID-19 activities

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP has outlined a number of activities being undertaken by the Commonwealth to support states and territories, and Indigenous communities against the threat of COVID-19, including the formation of a National Food Security Taskforce. The role of this taskforce is to address food security issues in remote Indigenous communities, and work in close collaboration with states and territories under the National Coordination Mechanism to coordinate responses in a range of sectors. Ensuring a reliable supply of essential goods, groceries, pharmaceuticals and other critical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic remains a high priority.

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) has been working closely with the Department of Health from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and, with its regional presence and on-the-ground contacts, has coordinated with other jurisdictions throughout the pandemic. The Minister for Indigenous Australians and NIAA continue to receive correspondence from a range of organisations and individuals regarding COVID-19 and includes this information as part of its ongoing communication with relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory bodies.

To view Minister Wyatt’s statement in full click here.

AUSMAT’s longest deployment on home soil

The Australian Medical Assistance Team, or AUSMAT, is a crack team of emergency disaster responders who deploy overseas providing emergency humanitarian support during major disasters. They never imagined their longest deployment would be on home soil.

Emergency nurse practitioner Angela Jackson has been at the frontline of many AUSMAT international rescue missions but this deployment, although closer to home, is shaping up to be a much bigger challenge. Angie and her team were tasked with providing COVID-19 vaccination support to remote communities that are home to many isolated, vulnerable, and Indigenous Australians.

Regional local health services in the NSW far-western region were faced with the monumental task of covering this vast remote area to provide vaccinations with already pre-pandemic stretched resources.

To view the full ABC News article click here.

two health professionals full PPE country road back of van

Namatjira community vaccine rollout in Dareton, NSW. Image source: ABC News website.

Calls for clean water continue

The WA government is under pressure to ensure remote Aboriginal communities have access to clean drinking water.

WA Shadow Minister for Water James Hayward has called on “the Departments of Water, Communities and Health, to work together cohesively to deliver a program to identify and test drinking water supplies in Aboriginal communities that have been left untested for going on a decade. It is in no way appropriate for a first world country to dismiss a community’s cry to ensure they have clean drinking water.“

Kimberley Labor MP and Yawuru, Nimanburr and Bardi woman, Divina D’Anna said she would “continue to advocate for better quality services to remote communities. It is critical that we provide services to remote communities. I am passionate about ensuring that the people of the Kimberley, especially Aboriginal people in remote communities, are afforded the same opportunities and access to essential services that city people are.”

To view the National Indigenous News article in full click here.

old broken water tap in outback

Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Dementia cases to double by 2058

A major report on dementia from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) was recently release, finding that dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the number of people developing the disease is growing at an alarming rate. It is expected that by 2058, dementia cases will double to 849,300 Australians from the estimated 386,000 – 472,000 people living with dementia in 2021.

The Dementia in Australia report was launched by the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck on Monday. Also announced at the launch was the establishment of AIHW’s National Centre for Monitoring Dementia. The aim of the Centre is to undertake routine monitoring of dementia, find data gaps and address them, and help inform policy that meets the needs of Australians with dementia.

For people who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, rates of dementia are three to five times higher than non-Indigenous Australians. Due to an ageing Indigenous Australian population, AIHW believes the numbers of dementia among this group will continue to rise in the future.

To read the article in full click here.

Aged care worker Faye Dean (left) is supporting Winnie Coppin (right), who has dementia. Photo: Erin Parke, ABC Kimberley. Image source: ABC News.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.


dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

Stride4Stroke campaign

The Stroke Foundation’s flagship campaign Stride4Stroke is back. For many Australians, the various lockdowns around the country have made keeping fit and active a challenge. That’s why this November you’re invited to join Stride4Stroke your way, wherever you are, and raise vital funds to help prevent, treat and beat stroke.

Get together with friends, colleagues, or family to create a team or go solo.

Ask your friends and family to donate to your online fundraising page. Every conversation and dollar raised will help prevent stroke, save lives and enhance recovery.

Simply select any activity – we’re talking any activity, such as swimming, exercise bike, yoga, walking, running – set your Moving Minutes target, and stride your way this November.

Register here by Friday 15 October 2021 to go in to the draw to WIN your very own Apple Watch for access to the latest in fitness tracking technology.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Kids roll up sleeves to protect community

feature tile text 'ATSI kids roll up sleeves to protect community' arm of Aboriginal male youth with Aboriginal flag in Australia map tattoo on arm getting vaccinated

Kids roll up sleeves to protect community 

For Aboriginal 17-year-old Kaidyn Wright, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was a no-brainer. The Thungutti teenager and his younger brothers – aged 12,15, and 16 – got the jab at Airds in SW Sydney on Thursday morning so they could better protect their Aboriginal community.

“I just think it’s important we get vaccinated, so we don’t spread the disease to our elderly and to my younger brothers, who have weaker immune systems,” Kaidyn said. The boys were vaccinated as part of a drive aimed at 12 to 18-year-olds run by the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation (TAC), now that First Nations people over 12 can get the jab.

The organisation said it had vaccinated around 160 Aboriginal teenagers on Thursday, and Kaidyn said the turn-out had already made him feel safer in his community. “Yeah it’s great, so we can all get back to normal soon,” Kaidyn said.

Kaidyn’s father Lachlan Wright who is the operations manager at the TAC said he was thrilled with the numbers, and said that it was important for young Aboriginal people to protect themselves, “We know that it’s a hard time for them not being able to socialise with family and friends, and to go out and see their mates from school, and they’re all doing school from home which is even harder.”

The TAC advertised its event to young people by inviting Aboriginal Tik Tok stars with around 150,000 followers to promote the jabs last week, “We’ve got them to come in and have their jabs with us and then promote it on their Tik Tok … so we’ve found that’s really helped to get our youngsters,” Mr Wright said.

“If [COVID] gets out to our community then it could ravage us because we like to have a lot of people in our houses, we like to spend time with our families, we’re very social mob. So we want to get back to that way of living and the only way we can get back to that is if we all pitch in together and get our vaccination rates up,” he said.

To read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald click here.

young Aboriginal woman getting vaccine

Image source: Student Edge website. Feature image: Kaidyn Wright, 17, getting his first COVID-19 jab in Sydney on Thursday. Photo: Nick Moir, SMH.

Wilcannia contacts must get tested, isolate

The Centre for Aboriginal Health at NSW Health have become aware of some risks relating to Wilcannia in the past week and have important information for community members and organisations. They strongly suggest that:

If you have recently been in Wilcannia on or after Thursday 12 August 2021, or you have spent time with someone who has been in Wilcannia, you should immediately get tested and self isolate until you receive a negative result.

If you or someone you know has any symptoms of COVID-19 (runny nose, cough, fever or body aches and pains) you must self isolate until you receive a negative result.

For those across NSW, you must stay at home unless you have a reasonable excuse to leave your home. We understand this may be challenging and wanted to make you aware of the following services that may support you and your community to stay safe:

For community members identified as positive, close or a casual contact will be directly referred by NSW Health and will be supported by Resilience NSW.

For community members not being directly assisted by NSW Health in health directed isolation and are in the Public Health Order to stay at home you can be supported by Service NSW by calling 13 77 88 who can support with a range of services including food relief.  You can access information on a range of support services available on the Supporting NSW through COVID-19 page of the NSW Government website here.

Alternatively, you can also search for local support services via this link.

The NSW Government and the Australian Government also offers financial assistance and support if you have been impacted by COVID-19 and are experiencing financial difficulty. You can find out about the various types of payments here.

Some community information is also available here.

sign text 'keep our Wilccania community health - good health and hygiene stop the spread of COVID-19'

Community representatives say the town is doing all it can to look after each other while staying home. Photo: Bill Ormonde, ABC Broken Hill. Image source: ABC News.

In a related news article, Sam Brennan, the director of the Victoria-based Mallee District Aboriginal Service (MDAS), said “a lot of our mainly Aboriginal community from both sides of the border attended the funeral. We do believe there are people who have attended that actually live in Mildura [in Victoria], but the main focus is on the Dareton-Wentworth area [in NSW],” she said.

“So we’re using our social media platforms and any other avenue to say if you’ve been [to the funeral], come and get tested and stay at home until you’ve got that test result.”

You can read the ABC News article in full here.

front of MDAS Mallee District Aboriginal Service building & MDAS logo

Image source: ABC News.

AMA warns ‘don’t mess with Delta’

Australia’s peak medical association has called on National Cabinet to immediately strengthen the national approach to preventing the spread of the Delta virus, especially in the states and territories where there is currently no community transmission.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the key to fighting Delta was to get ahead of the virus and stay ahead, “We can’t be complacent in those places that don’t have Delta because once we find it, it’s often already spread significantly.”

“We need a buffer to curb the spread that happens before we detect it, especially until we get vaccination rates up, in the form of sensible restrictions – things like caps on numbers in stadiums and nightclubs, mask wearing on public transport and social distancing. We can’t take any chances with Delta. We need this short-term strategy of pre-emptive measures and a reasonable level of restrictions around the country, at least until the end of the year. We’ve seen in NSW and overseas that once the Delta virus takes hold, it is very hard to contain.”

To view the AMA’s media release in full click here.

grey storm clouds, yellow signs 'COVID-19' & 'DELTA' black text, same pole

Image source: AZCentral.

Darwin and Katherine’s COVID-19 lockdown

It takes about three and a half hours to drive from Darwin to Katherine, which is the trip the town’s local MP made as soon as a snap lockdown was declared and parliament cancelled on Monday. Member for Katherine Jo Hersey said she has since observed quiet streets as well as residents following the rules during the town’s first lockdown.

“Most people I have seen are all doing the right thing by wearing masks when they are out in public, and I hope this continues so we can come out of lockdown as soon as it is safe,” she said.

Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service CEO Suzi Berto said during lockdown the service had been out in communities promoting safety measures and vaccination among residents. “We have been really busy since we received the news of the positive case in Katherine,” she said. “Our people are now looking to be vaccinated, which is a good thing.”

Ms Berto said the service had delivered an increased number of shots since the lockdown. “Everything is going really well … we have been operating a vaccine clinic since May, and through the lockdown we are triaging clients that are coming through.”

You can view the article in full here.

The Katherine community was enjoying a busy tourism season before lockdown hit.(ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough). Image source: ABC News.

SA’s rural Aboriginal health workforce plan

SA faces many challenges in recruiting, training and developing the health professionals and skilled volunteers needed to deliver public health services in rural areas. A draft plan to strengthen and grow the Aboriginal health workforce, part of the state government’s Rural Health Workforce Strategy, has been released for consultation. The draft Rural Aboriginal Health Workforce Plan explores strategies to attract, recruit and strengthen the regional Aboriginal health workforce.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the aim was to continue to deliver a high level of care in rural areas. “The Aboriginal health workforce in rural and remote SA is integral to delivering culturally responsive health services and improving the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal communities,” he said.

“Our draft Rural Aboriginal Health Workforce Plan aims to increase the Aboriginal health workforce in regional areas and provide culturally appropriate and supportive health care for Aboriginal people, closer to home. Consultation with Aboriginal communities, regional Local Health Network leads, the Aboriginal health workforce and key stakeholders will occur across the state until October, [and] feedback will be brought together to ensure we can secure the workforce we need for the future.”

You can view the draft plan here and the Transcontinental Port Augusta article here.

yellow road sign outback text 'clinic 10 km'

Image source: newsGP website.

Headspace’s Take A Step campaign

Brisbane-based social change agency Carbon Creative has developed the Take a Step advertising campaign to promote mental health and reduce youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The campaign launched this week and was co-created with headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from around the country who had lived experience of mental ill-health.

Research shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 24 and under are three times more likely than other young people to die by suicide.

The campaign encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to recognise the signs that something’s not right and provides small, practical steps towards feeling better, such as ‘doing something that makes you feel good.’

Carbon Creative Managing Director and Birri Gubba manvWayne Denning said they understood the sensitivities of the campaign. “We spent a lot of time working with headspace, community elders and young people before any creative was developed to ensure we not only understood the challenge but could co-create something real and meaningful with them that would really resonate.”

You can view the videos here.

Aboriginal student resting on desk with two rocks one with the word 'lonely' & one with the word 'sad'

Stroke support for survivors, carers and families

Jude, from StrokeLine, says “While most people ask StrokeLine practical questions about stroke, many conversations turn to mental wellbeing. Survivors of stroke, carers and families are finding the uncertainty and the isolation are taking a toll.

Everyone has their own ways to cope. People know what works for them and their families. When you’re finding it tough, you may need to refresh what you are doing. What worked yesterday might not work today.

It’s a good time to focus on the people and things that make you feel good. Text or call people who lift you up. Do things you enjoy. The point is to feel good. If you can, be physically active every day. You don’t need to be Jane Fonda – just do whatever works for you. Eat more fresh food. Take time to rest and if your sleep is being affected speak with your GP.

The StrokeLine team are here to help. “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to look after yourself. That’s when talking with someone can be helpful. On StrokeLine (1800 787 653), we take the time to listen and we know which services and strategies may help. You’ll come away from a call, or email conversation, with a plan that works for you.”

You can access the recently released Stroke Foundation EnableMe newsletter here.

StrokeLine counsellor, text 'STROKE is Australia's leading cause of disability' map of Australia with wheelchair vector symbol

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Children aged 12–15 to get Pfizer vaccine

Feature tile - Tue.3.8.21 - Children aged 12–15 to get Pfizer vaccine

Children aged 12–15 to get Pfizer vaccine

In a statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), it is now recommended that the following groups of children among those aged 12–15 years be prioritised for vaccination using the Pfizer vaccine:

  • children with specified medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12–15 years
  • all children aged 12–15 years in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs that provide vaccines for all ages (≥12 years).

ATAGI will make recommendations to Government for use in all other children in the 12–15 years age group within the coming months, following review of emerging information.

You can read more about this statement on the Australian Government Department of Health website here.

Teenage Aboriginal girl with mask being administered vaccination by health professional.

Teenage Aboriginal girl with mask being administered vaccination by health professional. Feature tile image credit: SNAICC.

 

Nursing shortage due to border restrictions

At least 18 remote communities across the NT are experiencing a shortage of nursing services due to COVID-19 international and interstate border restrictions.

The “movement” of nurses into remote areas has “been limited over time”, according to John Wakerman from the Menzies School of Health Research.

Chief executive of Purple House Sarah Brown said prior to the pandemic, and throughout the changing lockdowns, she planned to have nurses travel to remote communities in the NT from interstate, but that plan had been delayed.

She said the priority to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, as well as aged care services across Australia, had put the “whole system under enormous pressure”, but she remained optimistic about attracting more nurses to Central Australia.

“If we could actually have a bit of a plan to move some of these visa applications along and find a safe way to get some nurses in the country that would take a lot of pressure off the whole system,” she said.

“If we can do it for pop stars and tennis champions maybe there’s a way we could do it for some nurses too.”

You can read the story in the ABC News here.

COVID-19 interstate and international border restrictions have impacted upon nurses coming to work in remote communities. Image credit: ABC News.

COVID-19 interstate and international border restrictions have impacted upon nurses coming to work in remote communities. Image credit: ABC News.

 

Census data supporting mums and bubs program

The Institute of Urban Indigenous Health uses Census data to inform expansion of its successful Birthing in our Communities program, which is delivering outstanding results for mums and bubs in South East Queensland.

The program also hosts a community day every Friday. It’s a chance for mums, their family, and their community support network to come together to celebrate the family unit and learn from visiting specialists like dieticians and psychologists.

Queensland mum Mackapilly said it’s been a great opportunity to learn and be part of a community of mums and bubs.

“I am so grateful for playgroup and community days. It was been useful to connect with other mums and share advice. We feel like we are at home, like we are a family,” Mackapilly said.

Mackapilly would love to see this program expand to other areas and communities to help more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums and bubs.

“Now that I know Census data has helped to create and expand the Birthing in our Communities program, I’ll be telling other mums to make sure they fill out the Census because I can see how it can help show what community services are needed,” said Mackapilly.

Other important dates on the calendar provide opportunities for mums and families to come together. The Birthing in our Communities program is getting ready to host a COVID-safe celebration and playgroup for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day on 4 August.

You can read the media release here.

For more information call 1800 512 441 or visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census website with information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities here.

Census data supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums and bubs program to expand across South East Queensland.

 

Chronic disease mapped across Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released new geographical data, showing where Australia’s most common chronic diseases are more prevalent.

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease are together responsible for the country’s highest ‘burden of disease’ – the years of healthy life lost to a disease. They account for 14%, 2.2% and 1.4% of the burden of disease, respectively.

While common, these diseases are not evenly distributed. For instance, 6.2% of Australian adults report having heart, stroke and vascular disease, but for Northern Territorians the rate is only 1.8%. Conversely, 7.4% of adults in the NT have type 2 diabetes, compared to 5.9% of the national adult population.

Areas with greater socioeconomic disadvantage have higher rates of disease when age is taken into account.

Regional and remote areas, and places with high proportions of Indigenous Australians, also had worse health profiles when adjusted for age.

The AIHW has released this data in a series of dashboards on their website, where you can examine your own state or suburb’s health profile.

Type 2 diabetes prevalence in Australia. Credit: AIHW 2021.

Type 2 diabetes prevalence in Australia. Credit: AIHW 2021.

 

Program to increase number of surgeons

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is proud to launch its Indigenous Surgical Pathway Program Australia to try and increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surgeons in the medical workforce.

The program aims to reduce the professional health workforce inequity faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

While there are over 83,000 doctors registered to practice in Australia, fewer than 400 are Indigenous. This is despite over 760,000 people in Australia identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

“In Australia and NZ we have a severe shortage of Indigenous surgeons and we need to do everything we can to change this disproportionate under-representation,” said Dr Sally Langley, RACS President.

“The College is committed to addressing this health discrepancy and the program will support this by encouraging and actively recruiting medical students and recent graduates into surgery.”

You can read the media release by RACS here.

Aboriginal surgeon Dr Kelvin Kong. Image credit: The Australian.

Aboriginal surgeon Dr Kelvin Kong. Image credit: The Australian.

 

Community Liaison Officers to improve SEWB

In February 2021, the WA Government announced a further $17.6 million commitment to establish a three year Social and Emotional Wellbeing Model of Service pilot at five Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) sites.

The Model is part of their commitment to address and reduce Aboriginal suicide rates through the establishment of the newly created Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (CLO) positions across the State.

Based at Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, the CLOs will work with their respective communities and support the implementation of the region-specific Aboriginal suicide prevention plans.

The region-specific plans form part of the implementation of the Western Australian Suicide Prevention Framework 2021-2025 and include culturally informed social and emotional wellbeing initiatives designed by and for Aboriginal people.

You can read the media statement by the Government of Western Australia here.

Aboriginal women embracing each other.

Aboriginal women embracing each other. Image credit: Independent Australia.

 

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Help on ground needed, not just targets

feature tile text 'help on the ground needed to tackle disadvantage not just targets' silhouette of Aboriginal man sitting in humpy

Help on ground needed, not just targets

Indigenous advocates want help on the ground, not just targets, to stop Aboriginal Australians ending up in child protection and jail and dying sooner. Data on how Australia is faring in attempts to tackle Indigenous disadvantage has revealed stark failures. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls born between 2015 and 2017 are expected to live 8.6 and 7.8 fewer years, respectively, than non-Indigenous children. While the gap has lessened compared to a decade prior, Australia is not on track to close it by 2031, a Productivity Commission analysis released last week shows.

Another target, to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in the Indigenous suicide rate, was also set to be missed. It rose from 24.9 to 27.1 per 100,000 people across all states and territories except Tasmania and the ACT between 2018 and 2019. Also off track were attempts to reduce the rate of Indigenous children in out-of-home-care by 45% and adults in jail by 15%. Children represented 56.3 per 1,000 of those in out-of-home care last year, up from 54.2 in 2019. Over the same period, the rate of adults in the prison population rose from 2077.4 to 2081.1 per 100,000 to June 2020.

The peak body advocating for Indigenous children and their families said setting targets alone would not lead to change. “Our people have said it for a long time; change can only happen through shared decision-making and genuine partnership with our communities,” Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care chief executive Catherine Liddle said. “This includes continuing to work with our sectors to ensure they are prioritised as the experts in delivering culturally and locally appropriate services to our families.”

To view the article in full click here.

back of elderly Aboriginal man sitting & Aboriginal boy lying down face to camera & second older Aboriginal man sitting facing camera look at boy, all on old blankets outside building dusty outback

Feature tile image of Elder Kingi Ross, pictured in his humpy in the remote Utopian outstation of Irrultja. Source of both above and feature image newmatilda.com.

No time to lose to curb Delta’s spread

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said today time is running out to get control of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, calling for stricter, wider lockdown measures alongside a massive vaccination push. AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said people in Sydney were now facing a very significant risk of catching COVID-19, with people of all ages in hospital and many of these in ICU.

Dr Khorshid said the NSW Government should have consistent rules about travel limits within a five km radius from home throughout Greater Sydney and mask wearing, and not just in the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs), to get on top of the outbreak of the Delta strain. “Lockdown should mean lockdown across the whole Sydney region. COVID-19 does not respect geography or local government boundaries on a map, and clear and simple rules applied everywhere will make a difference — including mandatory mask wearing indoors and outdoors, when outside the home.

“Unless daily infection numbers come down over the next few days, NSW is in real danger of having to live with the COVID-19 Delta strain for the foreseeable future – that means ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, not to mention a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the community and the economy of the whole nation. Now is not the time for mixed messaging, appealing to common sense or finding a balance between economic and health advice – now is the time for ALL of Sydney to work together under simple, understandable restrictions that apply evenly to all with the aim of achieving what Melbourne was able to achieve last year- to eliminate COVID-19.”

To view a transcript of the interview in full click here.

virus cell & drive through testing

Image source: AP/UNSPLASH.

Vaccine rollout gathering steam

Despite delays in the vaccine rollout, WA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are now getting vaccines administered in regional communities. Across the nation, 124,096 First Nations people have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine (21.4% of those eligible) and over 50,365 (8.7%) have received a second dose.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 16 are eligible for the vaccine. Though the vaccine rollout has been slower than the Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA) would have liked, AHCWA Public Health Medical Officer Dr Marianne Wood said delays allowed more time to overcome vaccine hesitancy. “The slowness isn’t a terribly bad thing. There was some concern from some quarters in the community about the vaccine, and that’s going away now,” she said. “In WA we don’t have COVID right now knocking on our door, although that could change in a flash. I think it’s okay at this stage because we are taking it slowly and gently.”

Remote WA Aboriginal Health Services (AHS) are rolling out the vaccine in association with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). An AHS can book in for vaccine delivery and any extra assistance required with administration is provided by the RFDS. “The frustrating thing is that supplies of Pfizer have been very slow to come through, and that definitely is an issue, especially at the beginning,” Dr Wood said. “But now all but one of our services have signed up [to the rollout] and have dates for starting — if they haven’t already.”

To view the full article in the National Indigenous Times click here.

Warmun Community member Luke Banks being vaccinated by Steph Whitwell, Vaccination Nurse from Kununurra COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Warmun Community member Luke Banks being vaccinated by Steph Whitwell, Vaccination Nurse from Kununurra COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Image source: Government of WA website.

Stillbirth, cancer and uranium mine

The Ranger uranium mine, surrounded by Kakadu National Park in the NT, operated for 40 years until it closed this year. During this time, , Aboriginal people in the region experienced stillbirth rates double those of Aboriginal people elsewhere in the Top End, and cancer rates almost 50% higher. But a NT government investigation couldn’t explain why and we’re still no wiser.

We owe it to Aboriginal people living near mines to understand and overcome what’s making them sick. We need to do this in partnership with ACCHOs. This may require research that goes beyond a biomedical focus to consider the web of socio-cultural and political factors contributing to Aboriginal well-being and sickness.

To view the article in full click here.

aerial shot of Ranger uranium mine, NT

Ranger uranium mine, NT. Image source: Energy Resources Australia.

New stroke recovery resource

The Stroke Foundation have launched Our Stroke Journey, a booklet designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live well after stroke, to mark National Stroke Week 2–8 August 2021. Stroke Foundation National Manager StrokeConnect Jude Czerenkowski said this resource represents a big step forward in ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get the information and support they need after stroke.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke than non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms Czerenkowski said. “Most people don’t know much about stroke. Everyone needs access to evidence-based, easy-to-understand information after a stroke. We have worked with an incredible group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of stroke, carers and health workers to create Our Stroke Journey. They have shared their stories and expertise with us and we are incredibly grateful.”

You can view the Stroke Foundation’s media release in full click here and the Our Stroke Journey on the Stroke Foundation’s website here.

survivor of stroke Joe Miller in check shirt, Akubra, standing against green grassed river bank

Survivor of stroke Joe Miller believes Our Stroke Journey is much needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait survivors of stroke, their families, and carers

PHC Manuals medicines review process

The Remote Primary Health Care Manuals (RPHCM) are widely used in primary health care settings across Australia to guide and support the provision of high quality, evidence-based care to people living in rural and remote communities. The suite of manuals is currently being reviewed and updated in preparation for new editions planned for 2022.

Ensuring that medications featured in the protocols align with current evidence and research, is a crucial element in our review process. A team of multi-disciplinary health professionals applies a multi-stage process to confirm that all medications recommended in the protocols are up to date, supported by evidence and appropriate for the remote, Indigenous health context.

For further information, including the Pharmacy Review Process Flowchart below, click here.Pharmacy Medicines review process flowhart for Rural PHC Manuals, 6 stepsThe RPHCM project team is seeking expressions of interest from pharmacists to assist in the medicines review process.  Volunteer reviewers with experience in remote or Indigenous health can contribute to either or both, the protocols, or Medicines Book review. We appreciate and value all our reviewers and acknowledge their contribution on our website, as well as providing a certificate of involvement for inclusion in their CV. To register your interest click here.

Pharmacy Review Coordinators: Philippe Freidel, Danny Tsai, Tobias Speare sitting at a desk, Philippe & Tobias holding manuals & Danny with open laptop

Pharmacy Review Coordinators: Philippe Freidel, Danny Tsai, Tobias Speare
and Fran Vaughan, Editorial Committee (absent from photo).

Human Rights award nomination date extended

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) annual Human Rights Awards are proceeding again in 2021 – with a difference!

This year, they are accepting nominations for three award categories:

  • Human Rights Medal
  • Young People’s Human Rights Medal
  • Community Human Rights Champion

You are invited to nominate a person, group, organisation or community that has contributed to human rights in Australia. The nominations closing date has been extended to Saturday 7 August 2021.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the AHRC will be celebrating the finalists and winners virtually through a social media amplification campaign in the lead up to Human Rights day on 10 December 2021. AHRC looks forward to receiving nominations and celebrating this year’s finalists – and winners – with you! You can nominate here.

5 previous winnders of AHRC annual HRs awards

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.
dice spelling JOBS resting on keyboard

National Stroke Week

Monday 2 to Sunday 8 August 2021 is National Stroke Week. This year, you are being asked to be ‘United by Stroke’ by learning the F.A.S.T. (Face. Arms. Speech. Time) signs of stroke. Register for National Stroke Week here, receive your free Kit and help raise awareness of the signs of stroke.

You can find more about National Stroke Week and access a range of resources here.

tile text 'United by Stroke - National Stroke Week 2-8 August 2021' 6 people standing facing front, middle woman ambo