NACCHO #Aboriginal Women #Pregnancy Healthcare : Reaping benefits of an #ACCHO Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service

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They can come in and access the midwives to do their antenatal checks, they can use that time for their children to access other services within the clinic. As a result, women were engaging with the clinic throughout their whole pregnancy.

We try and aim for seven antenatal visits throughout the pregnancy, we’re actually hitting that mark, if not more, so for mum and baby that’s huge.

It means we’ve got better health outcomes, we’ve got better birth weights and they can access the other services as well so it’s definitely a huge success with engaging the women within our services.”

Aboriginal health practitioner and team leader at the Danila Dilba centre in Palmerston, Tiana McCoy

NACCHO has published 192 Women’s Health articles

Photo above : Natalia Moore-Deagan says the Indigenous health workers are one reason she goes to Danila Dilba. ABC News: Lucy Marks

Originally published in Darwin

A Northern Territory Aboriginal health service is working to improve the way Indigenous mothers access health care during their pregnancy and is improving generational health practices along the way.

Aboriginal health practitioner and team leader at the Danila Dilba centre in Palmerston, Tiana McCoy, said a success of the clinic’s model had been using Indigenous healthcare workers to connect with women who would not access health care otherwise.

“The family support workers who go out into the community and engage the women into the service they become familiar with who people are and they really do come in and they’re comfortable coming in which is excellent,” she said.

Some women access the mother’s clinic for the first time during a monthly gestation diabetes testing session, but healthcare workers are using the three-hour clinic to screen for other conditions and educate the women on general health in an environment that provides a culturally safe service.

 

Tiana McCoyPhoto Tiana McCoy, an Aboriginal health practitioner and team leader at the Danila Dilba centre in Palmerston.ABC News: Lucy Marks

First time mother Lez Hall, 20, went with her partner to the clinic for the first time and said the service made her feel secure.

“For my first time it’s good to have a midwife with me and everything, so it’s good for my first pregnancy,” Ms Hall said.

“I don’t know much about pregnancy because it’s my first time so it’s good that I know that they’ll tell me what I have to do throughout my nine months.”

Others patients, like 23-year-old Natalia Moore-Deagan, return for their antenatal and diabetes checks, which they only access through the Danila Dilba clinic.

“One of the main reasons [I only come here] is they have Indigenous health workers,” she said.

Ms Moore-Deagan is in the last trimester of her third pregnancy and said she had learnt to improve her health during pregnancy.

“It’s good, it’s healthy, my whole pregnancy for three of my children now has been very healthy and no problems,” she said.

“I’ve learnt to eat healthy, drink healthy and also take my iron tablets.”

First time mother Lez HallPhoto First-time mother Lez Hall, 20, went with her partner to the Danila Dilba clinic for the first time and said the service made her feel secure.ABC News: Lucy Marks

The clinic has diagnosed seven cases of gestational diabetes in the past six months and after going on to received treatment and education about diet and exercise, four of women had babies of a healthy weight.

“We’ve seen ladies come in with their first pregnancy they ended up on oral medication and the second pregnancy, they’re diet control so that’s a good step,” Sumaria Corpus said.

The senior gestational diabetes educator said she was working to treat pregnant women and also educate them to prevent future generation from developing diabetes and associated health problems.

“As we’re seeing a lot of young people, from the age of nine years onwards, with diabetes, so this is the best place to stop that chain effect, giving them the right information, giving them the right support so people can make a choice of change and that’s the biggest thing.”

NACCHO Save a date and #strokeweek ,#OchreDay 2016 and #NACCHOAGM2016

Save

Connect with NACCHO

Improving NACCHO communications to members and stakeholders

To reduce the number of NACCHO Communiques we now  send out most weeks  an executive summary -Save the date on important events /Conferences/training , members news, awards, funding opportunities :

Lodge info :  nacchonews@naccho.org.au

1.National Stroke week kits are now available for ACCHO’s

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Registrations are open
National Stroke Week is the Stroke Foundation’s annual awareness campaign taking place from September 12 – 18. Taking part in Stroke Week is a great chance to engage in a fun and educational way with your workplace, friends, sporting or community group.
SPEED SAVES
This Stroke Week we want all Australians to know the signs of stroke and act FAST to get to treatment.
Time has a huge impact on stroke and we need your help to spread this message. A speedy reaction not only influences the treatment available to a person having a stroke but also their recovery. Most treatments for stroke are time sensitive so it is important we Think F.A.S.T. and Act FAST!
Get your Stroke Week kit NOW
Whether you are an office, hospital, community group or support group, there are lots of ways you can be involved in Stroke Week 2016 like:
• Organise an awareness activity
• Fundraise for the Stroke Foundation

• Host a health check
There’s no cost for your Stroke Week kit which includes posters, a campaign booklet and resources as well as social media kit and PR support.
Act FAST and register NOW at: 

2.Celebrate #IndigenousDads Registrations now open

ONLY 4 Weeks to go / Limited numbers

Aboriginal Male Health National -NACCHO OCHRE DAY

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This year NACCHO is pleased to announce the annual NACCHO Ochre Day will be held in Perth during September 2016. This year the activities will be run by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in partnership with both the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) and Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Inc.

Beginning in 2013, Ochre Day is an important NACCHO Aboriginal male health initiative. As Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

NACCHO has long recognised the importance of addressing Aboriginal male health as part of Close the Gap by 2030.

  • There is no registration cost to attend the NACCHO Ochre Day (Day One or Two)
  • There is no cost to attend the NACCHO Ochre Day Jaydon Adams Memorial Oration Dinner, (If you wish to bring your Partner to this Dinner then please indicate when you register below)
  • All Delegates will be provided breakfast & lunch on Day One and morning & afternoon tea as well as lunch on Day Two.
  • All Delegates are responsible for paying for and organising your own travel and accommodation.

For further information please contact Mark Saunders;

REGISTRATION / CONTACT PAGE

3. NACCHO Members Conference AGM: Save a date  : 6-8 December 2016  Melbourne Further details

AGM 2016

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

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

4. Biennial National Forum from 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2016 Canberra ACT

IAHA

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national not for profit, member based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation, is holding its biennial National Forum from 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2016 at the Rex Hotel in Canberra.

The 2016 IAHA National Forum will host  a diverse range of interactive Professional Development workshops and the 2016 IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards and Gala Dinner.

The fourth IAHA Health Fusion Team Challenge, a unique event specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health students, will precede the Forum.

Collectively, these events will present unique opportunities to:

  • Contribute to achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality
  • Be part of creating strengths based solutions
  • Build connections – work together and support each other
  • Enhance professional and personal journeys
  • Celebrate the successes of those contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

All workshop participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance, detailing the duration, aims and learning outcomes of the workshop, which can be included in your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) personal portfolio.

Register HERE

5. NATSIHWA  6th & 7th of October 2016

NATSIHWA-Eventbrite

On the 6th & 7th of October 2016 NATSIHWA is holding the bi-annual National Conference at the Pullman Hotel in Brisbane. The conference is the largest event for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners.

The theme for this year’s conference is “my story, my knowledge, our future”

my story – health workers and health practitioners sharing their stories about why they came into this profession, what they do in their professional capacity and what inspires them.

my knowledge – being able to gain new knowledge and passing knowledge onto others by sharing and networking.

our future – using stories and knowledge to shape their future and the future of their communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners are our valuable frontline primary health care workers and are a vital part of Australia’s health care profession. This conference will bring together health workers and health practitioners from across the country.

Register now and get the early bird special. Each registration includes a ticket to the awards dinner.

Register Now     Book Accomodation

 6. VACCA Cultural Awareness Training – Book Now!

Looking to deepen your cultural journey?

VACCA’s Training and Development Unit offers a range of programs to external organisations working in the field of child and family welfare, to strengthen relationships with Aboriginal organisations, families and communities.

VACCA delivers cultural awareness training throughout the year for people interested in developing cultural competency.

Registrations are now open for August.

See the flyer for all details and how to register for these sessions.

Microsoft Word - VACCA Training - Cultural Awareness Flyer web.d

All enquiries can be emailed to: trainingevents@vacca.org

 7.AHHA Save a date

Health Planning and Evaluation Course
8-9 August and 10-11 October, Brisbane
QUT Health is delivering a new course for individuals seeking to develop skills and knowledge in the planning of health services and the translation of health policy into practice. Delivered over two block periods, each block consisting of two days, this new course has been developed and will be delivered by experts in health planning, policy and evaluation. AHHA members are entitled to a 15% discount on the course fees. Read more.

Consumer Engagement: How can PHNs and LHNs involve consumers in co-creation to improve healthcare?
25 August, Sydney
While consumers continue to be involved as active participants in managing their own health, the focus is now moving forward to include consumers to be involved in innovation and value creation in health care. This is a topical area of health system development both globally and nationally and in turn, the focus of this one day, intensive workshop event presented by the Consumers Health Forum and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. Anyone interested in developing their skills in engaging meaningfully with consumers and particularly those involved in creating health services will find this workshop of interest. Find out more here.

8. HealthinfoNET Conferences, workshops and events

Upcoming conferences and events.

Conferences, workshops and events

  • 17th International Mental Health Conference – Gold Coast, Qld – Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 August 2016 – this conference will provide a platform for health professionals such as, clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts, to discuss mental health issues confronting Australia and New Zealand.
  • 2016 National Stolen Generations Conference – Gold Coast, Qld – Wednesday 24 to Friday 26 August 2016 – this conference aims to provide an educational platform to the wider community and endeavours to assist in a sensitive and culturally appropriate way with healing the spirit, mind and body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Working with Children and Young People through Adversity – Parramatta, NSW – Friday 29 August 2016 – this one-day workshop equips participants with a framework for working therapeutically with children and young people who are experiencing personal diversity. The key focus of this workshop is working with children and young people with a diagnosis of serious illness.

Connect with NACCHO

Improving NACCHO communications to members and stakeholders

To reduce the number of NACCHO Communiques we now  send out on Mondays  an executive summary -Save the date on important events /Conferences/training , members news, awards, funding opportunities :

Register and promote your event , send to

nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Bougainville Referendum News : A pledge by Bougainville leaders to work together

” All four national Members: Hon Joseph Lera, Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Jimmy Miringtoro, Minister for Communications, Hon Louta Atoi, member for North Bougainville and the recently …

Source: Bougainville Referendum News : A pledge by Bougainville leaders to work together

NACCHO #braininjuryawareness Week Health News: Stroke strikes the younger generation

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

Fourmile

“It can happen to anyone — stroke doesn’t discriminate against colour, it doesn’t discriminate against age “

Seith Fourmile, Indigenous stroke survivor campaigns for culture to aid in stroke recovery

Download report BRAININJURY AUSTRALIApospaperyoungstroke2016

Acquired brain injuries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations

  • The incidence rate of stroke for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians has been found to be 2.6 times higher for men and 3.0 for women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008; Katzenellenbogan et al. 2010) compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and many suggest that these figures may in fact be underestimates (Thrift et al 2011).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are known to experience stroke at a younger age than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts, (Katzenellenbogen et al., 2010; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2004) with 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander non-fatal stroke burden occurring in the…

View original post 582 more words

NACCHO #4corners : I can’t see reason, I can only feel anger. And sometimes that’s better Stan Grant

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I have stepped out into the warm winter sun of a Sydney morning. I want to drink in that moment when the sun’s rays touch my skin and banish the darkness I am often prone to carrying inside.

It usually works. Basking for just a few moments can bring clarity and hope. Not today. Today not even nature’s most precious gifts can dispel the gloom I feel about our country.

I could call this anger. I could tell of rage. I could describe a suffocating, nauseating hopelessness. I feel all of that, my mood swinging between despair and resignation.

From The Guardian

The images of those boys on my television screen – tear-gassed, beaten, held down, locked up, hooded. These boys that look like my boys.

Northern Territory juvenile detention ‘may amount to torture’, says Unicef – as it happened
Chief minister takes over portfolio and PM announces royal commission after ABC airs footage of teenagers being teargassed, hooded and restrained for hours
Read more
I didn’t want to watch Four Corners last night. I knew what was to come. I couldn’t watch all of it. I got up, I walked around and every time I came back there was another boy talking about loneliness and depression and fear.

Things once seen cannot be unseen. I carry the twisted images of lifetime of reporting – bodies broken and lifeless, people screaming in pain, rivers of blood and burning flesh. These are things burned into my eyes and now there is that image of a boy – an Australian boy – bound to a chair, hooded and catatonic.

For Indigenous people these are far too often the images that give shape to Australia.

For me it is seeing the physical scars of my loved ones: bodies marked by knife wounds, broken bones, missing fingers, and dark ink tattoos. These tell stories of lives at the coalface of bigotry and poverty.

It is hearing stories of people arrested and chained like dogs to trees left to burn in the blazing summer sun.

It is stumbling on a book as a child and seeing Aboriginal people chained and bound to each other, staring blankly at a world that could not see them as anything but a problem to be solved or a people to be extinguished.

In 2016, the lives of our children are measured in statistics. Indigenous kids make up half of those juveniles behind bars. An Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander boy or girl is nine times more likely to kill themselves.

We are failing them and there are many reasons for it. We can look to history, we can look to politics, we can look to dysfunctional communities and families.

We bury 10 year-olds who feel Australia has no place for them.

We can blame grog and drugs, we can say kids should be at school. We can blame the kids themselves.

Right now none of this is enough. I can’t see reason, I can only feel anger, and anger sometimes is better than reason.

Let the royal commission do its job. Let it look at systemic failure and responsibility and retribution. Let it cast its inquiry over two centuries of neglect and injustice. Let it ask what justice even means.

After Four Corners I watched a little of the Q&A panel discuss the horrors of what they had seen. They discussed Indigenous incarceration, black deaths in custody. They answered questions about constitutional recognition.

A 10-year-old girl has taken her own life. How can we possibly look away?

They talked about the first peoples of this country and there wasn’t even an Indigenous person on the panel. Not one of them even mentioned how utterly inappropriate it is to be talking about us and not including us.

I just wanted to yell at the screen, get out of our lives!

The ignorant, the racist, the well-intentioned, whoever: just stop. Just for that moment I wanted them to stop.

For that moment recognition meant nothing to me.

It will lift. Anger will subside. Hope will fill despair. Reason will return. My inclination to diplomacy will return.

But right now I am angry: tearfully angry.

Right now I am in the sun and waiting for it to lift the gloom.

Still waiting.

NACCHO Health News Alert : All Queensland Ministers to champion Indigenous outcomes and Close The Gap

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This program will provide unprecedented contact, presence and direct attention between Ministers and communities, which will undoubtedly strengthen our whole of government response to improving Indigenous outcomes.

The Palaszczuk Government is committed to closing the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and non Indigenous Queenslanders, particularly those living in remote and discrete communities.”

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt

Each Minister in the Palaszczuk Government Cabinet has been assigned unique responsibility for a discrete Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander community in Queensland to improve communications with Government and drive better outcomes.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt announced the Ministerial Government Champions’ Program today, promising communities that they would receive a greater level of individual attention to address their particular needs.

“Each discrete community will now have its own dedicated partner within the Palaszczuk Government Ministry to listen and act on their concerns which will help communities seize opportunities before them,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Ministerial Champions program builds on the existing Queensland Government Champions program, which has partnered discrete communities with Directors General or other heads of government agencies.

“Under the new program Ministers will immediately begin working closely with mayors and community leaders from their partner community, to engage more effectively with Cabinet on the opportunities and challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“As part of our existing portfolio responsibilities, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and I will continue our involvement in all communities and I will personally lead the whole of Government response in Aurukun as announced by the Premier in May.

“We look forward to working closely with our Cabinet colleagues as they take up the vital role of championing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders in the spirit of genuine partnerships.

“During a Summit held at Yarrabah in Far North Queensland late last year, mayors and community leaders expressed their strong support for the existing Director General level ‘Government Champions’ program.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to acting on that feedback.”

The new Ministerial Government Champion appointments are as follows:

All Communities – Premier and Minister for the Arts, Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Sport, Hon Curtis Pitt

Aurukun

Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Sport, Hon Curtis Pitt

Cherbourg

Minister for  State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Hon Dr Anthony Lynham

Coen

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, Hon Cameron Dick

Doomadgee

Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Hon Coralee O’Rourke

Hope Vale

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Hon Mick de Brenni

Kowanyama

Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier, Assistant Minister Mark Ryan

Lockhart River

Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Hon Mark Bailey

Mapoon

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services, Hon Bill Byrne

Mornington Island

Assistant Minister for Local Government, Assistant Minister Jennifer Howard

Mossman Gorge

Attorney General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, Hon Yvette D’Ath

Napranum

Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Hon Grace Grace

Northern Peninsula Area

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Leanne Donaldson

Palm Island

Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment, Hon Jackie Trad

Pormpuraaw

 Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, Hon Dr Steven Miles

Torres Strait

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Hon Shannon Fentiman

Woorabinda

Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe

Wujal Wujal

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Hon Leeanne Enoch

Yarrabah

Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Hon Kate Jones

 

 

NACCHO #NDW2016 : Diet the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing our communities

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“Worse still, nutrition policy for Australia’s First Peoples has fallen off the radar completely.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 provided a framework for nutrition interventions, but it was 3 years before one project officer was appointed and the strategy lapsed in 2010.

An evaluation report on the strategy was only made public this year following a freedom of information request. There is no mention of food or nutrition in COAG’s most recent Closing the Gap health strategy, nor does nutrition feature strongly in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

Yet diet remains the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

It is time for Australia to take strong leadership in nutrition policy.

We suggest seven ways to do so, following this federal election ”

Belinda Reeve and Alexandra Jones Writing in the MJA-see full article below

“Time to commit to good food policy”

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Images from JAMIE OLIVER Ministry of Food visit

Apunipima  VIDEO Mossman Gorge

Also WATCH NACCHO TV to learn about

Sharylle Ellington Manager Apunipima

Mossman Primary Health Care Centre Cape York QLD

“Collaborating with the people of Mossman Gorge Aboriginal community during NAIDOC week has been an honour.

The Good Foundation is pleased to have worked in partnership with the local Aboriginal community, Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) to deliver the program.

While our goal is to educate all Australians about the benefits of cooking fresh food from scratch, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are hardest hit by the impact of diet related disease.

We look forward to expanding our Indigenous program across the country and to our continued work with the government to address the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians.”

 Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia CEO, Elise Bennetts

Check out our new video here

Five minute full length – https://youtu.be/ogMuZXVkSs4

2 minutes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPRPjjVYqIA

30 seconds – https://youtu.be/gbyunVg9lO8

In recognition of NAIDOC week, today Jamie Oliver’s Australian home cooking program, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, has released a video which clearly illustrates the program’s ethos and commitment to working collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to Close the Gap. The Good Foundation, which delivers Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Australia, developed the program in consultation with the local Aboriginal community, elders and health council, adapting the program to local needs to ensure its success.

Supported by funding from the Queensland Government, Department of Health, Mossman Gorge is the second Aboriginal community location for Jamie Oliver’s Australian home cooking program. Jamie’s Ministry of Food developed a program tailored to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, recognising the gap that exists in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Collaborating with the people of Mossman Gorge Aboriginal community during NAIDOC week has been an honour. While our goal is to educate all Australians about the benefits of cooking fresh food from scratch, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are hardest hit by the impact of diet related disease. We look forward to expanding our Indigenous program across the country and to our continued work with the government to address the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians.” said Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia CEO, Elise Bennetts.

Jamie’s Ministry of Food Queensland Mobile Kitchen is currently in Mossman Gorge where it has been teaching local Aboriginal people to cook. The Good Foundation is pleased to have worked in partnership with the local Aboriginal community, Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku (BBN) to deliver the program.

The release of the video follows the announcement of Queensland Health’s new 10 year strategy which outlines the aim to increase life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males by 4.8 years and females by 5.1 years by 2026.

The new strategy also aims to tackle obesity since it’s 2.2 times higher for children and adults from disadvantaged areas; 48% higher for remote populations (particularly females); and 39% higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Strategy is therefore focussing on Closing the Gap in relation to nutrition education and cooking skills for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders particularly in rural and remote communities.

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said it was great to see Jamie’s Ministry of Food deliver the mobile kitchen program to the Mossman community.

“This program is all about getting everyone cooking again by teaching them the basics; how to cook and how to enjoy food in a way that benefits them and their families” he said.

“In March this year, our government committed $1.34 million to continue this valuable program in Queensland, with a key focus of that funding being to grow the program’s reach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including those in Mossman.

“We wanted to ensure groups across Queensland who really need some additional support are given the opportunity to take part in this great program and learn the right skills and practical tips to help them achieve better health”

Mr Dick said Queensland was the first state to partner with Jamie’s Ministry of Food back in 2011 and that the partnership had played an important role to improve the health of thousands of Queenslanders ever since.

“As at the end of last year, more than 27,000 Queenslanders had attended a Jamie’s Ministry of Food course, cooking demonstration or community event, so it’s great to see this program still enjoying huge success as it continues to support Queenslanders, wherever they live, to lead healthier lives,”  Mr Dick said.

Jamie’s Ministry of Food is an innovative, community-based cooking program built on Jamie’s beliefs about cooking and the associated impact on healthy living. The program has been proven to work. Research funded by Queensland Health and conducted by Deakin University and University of Melbourne showed that participants who take the course purchased and consumed more vegetables, spent less on take away foods and changed their cooking and eating behaviours. This was sustained for 6 months after completing the course.

The Good Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which has partnered with Jamie Oliver and principal partner, Woolworths to deliver Jamie’s Ministry of Food throughout Australia. Queensland Health has committed funding to The Good Foundation to support the delivery of the program state wide in Queensland. Stockland has commenced a local partnership with Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen program in Queensland. The Good Guys, founding partner of Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia, is proud to support the program which is helping to build healthier and happier communities.

For bookings and more information on Jamie’s Ministry of Food visit http://www.jamiesministryoffood.com

“Time to commit to good food policy

MALNUTRITION in all its forms is one of Australia’s most critical health concerns.

Almost two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese (along with 25% of children), and poor diets and high body mass are leading contributors to Australia’s burden of disease. Unhealthy diets are a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which account for 90% of all deaths in Australia.

The health risks of poor nutrition are not distributed equally. There is evidence of a socio-economic gradient in nutrition and diet-related health, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have much higher rates of chronic disease and obesity than the non-Indigenous population.

It is estimated that up to 19% of the burden of disease in Indigenous populations is due to poor diet.

While food in Australia is generally plentiful, food insecurity persists. One in 20 Australians cannot feed themselves and their families safe, healthy food without relying on charity. This rate is up to five times higher among Australia’s First Peoples, with marginalised groups such as asylum seekers and the homeless also being vulnerable to food insecurity.

Under- and over-nutrition are flip sides of the same coin, with some groups at heightened risk for both forms of malnutrition.

Dietary patterns also have profound implications for environmental health. The agricultural sector (and livestock production in particular) accounts for 10-12% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that increasing meat consumption is a key contributor to climate change.

Climate change depletes the environmental resource base for food production, in turn decreasing crop yields and contributing to global food insecurity.

The federal government has been slow off the mark addressing the challenge of creating a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system. The 2008 report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce set out a blueprint for addressing obesity and diet-related chronic disease, but the then Labor government rejected the Taskforce’s most hard-hitting recommendations for encouraging healthy eating and improving dietary health.

Industry self-regulation of food marketing to children was endorsed over stronger statutory measures, the idea of food taxes was swiftly dismissed, and the voluntary Health Star Rating labelling system was selected over the “traffic-light” model recommended by the government’s own commissioned independent review.

On the plus side, progress was made through the establishment of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and dedicated funding to new, community-based prevention initiatives. Work also began on a National Food Plan, which included a focus on nutrition and food system sustainability.

Unfortunately, food and nutrition policy in Australia appears to be a case of “two steps forward, one step back,” with the incoming Coalition government disbanding the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and removing almost $400 million in funding for state-based prevention efforts. The nutrition component of the National Food Plan was hived off into a separate National Nutrition Policy, which has yet to see the light of day.

In the areas of product reformulation, food marketing to children and interpretive food labelling, government continues to prefer voluntary, industry-led initiatives, some of which have laudable objectives but have been poorly implemented and enforced.

This may be unsurprising given the economic power of Australia’s food industry. Making up almost one third of Australia’s total manufacturing sector, the industry is able to wield significant power in food and nutrition’s “regulatory space”, often at the expense of more effective regulatory measures to improve the accessibility of healthy foods and beverages, and encourage healthy eating.

Worse still, nutrition policy for Australia’s First Peoples has fallen off the radar completely.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan 2000-2010 provided a framework for nutrition interventions, but it was 3 years before one project officer was appointed and the strategy lapsed in 2010.

An evaluation report on the strategy was only made public this year following a freedom of information request. There is no mention of food or nutrition in COAG’s most recent Closing the Gap health strategy, nor does nutrition feature strongly in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023. Yet diet remains the single most important factor in the chronic disease epidemic facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Australia’s poor performance on nutrition stands in stark contrast to the many countries around the world experimenting with innovative and progressive policies to promote healthy diets and prevent chronic NCDs.

Among these are 14 countries implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, including high-profile examples Mexico and the UK, statutory restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children in Ireland and South Korea, and mandatory restrictions on the salt content of certain processed foods in South Africa and Argentina.

Increasingly, national efforts are being driven by action at an international level, with the World Health Organization and the United Nations creating a global framework for chronic disease prevention, including measurable, time-bound targets, and monitoring and implementation mechanisms.

The incoming federal government has the opportunity to find surer footing on food and nutrition policy.

Given the health, social, and economic costs at stake, it remains incumbent upon the public health community to rally support for a more proactive and effective policy response.

Inaction is costing our community already, with overweight and obesity estimated to cause $8.6 billion a year in direct and indirect costs, such as absenteeism and foregone tax revenue. We can also challenge voters, communities and public health advocates to unite around a more comprehensive policy platform for improving nutrition and preventing diet-related NCDs.

It is time for Australia to take strong leadership in nutrition policy.

We suggest seven ways to do so, following this federal election:

•    Establish a dedicated, comprehensive policy framework for improving nutrition and diet-related health, with specific, measurable targets on key nutrition indicators, accompanied by monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
•    Ensure universal nutrition education for all primary school aged children – regardless of their socio-economic situation or geographic location.
•    Renew focus on nutrition and dietary health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including dedicated, national-level Indigenous nutrition policy, and structural and regulatory changes to improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy food.
•    Tighten urban planning laws to encourage access to fresh food vendors while easing the density of junk food outlets.
•    Strengthen regulation of food reformulation, interpretive labelling, and food marketing to children.
•    Introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with funds going towards an appropriate public health cause such as improving childhood nutrition or public dental care.
•    Invest in cost-effective nutrition and NCD-prevention policies and programs, accompanied by tracking and monitoring of the impact of spending on population health.

Australia is a global leader in tobacco control, and we can do it again in relation to food governance. But to move from laggard to leader we need a federal government with the fortitude to tackle vested industry interests, to untangle the complex relationships between sustainability, equity and nutrition, and to commit to policies and laws that enable all Australians to access fresh, nutritious and sustainable food.

Dr Belinda Reeve is a lecturer in law at the University of Sydney. Alexandra Jones is a lawyer leading the George Institute’s Food Policy Division’s program on regulatory strategies to prevent diet-related disease. They are lead organisers of the Food Governance Conference, a collaborative endeavor between the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney Law School, the George Institute for Global Health, and the Cancer Research Network. The conference will be held at Sydney Law School on 1-3 November this year, and will cover a range of topics related to nutrition and sustainability, equity and innovation in the food system. The call for abstracts is open until Friday 15 July. The authors would like to thank Dr Josephine Gwynn and Dr Sandro Demaio for their comments on various parts of this piece.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper

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Page 9

NACCHO #IndigenousVotes : ACCHO members urge greater focus on Aboriginal health in the election campaign

Page 10 V2

“It is a sad reality that neither political party have made any substantial new commitments to the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Implementation Plan,

“We know it is not all about money, but without dedicated new funds the plan cannot be fully implemented which is what went wrong with all previous plans.”

Congress Alice Springs  CEO, Donna Ah Chee

See update below 29 June

Where communities have a real voice in the development of solutions and decision making processes with clear accountability frameworks in place to ensure effective use of funds, accountability back to and within community for performance, outcomes will improve.

“Services are owned by community, sustainable, flexible, responsive to local need and provide real and meaningful opportunities for community members.

Early access to good primary health care, results in less spending on expensive hospital treatment, keeps people in community and out of hospital and improves health outcomes through early identification, intervention and prevention of chronic conditions.

Remote communities have enough barriers to access, so we are calling on government to maintain or improve upon the way healthcare is funded.

Cleveland Fagan CEO Apunipima

See full press release or page 10

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Congress Alice Springs urges greater focus on Aboriginal health in the election campaign

Update 29 June

Since this article was written by Congress on the election Labor has announced their Indigenous Affairs policy. This includes a commitment to re-instate the more than $500 million over 4 years that was removed from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio by the Coalition government, a commitment to re-fund the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and commitments in specific program areas such as FASD. These are very significant policy and funding commitments, supporting Aboriginal self-determination consistent with the recent Redfern Statement. This has not been matched by the Coalition .

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) calls for a greater focus and commitment to Close the Gap in Aboriginal health disadvantage in the election campaign.

Continued from opening quote

“There is also a need to get the states and territories to commit to the plan through the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) because if this does not occur, this plan will simply go the way of previous plans with no shared commitment from all levels of government. This is needed as much as new funding at the federal level.

“The Medicare freeze is really hurting Aboriginal community controlled health services as these funds are the major source of growth for new services and programs. Congress welcomes the commitment of the Labor party to remove the freeze and calls on the Coalition to match this commitment.

Both parties also need to reform Medicare to address the increasingly serious maldistribution of GPs in Australia and this needs to include a 20% loading on Medicare in areas of GP shortage as determined by the Medical Boards Areas of Need, classification.

Consideration also needs to be given to provider number restrictions to the national average of 1 GP per 700 people.,” Ms Ah Chee added.

“Neither party has committed to reversing the funding cuts to Australia’s public hospitals and this is especially a concern for Aboriginal people.

Here in Alice Springs, 80% of inpatients in the public hospital are Aboriginal people. There must be a commitment to reverse the $80 billion cut from the forward projections for our public hospitals before people die as a result,” she continued.

“In spite of this, both major parties seem equally committed to maintaining the multi-billion dollar private health insurance rebate with no evidence that this improves health outcomes.

These same funds could make a major difference in funding primary health care and public hospitals.

“At a time when the country is in danger of losing its AAA credit rating, it is really unfortunate that neither the ALP or Coalition have committed to two key public health taxes that will have a differential, positive impact on Aboriginal health.

This includes the volumetric tax on alcohol and the 20% tax on glucose hypothecated to subsidise access to fresh food. If Britain can introduce a glucose tax and Scotland a minimum unit price on alcohol, why can’t Australia?

“Another area of bipartisan disappointment is in Early Childhood. Australia is an outlier within the OECD for its failure to invest in Early Childhood.

We almost stand alone in only funding one year of pre-school rather than two and there is no plan to invest in the critical period from birth to age three with key evidence based programs that we know can lift children out of their disadvantage. GONSKI is essential and welcome but it is not enough without a major investment in the years prior to school.

“The OECD has told Australia that if it wants economic growth in the future it must invest in Early Childhood now.

This is a key focus area for Aboriginal health improvement.

There are also major opportunities to disinvest in programs that are not working for disadvantaged people and redirect these funds into programs that work but no-one really seems to want to tackle this space,” she lamented.

“Public Housing is another area that has been neglected in the campaign with a recent estimate suggesting that in the NT alone there is shortfall of some 2500 houses in Aboriginal communities and a rehashed commitment to fund only 160.

Housing has hardly rated a mention yet this is one of the key barriers to health improvement for many poorer people in Australia. So much more needs to be done and yet there are no substantial commitments in this critical area.”

“Congress’ detailed election policy platform provides more detail on the key things that are needed to improve Aboriginal health.

“When total government revenue as a proportion of GDP is so low in relative terms within the OECD it is not acceptable to say there is no money. It all comes down to priorities and political will and Congress hopes that Closing the Gap will be given a much higher priority for the remainder of the election campaign,” concluded Ms Ah Chee.

Download Congress’ Election Policy Platform here

2016_Election-Policy-Platform

Cape York Leaders call for action on priority areas ahead of federal election

At a recent meeting of Cape York leaders , Cleveland Fagan, CEO of Apunipima sought agreement on the three key issues to be put to federal leaders as priority areas for action for the next government.

As we enter the last four weeks of campaigning before the federal election in July, Apunipima had the opportunity to address members of CIMA (Cape York Indigenous Mayors Alliance) to discuss the priority health action areas for Cape York from the community’s perspective.

  • Health System Reform
  • Universal Access and Equity to Healthcare
  • Reciprocal Accountability Framework

System Reform: Cape Leaders are calling for reforms of the education, health and welfare system in order to return control back to communities. Evidence is clear that community driven and led services have a real impact on positive outcomes across all sectors, particularly in the area of health.

Mr Fagan said, “Where communities have a real voice in the development of solutions and decision making processes with clear accountability frameworks in place to ensure effective use of funds, accountability back to and within community for performance, outcomes will improve.

“Services are owned by community, sustainable, flexible, responsive to local need and provide real and meaningful opportunities for community members.”

Universal Access & Equity to Healthcare: Good health is considered the cornerstone of wellbeing, it is a foundation for learning, education and employment.

Early access to good primary health care, results in less spending on expensive hospital treatment, keeps people in community and out of hospital and improves health outcomes through early identification, intervention and prevention of chronic conditions.

Mr Fagan said, “Remote communities have enough barriers to access, so we are calling on government to maintain or improve upon the way healthcare is funded. Medicare will never sustain remote indigenous primary health care so better funding models need to be put in place. Private health insurance is not an option for the people of Cape York and our preference would be for free health care as it gives the greatest access to the disadvantaged which will then lead to greater wellbeing, attainment and opportunity for Cape York people.”

Recent policy decisions by all parts of government, although well meaning are inadvertently creating barriers to and inequity in access to services in remote communities.

Connectivity is a real issue. With more and more key services moving access points online, remote communities with little or no internet access are being prevented from accessing services or having the same access as their counterparts in large towns or cities. The My Health Record and access to NDIS are just two examples where internet access is essential to access the service they provide.

The disproportionately high incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders continues to remain a concern with little or no oversight at a national level and cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services compounding the problem.

Many remote communities are oversubscribed when it comes to services and service providers but a lack of community based planning, coordination and analysis of need, supported by adequate funding, infrastructure and cultural competence create rather than reduce barriers to access.

Chairman of CIMA and Mayor of Lockhart River, Cllr Wayne Butcher said, “To improve access and outcomes across all sectors we don’t need more services or government intervention. We need whole system reforms to deliver the right services that are properly funded.

“We want to work with providers that will work with us as a community to develop solutions that are flexible, adaptable and responsive to our needs. We need to be able to rely on joint accountability frameworks so providers are accountable back to community rather than just their funders for effective use of resources and performance.

“At the 2015 Indigenous Leaders Forum (Aboriginal Shire Council Mayors) in Toowoomba, the ALF members agreed to an Accord with the State Government and we will be progressing with work between CIMA and Apunipima in the future.

We now look to our federal government to do the same.”

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Lets talk #SorryDay and #healing today 26 May

REC_Lets_Talk_Sorry_Day_V1_155659On our pathway towards reconciliation, Sorry Day on 26 May is an important moment to remember the past policies of forced child removal. In the lead up to Sorry Day and the 16th anniversary of the Corroboree 2000 Bridge Walk in Sydney on 28 May, we are reflecting on the sad and painful history of the Stolen Generations and recognising moments of resilience, healing and the power of saying Sorry.

Did you know?

  • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998—exactly one year after the Bringing Them Home Report was presented to the Parliament.
  • The Bringing Them Home Report resulted from an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, and recommends both an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reparations.
  • The term “Stolen Generations” refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed, as children, from their families by government, welfare or church authorities and placed into institutional care or with non-Indigenous foster families.
  • The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children began as early as the mid-1800s and continued until the 1970s.
  • Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have implemented state-based Stolen Generations reparations schemes.

 

 

 

 

“We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians…For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.”
Prime Minister Keven Rudd, 13 February 2013
1909: The Aborigines Protection Act gave the Aborigines Protection Board legal sanction to take Aboriginal children from their families in New South Wales.

1937: All Australian States adopt policies to ‘assimilate’ Aboriginal children of mixed descent.

1950s: During the 1950s and 1960s, great numbers of Aboriginal children were removed from their families in the name of assimilation. They became known as the Stolen Generation.

1970s: Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families into the 1970s. Aboriginal groups begin to receive funding to challenge these very high rates of removal.

26 May 1997: The Bringing Them Home Report is tabled in Federal Parliament. This report talked about the painful history of the Stolen Generations, and made 54 recommendations for moving forward including holding a national Sorry Day every year.

26 May 1998: The first official Sorry Day is held to acknowledge the impact of forcible removal policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

28 May 2000: The Corroboree 2000 Bridge Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge shut down traffic and made national headlines as hundreds of thousands of people walked in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

13 February 2008: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologises to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for the policies which ‘inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these, our fellow Australians’. This is why, on 13 February every year, we now celebrate the anniversary of the Apology.

 

Some statistics…

  • The Corroboree 2000 Bridge Walk saw over 250,000 people walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of reconciliation and saying sorry to the Stolen Generations.
  • 24,763 personal apologies were made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the first Sorry Day in 1998.
  • The Bringing Them Home Report found that between one in three and one in ten Aboriginal children were removed from their families as a result of government policy.
  • The Inquiry which culminated in the Bringing Them Home Report received over 777 submissions, including 535 from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations.

The Healing Foundation

“It never goes away. Just ‘cause we’re not walking around on crutches or with bandages or plasters on our arms and legs, doesn’t mean we’re not hurting. Just ‘cause you can’t see it … I’ll carry these sorts of wounds ‘till the day I die.”
Confidential Evidence 580, Queensland. Bringing Them Home Report

For many members of the Stolen Generations and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, Sorry Day is official recognition of a dark history of forced removal that was, for a long time, denied. To assist with the healing process for the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected, the Healing Foundation was established one year after the Apology. For many members of the Stolen Generations, as well as their children and families, healing is a complex process. The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation with a focus on building culturally strong, community led healing solutions.

We encourage everyone to listen to the story of the Healing Foundation, and learn more about the organisation. We hope that by helping to recognise the wrongs of the past, we are moving forward towards a reconciled, just and equitable Australia.

Read more about the Healing Foundation.

Take action…

“In true reconciliation, through the remembering, the grieving and the healing we can come to terms with our conscience and become as one in the dreaming of this land.”
Evelyn Scott, Chairperson, Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 27 May 2000.

Reconciliation Australia would like to thank the Healing Foundation for their help in the production of this factsheet.

Photo credits:

Banner photo: MAY 28, 2000 : Word Sorry appears in sky over Opera House as over 150,000 take part in walking across closed Sydney Harbour Bridge for Walk for Reconciliation, 28/05/00. NSW. OldPixRef: 06445586 OldPixCat: News (Photo by News Ltd / Newspix

Take action photo: The Apology to the Stolen Generations, Indigenous

 

NACCHO #closethegap the gap for vision : $2.5 million in funding to provide continued support to Indigenous Eye Health

HT

“The funding will allow the unit to provide vital services, and also allow them to work with the sector on innovative and collaborative approaches to eye health,” Minister Nash said.

“This continues what has been a strong government commitment to eradicate trachoma in partnership with the pioneering work of Professor Taylor.”

“We will continue to collaborate with the eye health sector to ensure that we are able to eliminate trachoma by 2020, and close the gap in eye health between our Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Senator Fiona Nash, Minister for Rural Health Press Release

Picture Above Professor Taylor , Bobbi Campbell Department of Health and NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke  :The funding provided over three years from July will support the Unit – led by Professor Hugh Taylor – to deliver a range of services.

Read over 20 NACCHO Eye Stories here

The Coalition Government today demonstrated its commitment to eliminating avoidable blindness and vision loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Senator Fiona Nash, Minister for Rural Health and Deputy Leader of the Nationals, announced today $2.5 million in funding to provide continued support to the Indigenous Eye Health Unit at the University of Melbourne.

“I am pleased to announce future funding of $2.5 million to build on the achievements made to date to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian eye health,” Minister Nash said.

“This investment brings our total support for Indigenous eye health to $9.1 million, building on our September 2015 investment of $6.6 million.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are two and a half times more likely to report having complete or partial blindness compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Eye Health Unit provides expert advice and technical support on trachoma control, which is already helping to improve the eye health of Indigenous Australians.

The funding provided over three years from July will support the Unit – led by Professor Hugh Taylor – to deliver a range of services.

These include providing expert advice to the Department of Health, developing Indigenous eye care resources, providing technical support on trachoma control, and undertaking stakeholder engagement and support for the coordination of Indigenous eye care programmes and services.

“The funding will allow the unit to provide vital services, and also allow them to work with the sector on innovative and collaborative approaches to eye health,” Minister Nash said.

“This continues what has been a strong government commitment to eradicate trachoma in partnership with the pioneering work of Professor Taylor.”

“We will continue to collaborate with the eye health sector to ensure that we are able to eliminate trachoma by 2020, and close the gap in eye health between our Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

The Australian Government funds the current multilateral Trachoma Project Agreement ($16.5 million over four years to 30 June 2017) for trachoma screening and treatment activities, as well as providing funding for the continuation of trachoma control activities beyond 2017.

Funding is also being provided up to 30 June 2017 for the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, to operate the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit (NTSRU).

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More than half (54%) of all Australians report having at least one long term eye health condition, with nearly half the population wearing glasses or contact lenses, according to data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

SEE EYE HEALTH DATA PAGE

Eye health conditions may be present from birth, may exist as a result of illness or injury, or may have developed over time due to ageing.

PHOTO Above : SEE NACCHO Report Great Progress in Indigenous eye health

‘In 2011-12, almost 12 million Australians reported having an eye health condition, with long and short sightedness the most commonly reported conditions, and there’s been an increase in these conditions in recent years,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mardi Ellis.

Between 2001 and 2012, the proportion of the population affected by long sightedness rose from about 22% to 26%, while short sightedness increased from around 21% to 23%.

The likelihood of having a long term eye condition increased with age, with 95% of people aged 55 and over affected by an eye health condition, compared with 11% of those aged 0-14.

‘Eye conditions were more common among females than males, and much more common among Indigenous Australians than nonindigenous Australians,’ Ms Ellis said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable blindness and vision loss than other Australians, and are more than twice as likely as non Indigenous Australians to have complete or partial blindness.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are almost one and a half times more likely to have cataracts, but despite this, are less likely than other Australians to undergo cataract extraction surgery.

‘Some improvements have been seen, however cataract extraction among Indigenous Australians has increased from 5.6 per 1,000 population in 2010-11 to 7.3 per 1,000 in 2013-14,while the rate for other Australians remained steady,’ Ms Ellis said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

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