NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldHypertensionDay @strokefdn High #bloodpressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob with 47% having high #stroke risk

 

 ” But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

A staggering 82 percent of those, found to have high blood pressure, were not aware prior to taking the health check and were referred to their doctor for a further assessment.

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

Too many Australians couldn’t spot a stroke if it was happening right in front of them.

We know that in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this awareness is even lower.

We want all Australians, regardless of where they live or what community they’re from, to learn the signs of stroke.”

Stroke Foundation and Apunipima ACCHO Cape York Project

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

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

Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan 

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

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media

Listen to the new rap song HERE

                                       or Hear

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated

NACCHO has published over 90 articles Aboriginal health stroke prevention and recovery READ HERE

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

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

” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians.

What you don’t know can hurt you. Heart disease and strokes are the biggest killers of Australians, and the biggest risk factor for both of them is high blood pressure.

But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

John Kelly CEO-National, Heart Foundation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.

It was World Hypertension Day yesterday  and the Stroke Foundation is determined to slash stroke numbers in Australia – with your help.

Today kicks off Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check for 2018 and communities are being urged to take five minutes out of their day for a potentially life-saving blood pressure check.

More than 4.1 Million Australians are living with hypertension or high blood pressure, putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke.

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

The major concern with high blood pressure is many people don’t realise they have it. It has no immediate symptoms, but over time, it damages blood vessels and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

How you can help?

  • Encourage your family and friends to take advantage of a free check.
  • Help spread the word via social media:  Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.
  • Get your free health check today! https://bit.ly/2ps1UOn #WorldHypertensionDay

  • I am urging you – no matter what age you are – to have a blood pressure check regularly with your ACCHO GP (General Practitioner), pharmacist or via a digital health check machine.
  • Stroke strikes in an instant, attacking the brain. It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer and leaves thousands with an ongoing disability, but stroke is largely preventable by managing blood pressure and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Stroke Foundation and SiSU Wellness conducted more than 520,000 digital health checks throughout 2017, finding 16 percent of participants had high blood pressure putting them at risk of stroke

Given there will be 56,000 strokes in Australia this year alone, if we can reduce high blood pressure we will have a direct and lasting impact on the rate of stroke in this country.Yours sincerely,

Sharon McGowan
Chief Executive Officer
Stroke Foundation

NACCHO Aboriginal Health supports @fam_matters_au campaign #WeBelieveFamilyMatters @IndigenousX Every child has the right to be safe : Plus @SNAICC Submission: #ClosingtheGap ‘Refresh’ Process

 

”  I am a proud advocate for change – because things need to change. Change can be uncomfortable and it can cause anxiety.

 But I see a near future where change can bring positive outcomes to our nation. I play a small role at SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, the national advocacy body fighting for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

I say only small because there are plenty of stronger and louder voices in the national conversation speaking up about the changes that need to happen for our people. So I will only speak for myself and the changes that I dream of.”

Maylene Slater-Burns is Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri/Djungan/Gangalidda woman. Seeker of some real change : Continued Part 2 below

Or Read in full HERE

Hosting this week IndigenousX : Guardian Australia is proud to partner with IndigenousX to showcase the diversity of Indigenous peoples and opinions from around the country

Read over 300 Aboriginal Children’s Health articles published by NACCHO over past 6 years

 Part 1 SNAICC Submission: Closing the Gap ‘Refresh’ Process – April 2018 ( added by NACCHO )

SNAICC put it simply in its recent submission to the Closing the Gap “refresh”:

“We have a shared responsibility to ensure the right of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to be safe and thrive in family, community and culture.”

It has been 10 years since COAG’s Closing the Gap strategy began.

In that time, only three of the seven national targets are reported as being on track and four are due to expire in 2018. COAG is currently undertaking the Closing the Gap ‘refresh’ process.

This process is a unique opportunity to influence the next phase of the CTG agenda, which will form the framework over the next 10 years for all Australian governments to advance outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will also provide the framework for how government funding is prioritised to meet the targets.


SNAICC’s Key Calls

We have a shared responsibility to ensure the right of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to be safe and thrive in family, community and culture. To achieve this:

  • an additional Closing the Gap target should be included to eliminate the overrepresentation of our children in out-of-home care by 2040, with sub-targets that address the underlying causes of child protection intervention; and
  • the current Closing the Gap target on early childhood education should be  strengthened to encompass early childhood development and  expanded to close the gap in outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from birth to 4 years by 2030

Download the SNAICC Submission HERE

SNAICC_Brief-CTG_Refresh-Apr._2018

Part 2 Every child has the right to be safe. Will you speak up with me?

Upon the delivery of the federal budget last week, it is clear that change for our people is not a priority for the federal government – but the government of the day has never scared me into thinking change is impossible. I, in tune with how I was raised by my family in Naarm, believe that real change happens from within community, by community and for community.

My mum, Sharon Slater, and my dad, Mel Burns, have lived and worked in the Melbourne Aboriginal community for decades. As I grew up, it was a normal part of life to be at work with them. My parents were foster carers, youth workers, basketball coaches, community drivers, fundraisers, and health workers – and completed their own admin at the end of the day. I am proud to follow in their footsteps. All I’ve ever known is my community from within.

SNAICC has been part of my life since early childhood, as Mum worked in administration and bookkeeping. Family was always centre at SNAICC – the best memory I have is my twin Marjorie and I mucking around with the photocopier.

In the late 1980s, following the first child survival seminar held in Naarm, community leaders called for the establishment of a national peak body to represent Aboriginal child care agencies, which led to the creation of SNAICC. Despite the ongoing harsh climate of constant political change that impacts a great number of our Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, SNAICC continues to be the voice of its members and the voice for our children.

For me, SNAICC’s work answers a natural calling in this journey to realise the changes that our children, families and communities deserve.

Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in the child protection system at a rate of more than 10 times that of other children. We are losing our children and we must speak up right now, because enough is enough.

The Family Matters campaign is the coming together of organisations and individuals across the nation to reduce the over-representation of our children removed from family.

Family Matters is an approach that trusts Aboriginal people to deal with Aboriginal business, one that includes genuine collaboration and partnership, empowers communities and involves long-term, all-of-government support across the country.

It all comes down to trusting in the legacy of my role models, family members and past leaders who have paved the way before us. Our community knows what works best for our community, and the best way forward when it comes to reunifying the 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living away from home with their community, heritage and culture.

Community is bringing the Family Matters campaign to the doorstep of Australia.

SNAICC put it simply in its recent submission to the Closing the Gap “refresh”: “We have a shared responsibility to ensure the right of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to be safe and thrive in family, community and culture.”

Now is the time for healing and restoration through connecting with other dreamers and change-makers to move forward together. Will you walk with me? Will you speak up with me? Our children are trusting us with their futures. Our work starts now.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO Deadly Good News stories : Features Pat Turner CEO co hosting @NITV #ThePoint #Budget2018NACCHO @GidgeeHealing #BecauseofHerWeCan @awabakalltd @Wuchopperen @CAACongressPlus News from #NSW #QLD #VIC #ACT

1.1 National : Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner co hosts a special Indigenous Health edition of NITV The Point 3 May 2018

1.2 National : NACCHO’s Budget proposal to accelerate Closing the Gap in Indigenous Life Expectancy

1.3 National : SistaQuit needs a few more ACCHO sites for an Indigenous smoking cessation trial for pregnant Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women who smoke 

2.1 QLD : Gidgee Healing Mt Isa An Indigenous health forum with more than advice for women

2.2 QLD  : Wuchopperen Health Service to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Prevention Month

3.NSW :Awabakal ACCHO Newcastle : Australian Ninja Warrior star Jack Wilson signs on to help fight chronic Indigenous obesity

4. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO leads the way May 27 , Reconciliation Day, to recognise and celebrate reconciliation in the ACT between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal people.

5.1 NT : Congress Alice Springs Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnostic centre opens in Alice Springs amid ‘huge demand’

5.2 NT : Sir Michael Marmot visits Congress Alice Springs  

6.VIC : Planning the Closing the Gap future

 View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 6 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday /Friday

 

1.National : Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner co hosts a special Indigenous Health edition of NITV The Point 3 May 2018

View the full program here

https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/1214949955803/the-point-3-may

In my view, the only way to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people – no matter what the sector – is to put Aboriginal programs in Aboriginal hands

It would come as no surprise to any of you to hear me say that an ideal Australia should be one without any gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

We are all aware of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and how a succession of well-intended Governments have struggled to make any progress

Just look at the situation for our young people

At the moment, Indigenous children starting school have twice as many developmental hurdles

Young Aboriginal people are almost five times as likely to commit suicide

Young Aboriginal people are over 30-times more likely to be in juvenile detention

None of us want to see these sorts of statistics

None of us want to see the horrific system failures such as Dondale ever repeated again

We must build a fair and just society in which first Australians can flourish on equal terms and in which our kids get the chance they deserve

We need to do this by putting Aboriginal programs into Aboriginal hands

Closing the health gap with #715 Health checks

The gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and other Australians is not closing

The burden of disease for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island population is 2.3 times higher than for the rest of the population – Funding should reflect this

But it is much higher in remote areas

Yet a dangerous myth persists that Aboriginal and Torres Strait people receive ample funding

To address the disparity, the Commonwealth, in particular, needs to do more

The Commonwealth must lift expenditure not just to match the States’ spend of $2 per Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander for every $1 for the rest of the population, but to match the burden of disease – i.e. $2.30 for every non-Indigenous dollar The Commonwealth only spent $1.21 per Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island person for every $1 spent on the rest of the population

The Closing the Gap targets should remain

But the Government seems to be walking away from these targets and reinventing a softer scheme in which it is less accountable

Until Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are fully engaged and have control over their health and wellbeing any ‘refresh’ will be marginal at best, and certainly won’t close the gap

We need radically different action to achieve the targets, but let’s start simply by putting Aboriginal programs in Aboriginal hands

1.2 National : NACCHO’s Budget proposal to accelerate Closing the Gap in Indigenous Life Expectancy

On Budget night follow #Budget2018NACCHO

Aboriginal Health Download NACCHO Pre #Budget2018 Submission : Budget proposals to accelerate #ClosingTheGap in #Indigenous life expectancy

1.3 National : SistaQuit needs a few more ACCHO sites for an Indigenous smoking cessation trial for pregnant Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women who smoke 

The SISTAQUIT Study aims to improve the provision of timely, evidence-based smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women who smoke and who attend an Aboriginal Medical and Health Service for their ante-natal care.

The study involves a randomized controlled trial testing the SISTAQUIT intervention against ‘usual care’ (all sites receive SISTAQUIT either now or later).

We will to do this through on-site face to face interactive webinar training, free trial resources, free oral NRT for all study sites and financial reimbursement to both study sites and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who consent to participate in the study.

The SISTAQUIT Team are aiming to recruit 30 study sites nationally and are very excited to have already recruited 22 ACCHOs from NSW, Queensland, NT, WA and SA.

We would love to hear from any ACCHOs who would be interested in becoming a study site or those who would like more information on the study.

If your service would like to be a part of this vital trial to help us understand how to provide the best chance of quitting during pregnancy then please call or email Ms Joley Manton on (02) 4033 5720 Mobile 0439 613 836 or email: joley.manton@newcastle.edu.au or sistaquit@newcastle.edu.au

2.QLD  : Gidgee Healing Mt Isa An Indigenous health forum with more than advice for women

The first Indigenous Women’s Health Forum launched at the Mount Isa Golf Clubhouse on Tuesday, May 1.

Gidgee Healing Regional Manager of Deadly Choices Daniella Solakovic said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have some of the poorest health statistics, so the aim of this event is for women to come together to hear from their peers and specialists on key aspects of health and share their personal experiences.

Originally Published here

The two-day event discussed the subjects of nutrition, sexual health, domestic violence, cancer and wellbeing and self care.

Ms Solakovic said they wanted the women to leave after the event with confidence.

“Confidence with the knowledge acquired from the topics we have discussed. Confidence to share the information with others in the community, confidence to access the support services within the community and confidence to remember they are worthy, loved and not alone,” she said.

The second day of the event had a pamper element as the women participated in a number of wellness based activities.

“We had weaving classes, cooking, nail painting, yoga, waxing, face masks and even hair cutting,” Ms Solakovic said.

“We want to acknowledge women and the hard work they do on a day-to-day basis.”

Special guest speaker and Deadly Choice ambassador Rhonda Purcell said meeting together and building networks is were we can get strength from one another.

“We come from a long line of women in our culture from which to draw strength from.

“I grew up in a house with domestic violence and saw a lot of things a child should never see,” Ms Purcell said

I can say today, I got my strength from my mother, she is my inspiration and always will be.”

Special Guest Shellie Morris is an indigenous Australian singer who in 2014 won the NAIDOC National Artist of the Year award.

Ms Morris has worked with numerous organisations using music as a healing tool.

“Meeting together like this is like a moment of respite used to empower us to be strong and know our self worth and that we can achieve anything,” she said.

2.2 QLD  : Wuchopperen Health Service to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Prevention Month

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited will hold outreach, clinic – based and online activities across Domestic Violence Prevention Month (May 1 – 31) to raise awareness of domestic and family violence and the pathways to change.

Social and Emotional Health Acting Manager Spencer Browne said Domestic Violence Prevention Month was all about encouraging people to speak up.

‘Wuchopperen’s theme for Domestic Violence Prevention Month 2018 is #SaySomething. Wuchopperen is encouraging anyone  affected by domestic or family violence to say something, whether it’s to ring an organisation like ours and ask for help, or check in on someone you are concerned about, speaking up makes a difference.’

‘Wuchopperen recognises that domestic and family violence harms individuals, families and communities and we have a range of culturally appropriate, specialised programs to provide advice, care and support for people experiencing, or committing domestic violence.

‘Our services include men’s and women’s yarning groups, youth programs, specialist counselling for men and women, a psychologist and clinical psychologist, court support and free legal advice.

‘Wuchopperen is committed to supporting healthy, respectful relationships which generate healthy families and healthy communities.’

Activities

#SaySomething Social Media Campaign

Community organisations, local schools and individuals will be encouraged to use the hashtag to promote domestic and family violence prevention and awareness.

Sample messages include:

[SCHOOL] says domestic and family violence is everyone’s business #SaySomething #DVPM18

[ORGANISATION] says healthy relationships matter #SaySomething #DVPM18

Week 1

Tuesday 1 – Friday 4 May

School based activities – domestic and family violence education and awareness, healthy relationships education and awareness

Week 2 

Tuesday 8 May, Wednesday 9 May

Wuchopperen male and female Family Support Workers providing outreach services at Manoora Community Centre

Murray St, Manoora

Thursday 10, Thursday 11, Friday 12 May

Wuchopperen male and female Family Support Workers providing outreach services at the Mooroobool Community Hub

Shang St, Mooroobool

Week 3 

Monday 14 – Friday 18 May

Information and awareness activities at Stockland Shopping Centre and Pease St IGA

Week 4 

Tuesday 21 – Friday 25 May

Community event at Wuchopperen Manoora featuring guest speakers, the community sector and a healthy meal

This release can be accessed online here.

 

3.NSW :Awabakal ACCHO Newcastle : Australian Ninja Warrior star Jack Wilson signs on to help fight chronic Indigenous obesity

Jack Wilson, the ‘Deadly Ninja’ from Channel 9’s Australian Ninja Warrior (ANW) series visited with Awabakal on Monday 23 April, showing off his deadly ninja moves and helping to inspire the Indigenous community.

Jack is a proud Indigenous Australian from Mount Isa who is on a mission to educate Aboriginal men, women and children to live a healthy lifestyle and always reach for their goals.

See full media coverage here

During his time on ANW Jack was best known for proudly wearing traditional body paint and Budgie Smugglers in the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

After a difficult upbringing, Jack has overcome his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse to become a successful distance runner and role model to Indigenous youth. He has now partnered with Awabakal to become an ambassador for their Indigenous health programs.

“Jack is the type of personality that our young people will really connect with and look up to,” says Raylene Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Awabakal.

“His connection to culture and ability to overcome the challenges in his life is really inspiring,” Raylene continued.

Jack’s recent visit to Awabakal included an exercise session and motivational talk with the participants of their Knock Out Health Challenge, which is a collaboration between Awabakal and Love the Life (LTL) to encourage healthy living amongst staff and Awabakal community members.

Awabakal also arranged for Jack to show the Awabakal kids his moves at the Ninja Parc obstacle course at Howat Gym in Cooks Hill as part of their school holiday program. This was intended as a fun and engaging activity which helped to inspire and educate the kids to exercise and navigate the obstacles in everyday life.

For more details about Awabakal’s services and work with the Indigenous community, visit http://www.awabakal.org or phone (02) 4918 6400.

4. ACT : Winnunga ACCHO leads the way May 27 , Reconciliation Day, to recognise and celebrate reconciliation in the ACT between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal people.

IGPA CANBERRA CONVERSATION PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES

RECONCILIATION IN THE ACT – ARE WE THERE YET?

DATE: Thursday 31 May 2018

TIME: 12.30pm – 1.30pm

VENUE: Function Room, Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 180 London Circuit, CANBERRA CITY

ABOUT: On 27 May 2018 the residents of Canberra will enjoy a public holiday, Reconciliation Day, to recognise and celebrate reconciliation in the ACT between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal people.

This seminar will explore the extent to which genuine and sustainable progress has been made in achieving reconciliation in the ACT.

Discussion will centre on a range of data, summarised below, which reflects the extent to which Aboriginal people in Canberra continue to experience disadvantage and of the adequacy of the local response to these matters, including the degree of self-determination accorded the Aboriginal community.

  •  Native title has been completely extinguished in the ACT;
  •  Canberra’s Indigenous students fall two years behind their non-Indigenous peers in educational outcomes;
  • Canberra’s Indigenous people are 21 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to non-Indigenous people, and the ACT has the second highest rate of Indigenous incarceration in Australia;
  • An Aboriginal child in Canberra is 12 times more likely than a non-Aboriginal child to be removed, under a care and protection order, from its parents and the ACT has the second highest rate of removal of Aboriginal children in Australia;
  •  7.6% of Canberra’s Aboriginal community report that they live in housing in which they do not have access to working sewerage facilities;
  •  46% of Indigenous males and 39% of indigenous females in the ACT over the age of 15 used an illicit drug or other substance in the last year; and
  • 35% of Aboriginal children in Canberra live in poverty;

This IGPA seminar is co-sponsored by Winnunga Nimmityjah AHCS and is jointly convened by Professorial Fellow Jon Stanhope AO and Adjunct Professor Dr Khalid Ahmed PSM.

THE PANEL JULIE TONGS OAM has been the Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service since 1998. Julie is a Wiradjuri woman and was born in Whitton. She has more than 30 years’ experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and in particular in advising, formulating, implementing and evaluating public health initiatives, programs and policy at a local, regional and national level.

Julie has been a national leader and strong advocate of quality improvement initiatives within the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the ACT Governor General’s Centenary Medal, the ACT Indigenous Person of the Year, and the ACT Local Hero Award. In 2012 Julie was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia.

LOUISE TAYLOR is currently the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid ACT. Louise is a Kamilaroi woman born and raised in inner city Sydney. For a significant portion of her career Louise was a specialist Family Violence prosecutor at the Office of the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions.

Louise has a particular interest in women’s issues especially in relation to family, domestic and sexual violence and is passionate about the importance of access to justice for women, particularly for Aboriginal and other marginalised women. She is a long time Convenor of the ACT Women’s Legal Centre Management Committee, a past member of the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council and former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Women. Louise was the 2009 recipient of the ACT International Women’s Day Award, and is a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee.

5.1 NT : Congress Alice Springs Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnostic centre opens in Alice Springs amid ‘huge demand’

 

The Northern Territory’s first diagnostic centre for foetal alcohol spectrum disorder has opened in Central Australia — where paediatricians estimate one in five children could suffer from the disorder.

Key points:

  • It is estimated more than 500,000 Australians have FASD but it is often not diagnosed
  • The new centre aims to diagnose children early so they can get listed on the NDIS
  • Early diagnosis could also help keep those with the disorder out of prison

 

The centre, launched by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC), will use the first commonly adapted diagnostic tool to ensure early diagnosis of the disorder.

It will also offer a team of paediatricians, psychologists and other health professionals like speech pathologists to help asses at-risk children.

Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is an impairment to the brain caused by mothers consuming alcohol while pregnant.

It causes severe developmental delays, disability, learning difficulties, memory impairment and behavioural problems.

Known as the invisible disability, people with FASD can often go undiagnosed and untreated.

Yet it is estimated more than 500,000 people have FASD in Australia.

Congress child and family services senior manager Dawn Ross said the centre would help ensure those impacted were diagnosed early and services would be immediately available.

“Many children are presenting with [developmental] delays and Congress felt that it was important to not only do full health checks, but that wraparound services and support was given for children,” Ms Ross said.

“Every parent wants to know if there’s a delay that there’s a service out there that’s going to be provided for them.”

Diagnosis could keep children out of prison

Dr James Fitzpatrick, a paediatrician and researcher working with children who have FASD, said 36 per cent of people in juvenile detention in Western Australia had the disorder.

Not only would early diagnosis help get children listed on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and accessing support, he believed it could help lower prison rates.

Drug and Alcohol Services Australia chief executive Carol Taylor agreed, saying a lot of the youth problems in Alice Springs stemmed from intellectual impairment, and “throwing them in prison won’t solve the problem”.

Disorder is a ‘threat to culture’

While Ms Taylor welcomed the new centre opening, she warned that demand would be huge, particularly from Indigenous residents.

“We do have a lot of babies that come into DASA, they’re almost all Aboriginal kids,” Ms Taylor said.

For this reason, Dr Fitzpatrick indicated that reducing the impacts of the disorder could also help preserve Indigenous culture.

“[FASD] is a threat to the very culture that needs to be passed on through stories, song and tradition,” he said.

5.2 NT : Sir Michael Marmot visits Congress Alice Springs  

6.VIC : Planning the Closing the Gap future

The national Closing the Gap agenda and the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework are being refreshed this year. These are important documents. They guide policy and funding priorities in Aboriginal affairs, and set out how government will be held accountable for achieving those priorities.

Aboriginal people know what’s best for themselves, their families and their communities. That’s why the Victorian Government will be led by Aboriginal Victorians around what the new Closing the Gap agenda and Victorian Aboriginal Affairs framework should look like.

Throughout the first half of 2018, there will be a range of opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians to have their say and lead the refresh of both national and Victorian frameworks.

For more information on Closing the Gap or the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework see the Discussion Guide and Factsheet.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Teenage #Pregnancy #maternalMHmatters : Download @AIHW Report : Indigenous teenage mothers almost twice as likely to smoke during pregnancy as non-Indigenous mothers. @sistaquit #Prevention2018

 

” Indigenous teenage mothers are over-represented One in 4 (24%) teenage mothers identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2015.

This means that Indigenous women were over-represented amongst teenage mothers, given Indigenous women aged 15–19 account for only 5.3% of the overall population of Australian females of the same age.

The proportion of Indigenous mothers in Australia is higher in Remote and Very remote areas, and teenage Indigenous mothers also follow this pattern

Compared to non-Indigenous teenage mothers, Indigenous teenage mothers were 1.5 times as likely to smoke in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (43% compared with 28%) “

Read Part 2 Below or Download :

NACCHO Download aihw-per-93.pdf

Babies of teenage mothers are more likely to be premature and experience health issues in the first month than babies born to women just a few years older, a new report has revealed.

Teenage mums are also more likely to live in Australia’s lowest socio-economic areas (42 per cent) compared to mums aged 20-24 years (34 per cent), according to the report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, published today , showed the numbers of teenage mothers had dropped from 11800 in 2005 to 8200 in 2015, with nearly three-quarters of teenage mothers aged 18 or 19.

Compared to babies born to mothers aged 20-24 years, more babies born to teenage mothers were premature, had a low birth weight and needed admission to special care nursery.

Despite the negative outcomes for babies, the report showed positive trends for teenage mothers including more spontaneous labours, lower caesarean section rates and less diabetes for teenage mothers.

“The difference between teenage mothers and those in the slightly older age group is due in part to a large number of teenage mothers living in low socio-economic areas,” says AIHW report author Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.

Dr Al-Yaman said the differences could also be due to the higher smoking rates in pregnancy, with a quarter of teenage mothers smoking after 20 weeks of pregnancy compared to 1 in six of those aged 20 to 24.

A quarter of teenage mothers identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with Indigenous teenage mothers almost twice as likely to smoke during pregnancy as non-Indigenous mothers.

Dr Al-Yaman said risk factors were highly interlinked, with issues such a smoking, low levels of education and employment being concentrated in remote areas.

The teenage birth rate in metro areas is less than half that of regional areas, she said.

“There is a strong link between socio-economic disadvantage and living in remote areas,” she told AAP.

“You need to have access to transport, access to health services and if you have to pay for your transport, sometimes over an hour’s worth, it’s going to take more of your welfare money.”

SISTAQUIT Trial Recruiting Services Now

The SISTAQUIT™ trial aims to improve health providers’ skills and when offering smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Pregnancy is an important window of opportunity for GPs and health providers to help smokers quit, however they often lack the confidence and skills to address their patients’ smoking.

This intervention provides webinar-based training in evidence based and culturally competent smoking cessation care for providers working within Aboriginal Medical and Health Services.

The SISTAQUIT™ Team are currently recruiting Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and GP practices in NSW, WA, QLD, SA and NT for this study.

To find out more about your service being involved in the SISTAQUIT™ trial please contact Dr Gillian Gould or Joley Manton at the University of Newcastle.

Website

Download the trial brochure here

Download an information sheet here

Part 2 Indigenous Mothers

Indigenous teenage mothers are over-represented One in 4 (24%) teenage mothers identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2015.

This means that Indigenous women were over-represented amongst teenage mothers, given Indigenous women aged 15–19 account for only 5.3% of the overall population of Australian females of the same age.

Indigenous mothers are younger than average

The average age of Indigenous teenage mothers (17.8 years) was lower than for non- Indigenous mothers (18.1 years). Indigenous teenage mothers were 4.5 times as likely to be aged under 15 (1.8%; 35) as non-Indigenous teenage mothers (0.4%; 27) and less likely to be aged 19 (37.4%; 744 compared with 49.1%; 3,048).

More likely to live in remote areas

The proportion of Indigenous mothers in Australia is higher in Remote and Very remote areas, and teenage Indigenous mothers also follow this pattern.

In 2015, the Indigenous population rate for 15–19 year old mothers living in Remote and Very remote areas was 84.9 per 1,000 females, which was 5.5 times the non-Indigenous rate (15.2 per 1,000).

The population rate for 15–19 year old Indigenous mothers was also higher for women living in Major cities at 40.7 per 1,000 for Indigenous women compared with 7.1 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous women.

Fewer and later antenatal visits

Indigenous teenage mothers generally attended fewer antenatal visits than non-Indigenous teenage mothers, with higher proportions of 1 visit (1.5% compared with 0.9%) and 2–4 visits (9.5% compared with 6.1%) and lower proportions of 5 or more visits (86% compared with 91%).

They were 1.1 times as likely to attend their first antenatal visit at 20 weeks gestation or more (25% compared with 23%).

More likely to smoke

Compared to non-Indigenous teenage mothers, Indigenous teenage mothers were:

• 1.5 times as likely to smoke in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (43% compared with 28%)

• 1.7 times as likely to smoke after 20 weeks (36% compared with 21%).

Higher rates of diabetes

Indigenous teenage mothers were 1.2 times as likely as non-Indigenous teenage mothers to have diabetes (6.0% compared with 4.9%) and gestational diabetes (5.1% compared with 4.2%).

Onset of labour, method of birth and perineal status

In 2015, Indigenous teenage mothers were more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to have spontaneous labour (66% compared with 62%), and less likely to have induced labour (28% compared with 32%), but equally likely to have no labour (both 6.1%).

Compared to non-Indigenous teenage mothers, Indigenous teenage mothers were slightly more likely to:

• have a caesarean section (19% compared with 18%)

• have an intact perineum (27% compared with 26%).

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health @AIHW The health of Australia’s mums and bubs varies where they live

 ” In general across all indicators, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies and those outside metropolitan areas recorded poorer results.

‘For example, metropolitan areas had a rate of almost 4 infant and young child deaths per 1,000 births. The rate was around 1.4 times higher in regional areas with about 5 deaths per 1,000 births,’

‘While about 1 in 10 Australian mothers smoked during pregnancy overall, the rate was much higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, of whom almost half (46.5%) smoked at some point during their pregnancy.’

Download the full AIHW report HERE

AIHW_HC_Report_Child_and_maternal_health_April_2018

Read over 308 NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s health articles published over the past 6 years

The health of Australia’s pregnant women and their babies has improved across a range of health indicators, with infant death rates and the rate of women smoking during pregnancy on the decline, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Child and maternal health 2013–2015, presents findings on four indicators measuring the health of babies and their mothers:

  • infant and young child deaths,
  • the rate of newborn babies who are of a low birthweight,
  • mothers smoking during pregnancy, and
  • mothers attending antenatal care services during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

The report shows that despite generally positive results across these indicators nationally, these positive trends are not seen equally across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas.

‘For example, while nationally there has been a consistent decrease in the proportion of mothers smoking during pregnancy—falling from about 1 in 7 mothers in 2009 to 1 in 10 in 2015—rates in some PHN areas are nearly 18 times as high as in others,’ said AIHW spokesperson Anna O’Mahony.

‘The other indicators also varied, but to a lesser extent, with rates up to 3 times as high in some PHN areas’.

Northern Sydney PHN area (which includes the suburbs of Manly, Hornsby and Avalon) recorded the lowest rates for three of the four health indicators: low birthweight babies (4% of all births), mothers smoking during pregnancy (1% of mothers) and deaths among infant and young children (2 deaths per 1,000 live births).

In contrast, Northern Territory PHN area (which covers the whole of the Northern Territory) had the highest rates for two indicators low birthweight babies (8% of births) and infant and child deaths (8 deaths per 1,000 live births).

The Western NSW PHN area (which includes the Bathurst, Dubbo, Broken Hill and Orange) had the highest rate of mothers smoking during pregnancy, with almost one in four mothers smoking at any time during pregnancy (23%).

The AIHW reports on a range of topicsExternal link, opens in a new window.[https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/population-groups/mothers-babies/overview]

relating to the health of mothers and their babies, but Ms O’Mahony noted that there is more to learn.

‘This includes improving data on mothers’ experiences with domestic violence, mental health issues, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy,’ she said.

The AIHW will next month be releasing its first report on the health and wellbeing of teenage mothers and their babies.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and events : 2018 SAVE A DATE : #CongressUN18 #WeAreIndigenous #BecauseOfHerWeCan #NACCHOagm2018 , @NATSIHWA , @AIDAAustralia , @CATSINaM @HOSW8 @hosw2018 #HOSW8 #HealingOurWay

Download PDF copy 2018 Calendar

NACCHO Save a date Master 17 April

1.National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman’s Conference 11-12 July

It is with great excitement that Ngiyani Pty Ltd as the host of the National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman’s Conference with Project Management support from Christine Ross Consultancy proudly announce Registrations have officially OPENED. Please see the link below

https://www.ngiyani.com/because-of-her-we-can/

The dates for the conference are the 11 – 12 July 2018 at UNSW Kensington Campus in Sydney.

Please note the $350 Conference Registration for 2 days or $175 for one day is non- refundable or transferrable.

The Conference Dinner is optional on Wednesday 11 July 2018 at 7.00 – 11.00pm cost is an additional $80.00. food and entertainment will be provided (this is an alcohol free event). The Dinner is open to all Conference Delegates including Sponsors (so blokes are welcome) Details will be posted at a later date.

You will be able to choose your Workshops when you Register so please take the time to read Workshop outlines.

This Conference is incredibly popular and seats are limited, it will book out so to ensure you don’t miss out BOOK SOON.

Please note if you wish to purchase tickets to the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony to be held Friday 13 July 2018 in Sydney. This is a seperate event to the Conference and first release tickets go on sale through Ticketek at 9.00 am AEST on Thursday 3 May 2018.Second release tickets go on sale at 9.00 am AEST 10 May 2018. Cost of tickets is $185.00 or $1,850.00 per table.

It will be a massive week in Sydney as we celebrate the theme:
‘Because of Her, We Can’

A huge thanks to our Sponsors: Reconciliation Australia, UNSW, Rio Tinto, JobLink Plus, Lendlease, Westpac, Veolia, NSWALC, Griffith Business School, Macquarie University, Accor Hotels, Warrikal, PwC Indigenous Consulting, Gilbert and Tobin and National Library of Australia.

2. Sir Michael Marmot in Alice Springs 4 May : Health equity : Taking Action

3.National Congress Co-Chair Jackie Huggins is set to participate in

Opens on 16 April 2018 with more than 1000 First Nations participants from across the globe.

 

4.New : Finding Common Ground and a Way Forward for Indigenous Recognition 

Written submissions should be received by Monday 11 June

Above NACCHO Library image

A new committee met yesterday, to further consider matters regarding recognition of Australia’s indigenous people, and will be co-chaired by Senator Patrick Dodson, Senator for Western Australia, and Mr Julian Leeser MP , Member for Berowra.

The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is expected to report by the end of November this year, with an interim report due in July.

The Committee is calling for submissions and is considering options for public meetings and hearings.

Co-Chairs Senator Dodson and Mr Leeser MP said: ‘As a committee, we are looking for common ground and ways forward on these critical matters for Australia’s future. We hope to hear from Australians about the next steps for recognition of First Nations peoples.

We plan to consult widely, starting with First Nations leadership. We understand that a great deal of work has already been done: the job of this committee is to build on that work and to now take the next steps.’

The Committee website has details of Committee membership, and will be the first point of information about the work of the Committee.

Written submissions should be received by Monday 11 June, to assist with planning meetings and hearings, but the Committee may accept submissions after this date.

For background:

Please contact the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 4129

or via email at jsccr@aph.gov.au

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.

WEBSITE

Click on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner and register

5. 2018 NACCHO Annual Members’ Conference and AGM SAVE A DATE

Follow our conference using HASH TAG #NACCHOagm2018

This is Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2

The NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM 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.

More Info soon

6. NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day

Hobart  Aug 27 –28

More Info soon

7. NATSIHWA National Professional Development Symposium 2018

We’re excited to release the dates for the 2018 National Professional Development Symposium to be held in Alice Springs on 2nd-4th October. More details are to be released in the coming weeks; a full sponsorship prospectus and registration logistics will be advertised asap via email and newsletter.

This years Symposium will be focussed on upskilling our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners through a series of interactive workshops. Registrants will be able to participate in all workshops by rotating in groups over the 2 days. The aim of the symposium is to provide the registrants with new practical skills to take back to communities and open up a platform for Health Workers/Practitioners to network with other Individuals in the workforce from all over Australia.

We look forward to announcing more details soon!

8.AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action


Building on the foundations of our membership, history and diversity, AIDA is shaping a future where we continue to innovate, lead and stay strong in culture. It’s an exciting time of change and opportunity in Indigenous health.

The AIDA conference supports our members and the health sector by creating an inspiring networking space that engages sector experts, key decision makers, Indigenous medical students and doctors to join in an Indigenous health focused academic and scientific program.

AIDA recognises and respects that the pathway to achieving equitable and culturally-safe healthcare for Indigenous Australians is dynamic and complex. Through unity, leadership and collaboration, we create a future where our vision translates into measureable and significantly improved health outcomes for our communities. Now is the time to put that vision into action.

AIDA Awards
Nominate our members’ outstanding contributions towards improving the health and life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

9.CATSINaM Professional Development Conference

Venue: Hilton Adelaide 

Location:  233 Victoria Square, Adelaide, SA 

Timing: 8:30am – 5:30pm

We invite you to be part of the CATSINaM Professional Development Conference held in Adelaide, Australia from the 17th to the 19th of September 2018.
The Conference purpose is to share information while working towards an integrated approach to improving the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Conference also provides an opportunity to highlight the very real difference being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by our Members.
To this end, we are offering a mixed mode experience with plenary speaker sessions, panels, and presentations as well as professional development workshops.

More info

The CATSINaM Gala Dinner and Awards evening,  held on the 18th of September, purpose is to honour the contributions of distinguished Members to the field.
10.Study Question: What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?

The Australian National University is seeking partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to conduct research to find out what communities need to promote and improve safety for families.  We want to partner and work with local organisations and communities to make sure the research benefits the community.

Who are we?

We work at the Australian National University (ANU).  The study is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.  Professor Victoria Hovane (Ngarluma, Malgnin/Kitja, Gooniyandi), along with Associate Professor Raymond Lovett (Wongaibon, Ngiyampaa) and Dr Jill Guthrie (Wiradjuri) from NCEPH, and Professor Matthew Gray of the Centre for Social Research and Methods (CSRM) at ANU will be leading the study.

 Study Question:  What would it take to address Family Violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?

 How are we going to gather information to answer the study question?

A Community Researcher (who we would give funds to employ) would capture the data by interviewing 100 community members, running 3 focus groups for Men /  Women / Youth (over 16).  We would interview approx. 5 community members to hear about the story in your community.

We know Family Violence happens in all communities.  We don’t want to find out the prevalence, we want to know what your communities needs to feel safe. We will also be mapping the services in your community, facilities and resources available in a community.  All this information will be given back to your community.

What support would we provide your service?

We are able to support your organisation up to $40,000 (including funds for $30 vouchers), this would also help to employ a Community Researcher.

Community participants would be provided with a $30 voucher to complete a survey, another $30 for the focus group, and another $30 for the interview for their time.

 What will we give your organisation?

We can give you back all the data that we have captured from your community, (DE identified and confidentialised of course). We can give you the data in any form you like, plus create a Community Report for your community.  There might be some questions you would like to ask your community, and we can include them in the survey.

 How long would we be involved with your community / organisation?

Approximately 2 months

How safe is the data we collect?

The data is safe. It will be DE identified and Confidentialised.  Our final report will reflect what Communities (up to 20) took part in the study, but your data and community will be kept secret.  Meaning, no one will know what data came from your community.

Application close April 27

If you think this study would be of benefit to your community, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Victoria Hovane, or the teamon 1300 531 600 or email facts.study@anu.edu.au.

11.Healing Our Spirit Worldwide

Global gathering of Indigenous people to be held in Sydney
University of Sydney, The Healing Foundation to co-host Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
 
Gawuwi gamarda Healing Our Spirit Worldwidegu Ngalya nangari nura Cadigalmirung.
Calling our friends to come, to be at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. We meet on the country of the Cadigal.
 
In November 2018, up to 2,000 Indigenous people from around the world will gather in Sydney to take part in Healing Our Spirit Worldwide: The Eighth Gathering.
 
A global movement, Healing Our Spirit Worldwide began in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of substance abuse and dependence among Indigenous people around the world. Since 1992 it has held a gathering approximately every four years, in a different part of the world, focusing on a diverse range of topics relevant to Indigenous lives including health, politics, social inclusion, stolen generations, education, governance and resilience.
 
The International Indigenous Council the governing body of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide has invited the University of Sydney and The Healing Foundation to co-host the Eighth Gathering with them in Sydney this year. The second gathering was also held in Sydney, in 1994.
 
 Please also feel free to tag us in any relevant cross posting: @HOSW8 @hosw2018 #HOSW8 #HealingOurWay #TheUniversityofSydney
 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ACCHO #6rrhss Deadly Good News stories :#NSW #QLD #VIC #WA #NT #SA #ACT Including @Galambila @DeadlyChoices @IUIH_ @WinnungaACCHO

1.1 NSW: Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour leads the way incorporating cultural healing artwork into new building and staff uniforms

1.2. NSW : Indigenous Doctor to specialise in women’s health and high-risk pregnancy care. after graduating this month

2.1 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin hosts Wurrumiyanga community on Bathurst Island with information about improving health and career pathways in health.

2.2 NT : Katherine West Health Board Timber Creek’s Women’s Health Day 2018.

3.QLD :Institute for Urban Indigenous Health :Because of Her I must : Adrian Carson and Aunty Pamela Mam

4SA : Colourful health bus provides medical services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote areas

5. VIC : Officially launch in Mildura partnership with MDAS & Deadly Choices hosting a community day for the mob.

6. 1 ACT : Winnunga has commenced a new program for first time mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.

6.2 ACT : Winnunga Save a date : celebrating 30 Years of excellence ACCHO health

 View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 6 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday /Friday

1.1 NSW: Galambila ACCHO Coffs Harbour leads the way incorporating cultural healing artwork into new building and staff uniforms

On behalf of the Board and management, NACCHO congratulates the Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour on the opening of its new reception and patient waiting area. It is good that staff and community members alike will benefit from this new facility.

It is also great to have the Commonwealth Government’s financial support for this initiative. It is pleasing to see the Galambila Aboriginal Health Service improving its facilities for the benefit of our community, and I congratulate you on your continued efforts to improving Aboriginal health outcomes in the region.”

Pat Turner CEO NACCHO

Galambila ACCHO Compassionate, Respectful, Empowering & Inclusive

This week the Chair of the Galambila ACCHO Rueben Robinson officially opened the new building and reception at a smoking ceremony on Gumbaynggirr country

Local artist, Brentyn Lugnan, who designed the artwork for the building and is also embedded on the staff shirts.

Brentyn attended the opening and explained the story his art that follows the journey from the foundations of the family / community thru to the travels of kangaroos ,  middens connecting to country and the role of bush medicine  for Gumbaynggirr people

1.2. NSW : Indigenous Doctor to specialise in women’s health and high-risk pregnancy care. after graduating this month

 

 “I had the opportunity to undertake placement at the Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Medical centre in Wyong, attend rural obstetrics clinics in Moree – the birthplace of my Nan, and complete an elective subject at the Menzies School of Health Research in Brisbane, which explored barriers to early diagnosis and poor outcomes in gynaecological cancers in Indigenous women,” 

Following in the footsteps of her Aunty, Professor Gail Garvey, Nicole Whitson is proud to be the third person to graduate from her large Indigenous family of almost 40 immediate relatives.

Commencing her studies at the University as an Open Foundation student, Nicole persevered with her studies and has become a doctor, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine with Distinction.

Nicole said she was particularly interested in medical care for Indigenous people and enjoyed the opportunity to tailor her study to reflect her interests.

It was through this practical experience that Nicole realised her desire to specialise in high-risk pregnancy care.

Reflecting on her experience at the University of Newcastle, Nicole said she was “glad to study in a supportive environment.

“As an Indigenous medical student from a large family with little exposure to the tertiary education system, I expected to encounter challenges but I had a lot of support from the University, its Wollotuka Institute, and my husband Elliot.”

Nicole said she was grateful for her time at university, not only to realise her dream of becoming a doctor, but to have built a network of life-long friends.

“One of the highlights was definitely the close-knit community, I met some of my best friends during my studies at university,” Nicole said.

The University of Newcastle has graduated approximately one-third of Australia’s Indigenous doctors and today celebrates a proud milestone, graduating its largest ever cohort of Indigenous students from the Joint medical Program, with ten students crossing the graduation stage today.

2.1 NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO Darwin hosts Wurrumiyanga community on Bathurst Island with information about improving health and career pathways in health.

This week visiting students from Xavier Catholic College in the Wurrumiyanga community on Bathurst Island came to visit Danila Dilba.

The students got an overview of our organisation, including information about improving health and career pathways in Danila Dilba.

Great to see the enthusiasm of these students and their interest in health.

2.2 NT : Katherine West Health Board Timber Creek’s Women’s Health Day 2018.

A successful day where the ladies from Timber Creek region and Bulla community came together to yarn about women’s health.

A shout out to SARC Katherine for coming long. Thank you Victoria Daly Regional Councill for your spport.

#oneshieldforall

3.QLD :Institute for Urban Indigenous Health :Because of Her I must : Adrian Carson and Aunty Pamela Mam

Adrian Carson has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for more than 25 years and has been the CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health since 2011.

Adrian nominated Aunty Pamela Mam’s story to lead the Because of Her campaign, a celebration of women who have made our communities what they are today.

Aunty Pamela Mam (Aunty Pam) was one of the first Aboriginal nurses in Queensland. She was the first Nurse Manager of the Aboriginal and Islanders Community Health Service Brisbane (now ATSICHS Brisbane) and the first Manager of the Jimbelunga Nursing Centre – where she worked for 15 years.

Raised on Palm Island, Aunty Pam started working as a Nurse Aide at Palm Island Hospital, later receiving permission to train as a nurse at Townsville Hospital.

She went on to study midwifery at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Brisbane and in conjunction with her late husband, Uncle Steve Mam, was hugely active in advocating for and establishing many services that exist today.

Adrian says that he chose to nominate Aunty Pam because of the sacrifices she has made to lead our community to where we are today. He says, “She has supported IUIH since we were established in 2009 and has always been here for us when we needed her.

“Aunty Pam is a great leader in the community and we are so lucky to have her as our patron. Her hard work and tireless efforts to make sure we are accessing the health care we need in the way that we need it has made a huge impact on the health of our people.

“Through her amazing work in the community, she connects all of us to our humble beginnings.”

He mentions that Aunty Pam has impacted his life greatly by providing support within the work that IUIH does. He says, “She has always been a great support for me, she always gives a good counsel, and she’s there when I need her.”

“She lives by three words, commitment, compassion and dedication. These are the qualities that IUIH as an organisation reflects on when working with and for our people.”

Aunty Pam continues to serve as the patron for IUIH, and supports many other community projects that focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South East Queensland.

To recognise Aunty Pam’s contribution the Because of Her project was launched at Aunty Pam’s 80th birthday celebration held at Jimbelunga Nursing Centre in March this year.

Share your own story of a deadly woman in your life at www.facebook.com/IUIHBecauseofHer

Image: Adrian Carson (IUIH), Aunty Pamela Mam, Jody Currie (ATSICHS Brisbane)

4SA : Colourful health bus provides medical services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote areas

 See original story in full here 

Remote communities often grapple with challenges of distance from health care and support, but an outreach service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia’s Riverland is hoping to change this, with the help of a bus.

Bright and colourful, the Pi:Lu Bus is designed to be a safe place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to receive help and health advice.

The bus is highly regarded and well recognised by Riverland locals, with a role of providing specific health prevention messages and free testing.

The mobile service is one of only a few in Australia.

“The bus is available to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who may not be able to get into our service for reasons that they could not have transport available or their funds may be really low,” Riverland Aboriginal Health Service coordinator Corinne Thompson said.

“I think the bus is helping to build relationships between our local Aboriginal people and some of our mainstream services as well.

“Any needs that the community have around their health, we’re there to support them.”

Community shines spotlight on its health

The Pi:Lu Bus was returned to the community last year at NAIDOC Week celebrations following extensive consultation around local health services.

Previously known as the Peelies Bus — the Aboriginal word for eyes — the bus travelled the region conducting health examinations, with a particular focus on eyes.

It was decomissioned for five years due to mechanical troubles, but a push from the community saw its re-commissioning and name change to the Pi:Lu Bus — Aboriginal for all-seeing eyes.

“Aboriginal people, Torres Straight Islander people have vastly different health needs to mainstream Australia,” Ms Thompson said.

“I guess we need to be working more to get those prevention messages out there.”

5. VIC : Officially launch in Mildura partnership with MDAS & Deadly Choices hosting a community day for the mob.

6. 1 ACT : Winnunga has commenced a new program for first time mothers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.

See attached brochure ANFPP brochure (2)

6.2 ACT : Winnunga Save a date : celebrating 30 Years of excellence ACCHO health 

 

7. WA : @AHCWA pioneering new ways of working in Aboriginal Health :Our Culture Our Community Our Voice Our Knowledge

VIEW HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #SocialDeterminants #RedfernStatement : The impact of political determinants of health must be recognised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

 

 ” Western culture remains the dominant culture in Australian society.

Its worldview has shaped Australian society and is constantly in conflict with the cultural identity and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including that of women.

Recently, Australian Indigenous leaders have set out a blueprint for action in the Redfern Statement. 

This blueprint acknowledges that Aboriginal people have provided viable, holistic solutions.

Without a change in leadership attitudes, governance and administration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will continue to be disadvantaged, and their health will continue to suffer.

It is high time that Australian policymaking recognized the above issues and acted with integrity on the deficits because we will not have equality until Australia recognizes the impact of the political determinants of health as identified throughout this paper.

Australia will never be a whole, functioning society until institutionalised oppression ceases. ” 

Originally published here Power and Persuasion

Read over 340 Aboriginal Women’s Health articles published by NACCHO over past 6 years

Read over 100 Aboriginal Health and Social Determinants published by NACCHO over past 6 years

The role of government policy is to support its citizenry to thrive. By this measure, Australian policy is failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and women are bearing the brunt of failed policy through seriously compromised health and wellbeing. “

In this analysis, Vanessa Lee from the University of Sydney applies a lens of political determinants of health to illuminate policy failure for Indigenous women and their communities, and calls for the government to be held accountable to the outcomes of generations of harmful policy.

 This piece is drawn from an article that ran in the Journal of Public Health Policy in 2017.

Paternalism is compromising the health of Indigenous women

When it comes to Australian policy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are not being supported. Rather, a long history of paternalistic government decisions created barriers towards Indigenous women achieving equivalent health and wellbeing measures when compared to non-Indigenous women.

The manifestation of colonisation has included a displacement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a history of segregation and apartheid, and a breakdown of culture and cultural values through the impact of missionaries and government legislation, Acts and policies.

These political determinants of health breech human rights conventions, lack an evidence base, and are profoundly damaging across generations. Better policy could be and should be implemented but there appears to be a lack of political will.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience poorer health and reduced social and emotional wellbeing when compared to non-Indigenous women, and this is due to generational life circumstances. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women take a holistic world view that intrinsically connects family and culture with everything else that they connect with.

What this means is that Indigenous women have a cultural and family relationship with their social and economic world.

The breakdown in life circumstances are evident today across employment and education where 39 per cent of the Indigenous females were employed compared to 55 per cent of the non-Indigenous females; and 4.6 per cent overall of the Indigenous compared to 20 per cent of the non-Indigenous people have completed a bachelor degree or higher degree.[1]

Educational attainment and employment are intrinsically linked to economic opportunity, with higher levels of education reducing societal disadvantage. Failure to address these fundamental social determinants in early life contributes to life-long disadvantage.

When the British colonized Australia, they did so under a paternalistic ideology that remains evident today as Australian federal, state, territory and local governments continue to implement paternalistic policies. Paternalistic policies are those that restrict choices to individuals, ostensibly in their ‘best interest’ and without their consent.

The justification of such policies is often to change individuals’ damaging behaviours; for example gambling, smoking, consumption of drugs and alcohol, or the reliance on welfare payments. Given the etymology of the word ‘paternalism’, it is little wonder that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have been the victims of extraordinarily high levels of sexism, domestic violence, marginalization, work-place lateral violence and racism.

Especially since the policies were developed and implemented from colonisation, with little or no evidence to support the need to change behaviours of the First Nations women of Australia.  The response to the impact of these paternalistic policies has resulted in an increase in prevalence in pain and trauma based behaviours such as substance abuse.

Social determining factors

Social determinants of health are about “the cause of the cause.” Poorer health outcomes are not narrowed to individual lifestyle choice or risky behaviour. Understanding the social determinants of health requires looking at the relationship between cause, social factors and health outcomes. Social factors are those societal factors that influence health throughout life and include housing, education, access to healthcare and family support.

The diagram below highlights an example of the circular relationship between the causes of the social factors and the social factors themselves across a person’s life stages. The unborn Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child of parents with high drug and/or alcohol intake, low income and low education will be born into an environment influenced at the macrosocial level by history, culture, discrimination and the political economy.

This first stage of inequality can manifest in increasing risky behaviours such as smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise or imprisonment. These behaviours have been associated with intellectual impairment that continues through all life stages.[ii] Quite often the continuous exposure to drugs and alcohol from adults becomes part of the child’s assumption of the normality of risk-taking behaviour and the cycle continues.

Tragically, at times the child born into this situation may commit suicide. Indigenous young people are as much as five times more likely to commit suicide as their non-Indigenous peers. Or the child may end up in prison, and although Indigenous women make up 2% of the adult female population 2% of the adult female populationin Australia they make up 27 to 34% of the female prison population across jurisdictions (see also here). T

he imprisonment of women causes an upheaval in their lives and that of their families and for Indigenous women it also creates a breakdown in their world view and to all that is connected to their world view.

Diagram 1: Relationship between ‘the cause’ and life stages

Relationship between causes, social factors and life stages

Social and economic circumstances have a profound impact on individual experiences of inequity, yet within a neoliberal framework the individual is blamed for making poor choices. The government’s failure to acknowledge or address the causes which shape the social factors that in turn underpin individual lifestyle “choices” reveals a disinterest in addressing the socio-structural causes of illness and health.

When governments invest long-term resources and time into understanding the socio-structural causes of illness and health, they will recognize that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are constantly subjected to unnecessary inequalities that mitigate against making positive lifestyle choices for future generations.

Structured inequities within society are based on unequal distribution of power, wealth, income and status. A woman’s ability to move up and down the class system is directly impacted by socioeconomic position or status – including education, employment and income.

This truth epitomizes the gross inequalities that continue to exist in Australian society. Inequities in health are heightened because social class not only includes education, employment and income but also differential access to power. Social class structures are characterized by factors including race, sex/gender, ethnicity, Indigeneity and religion. Fundamentally, it is structural issues of class and political disadvantage that place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women close to the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

Political determinants

From colonization of Australia until the present day, the policy decisions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made by National, State and Territory governments, churches and other institutions have had dire effects on Indigenous peoples’ health and well-beingInequitable policies contributed to inequalities in health resulting from unequal distribution of power and resources between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The impact of policies which fail to take a holistic view on Indigenous population health reflects a political failure of the system with regard to the basic human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their good health and well-being.

Denial of a human right directly violates a person’s right to self-determination. These rights should be protected by a covenant to which Australia is a signatory—The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) (The Covenant). It states that “all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development” (Article 1 Section 1).

The level of Australia’s commitment to this covenant became questionable with the implementation of The Northern Territory National Emergency Response (the Intervention) in 2007. This was a federal government action that ignored one of its own government-funded reports highlighting the critical importance of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the design and implementation of initiatives for their communities. In less than six months, following the politically motivated “Intervention” that was introduced just prior to an election, the Australian parliament introduced a complex legislative package consisting of five Bills, all 450 pages long and passed in parliament on the same day.

The bills were primarily associated with welfare reform. In 2008, a national emergency response by the Australian government took effect and was administered across all of the Northern Territory using the political rationale ‘to protect Aboriginal children’. This appeared to be an excuse to further erode Indigenous self-determination rather than to address the safety of children; as one critic pointed out, “we have witnessed the abandonment of consultation with Indigenous people, diminishing use of available statistical and research evidence and increased marginalization of the experts – especially if their views diverge from national leadership.” (p. 7)

The impact on health outcomes

Welfare data published in 2016 show that Indigenous children in the Northern Territory were being removed from families at 9.8 times more often than that of non-Indigenous children based on ‘reforms’ in the five new ‘welfare reform’ Bills.

The Northern Territory Indigenous death rates are still 2.3 times higher than those of non-Indigenous people, and Indigenous people experience assault victimization at six times the rate of non-Indigenous people (see here).

The 2014/2015 Social Survey found that fewer than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were employed, and males were more than twice as likely as females to be working full time.

The deplorable outcomes of these politically motivated policies are most clearly illustrated by the understanding that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women between the ages of 20 and 24 years are four times more likely to commit suicide than are the other woman and between 70-60% of Indigenous women in prisons are due to them being victims of domestic violence.

Holding government accountable to policy outcomes

These outcomes demonstrate the political failure of Australian governments at national, state, territory and local levels to work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the lack of integrity surrounding equitable policy administration, leadership and governance.

Many policies developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over a long period of time have contributed to the shameful inequity in Australian society between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This level of inequity is even more dramatic with regard to Indigenous women.

The Covenant is neither the first Human Rights Charter that Australia has signed nor the first it has violated to the disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, their health and well-being (and of the entire Indigenous population). Australia played a key role as one of eight nations involved in developing the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when Australian Dr HV Evatt was the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

Until a referendum allowed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become citizens, there was scant regard to Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. The Australian government is disregarding its own stated ideals when it disregards the rights of Indigenous Australians.

The gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians is becoming more apparent, leading to calls for a new and more effective response. The effects of discriminative policies are now being exposed more often – thus, they become more visible. Non-Indigenous services account for 80 per cent of Indigenous expenditure, and there is a lack of transparency and clarity evaluating how these organizations address policies developed by government for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Fifty per cent of the Indigenous Australian population is under the age of 22and their health, as that of their elders, remains dire. Without understanding their cultural ways of doing and knowing and without working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in making policy decisions, there will be no progress in achieving health equality for this population group.

Major changes needed

Western culture remains the dominant culture in Australian society. Its worldview has shaped Australian society and is constantly in conflict with the cultural identity and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including that of women. Recently,

Australian Indigenous leaders have set out a blueprint for action in the Redfern Statement.

This blueprint acknowledges that Aboriginal people have provided viable, holistic solutions. Without a change in leadership attitudes, governance and administration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will continue to be disadvantaged, and their health will continue to suffer.

It is high time that Australian policymaking recognized the above issues and acted with integrity on the deficits because we will not have equality until Australia recognizes the impact of the political determinants of health as identified throughout this paper. Australia will never be a whole, functioning society until institutionalised oppression ceases.

References

[1] Burns, J., MacRae, A., Thomson, N., Anomie., Catto, M., Gray, C., Levitan, L., McLoughlin, N., Potter, C., Ride, K., Stumpers, S., Trzesinski, A. and Urquhart, B. (2013) Summary of Indigenous women’s health. http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/population-groups/women/reviews/our-review.

[ii] Carson, B., Dunbar, T., Chenhall, R. and Bailie, R. (Eds.). (2007). Social determinants of indigenous health. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

NACCHO Media Alerts : Top 10 Current Aboriginal Health News Stories to keep you up to date

1. Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about our cultural safety

4.AMSANT has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

5.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

9.Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

10. Your guide to a healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

 

1.Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

“These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,”

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this.

Read full article in Easter Monday The Australian or Part B below

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

Read full press release here

 

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about cultural safety

SEE NACCHO Response

SEE an Indigenous Patients Response

See Nurses PAQ Misleading and false campaign

4. AMSANT  has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

Read full AMSANT press Release

Listen to interview with Donna Ah Chee

Press Release @NACCHOChair calls on the Federal Government to work with us to keep our children safe

#WeHaveTheSolutions Plus comments from CEO’s @Anyinginyi @DanilaDilba

4.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

Read full Story HERE

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;

Read Download Full Transcript

Senator Patrick Dodson

Download the report from HERE

Community Groups Call For Action on Indigenous Incarceration Rates

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

The Australian Government has committed $29.4 million to extend the Healthy Ears – Better Hearing, Better Listening Program, to help ensure tens of thousands more Indigenous children and young adults grow up with good hearing and the opportunities it brings.

Read Press Release HEAR

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

This week the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group from Alice Springs were in Canberra. They shared with politicians, their own solutions for their own communities, and they are making an enormous difference.
Big thanks to all the Tangentyere women who made it to Canberra.

Read Download the Press Release

TANGENTYERE WOMEN’S FAMILY SAFETY GROUP (FED

9. Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Read press releases and link to Download the National Guide

10. Your guide to a  healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

And finally hope you had a Happy Easter all you mob ! After you have enjoyed your chocolate eggs and hot cross buns , this is how much exercise you will require to work of those Easter treats .

For medical and nutrition advice please check with your ACCHO Doctor , Health Promotion / Lifestyle teams or one of our ACCHO nutritionists

 

Part B Full Text The Australian Article Easter Monday

There is no reason it should have happened, especially not in a first-world country like Australia, but it has: indigenous communities in the country’s north are in the grip of wholly treatable sexually transmitted diseases.

In the case of syphilis, it is an epidemic — West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson ­described it as such, in a fury, when health department bureaucrats mumbled during Senate estimates about having held a few “meetings” on the matter.

There have been about 2000 syphilis notifications — with at least 13 congenital cases, six of them fatal — since the outbreak began in northern Queensland in 2011, before spreading to the Northern Territory, Western Australia and, finally, South Australia.

What’s worse, it could have been stopped. James Ward, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, wrote in mid-2011 that there had been a “downward trend” over several years and it was likely at that point that the “elimination of syphilis is achievable within indigenous ­remote communities”.

But governments were slow to react, and Ward is now assisting in the design of an $8.8 million emergency “surge” treatment approach on the cusp of being rolled out in Cairns and Darwin, with sites in the two remaining affected states yet to be identified.

It will be an aggressive strategy — under previous guidelines, you had to have been identified during a health check as an active carrier of syphilis to be treated. Now, anyone who registers antibodies for the pathogen during a blood prick test, whether actively carrying syphilis or not, will receive an ­immediate penicillin injection in an attempt to halt the infection’s geographical spread.

This is key: the high mobility of indigenous people in northern and central Australia means pathogens cross jurisdictions with ­impunity. Australian Medical ­Association president Michael Gannon calls syphilis a “clever bacterium that will never go away”, warning that “bugs don’t respect state borders”.

Olga Havnen, one of the Northern Territory’s most respected public health experts, points out that many people “will have connections and relations from the Torres Strait through to the Kimberley and on to Broome — and it’s only a matter of seven or eight kilometres between PNG and the northernmost islands there in the Torres Strait”.

“This is probably something that’s not really understood by the broader Australian community,” Havnen says. “I suspect once you get a major outbreak of something like encephalitis or Dengue fever, any of those mosquito-borne diseases, and that starts to encroach onto the mainland, then people will start to get a bit worried.”

Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.
Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.

But it is not just syphilis — ­indeed, not even just STIs — that have infectious disease authorities concerned and the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations stretched.

Chlamydia, the nation’s most frequently diagnosed STI in 2016 based on figures from the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, is three times more likely to be contracted by an indigenous Australian than a non-­indigenous one.

The rate was highest in the NT, at 1689.1 notifications per 100,000 indigenous people, compared with 607.9 per 100,000 non-indigenous Territorians. If you’re indigenous, you’re seven times more likely to contract gonorrhoea, spiking to 15 times more likely if only women are considered. Syphilis, five times more likely.

As the syphilis response gets under way, health services such as the one Havnen leads, the Darwin-based Danila Dilba, will be given extra resources to tackle it. “With proper resourcing, if you want to be doing outreach with those people who might be visitors to town living in the long grass, then we’re probably best placed to be able to do that,” she says.

But the extra focus comes with a warning. A spate of alleged sexual assaults on Aboriginal children, beginning with a two-year-old in Tennant Creek last month and followed by three more alleged ­attacks, has raised speculation of a link between high STI rates and evidence of child sexual assault.

After the first case, former NT children’s commissioner Howard Bath told this newspaper that STI rates were “a better indicator of background levels of abuse than reporting because so many of those cases don’t get reported to anyone, whereas kids with serious infections do tend to go to a ­doctor”. Others, including Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine, raised the ­spectre of the need for removing more at-risk indigenous children from dangerous environments.

Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards
Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards

However, Sarah Giles, Danila Dilba’s clinical director and a medical practitioner of 20 years’ standing in northern Australia, warns this kind of response only exacerbates the problem. She is one of a range of public health authorities who, like Havnen, say connecting high STI figures to the very real scourge of child sex abuse simply makes no sense. They do not carry correlated data sets, the experts say.

“One of the things that’s really unhelpful about trying to manage STIs at a population level is to link it with child abuse and mandatory reporting, and for people to be fearful of STIs,” Giles says. “The problem is that when they’re conflated and when communities feel that they can’t get help ­because things might be misinterpreted or things might be reported, they’re less likely to present with symptoms. The majority of STIs are in adults and they’re sexually transmitted.”

Havnen says there is evidence of STIs being transmitted non-sexually, including to children, such as through poor hand ­hygiene, although Giles says that is “reasonably rare”. And while NT data shows five children under 12 contracted either chlamydia or gonorrhoea in 2016 (none had syphilis), and there were another five under 12 last year, Havnen points to the fact that over the past decade there has been no increasing trend in under 12s being affected. Where there has been a rise in the NT is in people aged between 13 and 19, with annual gonorrhoea notifications increasing from 64 cases in the 14-15-year-old ­female cohort in 2006 to 94 notifications in 2016.

In the 16-17-year-old female ­cohort the same figures were 96 and 141 and in the 12-13-year-old group it rose from 20 in 2006 to 33 in 2016. Overall, for both boys and girls under 16, annual gonorrhoea notifications rose from 109 in 2006 to 186 in 2016, according to figures provided to the royal ­commission into child detention by NT Health. Havnen describes the rise as “concerning but not, on its own, evidence of increasing ­levels of sexual abuse”.

Ward is more direct. Not all STIs are the result of sexual abuse, he warns, and not all sexual abuse results in an STI. If you’re a health professional trying to deal with an epidemiological wildfire, the distinction matters — the data and its correct interpretations can literally be a matter of life and death.

Indeed, in its own written cav­eats to the material it provided to the royal commission, the department warns that sexual health data is “very much subject to variations in testing” and warns against making “misleading assumptions about trends”. Ward says: “Most STIs notified in remote indigenous communities are ­assumed to be the result of sex ­between consenting adults — that is, 16 to 30-year-olds. Of the under 16s, the majority are 14 and 15-year-olds.” He says a historically high background prevalence of STIs in remote indigenous communities — along with a range of other ­infectious diseases long eradicated elsewhere — is to blame for their ongoing presence. Poor education, health services and hygiene contribute, and where drug and ­alcohol problems exist, sexually risky behaviour is more likely too. The lingering impact of colonisation and arrival of diseases then still common in broader ­society cannot be underestimated.

But Ward claims that an apparently high territory police figure of about 700 cases of “suspected child sexual offences” in the NT over the past five years may be misleading. He says a large number of these are likely to be the result of mandatory reporting, where someone under 16 is known to have a partner with an age gap of more than two years, or someone under 14 is known to be engaging in sexual activity. Ward points out that 15 is the nationwide ­median sexual debut age, an age he suggests is dropping. At any rate, he argues, child sex abuse is unlikely to be the main reason for that high rate of mandatory ­reporting in the NT.

Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.
Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.

Data matters, and so does how it is used. Chipping away at the perception of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities are the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing the rate of removals for that crime is actually higher in non-indigenous Australia.

According to a report this month from the AIHW, removals based on substantiated sex abuse cases in 2016-17 were starkly different for each cohort: 8.3 per cent for indigenous children, from a total of 13,749 removals, and 13.4 per cent for non-indigenous children, from 34,915 removals.

Havnen concedes there is a need for better reporting of child abuse and has called for a confidential helpline that would be free of charge and staffed around the clock by health professionals.

It’s based on a model already in use in Europe that she says deals with millions of calls a year — but it would require a comprehensive education and publicity campaign if it were to gain traction in remote Australia. And that means starting with the adults.

“If you’re going to do sex ­education in schools and you start to move into the area about sexual abuse and violence and so on, it’s really important that adults are ­educated first about what to do with that information,” she says. “Because too often if you just ­educate kids, and they come home and make a disclosure, they end up being told they’re liars.”

These challenges exist against the backdrop of a community already beset by a range of infectious diseases barely present elsewhere in the country, including the STIs that should be so easily treatable. It is, as Havnen is the first to admit, a complex matter.

Cheryl Jones, president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, says the answer is better primary treatment solutions and education, rather than trying to solve the problem after it has ­occurred. “For any of these public health infectious disease problems in ­remote and rural areas, we need to support basic infrastructure at the point of care and work alongside communities to come up with ­solutions,” she says.

Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy's 'town camp' on the outskirts of Alice Springs.
Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy’s ‘town camp’ on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this. “These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,” Turner says.

The Australian Medical ­Association has called for the formation of a national Centre for Disease Control, focusing on global surveillance and most likely based in the north, as being “urgently needed to provide national leadership and to co-ordinate rapid and effective public health responses to manage communicable diseases and outbreaks”.

“The current approach to disease threats, and control of infectious diseases, relies on disjointed state and commonwealth formal structures, informal networks, collaborations, and the goodwill of public health and infectious disease physicians,” the association warned in a submission to the Turnbull government last year.

However, the federal health ­department has rebuffed the CDC argument, telling the association that “our current arrangements are effective” and warning the suggestion could introduce “considerable overlap and duplication with existing functions”.

“I think it (the CDC) might have some merit, if it helps to ­advocate with government about what needs to happen,” Havnen says, “but if these things are going to be targeted at Aboriginal bodies, it needs to be a genuine partnership. It’s got to be informed by the realities on the ground and what we know. That information has to be fed up into the planning process.”

Minister @KenWyattMP launches NACCHO @RACGP National guide for healthcare professionals to improve health of #Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

 

All of our 6000 staff in 145 member services in 305 health settings across Australia will have access to this new and update edition of the National Guide. It’s a comprehensive edition for our clinicians and support staff that updates them all with current medical practice.

“NACCHO is committed to quality healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and will work with all levels of government to ensure accessibility for all.”

NACCHO Chair John Singer said the updated National Guide would help governments improve health policy and lead initiatives that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can Download the Guide via this LINK

A/Prof Peter O’Mara, NACCHO Chair John Singer Minister Ken Wyatt & RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel launch the National guide at Parliament house this morning

“Prevention is always better than cure. Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

Minister Ken Wyatt highlights what is new to the 3rd Edition of the National Guide-including FASD, lung cancer, young people lifecycle, family abuse & violence and supporting families to optimise child safety & wellbeing : Pic Lisa Whop SEE Full Press Release Part 2 Below

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have joined forces to produce a guide that aims to improve the level of healthcare currently being delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and close the gap.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (the National Guide) is an important resource for all health professionals to deliver best practice healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“The National Guide will support all healthcare providers, not just GPs, across Australia to improve prevention and early detection of disease and illness,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The prevention and early detection of disease and illness can improve people’s lives and increase their lifespans.

“The National Guide will support healthcare providers to feel more confident that they are looking for health issues in the right way.”

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the RACGP is committed to tackling the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The National Guide plays a vital role in closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disparity,” Dr Seidel said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have equal access to quality healthcare across Australia and the National guide is an essential part of ensuring these services are provided.

“GPs and other healthcare providers who implement the recommendations within the National Guide will play an integral role in reducing health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ensuring culturally responsive and appropriate healthcare is always available.”

The updated third edition of the National Guide can be found on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website.

 

Free to download on the RACGP website and the NACCHO website:

http://www.racgp.org.au/national-guide/

and NACCHO

Part 2 Prevention and Early Diagnosis Focus for a Healthier Future

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians

The critical role of preventive care and tackling the precursors of chronic disease is being boosted in the latest guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Prevention is always better than cure,” said Minister Wyatt. “Already one of the most widely used clinical guidelines in Australia, this new edition includes critical information on lung cancer, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and preventing child and family abuse and violence.

“The National Guide maximises the opportunities at every clinic visit to prevent disease and to find it early.

“It will help increase vigilance over previously undiagnosed conditions, by promoting early intervention and by supporting broader social change to help individuals and families improve their wellbeing.”

The guide, which was first published in 2005, is a joint project between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners RACGP).

“To give you some idea of the high regard in which it is held, the last edition was downloaded 645,000 times since its release in 2012,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The latest edition highlights the importance of individual, patient-centred care and has been developed to reflect local and regional needs.

“Integrating resources like the national guide across the whole health system plays a pivotal role in helping us meet our Closing the Gap targets.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to accelerating positive change and is investing in targeted activities that have delivered significant reductions in the burden of disease.

“Rates of heart disease, smoking and binge drinking are down. We are on track to achieve the child mortality target for 2018 and deaths associated with kidney and respiratory diseases have also reduced.”

The National Guide is funded under the Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme as part of a record $3.6 billion investment across four financial years.

The RACGP received $429,000 to review, update, publish and distribute the third edition, in hard copy and electronic formats.

The National Guide is available on the RACGP website or by contacting RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or aboriginalhealth@racgp.org.au.