NACCHO Aboriginal Prisoner Health #ClosingThe Gap #HaveYourSayCTG : What are the barriers preventing community-controlled health organisations providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison ?

“Findings showed that while most participant ACCHOs had delivered services to people in the community upon release from prison, opportunities to deliver primary health care services to individuals in prisons were very limited.

Two key barriers to implementing holistic and culturally appropriate health care in prisons were lack of access to prisoners due to security protocols and prison staff attitudes, and lack of a sustainable funding model.

A reliable funding model underpinned by consistent access to prisoners and access to certain Medicare items could resolve this conundrum, as has been previously proposed.23

To this end, we encourage the Commonwealth of Australia to engage in appropriate discussions to resolve this matter.

Additionally, custodial and prison health providers need to engage in meaningful discussions with ACCHOs to address prisoner access issues. “

Download the Research Paper Here or READ Online

Barriers prevent ACCHOs from getting care to prisoners

Read all the Aboriginal health and Just Justice articles by NACCHO

How likely are you to go to jail? As an Aboriginal adult you are 16 times more likely to be incarcerated. Juveniles in Western Australia are 52 times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers [15

Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system see Part 3 below

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

Part 1 PHAA Press Release

New research has revealed that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) face barriers to deliver to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners what they do best – holistic primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Researchers interviewed nineteen staff from four ACCHOs close to prisons across three Australian jurisdictions.

They found that while most ACCHOs deliver post release programs, their capacity to deliver health care to prisoners is limited by security protocols that restrict access to prisoners and funding constraints.

The study results are published today in the Public Health Association of Australia’s journal, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

ACCHOs are universally acknowledged as organisations that are run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, delivering holistic primary health care that’s local and community owned.

The authors make several recommendations including reliable funding for ACCHOs and better and consistent access to prisoners.

State governments are encouraged to address prison access issues while the Federal Government is urged to consider changing the rules that prevent ACCHOs from using Medicare to fund work undertaken in the prison setting.

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is poorer than that of other Australians. They are over-represented in Australian jails. Due to the unique cultural, social and historical factors, specific solutions to address health issues are required.

Part 2 Selected extracts

The offender population is one of the most stigmatised and socially excluded groups in society. Epidemiological studies of prisoners consistently find high levels of physical ill health, psychiatric illness and communicable diseases, and engagement in health risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use and violence.12

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereon ‘Indigenous’) offenders, disadvantage is further compounded by poor social determinants of health.

Since colonisation more than 230 years ago, Indigenous Australians have lower levels of political representation, educational attainment and income when compared to the general Australian population, as well as higher rates of social exclusion, unemployment, trauma and ill‐health, and shorter life expectancy.3 Indigenous Australians frequently experience racism and low levels of access in mainstream health services and the legal system.45 These issues underscore the importance of community controlled primary health care for Indigenous offenders that is contextually relevant, holistic and culturally safe.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) provide culturally appropriate, autonomous primary health care services that are initiated, planned and governed by local Aboriginal Australian communities through an elected board of directors.6

ACCHOs are represented nationally by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO), which engages directly with policy makers and funding bodies, links ACCHOs to facilitate health service delivery and research, advises on research, and provides leadership on service delivery principles such as community control.

Community control is vital for culturally appropriate and acceptable health care services in Indigenous communities and enacts articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensuring self‐reliance, self‐determination, appropriate and acceptable health care.6

Since the establishment of the first ACCHO in inner Sydney in 1971, the network of ACCHOs has grown to 143 across Australia, providing more than three million episodes of care each year for approximately 350,000 people.7

Primary health care services provided by ACCHOs embody the Aboriginal definition of health, which is not just about an individual’s physical wellbeing but also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the community, and takes a whole‐of‐life perspective that incorporates a cyclical concept of life–death–life.8

ACCHOs provide comprehensive primary health care that includes health education, health promotion, social and emotional wellbeing support and a range of other community development initiatives.9

Limited access to primary health care services for Indigenous peoples is a major barrier to addressing the overall aim of the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ framework.10 Data show that, compared to mainstream services, ACCHOs are frequently accessed by Indigenous people.11

A 9% growth in Indigenous community members accessing their local ACCHO was observed between 2012–13 and 2014–15, with a 23% increase in the total number of episodes of care during this time.7 In a study comparing outcomes and indicators between ACCHOs and mainstream services, ACCHOs performed better in terms of best practice care, monitoring clinical performance, increasing engagement of Indigenous community members, and better leadership in training non‐Indigenous staff in Indigenous health matters.12

Barriers to accessing mainstream services extend also to Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system. In Australia, Indigenous people comprise 28% of the prisoner population, but only 2% of the general population.13 Australian state and territory legislation states that prisoners must be able to access health care when they require it, and that they have the right to the same level of care as in the wider community14 – a right referred to in the international context as the ‘equivalence of care’ principle.15

Incarceration causes a person to be separated from their community.17 A recommendation (168) by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) requires that a person be incarcerated as close to their home community as possible.16 Incarceration can also disrupt continuity of holistic health care provided by an ACCHO,17 if that ACCHO has no means of accessing the prisoner.

Other custodial health and safety recommendations made by the RCIADIC state that Corrective Services departments should review the provision of health services to Indigenous prisoners including the level of involvement of ACCHOs (Recommendation 152c) and the exchange of relevant health information between prison medical staff and ACCHOs (Recommendation 152e).16

Australia’s National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) asserts that improvements in health services for Indigenous prisoners and juvenile detainees may assist in reducing the overall prisoner numbers.18 Areas noted for improvement included health screening on reception, increasing uptake of recommended treatments, and enhancing prisoner throughcare by facilitating access of Indigenous health and other services to Indigenous prisoners.18

NIDAC highlighted that “the provision of a ‘one health service fits all’ model, as in the case for many corrections systems, creates a disjointed and unsuitable approach” for addressing health needs of Indigenous prisoners.18

In response, NIDAC recommended several strategies for involving ACCHOs to improve the health care of prisoners and their ongoing care post‐release.18 However, there is a dearth of literature on external health care provision to Australia’s prisoners from which to plan coordinated actions and resource allocation. Only a small number of reports are available on health care provided by community‐based organisations in prisons.1920

Health care varies greatly in Australia’s state‐ and territory‐based prisons, with government Departments of Health providing health care services to some through agencies such as the Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network in New South Wales (NSW), and Departments of Justice or contracted private companies providing services to others.21

There is no nationally coordinated approach or body whose role it is to monitor prisoners’ health care needs, and no national strategy for assessing or meeting the specific health needs of Indigenous prisoners.22 Australia’s publicly funded universal health care system – the Medicare Benefits Scheme and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, collectively known as Medicare – is suspended for prisoners during incarceration.

This is because other state‐ and territory‐level government departments become responsible for providing health care to prisoners.23 However, this arrangement has been identified as problematic, with concerns that it reduces resources or opportunities for providing comprehensive health care to prisoners that is equivalent to that available in the community.23

This project was designed by a team of Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal researchers working at the nexus of the justice and health systems, and with specialisations in Indigenous health research, epidemiology, qualitative research and health services research and evaluation. Three of the team members identified as Indigenous Australians.

The primary aim of the research was to explore prisoner health services and programs provided by a selection of ACCHOs, including the challenges and enablers of delivering these, and implications for further research.

Part 3 Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

 

The engagements are now in full swing across Australia and this is generating more interest than we had anticipated in our survey on Closing the Gap.

The Coalition of Peaks has had requests from a number of organisations across Australia seeking, some Coalition of Peak members and some governments for more time to promote and complete the survey.

We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their say on what should be included in a new agreement on Closing the Gap so it is agreed to extend the deadline for the survey to Friday, 8 November 2019.

This will help build further understanding and support for the new agreement and will not impact our timeframes for negotiating with government as we were advised at the most recent Partnership Working Group meeting that COAG will not meet until early 2020.

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : Today 29 Oct @strokefdn #WorldStrokeDay Plus Closing dates #PuggyHunter Scholarship #ClosingtheGap #HaveYourSayCTG survey and @UniversitySA Healthy New Born Projects survey

This weeks feature 

29 October World Stroke Day

Next month 

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme 

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

14 December Rural/Remote clinicians required for antenatal ultrasound-needs analysis survey

29 October World Stroke Day

 “On World Stroke Day we are urging all the mob to take steps to reduce their stroke risk

 Australian National University research, found around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke. It also found risk increased substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought, with high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

The good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

As a first step, I encourage all the mob to visit to visit one of our 302 ACCHO clinics , their local GP or community health centre for a health check, or take advantage of a free digital health check at your local pharmacy to learn more about your stroke risk factors.” 

Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media editor and himself a stroke survivor 4 years ago today

Read over 110 Aboriginal health and stroke articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

 The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.

Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, 

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

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

Listen to the new rap song HERE  

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

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the rap packed a punch, delivering an important message, in a fun and accessible way.

“The Stroke Rap has a powerful message we all need to hear,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year when most strokes can be prevented.

“Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song, remember and act on its stroke awareness and prevention message – it could save their life.”

Ms McGowan said the song’s message was particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were over represented in stroke statistics.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:

Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?

Arm – can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

But the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme !

This scholarship provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are intending to enrol or are currently enrolled in an eligible health-related course at an Australian educational institution.

Eligible health areas include:

•             Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners

•             Allied health (excluding pharmacy)

•             Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)

•             Direct entry midwifery

•             Medicine

•             Nursing

Examples of eligible study areas.

This scholarship is for entry level or graduate entry level courses only. Funding is not available for postgraduate study. Scholarships are valued up to $15,000 per year for the normal duration of the course. Further information, including eligibility and selection criteria can be found our website.

Applications close Monday 4 November 2019

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference 

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

Download the AGENDA 

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now closed for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019 Members Conference now closed 

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

Download the AGENDA Here

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:

 

South Australia

2 October – Adelaide Closed

15 October – Ceduna Closed

18 October – Port Augusta Cllosed

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston Closed

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome Closed

17 October – Geraldton Closed

21 October – Kalgoorlie Closed

23 October – Port Headland Closed

28 October – Perth Closed

30 October – Narrogin Closed

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra Closed

28 October – Canberra

 

Victoria15 October – Melbourne Closed

16 October – Bendigo Closed

17 October – Morwell Closed

 

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney Closed

 

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine Closed

11 October – Yirrkala Closed

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra Closed

 

VIC Update

There were three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/nsw-coalition-of-aboriginal-peak-organisations-16575398239.

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/close-the-gap/

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council,

The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health : Download results of the @JeanHailes 2019 #WomensHealthSurvey : Which health topics do women want more information on ?

” The results of the fifth annual Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey were launched by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt – and showed that more than a third of women who responded to the survey said they have had depression (34.6%) or anxiety (39.4%).

Of the almost 10,000 respondents, 42% of women reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks – and women aged between 18-35 reported the highest levels of anxiety, with 64.1% feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks.

Women aged 18-35 are also the loneliest of all age groups—almost 40% reported feelings of loneliness every week .

More than 50% of women aged 36-65 perceive themselves as overweight or obese.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the proportion who felt discriminated against was around 35% compared with 16% for non-Indigenous women.”

Media coverage from AJP 

More info from Jean Hailes Website 

Download 35 Page Survey Results

2019_Womens_Health_Survey_Full_Report

The survey’s chief investigator and Head of Research Partnerships and Philanthropy at Jean Hailes, Dr Rachel Mudge, says the survey findings “underscore the pressure that women across the country face as they juggle work, young children, as well as ageing parents and other social demands”.

“Rates of anxiety and women’s negative perceptions of their bodies are a common theme in our annual survey, something that social media seems to be fuelling,” Dr Mudge says.

In launching the results, Minister Hunt said that they reflect the health needs and behaviour of almost 10,000 women throughout Australia, and have helped shape a better understanding of the emerging issues and trends in women’s health.

“The survey reveals women want more information on anxiety than any other health topic,” Mr Hunt said.

“Women also want more information on menopause, weight management, bone health and dementia.”

He highlighted the Morrison Government’s investment in women’s health, including the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 as well as the announcement earlier this year of $35 million for ovarian and gynaecological cancer research through the Medical Research Future Fund.

“More than $37 million has been invested since 2013 through the National Health and Medical Research Council for ovarian cancer research,” Mr Hunt said.

“In 2017-18, the Government spent over $21 million to subsidise medicines for ovarian cancer on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and continues to support improved access to medicines and treatments through the PBS and Medicare.

“We have also provided over $4.5 million to Ovarian Cancer Australia for patient support for the TRACEBACK project and the Ovarian Cancer Case Management Pilot.”

Mr Hunt also highlighted the Government’s recent $13.7 million in activities to deal with endometriosis.

However the Acting Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Dr Linc Thurecht highlighted inequities between Australian women.

“An alarming one in six women in Australia say they cannot afford to see a health professional when they need one—and the same proportion experience discrimination when doing so.

“Women aged 18–35 found it hardest to afford a health professional—comprising about one in five in this age group,” Dr Thurecht said.

“There was quite a gap between the rich and not-so-rich. People who said they were ‘living comfortably’ almost universally could see a health professional whenever they needed to.

“For people who said they were ‘just getting by’, around 40% could not afford to see a health professional.

“For people who declared they were ‘finding it very difficult’, a staggering 80% said they could not afford to see a health professional when they needed one.

“Around 16% of the total number of women surveyed felt they experienced discrimination in accessing healthcare—but this appeared to improve with age from 20% in the younger age groups to 9% for the oldest (80+) women’, Dr Thurecht said.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the proportion who felt discriminated against was around 35% compared with 16% for non-Indigenous women.

“These figures, which are about access to needed care, are very disappointing.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health  : October is #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth Our Feature Story @VACCHO_org BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans Plus Download Resources from @CancerAustralia

 ” October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Take the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Research shows that survival is lower in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer than in the general population.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to provide women with important information about breast cancer awareness, early detection as well as breast cancer treatment and care.

Looking after your breasts – Find breast cancer early and survive see Part 2 Below

See BCNA story Part 4 Below

BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights and saying hello to mammograms in hot pink vans, with beautifully created cultural shawls and lots of love and giggles.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the organisations have introduced a program which enables Aboriginal women living in regional and remote areas of Victoria to access safe, free and comforting breast screening facilities.

 “ The idea for the program was born from conversations between BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore and VACCHO Manager of Public Health and Research, Susan Forrester.

Ms Forrester said that most women shy away from breast screening due to the safety aspect.

“Why we use the word safe is because there are lots of layers around health and some of the themes that were emerging were that women may have felt a bit uncomfortable being screened for multiple reasons and at times, the staff they had contact with across the health system, although [they] may have been very well meaning, lacked cultural awareness.”

See full story Part 3 below

Picture opening graphic  : Almost all the DWECH BreastScreen Team. Rose Hollis DWECH Community Worker, Allira Maes DWECH Aboriginal Health Worker, Joanne Ronald BSV Radiographer, Lisa Joyce BSV Health Promotion Officer

Part 1 Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians

About 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are diagnosed with cancer every day. Indigenous Australians have a slightly lower rate of cancer diagnosis but are almost 30 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians1.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians.

Our work includes:

  • raising awareness of risk factors and promoting awareness and early detection for the community
  • developing evidence-based information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer and health professionals
  • providing evidence-based cancer information and training resources to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
  • increasing understanding of best-practice health care and support, and
  • supporting research.

We have a range of resources which provide information to support you and the work you do:

Breast Cancer: a handbook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers

This handbook has been written to help health professionals support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer. Increasing the understanding of breast cancer may help to encourage earlier investigation of symptoms, and contribute to the quality of life of people living with breast cancer.

This handbook has been written for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Liaison Officers involved in the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer in community and clinical settings.

Download HERE

Part 2 BE BREAST AWARE

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. Remember you don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.

Changes to look for include:

  • new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • change in the size or shape of your breast
  • change to the nipple, such as crustingulcerredness or inversion
  • nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families

Cancer Australia has developed a new resource My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families which outlines the clinical management of the early breast cancer journey to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer and their families.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Part 3 BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights

Read full story from NIT 

The program was trialled, a screen-friendly shawl was designed using artwork by Lyn Briggs, and the shawls were gifted to each woman who was screened.

The trial was a result of a team of around 15 women who screened 14 First Nations women. The feedback received was exactly what BreastScreen Victoria’s Senior Health Promotion’s Officer, Lisa Joyce had hoped for.

“The feedback included things like, I feel safe, protected by culture, cultural safety blanket, made me proud of who I am and visible, the shawl was a screen from feeling shame and it was beautiful, easy to wear and makes you feel comfortable and safe,” Ms Joyce said.

BreastScreen Victoria and VACCHO have partnered with eight Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) who will receive visits from Nina and Marjorie – BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans.

The vans will work with ACCHOs to provide Aboriginal women with free mammograms, which assist in the identification of breast cancer in its early stages. The program is aimed particularly at women between 50 and 74, who are at higher risk of breast cancer.

Picture above :Rose Hollis who is a DWECH Community Worker had her breast screen and then spent the rest of her day driving Community members to their screenings.

The program will also gift a shawl to 50 women from each centre – which will be printed with a design of their country.

Amber Neilley, VACCHO’s State-wide Health Services Program Officer said artworks have been created by artists both established and emerging.

“Each shawl has been designed by a local artist, we are taking the shawls with the designs back to country,” Ms Neilley said.

Ms Joyce said that bringing the vans onto ACCHO sites offers leadership to those centres.

“We are playing into self-determination in that way as the organisation is in control of who screens and what happens in their community in that time,” Ms Joyce said.

“Many of the sites we are going to … have permanent breast screening facilities in the town but we know that Aboriginal women aren’t attending those clinics so we are trying to increase that by bringing it to a familiar place.”

“Taking the van and using the shawls is the first step in improving Aboriginal women’s experiences when they come to breast screens. I think unfamiliarity, lack of trust and potential fear is why we don’t have that contact with many women.”

Research shows that once a woman has screened for breast cancer, she is more likely to regularly screen – a hope the team have for the women in these communities.

“We hope that when the project leaves town the shawl will be in the permanent screening space and people will become involved,” Ms Forrester said.

“We want to be able to say here is a strength-based, culturally-led model that can go national, and international. The CEO of BreastScreen has just been at the World Indigenous Cancer Conference in Canada and presented this on our behalf and she has had a world of interest.”

Dates and locations for BreastScreen Victoria’s screening vans include:

  • 30/9 – 4/10 at Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service (DWECH)
  • 7/10 – 10/10 at Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation
  • 14/10 – 18/10 at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 21/10 – 24/10 at Kirrae Health Service
  • 28/10 – 1/11 at Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 11/11 – 15/11 at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 18/11 to 22/11 at Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation.

For more information, visit: https://www.breastscreen.org.au/.

Part 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women share their breast cancer experience in new BCNA video

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have come together to share their stories and experiences as breast cancer survivors as part of a  video produced by BCNA.

See Website 

The video shares the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander women affected by breast cancer and aims to encourage other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to connect, seek support and information on breast cancer.

A number of women in the video, including Aunty Josie Hansen, highlight the importance of early detection.

‘Early detection is really important; not just for women, but for men too,’ Aunty Josie said.

‘Being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t a death sentence, there’s always hope … as long as you have breath there’s hope,’ she said.

Aunty Thelma reflected that breast cancer is ‘just a terrible disease’.

‘I think it’s so important that women go and have their breast screens done,’ she said.

The video was filmed at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Think Tank at BCNA’s National Summit in March. The Think Tank was facilitated by BCNA board member Professor Jacinta Elston.  Jacinta said that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s outcomes are poorer both in survival and at diagnosis.

The Think Tank brought together 48 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from around Australia to share issues around treatment and survivorship of breast cancer in their communities. The key outcome of the Think Tank was the development of a three-year Action Plan that outlines BCNA’s key future work, in partnership with national peak Aboriginal health organisations.

The group worked to develop and prioritise future action to improve support and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This included identifying locally based cultural healing projects, to allow breast cancer survivors to connect and support each other in culturally safe spaces. A weaving project in Queensland and a possum skin cloak project in Victoria is being undertaken and used to support the training of health professionals in local culture and knowledge. The Culture is Healing projects are supported by Cancer Australia.

This video was produced as part of BCNA’s ongoing commitment to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

You can watch the video below:

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Download @NMHC National Report 2019 Released today : The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for our mob

” Working to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority area for PHNs.

The PHN Advisory Panel Report recommended that PHN funds for mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be provided directly to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) as a priority, unless a better arrangement can be demonstrated.

The Senate Inquiry into the accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia also made a similar recommendation.

PHNs should continue to work on formalising partnerships with ACCHS.

The NMHC supports the recommendations made by both these reports and recommends that the Australian Government encourages PHNs to position ACCHS as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “

Extract from Page 14 

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The National Mental Health Commission today released its National Report 2019 on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes.

Download the full 97 Page Report HERE 

National_Report_2019

or 9 Page Summary HERE 

National Report 2019 Summary – Accessible PDF

The Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

This broad approach ensures factors which impact individuals’ mental health and wellbeing such as housing, employment, education and social justice are addressed alongside the delivery of mental health care.

National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board Chair, Lucy Brogden, said we are living in a time when we’re seeing unprecedented investment and interest in making substantial improvements to our mental health system.

“Current national reforms are key, but complex, interrelated and broad in scope, and will take time before their implementation leads to tangible change for consumers and carers,” Mrs Brogden said.

“The National Report indicates while there are significant reforms underway at national, state and local levels, it’s crucial that we maintain momentum and implement these recommendations to ensure sustained change for consumers and carers.”

National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the National Report findings align with what Australians are sharing as part of the Connections Project, which has provided opportunities for the Commission to hear directly from consumers, carers and families, as well as service providers, about their experience of the current mental health system.

“What’s clear is we must remain focused on long term health objectives. Implementation of these targeted recommendations will support this focus,” Ms Morgan said.

The NMHC recommendations require collaboration across the sector.  As part of its ongoing monitoring and report role, the NMHC will work with stakeholders to identify how progress of the recommendations can be measured.

For your nearest ACCHO contact for HELP 

NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health #RUOKDay @ruokday ? Download #RUOKSTRONGERTOGETHER resources a targeted #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention campaign to encourage conversation within our communities. Contributions inc Dr Vanessa Lee @joewilliams_tew @ShannanJDodson

Regardless of where we live, or who our mob is, we can all go through tough times, times when we don’t feel great about our lives or ourselves. That’s why it’s important to always be looking out for each other.

If someone you know – a family member, someone from your community, a friend, neighbour or workmate – is doing it tough, they won’t always tell you.
Sometimes it’s up to us to trust our gut instinct and ask someone who may be struggling with life “Are you OK?”.

By asking and listening, we can help those we care about feel more supported and connected, which can help stop them from feeling worse over time.

That’s why this campaign has a simple message: Let’s talk. We are stronger together

“Nationally, Indigenous people die from suicide at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people. This campaign comes at a critical time.

As a community we are Stronger Together. Knowledge is culture, and emotional wellbeing can be learned from family members such as mothers and grandmothers.

These new resources from R U OK? will empower family members, and the wider community, with the tools to look out for each other as well as providing guidance on what to do if someone answers “No, I’m not OK”.”

Dr Vanessa Lee BTD, MPH, PhD Chair R U OK’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group whose counsel has been integral in the development of the campaign

Read over 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP)

https://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/

 I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob.

The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together “

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

See full story Part 2 Below or HERE

R U OK? has launched STRONGER TOGETHER, a targeted suicide prevention campaign to encourage conversation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Developed with the guidance and oversight of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and 33 Creative, an Aboriginal owned and managed agency, the campaign encourages individuals to engage and offer support to their family and friends who are struggling with life. Positive and culturally appropriate resources have been developed to help individuals feel more confident in starting conversations by asking R U OK?

The STRONGER TOGETHER campaign message comes at a time when reducing rates of  suicide looms as one of the biggest and most important challenges of our generation.

Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people. A 2016 report noted that on average, over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people end their lives through suicide each year, with the rate of suicide twice as high as that recorded for other Australians [1]. These are not just numbers. They represent lives and loved ones; relatives, friends, elders and extended community members affected by such tragic deaths.

STRONGER TOGETHER includes the release of four community announcement video

The video series showcases real conversations in action between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and role models.

The focus is on individuals talking about their experiences and the positive impact that sharing them had while they were going through a tough time.

“That weekend, I had the most deep and meaningful and beautiful conversations with my Dad that I never had.

My Dad was always a staunch dude and I was always trying to put up a front to, I guess, make my Dad proud. But we sat there, and we cried to each other.

I started to find myself and that’s when I came to the point of realising that, you know, I’m lucky to be alive and I had a second chance to help other people.”

When we talk, we are sharing, and our people have always shared, for thousands of years we’ve shared experiences, shared love. The only way we get out of those tough times is by sharing and talking and I hope this series helps to spread that message.”

Former NRL player and welterweight boxer Joe Williams has lent his voice to the series.

Born in Cowra, Joe is a proud Wiradjuri man. Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe has battled with suicidal ideation and bipolar disorder. After a suicide attempt in 2012, a phone call to a friend and then his family’s support encouraged him to seek professional psychiatric help.

Australian sports pioneer Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM has also lent her voice to the series. Marcia Ella-Duncan is an Aboriginal woman from La Perouse, Sydney, with traditional connection to the Walbunga people on the NSW Far South Coast, and kinship connection to the Bidigal, the traditional owners of the Botany Bay area.

“Sometimes, all we can do is listen, all we can do is be there with you. And sometimes that might be all you need. Or sometimes it’s just the first step towards a much longer journey,” said Marcia.

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website.

If you or someone you know needs support, go to:  ruok.org.au/findhelp

Part 2

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

Originally Published the Guardian and IndigenousX

It is unacceptable and a national disgrace that there have been at least 35 suicides of Indigenous people this year – in just 12 weeks – and three were children only 12 years old.

The Kimberley region – where my mob are from – has the highest rate of suicide in the country. If the Kimberley was a country it would have the worst suicide rate in the world.

A recent inquest investigated 13 deaths which occurred in the Kimberley region in less than four years, including five children aged between 10 and 13.

Western Australia’s coroner said the deaths had been shaped by “the crushing effects of intergenerational trauma”.

When we’re talking about Indigenous suicide, we have to talk about intergenerational trauma; the transfer of the impacts of historical trauma and grief to successive generations.

These multiple layers of trauma can have a “cumulative effect and increase the risk of destructive behaviours including suicide”. Many of our communities are, in essence, “not just going about the day, but operating in crisis mode on a daily basis.”

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

Indigenous suicide is different. Suicide is a complex issue, there is not one cause, reason, trigger or risk – it can be a web of many indicators. But with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people intergenerational trauma and the flow-on effects of colonisation, dispossession, genocide, cultural destruction and the stolen generations are paramount to understanding high Indigenous suicide rates.

When you think about the fact that most Indigenous families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children, that speaks volumes. The institutionalisation of our mob has had dire consequences on our sense of being, mental health, connection to family and culture.

Just think about that for a moment. If every Indigenous family has been affected by this, of course trauma is transmitted down through generations and manifests into impacts on children resulting from weakened attachment relationships with caregivers, challenged parenting skills and family functioning, parental physical and mental illness, and disconnection and alienation from the extended family, culture and society.

The high rates of poor physical health, mental health problems, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide in Indigenous communities are directly linked to experiences of trauma. These issues are both results of historical trauma and causes of new instances of trauma which together can lead to a vicious cycle in Indigenous communities.

Our families have been stripped of the coping mechanisms that all people need to thrive and survive. And while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are resilient, we are also human.

Our history does shape us. Let’s start from colonisation. My mob the Yawuru people from Rubibi (Broome) were often brutally dislocated from our lands, and stripped of our livelihood. Our culture was desecrated and we were used for slave labour.

My great-grandmother was taken from her father when she was very young and placed in a mission in Western Australia. My grandmother and aunties then all finished up in the same mission. And two of those aunties spent a considerable time in an orphanage in Broome, although they were not orphans.

In 1907, a telegram from Broome station was sent to Henry Prinsep, the “Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia” in Perth. It reads: “Send cask arsenic exterminate aborigines letter will follow.” This gives a glimpse of the thinking of the time and that of course played out in traumatic and dehumanising ways.

In the late 1940s a magistrate in the court of Broome refused my great-grandmother’s application for a certificate of citizenship under the Native Citizen Rights Act of Western Australia. Part of his reasons for refusing her application was that she had not adopted the manner and habits of civilised life.

My anglo grandfather was imprisoned for breaching the Native Administration Act of Western Australia, in that he was cohabiting with my grandmother. He was jailed for loving my jamuny (grandmother/father’s mother).

My dad lost his parents when he was 10 years old. My grandfather died in tragic circumstances – and then my grandmother, again in tragic circumstances, soon after.

My dad was collected by family in Katherine and taken to Darwin. There was a fear that he would be taken away – Indigenous families knew well the ways of the Native Welfare authorities, and I suspect they were protecting my dad from that fate. Unlike many Indigenous families, he was permitted to stay with them and became a state child in the care of our family.

My family has suffered from ongoing systematic racism and research has shown that racism impacts Aboriginal people in the same way as a traumatic event.

My family and community have suffered premature deaths from suicide, preventable health issues, grief and inextricable trauma.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob. The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #FASDay #FASDprevention News : @NOFASDAustralia and @TheRACP call for mandatory warning labels and a national #FASD Prevention Campaign. An alcohol free pregnancy is everyone’s responsibility.

“ At NOFASD, across Australia, and around the world people took a minute today to pause and reflect on the struggles which individuals , families and communities face when they are living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

At 9:09 on the 9th day of the 9th month we came together to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.”

See NO FASD Press Release Part 2 Below

Read over 30 Aboriginal Health and #FASD articles published by NACCHO

“ Before the extra years were added to his sentence and before the trouble that led to them, authorities were warned that a teenage boy with severe cognitive impairments was deteriorating in Darwin’s Don Dale youth detention centre and needed help.

Key points:

  • A 17-year-old boy was recently sentenced to an additional four years’ jail over a riot in Don Dale in July 2018
  • The ABC has seen letters sent to authorities weeks before the riot, requesting urgent intervention
  • A Supreme Court judge accepted that conditions in the prison contributed to the boy’s offending

Legal letters seen by the ABC formally requesting urgent intervention in then-16-year-old Corey’s* “outrageous” treatment in the condemned facility were sent to the head of the Territory Families department and the NT Children’s Commissioner in June last year.

Legal Aid lawyers told authorities that the teenager — who has foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and a history of trauma starting from abandonment in hospital at birth — had been kept in effective isolation, with little fresh air, sunlight and schooling, and had been threatened and assaulted by other boys inside Don Dale.

A spokesperson said Aboriginal health organisation Danila Dilba was taking over primary health care in the centre, support services had been “significantly” increased and an FASD component was added to staff induction training.

Olga Havnen, who is the chief executive of Danila Dilba, said Corey had been set up to fail in a system that couldn’t help him.

She said the teenager’s conviction for property damage to Don Dale was ironic, asking: “Who pays for the damage caused to this young person?”

Extracts from ABC Report : Read in full here

Part 1 RACP Press Release

Doctors from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) are calling for the Australian Government to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products.

“Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to birth defects and lifelong neurodevelopmental problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD),” said Professor Paul Colditz, President of Paediatrics and Child Health at the RACP and an alcohol policy expert.

“FASD is the most common and preventable cause of serious brain injury in children in Australia. There is no cure for FASD, so prevention is everything. This is why clear and unambiguous messaging on the harms of drinking while pregnant is important and why such messaging should be mandatory across all alcohol product labels.

“With less than half of alcohol manufacturers currently using pregnancy warning labels we can’t look to the industry to self-regulate.

“There is also an inherent conflict of interest under the current approach where consumers are ultimately directed towards industry websites for warning information and may be exposed to contradictory messages.”

In its submission to the Food Regulation Standing Committee, the RACP makes a number of evidence-based recommendations about how to implement mandatory pregnancy warning labels.

The RACP recommends that behaviour change experts develop new text for warning labels. Graphics should feature on the label to convey the harms of alcohol to an unborn baby.

Consistency of messaging is important so warning labels should be standardised across the industry. Prominence of the labelling is also important.

“We know that pregnancy warning labels alone are not enough to prevent FASD, but we think it’s a step in the right direction for raising public awareness about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure,” Professor Colditz said.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 found only 56 per cent of pregnant women said they abstained from drinking during pregnancy.

Part 2 NO FASD Press Release Continued

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) reports that 50% of Australian women experience an unplanned pregnancy.

The first few weeks of these unknown pregnancies are a major risk for prenatal alcohol exposure. Approximately 59% of Australian women drink alcohol at some time during their pregnancy, and estimates indicate that 1 in every 13 women who consume alcohol will have a child with FASD.

These numbers are staggering. The AMA states that “few accurate data on the prevalence of FASD in Australia is available but it is estimated that FASD affects roughly between 2% and 5% of the population in the United States”.

FASD is the most common preventable disability, and preventing FASD is a whole-of-community responsibility. Mothers never intentionally put their children at risk. Increasing awareness about the risks of drinking when you could be pregnant, and supporting women who are pregnant to abstain throughout their nine months, is essential for preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies.

If you are pregnant, don’t drink alcohol. If you drink alcohol, don’t get pregnant.

Friends and partners can play a major role in supporting mothers to be alcohol free. For example it is much easier for a woman to say no to alcohol if her partner stops drinking too. We can support expectant mothers by organising fun alcohol-free activities, serving non-alcoholic drinks, and reducing or ceasing our own drinking.

If you, or anyone you know, is pregnant, planning or could be, NO ALCOHOL is the safest option

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : This week @ShelleyWare #WomensHealthWeek @strokefdn and @QAIHC_QLD in partnership #strokeweek2019 Plus @SNAICC #SNAICC2019

Upcoming feature NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

This week

2 to 8 September 2019 National Stroke Week 

2 -8 September Women’s Health Week

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

Next week

12 September R U OK Day

12 September 2019 QAIHC YOUTH HEALTH SUMMIT

15-19 September 50 year of PHAA Annual Conference Adelaide 17 – 19 September #AustPH2019

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand

2 -8 September Women’s Health Week

 ” My family’s wellbeing is so important to me and, as an Indigenous woman, I am equally passionate about tackling the appalling health and life expectancy statistics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As an ambassador for Jean Hailes and Women’s Health Week, I feel I can be part of the solution by encouraging Indigenous women to take the time to put their health first.

You can put your health first too by being part of this year’s Women’s Health Week  It’s fun and free.” 

Shelley Ware Womens Health Week Ambassador : Note Shelley shared the above from the AFL Footy Record 

Read over 350 Aboriginal Womens Health articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years

Five years ago I was delighted to become one of the first ambassadors for Jean Hailes’ Women’s Health Week. I am still so proud to be involved, helping to promote the importance of good health.

Growing up, sport was a natural part of our family life.  I played netball, participated in little athletics, swimming – even touch footy.  My Dad was a professional runner and Mum played netball too so if we weren’t at sport, we were watching our parents play.

My childhood was pretty idyllic until the awful day when my beloved Dad suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 51.  A few years later, Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 following a routine mammogram.  Thankfully she beat it and is still doing well today.

I have a lot to watch out for in my yearly health checks, so it’s important I stay fit and healthy.

I have suffered from endometriosis, which, as well as being extremely painful, made conceiving my beautiful son Taj that much harder for my husband Steven and I.

My family’s wellbeing is so important to me and, as an Indigenous woman, I am equally passionate about tackling the appalling health and life expectancy statistics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As an ambassador for Jean Hailes and Women’s Health Week, I feel I can be part of the solution by encouraging Indigenous women to take the time to put their health first.

You can put your health first too by being part of this year’s Women’s Health Week

. It’s fun and free. Please sign up!

Follow @JeanHailes 

2. Welcome to the HealthInfoNet health topic on women.

This section provides information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s health and women’s business. Some of the content contained in this section is regarded as sensitive and private to Aboriginal and Torres Strait women. Information includes: cultural perspectives and practices, reproductive health, pregnancy, birth and midwifery, mothers and babies, and women’s cancers.

CHECK out WEBSITE 

2 to 8 September 2019 National Stroke Week 

Stroke Week is an annual opportunity to raise awareness of stroke and the Stroke Foundation in Australia. The theme for 2019 is F.A.S.T heroes, recognising the people who spotted the signs of stroke and called an ambulance straight away, potentially saving a life.

Read over 100 Aboriginal Health and Stroke articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

The Stroke Foundation and the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council are working together to create a new information resource.

The new resource will be based on My Stroke Journey and will be delivered by hospital health professionals to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stroke survivors and their families. It will also be available for Aboriginal health workers in the community to use.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times as likely to die from stroke as non-Indigenous Australians. They are younger too: their median age is 58 compared to 75 for non-Indigenous Australians. They also have poorer access to in-patient rehabilitation, secondary prevention to reduce risk of further stroke and community support to aid long-term recovery.

Focus groups have been held in Cairns, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville. Speaking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors, family members and health workers, we found:

1. My Stroke Journey is seen a good resource but the content could be clearer and simpler.
2. We need to include more photos and stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as using culturally appropriate activity examples and Indigenous art and design.
3. Work and finances (dealing with employers and  Centrelink) is a significant issue and needs more focus.
4. We need to have a marketing strategy to ensure it reaches people – engaging  hospital Aboriginal Liaison Officers and promote connection to Aboriginal health services.

The new resource will be available later this year. After that we hope to secure funding to take the new resource to Aboriginal health organisations in other states to continue our engagement, in line with our national mission.

See Website for more info

I discovered powerlifting after my stroke

By Charlotte Porter

Sometimes life takes an unexpected twist and nothing could be truer than that for me.

In the lead up to Christmas last year, I was busy juggling a family and two jobs. Like many mums at that time of year, there was a lot to do and not enough hours in the day.

I woke up one morning with a really bad headache. I’ve had my fair share of headaches in recent years after having a pituitary gland tumour, but this one was intense. I remember telling my husband about it, but I couldn’t afford to take the day off work, so I pushed myself to get dressed and get out the door.

I work in disability services and spent the morning with two separate clients. When my shift finished at 12.30pm, I sat in my car and couldn’t move. After a few minutes, I somehow managed to drive to our local Aboriginal Medical Service where, thankfully, I got to see the doctor straight away.

I recall the doctor saying hello and asking me to come in her office, but I couldn’t lift myself out of my seat. The doctor walked towards me and asked if I was okay

“No, I can’t move. I’m so sorry. I feel awful and I have a huge headache,” I replied.

The doctor asked me to lift my arm, but I couldn’t and the left side of my face was slightly droopy. She told me I needed to get to hospital immediately.

I live in country New South Wales. I went to my local hospital, but I was rushed to a larger one within half an hour of arrival.

A brain scan showed a small aneurism in the back of my head, which had a leak. It was too small to be clamped, so I was given a drug to reduce the pressure in my head.

Two days later, I was discharged.

This is when my major challenges began – I lost all of my strength in my arm. I was slightly overweight, so had to change my diet. I had to let go of my stress and I was tired.

I had 16 weeks of bed rest before starting light gym work and physio.

At the beginning I struggled. I had to learn how to do everyday tasks again like holding a spoon and fork and lifting my arm. I didn’t want to be a burden on my family.

There were lots of tears, but there were plenty of laughs and accomplishments as well. Some days I was so lethargic, but others I felt good enough to go to the gym. I learnt to read my body much better.

I wanted to be a good role model for my children, so I set goals every day. At one stage it was to walk to the toilet by myself now it’s to deadlift 200 kilograms (equivalent to two fridges!) by the end of the year!

This brings me to powerlifting. I made a huge effort to go to the gym regularly to work on my fitness, coordination and strength. I kept pushing through the pain to regain the capacity in my arm. My doctor said I was bouncing back quicker than expected.

I always knew I was a strong person, but then I discovered powerlifting by chance on social media. I started following the account of a woman with mad skills and I was inspired. With the help of a personal trainer, I tried it myself and LOVED it!

Now, I train up to five times a week.

Together with my family, powerlifting has given me something positive to focus on after my stroke.

I am 32 and there is no looking back

The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T. test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke.

Using the F.A.S.T. test involves asking these simple questions:

Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms Can they lift both arms?

Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

Think F.A.S.T., act FAST

A stroke is always a medical emergency. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.

Emergency medical treatment soon after symptoms begin improves the chance of survival and successful rehabilitation.

Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but they are not the only signs.

Other signs of stroke

The following signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination:

  • Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing

Sometimes the signs disappear within a short time, such as a few minutes. When this happens, it may be a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

Preliminary program and registration information available to download now!

We are thrilled to have Dusty Feet Mob performing on Day 2 of the 8th SNAICC National Conference, 2-5 Sept. 2019

Visit  for more information.

12 September R U Ok Day

 

Regardless of where we live, or who our mob is, we can all go through tough times. Times when we don’t feel great about our lives or ourselves. That’s why it’s important to always be looking out for each other. Together, we’re stronger right?’

Download the full kit

Ask the question – R U OK?

If someone you know – a family member, someone from your community, a friend, neighbour or workmate – is doing it tough, they won’t always tell you. Sometimes it’s up to us to trust our gut instinct and ask someone who may be struggling, R U OK? By asking and listening, we can help those we care about feel more supported and connected, which can help stop them from feeling worse over time.

Help to start the conversation.

The Conversation Guide contains lots of valuable information on how to go about asking R U OK? as well as the importance of listening with an open mind, encouraging action, and checking in. Posters are available too, to put up in your workplace, school or community group as a reminder to ask people, R U OK?

Don’t forget! R U OK?Day – 12 September 2019

It’s important to ask the question every day. We need to trust the signs and your instinct if you feel someone might be struggling. R U OK?Day is a national reminder, to reach our to your mob. Learn more about the signs to watch our for that something might be up

A conversation can change a life. 

Watch these videos to hear personal stories from mob across the country, talking about how being asked R U OK? helped them through a tough time. Use the links below to view and share these stories with your friends and community.

Connect on social media #RUOKStrongerTogetherMake sure your mob know that they can talk to you if they need to. Share your support by posting our social media graphics on you social networks. These graphics promote the importance of checking in with people and asking R U OK? Sometimes we all need a reminder.

We’ve developed a range of resources to help you start the conversation.

Download the Digital Kit – link this to Stronger Together page , or you can order printed copies at merchandise@ruok.org.au

15-19 September 50 year of PHAA Annual Conference Adelaide 17 – 19 September 

The Australian Public Health Conference (formally the PHAA Annual Conference) is a national conference held by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) which presents a national and multi-disciplinary perspective on public health issues. PHAA members and non-members are encouraged to contribute to discussions on the broad range of public health issues and challenges, and exchange ideas, knowledge and information on the latest developments in public health.

Through development of public health policies, advocacy, research and training, PHAA seeks better health outcomes for Australian’s and the Conference acts as a pathway for public health professionals to connect and share new and innovative ideas that can be applied to local settings and systems to help create and improve health systems for local communities.

In 2019 the Conference theme will be ‘Celebrating 50 years, poised to meet the challenges of the next 50’. The theme has been established to acknowledge and reflect on the many challenges and success that public health has faced over the last 50 years, as well as acknowledging and celebrating 50 years of PHAA, with the first official gathering of PHAA being held in Adelaide in 1969.

Conference Website 

12 September 2019 QAIHC YOUTH HEALTH SUMMIT

Expressions of interest closing soon!

Calm minds, Strong bodies, Resilient spirit

Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander aged between 18 and 25 who is passionate about improving the health of your community?

Join us at the 2019 QAIHC Youth Health Summit in Brisbane on 12 September 2019. We want to hear from you about what is needed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in your community thrive.

The Summit will be a powerful day of sharing and learning, and will cover a range of topics including:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy relationships
  • Support networks
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Sexual health
  • LGBTQI needs
  • Chronic disease.

All sessions will be facilitated in an environment of cultural safety to promote honest and free discussions between everyone in attendance.

This Summit will help us shape QAIHC’s Youth Health Strategy 2019-2022 which will support Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Website 

ATTEND

Express an interest in attending the Youth Health Summit

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

Print

Location:             Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
Theme:                 Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Register:              Register Here
Web:                     www.aida.org.au/conference
Enquiries:           conference@aida.org.au

The AIDA 2019 Conference is a forum to share and build on knowledge that increasingly disrupts existing practice and policy to raise the standards of health care.

People with a passion for health care equity are invited to share their knowledges and expertise about how they have participated in or enabled a ‘disruptive innovation to achieve culturally safe and responsive practice or policy for Indigenous communities.

The 23rd annual AIDA Conference provides a platform for networking, mentoring, member engagement and the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of AIDA’S Indigenous doctor and students.

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

 

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

During the 9 – 10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference will be celebrated at the Convention Centre in Alice Springs

Bursaries available for our Full Members

Not a member?!

Register here today to become a Full Member to gain all NATSIHWA Full Member benefits

Come and celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs. We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery.

Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Watch this space for the guest speaker line up, draft agenda and award nominations

15-17 October IUIH System of Care Conference

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference, the 2019 System of Care Conference will be focusing on further exploring and sharing the systems and processes that deliver this life changing way of looking at life-long health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

This year IUIH delivers 10 years of experience in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with proven methods for closing the gap and impacting on the social determinants of health.

The IUIH System of Care is evidence-based and nationally recognised for delivering outcomes, and the conference will share the research behind the development and implementation of this system, with presentations by speakers across a range of specialisations including clinic set up, clinical governance, systems integration, wrap around services such as allied and social health, workforce development and research evidence.

If you are working in:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled health services
  • Primary Health Networks
  • Health and Hospital Boards and Management
  • Government Departments
  • The University Sector
  • The NGO Sector

Watch this video for an insight into the IUIH System of Care Conference.

Download brochure HERE IUIH System of Care Conference 2019 WEB

This year, the IUIH System of Care Conference will be offering a number of half-day workshops on Thursday 17 October 2019, available to conference attendees only. The cost for these workshops is $150 per person, per workshop and your attendance to these can be selected during your single or group registration.

IUIH are also hosting a 10 years of service celebration dinner on Tuesday 15 October – from 6.30-10pm. Tickets for this are $150 per person and are not included in the cost of registration.

All conference information is available here https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/IUIH19/

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

The NACCHO Youth Conference will again take place the day before the Members Conference on Monday 4 November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The conference theme is Healthy Youth – Healthy Futures and it is a day of learning, sharing, and connecting on health issues affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year we aim to have around 80 youth delegates attend to hear from guest speakers, voice their ideas and solutions and connect with the other future leaders in the sector.

Registrations will open in early September 2019, so please encourage the young people from your community who you think will benefit attending.

I strongly encourage those who can afford it to arrange for your youth delegates to remain for the Members Conference and AGM so they can increase their understanding of the Sector as a whole and learn how to network and build useful contacts.

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

As you may be aware, this year’s conference is being held in Darwin on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 of November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The theme for our conference is Because of Them We Must: Improving Health Outcomes for 0 to 29 Year Olds and will focus on how our Sector is working to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for children, youth and young adults.

Clearly those in the 0 – 29 year age bracket are a significant proportion of our total population. If we can get their health and wellbeing outcomes right, we should hopefully overtime reduce the comorbidity levels which are so debilitating for so many of our older people.

There are many amazing examples in our sector of how we work with young people. I would like to see us share them at the conference.

Please let us know if you have an idea for a presentation that will highlight innovative and successful work that you do in this area.

To make a submission please complete this online form.

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Alcohol Research : New ADAC APP a will be ‘game changer’ to gauge realistic drinking habits says @ScottADAC

“Obviously there’s people who want the research done to help their community.

Once we get this app going, it’ll become very clear very quickly where the money should be spent.

That doesn’t mean you’ve just got to chuck money at them, but having Aboriginal-controlled issues and understanding which way they want to go.”

Jimmy Perry, a Ngarrindjerri/Arrernte man and an Aboriginal health worker involved in the project, said communities had a positive response.

 Read over over 200 Aboriginal Health Alcohol and Other Drugs articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Download the APP Research

18-lee-developing-tablet-computer-app-bmc-med1_final-data

Originally published HERE 

Researchers say a new app has the potential to more accurately reflect the nation’s drinking habits.

The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.

Key points : 

  • App developers say it will get a more accurate drinking history than a face-to-face interview with a trained health professional
  • The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council says the app could replace the National Drug Strategy Household Survey
  • Researchers say alcohol consumption among Aboriginal women is under-represented by up to 700 per cent in national surveys

The Grog App was designed for use by Indigenous Australians but could be used by anyone.

Dr Kylie Lee, a senior research fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol who was also involved in the app’s development, said the new technology would create a more accurate database.

“Aboriginal women, their drinking is under-represented in the national surveys by up to 700 per cent and 200 per cent in men.

“Undeniably we need to do better … this app offers a great opportunity to do that.”

Researchers believe the app would elicit greater detail than the National Drug Strategy Household Survey which has been used for more than 30 years.

Dr Lee said the prospect of collating improved data collection on the difficult topic of drug and alcohol consumption was “exciting”.

“I think it really could be a game changer because it’s giving an opportunity for a safe place where they can just tell their story in terms of what they use or what they drink,” she said.

How it works

Take a Virtual Tour HERE

Participants answer a range of broad and specific questions on the app about alcohol and based on that information, they are allocated into a category on a sliding scale from ‘non-drinker’ to ‘high risk’.

Dr Lee said immediate feedback was very helpful.

She said the app could alleviate issues in the way alcohol data was typically collected, for example participants were more likely to be asked about standard drinks but not non-standard containers.

“Like a soft drink bottle, a juice bottle, a sports bottle et cetera so the app has facilities to show how much you put in the bottle,” Dr Lee said.

“It’s very exciting the level of detail you’re going to get.”

Professor Kate Conigrave, the app’s chief investigator and an addiction specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, agreed the new technology could provide greater clarity.

“I’m aware of the traps,” she said.

“One patient I saw had been recorded by a doctor as drinking three standard drinks a day but when I took a drinking history I said, ‘what do you drink them out of?’, and he showed me a sports bottle,” Professor Conigrave said.

“He was drinking three full sports bottles of wine a day, so that’s about 30 standard drinks a day.”

PHOTO: Professor Conigrave says the images used in the app can trigger the participant’s memory, making their drinking history more accurate. (Supplied: Kate Conigrave)

Professor Conigrave said the national health survey often contained “tiny” numbers from Indigenous communities.

“The sample sizes are so small, it’s hard to get a meaningful picture,” she said.

She said the app would provide a level of comfortability and anonymity which may lead to more accurate data, than an interview with a trained health professional.

“People can be a bit embarrassed about what they’re drinking and it can be a bit hard to admit to someone you know, ‘when I drink I have 12 cans of beer,'” she said.

Taking it to the communities

The app is in its second phase of testing.

In the first phase, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote, regional and urban parts of South Australia and Queensland were asked to describe their drinking habits.

Research on the app has now progressed to the second round, during which the focus was on the technology’s validity as an on-the-ground survey tool.

Scott Wilson, who was leading the development of the app at the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC), said the second phase was a “major prevalence study” which would include participants from the local hospital and prison.

The location for the trial has not been made public.

“In the big major surveys people in those areas are always excluded,” Mr Wilson said.

“When you consider that I might be in hospital for an alcohol-related illness or I might be in jail because of an alcohol or drug-related crime, my voice or results are never included.”

The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.

In the meantime, they planned to have discussions with the government over the future use of the app and pursue grant opportunities.

Dr Lee said she was excited for the potential of the new technology.

“Eventually I think it would be a great tool to roll out nationally … using it in the same way as the National Drug Strategy Household Survey,” she said

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosingTheGap #NAIDOC2019 : @AIHW Key results report 2017-18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations:

Findings from this report:

  • Just under half (45%) of organisations provide services in Remote or Very remote areas

  • In 2017–18, around 483,000 clients received 3.6 million episodes of care

  • Nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent staff are employed in these organisations and 4,695 (59%) are health staff

  • Organisations reported 445 vacant positions in June 2018 with health vacancies representing 366 (82%) of these
  • In 2017–18, nearly 200 organisations provided a range of primary health services to around 483,000 clients, 81% of whom were Indigenous.
  • Around 3.6 million episodes of care were provided, nearly 3.1 million of these (85%) by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

See AIHW detailed Interactive site locations map HERE

In 2017–18, Indigenous primary health services were delivered from 383 sites (Table 3). Most sites provided clinical services such as the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses (88%), mental health and counselling services (88%), maternal and child health care (86%), and antenatal care (78%). Around two-thirds provided tobacco programs (69%) and substance-use and drug and alcohol programs (66%).

Most organisations provided access to a doctor (86%) and just over half (54%) delivered a wide range of services, including all of the following during usual opening hours: the diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease; antenatal care; maternal and child health care; social and emotional wellbeing/counselling services; substance use programs; and on‑site or off-site access to specialist, allied health and dental care services.

Most organisations (95%) also provided group activities as part of their health promotion and prevention work. For example, in 2017–18, these organisations provided around:

  • 8,400 physical activity/healthy weight sessions
  • 3,700 living skills sessions
  • 4,600 chronic disease client support sessions
  • 4,100 tobacco-use treatment and prevention sessions.

In addition to the services they provide, organisations were asked to report on service gaps and challenges they faced and could list up to 5 of each from predefined lists. In 2017–18, around two-thirds of organisations (68%) reported mental health/social and emotional health and wellbeing services as a gap faced by the community they served.

This was followed by youth services (54%). Over two-thirds of organisations (71%) reported the recruitment, training and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff as a challenge in delivering quality health services.

Read full report and all data HERE

This is the tenth national report on organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous primary health services

Primary health services play a critical role in helping to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indigenous Australians may access mainstream or Indigenous primary health services funded by the Australian and state and territory governments.

Information on organisations funded by the Australian Government under its Indigenous Australians’ health programme (IAHP) is available through two data collections: the Online Services Report (OSR) and the national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs). Most of the organisations funded under the IAHP contribute to both collections (Table 1).

The OSR collects information on the services organisations provide, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and staffing levels. Contextual information about each organisation is also collected. The nKPIs collect information on a set of process of care and health outcome indicators for Indigenous Australians.

There are 24 indicators that focus on maternal and child health, preventative health and chronic disease management. Information from the nKPI and OSR collections help monitor progress against the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Closing the Gap targets, and supports the national health goals set out in the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

Detailed information on the policy context and background to these collections are available in previous national reports, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report—key results 2016–17 and National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results for 2017.

At a glance

This tenth national OSR report presents information on organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide primary health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes a profile of these organisations and information on the services they provide, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and staffing levels. Interactive data visualisations using OSR data for 5 reporting periods, from 2013–14 to 2017–18, are presented for the first time.

Key messages

  1. A wide range of primary health services are provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2017–18:
  • 198 organisations provided primary health services to around 483,000 clients, most of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (81%).
  • These organisations provided around 3.6 million episodes of care, with nearly 3.1 million (85%) delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).
  • More than two-thirds of organisations (71%) were ACCHSs. The rest included government-run organisations and other non-government-run organisations.
  • Nearly half of organisations (45%) provided services in Remoteand Very remote
  • Services were delivered from 383 sites across Australia. Most sites provided the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses (88%), social and emotional wellbeing services (88%), maternal and child health care (86%), and antenatal care (78%). Around two-thirds provided tobacco programs (69%) and substance-use and drug and alcohol programs (66%).

See this AIHW detailed Interactive site locations map HERE

  1. Organisations made on average nearly 13 contacts per client

In 2017–18, organisations providing Indigenous primary health services made around 6.1 million client contacts, an average of nearly 13 contacts per client (Table 2). Over half of all client contacts (58%) were made by nurses and midwives (1.8 million contacts) and doctors (1.7 million contacts). Contacts by nurses and midwives represented half (49%) of all client contacts in Very remote areas compared with 29% overall.

  1. Organisations employed nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff

At 30 June 2018, organisations providing Indigenous primary health services employed nearly 8,000 FTE staff and over half of these (54%) were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. These organisations were assisted by around 270 visiting staff not paid for by the organisations themselves, making a total workforce of around 8,200 FTE staff.

Nurses and midwives were the most common type of health worker (14% of employed staff), followed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners (13%) and doctors (7%). Nurses and midwives represented a higher proportion of employed staff in Very remote areas (22%).

  1. Social and emotional health and wellbeing services are the most commonly reported service gap

Organisations can report up to 5 service gaps faced by the community they serve from a predefined list of gaps. Since this question was introduced in 2012–13, the most commonly reported gap has been for mental health and social and emotional health and wellbeing services. In 2017–18, this was reported as a gap by 68% of organisations.