.@KenWyattMP Aboriginal Mother and Child Health #Familymatters #IHMayDay17 $40 million #BetterStarttoLife #DanilaDilba #NunkuwarrinYunti @IUIH_

” The ANFPP not only focuses on the mother and child but also assists their partners to develop a vision for their family’s future and encouragement to fulfil that vision.

The Australian Government has committed $40 million under the Better Start to Life approach to progressively expand the ANFPP from three sites to 13, by 30 June 2018.

These expansion sites were identified through a review of the child and maternal health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by geographic area, population health data including birth rates and existing services in the area.

The program will be implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (Brisbane South, Queensland), Danila Dilba Health Service, (Darwin, Northern Territory) and Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc. (Adelaide, South Australia). ”

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, announced today three new sites for the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are pregnant, or women pregnant with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

Download the Ministers press Release Ken Wyatt Press Release

“The ANFPP is a nurse-led home visiting program, that supports women from around 16 weeks gestation to two years of age,” Minister Wyatt said.

“I am very pleased to announce the growth of the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program to three new sites in Brisbane South, Darwin and Adelaide.

“The Australian Government has committed $40 million under the Better Start to Life approach to progressively expand the ANFPP from three sites to 13, by 30 June 2018.

“Based on the findings, consultations occurred with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums in each jurisdiction to seek further advice on the proposed locations and identify organisations with the capacity to implement and sustain the high fidelity of the program.”

Minister Wyatt said there is strong evidence that long-term gains in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will come from investing in the early years of life and in supporting children and their families at this point in the life cycle.

“The program has demonstrated positive outcomes for women, children and families by providing comprehensive support for antenatal and postnatal care and child health and development. As at 31 March 2017, 1,269 mothers have been enrolled in the program, with 18,579 visits having taken place since the commencement of the program in 2009.

“The ANFPP not only focuses on the mother and child but also assists their partners to develop a vision for their family’s future and encouragement to fulfil that vision.”

The program will be implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (Brisbane South, Queensland), Danila Dilba Health Service, (Darwin, Northern Territory) and Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc. (Adelaide, South Australia).

The ANFPP is currently delivered in five sites: Wellington, New South Wales; Cairns and North Brisbane, Queensland; and Alice Springs and a hub and spoke model operating out of Darwin to support the Top End communities of – Wadeye, Maningrida, Gunbalunya and Wurrumiyanga, Northern Territory.

“The Australian Government is committed to reducing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality, and I am very pleased to support this important initiative,” Minister Wyatt said.

Aboriginal Women’s Health : Download Report : Over imprisonment of Aboriginal women is a growing national crisis

“For too long our women have been ignored by policymakers. It is time for governments at all levels to put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s experiences and voices front and centre, and listen to what we have to say about the solutions.

The report highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women having access to specialist, holistic and culturally safe services and supports that address the underlying causes of imprisonment,

Experiences of family violence contribute directly and indirectly to women’s offending, If we are to see women’s offending rates drop, governments must invest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations that work with our women to stop violence.”

Antoinette Braybrook, Co Chair of the Change the Record Coalition and Convener of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum.

New report launched to address skyrocketing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s imprisonment rates

Download the report here : Aboriginal Woman OverRepresented_online

The over imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is a growing national crisis that is being overlooked by all levels of government in Australia, the Human Rights Law Centre and Change the Record said in a new report launched today.

The imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women has skyrocketed nearly 250 per cent since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women make up around 34 per cent of the female prison population but only 2 per cent of the adult female population.

The report, Overrepresented and overlooked: the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s growing over imprisonment, calls for system wide change and outlines 18 recommendations to redress racialised and gendered justice system outcomes.

Adrianne Walters, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre said,

“The tragic and preventable death of Ms Dhu is a devastating example of what happens when the justice system fails Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Ms Dhu was locked up under draconian laws that see Aboriginal women in WA disproportionately locked up for fines they cannot pay. She was treated inhumanely by police and died in their care. At a time when she most needed help, the justice system punished her.”

Annette Vickery, Deputy CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, said, “The vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in custody are mothers. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are often in custody for short periods, even a short time can cause devastating and long term upheaval – children taken into child protection, stable housing lost, employment denied.

“Governments should be doing everything they can to help women avoid prison to prevent the devastating rippling effects of women’s imprisonment on children and families,” added Ms Vickery.

The report calls for governments to move away from ‘tough on crime’ approaches in reality and rhetoric, and to focus on evidence based solutions that tackle drivers of offending and prevent women coming into contact with the justice system in the first place.

Ms Walters said, “Overzealous policing and excessive police powers, driven by tough on crime politics, see too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men fined and locked up for minor offending. Only last month, the WA Coroner recommended the removal of police arrest and detention powers for public drinking after another Aboriginal woman died in police custody.”

“Governments can act now to remove laws that disproportionately and unfairly criminalise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, like fine default imprisonment laws in WA and paperless arrest laws in the NT,” added Ms Walters

Ms Walters said, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are also being denied bail and options to transition away from courts and prisons to more rehabilitative alternatives. Too often this is because of a lack of housing and programs designed for their social and cultural needs, particularly in regional and remote locations.’

“Rather than enacting harsher laws and barriers to women accessing rehabilitative alternatives, governments must invest in programs that are designed for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and that tackle the root causes of offending,” said Ms Walters.

Response from contributor to the report, Vickie Roach Vickie Roach, a former prisoner turned writer and advocate said “punitive approaches don’t work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. They punish our women, their families and communities, for actions that are often the consequence of forced child removal and assimilation policies.”

“Governments should be getting rid of laws that unfairly criminalise our women. They should be trying to close prisons and focusing on alternatives that are healing. You need to respect women’s dignity, but in my experience, so often the criminal justice system just takes it away,” added Ms Roach.

 

Aboriginal #heart #stroke Health : $15 million #HealthBudget17 Investment in #PhysicalActivity and #healthylifestyles to #takethepressuredown

“We walk from the pier to the swimming pool, but everyone walks their own pace and distance.

Before walking, an Aboriginal health worker takes the blood pressure of the walkers to let them know how their general health is.

The group was about “more than just walking”, with general health checks and healthy food offered as part of the weekly meet-up .We have young and old, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and everyone gets on really well.”

Community liaison officer Joe Malone : Run jointly by Heart Foundation Walking and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Community Health Service Northgate QLD , the meetings help keep local residents active.

Read Full story HERE

To find a local walking group, head to the Heart Foundation Walking website or call 1300 362 787

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : ” High blood pressure is a silent killer ” new Heart Foundation guidelines

“Disturbingly, about half of Australian adults are not physically active enough to gain the health benefits of exercise. This includes just under half of young people aged 25 to 34 years old. This puts them at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers and dementia in later life.

“But even moderate exercise is like a wonder drug. Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce risk of death from heart attack by a third, as well as help you sleep better, feel better, improve your strength and balance, and maintain your bone density. It also manages your weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. So we are delighted by the news of the Prime Minister’s $10 million walking challenge.”

Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly see full below

 ” The Stoke Foundation is excited to announce that the Stroke Foundation is partnering with Priceline Pharmacy for the 2017 Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check campaign.

Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check will take place Wednesday 17 May – Wednesday 14 June with a target to deliver 80,000 free health checks at over 320 locations around Australia including Priceline Pharmacy stores, selected shopping centres and Queensland Know your numbers sites.

Find your nearest free health check location HERE or your Aboriginal Community Controlled Health ( ACCHO )

Heart Foundation applauds Budget funding for Healthy Heart package

At a glance

Regular walking or other physical activity reduces:

  • All-cause mortality by 30%
  • Heart disease and stroke by 35%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 42%
  • Colon cancer by 30%
  • Breast cancer by 20%
  • Weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol

The Heart Foundation welcomes a $10 million commitment in the Federal Budget to get more Australians active by investing in a walking revolution, and $5 million dedicated to helping GPs to encourage patients to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced that $10 million over two years will be allocated to the Heart Foundation to lead the Prime Minister’s Walk for Life Challenge, which will support up to 300,000 Australians to adopt the easy way to better health – regular walking – by 2019.

“Physical inactivity takes an immense toll on the Australian community, causing an estimated 14,000 premature deaths a year – similar to that caused by smoking,” said Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s only national network of free walking groups. It has helped more than 80,000 Australians walk their way to better health since the program began in 1995, and currently has nearly 30,000 active participants. “We need to inspire Australians to be more active, and walking groups are a cheap, fun and easy way for them to get moving,” Professor Kelly said.

The Heart Foundation wants to see everyone ‘Move More and Sit Less’, including school students, sedentary workers and older Australians. “So we welcome the Government’s National Sports Plan, also announced in the Budget, to encourage physical activity at all levels, from community participation to elite sports.

“The Heart Foundation is also pleased to see a renewed commitment of more than $18 million to the National Rheumatic Fever Strategy, a critical program if we are to Close the Gap in health for Indigenous communities,” said Professor Kelly. “And we welcome the listing of the new heart failure medication Entresto on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for many more Australians, as well as funding for research into preventative care, and the development of a National Sport Plan, with its emphasis on participation.”

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

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

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease (1)
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack (2)
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease (2)
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease (3)
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.(3)

From Heart Foundation website

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #IndigenousMums : @AmnestyOZ presents 10 inspirational #IndigenousMums

 ” In 2016, #IndigenousDads and their children took to Twitter to combat racism against Indigenous fathers, and to share fond memories of their childhood. This Mother’s Day, Amnesty is handing the spotlight over to the much-deserving, hardworking #IndigenousMums.

We chat to 10 inspiring Indigenous women – who are achieving amazing things in their communities while simultaneously raising a family – who deserve an extra-special shout-out today, this day of celebrating our mums.”

From Amnesty Holly Enriquez, Online Editor Thank you Holly For sharing

1. Nova Peris

Nova Peris and her children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nova Peris OAM, a descendent of the Gidja, Yawuru and Iwatja peoples, describes herself as a proud ‘Kimberley Top End Girl’. She is a devoted mum of three children — Jessica, 27, Destiny, 15 and Jack, 13 — and has a grandson Isaac, who is 8.

A dual-Olympian, Nova became the first Aboriginal athlete to win a Gold medal (at the 1996 Olympics) and was crowned Young Australian of the Year in 1997. In 2013, Nova was also the first Aboriginal woman to enter the Australian Federal Parliament.

In 2016, Nova announced her retirement from politics and now dedicates her time to supporting Victorian Aboriginal youth in sport and coaching her son Jack, who is an elite athlete. “I feel immense pride with Jack,” she says. “When Jack won the national 400m title, I was so choked up crying, I had to take five minutes to myself. The tears kept flowing. I knew he could win it. When you share a dream and belief with your children, it is really powerful.”

2. Daniella Borg

Danielle and her nine girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballardong / Noongar woman and ‘The Matriarch’ from hit NITV series Family Rules, Daniella Borg is the sole parent of 9 girls (yes, 9!) – Angela, 30, Shenika, 28, Helen, 26, Kelly, 24, Kiara, 22, Sharna, 20, Aleisha, 18, Jessica, 15 and Hannah, 13. Tragically, when Daniella’s youngest daughter was just a few weeks old, her partner passed away after a one-punch attack.

Left to raise their daughters alone, Daniella says there were days she wanted to give up, but the constant support and love of her family gave her the strength she needed. “I remember finally giving myself permission to laugh,” she says, “and not just a giggle, a big laugh! It made such a difference to my girls.”

Now Family Rules has come to an end Daniella says, “[Family Rules] gave me an opportunity to reflect and I hope to continue to inspire and motivate other women. As a family we will continue to live our lives doing what we do best – and that is supporting each other.”

3. Sasha Houthuysen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sasha is a Yamatji / Nyoongar woman, who provides care and support for women experiencing trauma and significant disadvantage in Adelaide. She’s a sole parent of the adorable Sienna, 4, and Connor, 9 months, and also the founder of Sasha Hill Aboriginal Fine Arts, where she creates art and jewelry and runs social groups for the Aboriginal community.

Sasha cherishes most her moments of laughing and playing with her kids. “My favourite time of the day is cuddling in bed reading books and talking about what we did and plans for the weekends,” she says. “My kids will know that their mother has worked hard to provide everything they need and that my job is to build a stronger and safer community for them.”

4. Ashlee Donohue

Ashlee Donohue is a Dunghutti woman born and raised in Kempsey, who now resides in Sydney. A proud mother and grandmother, Ashlee works to turn people’s lives around as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate and CEO of Miss Ashlee Enterprise. “By using my own experiences, I can help empower all people to work towards ending violence in all its forms,” she says.

When reflecting on cherished moments with her children, Ashlee says, “I have many, but one that is really significant is when my son and his partner gave birth to my first grand-daughter – the emotion and pride of seeing my son cut the umbilical cord was overwhelming.

“It was significant simply because I never knew my father and my son’s father was not present for his birth either, so watching Joel cut the cord was literally cutting the cycle of fathers not being present. It still makes me want to cry just remembering it.”

5. Sandra Creamer

Sandra Creamer and her children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra Creamer is a Wannyi / Kalkadoon woman from Mount Isa with a long history of advocating for Indigenous people. Sandra, an academic, lawyer and Amnesty International Australia Board member, is a mother of four and (a grandmother of six) and says she owes her successful career to the support of her children.

“I graduated as a mature age student and it opened the door to the international arena for me,” she says. “I managed to do this as a single parent without the support of anyone but my children and a few friends. It was my children who became the backbone of where I am today. We all could have thrown in the towel at times, but none of us did. We all believed in ourselves, each other and had faith, hope and dreams to achieve.”

6. Angela Sammon

Angela and her children with Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Roxy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jingili Mudburra woman and mother of four, Angela Sammon is truly an inspiration. She is a director of the Mona Aboriginal Corporation and co-founder of their Cultural Horsemanship Program, which provides culturally-appropriate healing programs for Indigenous youth in Mount Isa in Queensland, and dedicates her life to helping young people.

Growing up herself in foster care, Angela has been a foster parent to over 25 children in the region in the last 20 years.

“I am self-motivated with a passion to improve children’s lives, confident that respect and a gentle hand of kindness often help with their grief, loss and traumatic traumas,” she says. “I am always encouraging and trying to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our young people and families to engage with cultural activities on country, sports and community.”

7. Narelda Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My daughter, Jade, is 22 and I’m immensely proud of her,” says Channel 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs. “I will always cherish those long, squeezy hugs she could never escape from. Jade was the most gorgeous, vibrant little girl with huge cheeks I had to kiss.”

And we’re sure Jade is proud of her mum too. Narelda, who was born to a British mum and Whadjuk Noongar dad, was the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander woman to anchor a leading Australian news channel. She also finds the time to mentor Indigenous youth, be a patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association WA and an Ambassador for the David Wirrpanda Foundation, Breast Cancer Care WA and the Disability Services Commission.

8. Amy McGuire

This Mother’s Day, young mum Amy McGuire, a Darumbal woman from central Queensland, will be doting on her 15-month old daughter and her nine-month-old niece. As a journalist, Amy helps raise awareness of Indigenous justice issues.

“The overincarceration of our people has had a devastating impact on Aboriginal families,” she says. “We need to look at the role of prisons in our society as a whole, and begin looking at a different form of justice.”

Amy recently moved back to her hometown to be closer to her family while she continues to write and raise her daughter. “I love watching my daughter grow and learning new things, but I especially love watching her dance,” says Amy. “She is so intuitive and she has so much rhythm already… much more than I’ll ever have!”

9. Colleen Lavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen, Wakka Wakka woman and mum of Bindi, 32, Toby, 22, Bizzy, 20, and Ashley, 16, jokes, “They are loud and annoying but a lot of fun. They fuss and fight sometimes but are a really strong, united team, they have been through a lot over the years, and they have learnt to rely on each other.”

Colleen, who has raised her children as a sole parent for 16 years, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2010 and has become an advocate for Aboriginal health and a support to others affected by cancer. “I found Aboriginal cancer is a void,” says Colleen. “No one gives you extra information, no one is there to help our mob with dealing with the problems that arise…  I help with appointments, sit while people do chemo, listen and try to get the assistance that people need when cancer puts its claws in.”

10. Priscilla Collins

Priscilla and her partner If there’s one person who deserves a shout-out for her amazing dedication to a cause, whilst running a (very) large family this Mother’s Day, it’s Eastern Arrernte woman Priscilla Collins.

Priscilla is a lawyer and the CEO of North Australian Aboriginal Justice Society (NAAJA), an organisation which provides culturally-appropriate legal and justice-related services to Aboriginal people in the top end of the Northern Territory. Oh, and Priscilla and her partner have 10 children between the ages of 7 and 26 and seven grandchildren (and are looking forward to the arrival of the eighth!). “My life is pretty busy with work, kids and their sports, but I love every day of it,” says Priscilla.

 

Please share your own stories below, or jump on twitter with the hashtag #IndigenousMums

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NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #Midwives @CATSINaM : Indigenous #midwives walk #Redfern 5 May to #closethegap

 

” Indigenous midwives will gather and march in Redfern to highlight the need to close the gap in healthcare in Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Midwifery facts:

  • There are only 230 Indigenous midwives nationally; a further 618 are needed
  • Indigenous mothers are three times as likely to die as their non-Indigenous counterparts
  • Indigenous babies up until the age of one are twice as likely to die as non-indigenous children

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives led by Leona McGrath, Indigenous Health advisor, NSW Government and Dr Donna Hartz from the National Centre for Cultural Competence at the University of Sydney will walk through Redfern on 5 May to celebrate International Day for the Midwife and highlight a number of key issues in the sector.

Email Contact Dr Hartz

 ” Aboriginal women in Australia have significantly worse pregnancies than non-indigenous women.

In fact, they fare worse on just about every health measure.

And yet all the evidence tells us there will be no significant improvement in the shocking rates of poor indigenous health until we significantly improve the health of indigenous women.

This article serves as a clarion call from the President of RANZCOG, Professor Stephen Robson. We can only hope policy makers heed this call, as the health of the nation’s indigenous communities depend on it. See full article below

 ” Picture above 2016 Midwives across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD)  banded together with the Australian College of Midwives to raise funds for the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund, which will sponsor Indigenous student midwives and their midwifery studies.

WSLHD midwives, supported by WSLHD Aboriginal Liaison Officer Narelle Holden and Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University Hannah Dahlen, representing the Australian College of Midwives, proudly presented a cheque to Leona McGrath, the co-chair of the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund “

Dr Hartz says there is a greater need for Indigenous midwives due to the significantly higher mortality rate for Indigenous mothers and babies.

“We have really embarrassingly poor outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies here in Australia in 2017,” says Dr Hartz.

“We have women dying at three times the rate of non-Indigenous women. We have Indigenous babies dying at twice the rate and we have babies being born prematurely or at a low birth weight at nearly twice the rate of non-Indigenous babies.

“The current rates of preterm and low birth weight babies means that many babies are predisposed to chronic diseases later in life. When we have Indigenous women caring for Indigenous women in childbirth, the outcomes improve for both mother and baby.”

Currently 50 per cent of Indigenous women live where there are no local birth services. Dr Hartz says the training of Aboriginal midwives is crucial to providing culturally sensitive care to Indigenous mothers.

“We’ve had closing of maternity services from rural, regional and remote areas which has meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have to travel hundreds and hundreds of kilometres to receive care.

“In terms of spirituality, tradition and culture, the women are Birthing off Country – Birth on Country is of great spiritual significance to have connection to Country. What we’re hoping through programs of training midwives is to bolster maternity services back in the communities so women can have care and give birth closer to their homes,” she says.

Only one per cent of Australian midwives are of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background whereas six per cent of all Australian births are Indigenous. A further 618 Indigenous midwives are required for parity.

“On International Day of the Midwife for the first time in Australia we’re going to have the biggest gathering of Aboriginal midwives in one event. I think it will speak loudly to how we feel about healing our communities and training more midwives.”

Organisers of the march invite interested parties to “Walk with Midwives” in aid of an Australian College of Midwives campaign that aims to raise funds for the Rhodanthe Lipsete Trust. The Trust aims to increase the number of Indigenous midwives.

The University of Sydney campaign is supported by the National Centre for Cultural Competence, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses & Midwives and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

Indigenous women and the hidden health-gap

 ‘ At an international scientific meeting in Brisbane, just over two years ago, I attended a session devoted to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The statistics presented and the picture painted for the assembled group was disheartening. The gap between the health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians seemed too great to bridge.”

Stephen Robson BMedSc MBBS MM MPH MD FRANZCOG FRCOG
President, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Discouraged, I asked one of the senior presenters where we could even start to help, to put things right. “That’s easy,” he replied, “You start by making women healthy. The rest will follow.” At the time, I was Vice-President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). This advice was something I could work with. Two years later, I am President of RANZCOG. Improving the health of Indigenous women is the biggest challenge that I, and my College, face.

“That’s easy,” he replied, “You start by making women healthy.

Women, and mothers in particular, hold a special place in Indigenous communities. Women manage not only their own health, but the health of their children; the health of their partners; and often the health of other relatives. Women who are healthy and health-literate are the single most important influence on the health of their communities.

Health begins in the womb. A healthy environment for a baby during pregnancy is perhaps the strongest influence on life-long health for all of us. This is especially true for Indigenous Australians. Babies of Aboriginal women tend to be smaller, and this reflects many influences: socioeconomic disadvantage; the mother’s nutrition; illnesses during pregnancy. Importantly, it can reflect alcohol consumption and use of tobacco.

Indigenous women have less opportunity to become healthy and prepare for pregnancy. When pregnant, they see their midwives and doctors later in pregnancy, and less often than non-indigenous women. They have lesser access to the standards of antenatal care that other women take for granted during pregnancy. They suffer racism, marginalisation, and exposure to violence.

The babies of Aboriginal women are more likely to be born prematurely, and more likely to die in pregnancy or soon after birth. As infants, their mortality rates exceed those of non-Indigenous infants. They are more likely to suffer childhood diseases.

The babies of Aboriginal women are more likely to be born prematurely, and more likely to die in pregnancy or soon after birth.

As adults, Indigenous Australians are more likely to be hospitalised. The reasons for this include injuries, infections, and kidney disease in particular. Cancers – lung cancer and cancer of the cervix – are much more likely to strike Aboriginal women. Women are more likely to die from cancer, and cervical cancer in particular has a death rate more than four times higher. Indigenous women are less likely to participate in screening programs that can prevent cervical cancer.

So many of these problems are completely preventable, and arise from what we call ‘social determinants of health.’ Social conditions and economic opportunity influence health at all levels, from the individual up to the entire community. Education, income and employment, adequate housing, access to health and other services, social supports – all of these play a role in shaping health.

Many Australian doctors struggle to understand how Indigenous people view medical treatment. For many Aboriginal people, health is viewed as the social, emotional, and cultural wellbeing of the whole community. It is subsumed into a connection to the land, the community, social relationships, and the environment.

Trust is a major factor influencing the way Indigenous people access, and interact with, the health system. Many will have had bad experiences with our hospitals and health-care workers, however well-meaning many doctors and nurses are. It is common to have Aboriginal people discharge themselves from hospital against the advice of their carers.

Pregnancy is a time when it is possible to turn this around. It is a time when it should be possible to build good, trusting relationships with women and their families. By making the effort to tailor maternity care to the needs of Indigenous women, it should be possible to engage in a positive way. To promote health screening, and help build enduring relationships with carers.

Pregnancy is a time when it is possible to turn this around. It is a time when it should be possible to build good, trusting relationships with women and their families.

Recently, the Presidents of a number of medical Colleges met with the Indigenous Health Minister, the Honourable Ken Wyatt. Over the course of the morning, it became clear that there is a new determination to put things right. To identify and work hard to remove the roadblocks to health for Indigenous Australians.

As the saying goes, every great journey begins with a single step. Making sure that Indigenous women prepare for pregnancy, have healthy pregnancies and births, and that their children are healthy, are all key to long-term improvements in community health. I am hoping that we can all take these steps together.

Learn more about Indigenous women’s health at:

http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/population-groups/women/reviews/our-review#infant-mortality

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #incontinence :@AusContinence free resources for Aboriginal Health Workers

 

” A range of other practical supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are provided by the Continence Foundation, including education, scholarships, and grants.

The Continence Foundation has updated its free information resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The Continence Foundation of Australia is the peak national body representing the interests of the 4.8 million Australian adults who have incontinence.

The Foundation would like to see a community free from the stigma and restrictions of incontinence, and is always looking at ways to provide greater access to its resources.

What is incontinence?

Incontinence is a term that describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence).

Incontinence is a widespread condition that ranges in severity from ‘just a small leak’ to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. In fact, over 4.8 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons. Incontinence can be treated and managed.  In many cases it can also be cured.

Urinary incontinence 

Urinary incontinence (or poor bladder control) is a common condition, that is commonly associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or a range of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis.

Poor bladder control can range from the occasional leak when you laugh, cough or exercise to the complete inability to control your bladder, which may cause you to completely wet yourself. Other symptoms you may experience include the constant need to urgently or frequently visit the toilet, associated with ‘accidents’.

There are different types of incontinence with a number of possible causes. The following are the most common:

Urinary incontinence can be caused by many things, but can be treated, better managed and in many cases cured.  For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor or a continence advisor about your symptoms, in order to get on top of them.

Faecal incontinence

People with poor bowel control or faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. This may mean you pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. You may also find you pass wind when you don’t mean to or experience staining of your underwear.

About one in 20 people experience poor bowel control. It is more common as you get older, but a lot of young people also have poor bowel control. Many people with poor bowel control also have poor bladder control (wetting themselves).

Faecal incontinence can have a number of possible causes. The following are the most common:

  • weak back passage muscles due to having babies, getting older, some types of surgery or radiation therapy
  • constipation, or
  • severe diarrhoea.

Economic impact of incontinence in Australia

The Deloitte Access Economics report The economic impact of incontinence in Australia explores the current prevalence and economic impact of incontinence in Australia, and provides an outline of the future projected growth of this burden.

The key findings of the report show that:

  • In 2010, the total financial cost of incontinence (excluding the burden of disease) was estimated to be $42.9 billion
  • This applies to the estimated 4.8 million Australians* currently living with incontinence
  • The prevalence of urinary, faecal and mixed incontinence is estimated to increase to over 6.4 million Australians* by 2030
  • This will increase the financial cost of the issue in terms of health system expenditure, lost earnings, costs of formal and informal care and aids and equipment

These resources are easy to understand, using everyday language and cover common issues such as:

  • Grog and bladder or bowel problems
  • Constipation (Hard poo)
  • Leaking urine (wee) after a baby There are 12 brochures in total covering men’s, women’s and children’s continence issues, all able to be viewed and downloaded from continence.org.au/indigenous.
  • Hard copies of these resources can also be ordered on the website or by phoning the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

Other resources available include fact sheets on a wide variety of topics for consumers and health professionals including factsheets written in an Easy English format, brochures and magazines.

The Continence Foundation website has been optimised for people using assistive technology, and most of the Foundation’s YouTube videos are now captioned.

The website contains information for people who care for others with incontinence, featuring videos, personal stories and practical tips. There is also information about continence and the NDIS featuring a video for NDIS participants and one for health professionals

A range of other practical supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers are provided by the Continence Foundation, including education, scholarships, and grants.

The Continence Foundation, on behalf of the Australian Government, manages the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66), a free service staffed by continence nurse advisors who can provide information and resources 8am – 8pm AEST weekdays.

For more information, go to continence.org.au.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldImmunisationWeek : @healthgovau Vaccination for our Mob

 ” Health disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians continue to be a priority for Australian governments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are significantly more affected by: low birth weight, chronic diseases and trauma resulting in early deaths and poor social and emotional health.

Historically, immunisation has been and remains, a simple, timely, effective and affordable way to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health, delivering positive outcomes for Australians of all ages.

Reports that focus on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are published regularly by the National Centre for Immunisation Research (NCIRS).

They are modelled on the national surveillance reports and provide a comparison of VPDs and vaccination coverage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. The latest (third) report, which covered the period 2006–2010, was published as a supplement issue of Communicable Diseases Intelligence in December 2013.

These reports have also been modified for use by Aboriginal Health Workers and other staff without clinical experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health “

From the Department of Health Website : This week is #WorldImmunisationWeek. Check here on Twitter @healthgovau each morning next week for 5 facts on vaccines

Pictured above the Chair of NACCHO Matthew Cooke having his annual flu shot

Download vaccination-for-our-mob-2006-2010

A number of immunisation programs are available for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. These programs provide protection against some of the most harmful infectious diseases that cause severe illness and deaths in our communities.

Immunisations are provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the following age groups:

  • Children aged 0-five
  • Children aged 10-15
  • People aged 15+
  • People aged 50+

Free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program can be accessed through community controlled Aboriginal Medical Services:

Find locations of most of our 302 ACCHO clinics on our Free NACCHO APP

local health services or general practitioners.

Children aged 0-five

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0-five should receive the routine vaccines given to other children. You can see a list of these vaccines in the Children 0-five page.

In addition, children aged 0-five of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent can receive the following additional vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program:

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is required between the ages of 12 and 18 months. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia continue to be at risk of pneumococcal disease for a longer period than other children.

This program does not apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory, where the rate of pneumococcal disease is similar to that of non-Indigenous children.

Hepatitis A

This vaccination is given because hepatitis A is more common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia than it is among other children. Two doses of vaccine are given six months apart starting over the age of 12 months.

The age at which hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the four states and territories.

Influenza (flu)

From 2015, the flu vaccine will be provided free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged six months to five years is available under the National Immunisation Program. The flu shot will protect your children against the latest seasonal flu virus.

Some children over the age of five years with other medical conditions should also have the flu shot to reduce their risk of developing severe influenza.

Children aged 10 – 15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 10-15 should receive the following routine vaccines given to other children aged 10-15:

  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa)

People aged 15+

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from 50 years of age, as well as those aged 15 to 49 years who are at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Influenza (Flu)

Due to disease burden influenza vaccines are free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to five years old and 15 years old or over. The flu shot will protect you against the latest seasonal flu virus.

More information:

Vaccination for the mob Data analysis

Source reference

NCIRS have been leaders in the use of surveillance data to evaluate and track trends in morbidity due to vaccine preventable diseases in Aboriginal people.

Since 2004, NCIRS has produced regular reports on vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These reports bring together relevant routinely collected data on notifications, hospitalisations and deaths, and childhood and adult vaccination coverage.

Production of these reports has required the development and/or application of new methods to determine the quality and completeness of Aboriginal data. Establishing minimum criteria of data quality has led to the availability of improved data from more Australian states and territories. This has allowed wider use of data and subsequent publication through these reports. While the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has developed methods for assessing data quality for hospitalisations in Aboriginal people, NCIRS is the only organisation to systematically apply similar standards to VPD hospitalisations and vaccination coverage.

Reports are modelled on the national surveillance reports (also produced by NCIRS) and provide a comparison of VPDs and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and a focus on the quality of Aboriginal health data. The latest (third) report, which covered the period 2006–2010, was published as a supplement issue of Communicable Diseases Intelligence in December 2013.

The reports have also been modified for use by Aboriginal health workers and other staff without clinical experience working in Aboriginal health (published as Vaccination for our Mob).

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FASD : #Prevention and #HealthPromotion Resources Package

 ” The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Package – ‘the Package’

 Is designed to equip Australian health professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to develop, implement and evaluate community-driven solutions to reduce alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and substance misuse during pregnancy, and to cut down on the number of unplanned pregnancies in their communities.

During 2015–17, the Package was delivered to staff from participating New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS), a national program to increase access to child and maternal health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.”

Download the 4 Page brochure

FASD_Resources_Package_Summary

And read the 20+ FASD NACCHO articles published

Why are these resources needed?

Although high rates of alcohol consumption have been reported across all Australian populations, research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to consume alcohol at harmful levels during pregnancy, thereby greatly increasing the risk of stillbirths, infant mortality and infants born with an intellectual disability.

Addressing the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and in particular FASD, requires both an understanding of how the cultural context, historical legacy and social determinants affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the importance of working in partnership with communities and relevant organisations.

When surveyed, most health professionals reported they did not ask their clients about alcohol use in pregnancy, or provide women with information about the effects of alcohol on the fetus.2 Challenges included limited knowledge and resources among health professionals to tackle the issue, along with a lack of confidence in advising clients. As such, we determined that resourcing and educating health professionals were critical factors to implementing a whole-of-community approach to preventing FASD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Piloting the Package

We piloted two days of training with 80 health professionals from 40 participating NDMBS sites, with the aim of increasing:

  1. awareness and understanding of alcohol, tobacco and other substances use during pregnancy and of FASD
  2. awareness of existing FASD health promotion resources and of how best to use these resources within primary health care services in line with their community needs
  3. knowledge and skills to develop, implement and evaluate community-driven solutions to reduce alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and substance misuse during pregnancy, and reduce unplanned pregnancies

What’s in the Package?

Health promotion resources targeted at five key groups:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Women of child-bearing age
  3. Grandmothers and aunties
  4. Men
  5. Health professionals

Five discrete training modules to assist health professionals share FASD prevention information and use the resources effectively within their community:

  • Introduction: FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Package
  • Module 1: What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
  • Module 2: Brief Intervention and Motivational Interviewing
  • Module 3: Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Module 4: Sharing Health Information

Training support materials to assist health professionals in delivering their own FASD training:

  • Facilitator manual
  • Participant workbook

Download the 4 Page brochure

FASD_Resources_Package_Summary

For more information

Dr Christine Hannah  07 3169 4201

christine.hannah@menzies.edu.au

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : NT Government invests in safer and healthier families / communities: cuts grog to problem drinkers

Budget 2017 is delivering on the Territory Labor Government’s election commitments, investing $33 million in our communities and tackling the causes of domestic, family and sexual violence to ensure that Territorians feel safe

“The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic and family violence in Australia, and that comes at an enormous social and economic cost.

Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield (see article 1 below )

 ” The BDR supported police in stopping alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour and its return will make a difference. Police previously described it as one of the best tools for combating antisocial behaviour.

“We know that 60% of domestic violence incidents are alcohol related – this is simply unacceptable and cutting grog to problem drinkers will help address this blight.”

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today said returning the Banned Drinker Register (BDR) on September 1 is the number one thing the Territory Labor Government can do to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime – including the devastating rates of domestic violence.         (see article 2 below )

 ” The Territory Labor Government says the new Banned Drinkers Register will help ease pressures on frontline health workers by reducing the supply of alcohol to those who cause so much harm.

We’ve listened to concerns from medical professionals and community that critical resources are being diverted to deal with alcohol related harm and violence.

While every Territorian is entitled to have a drink and enjoy that responsibly, we know too many people are drinking at dangerous levels, harming themselves, their families and their communities.”

The Minister for Health Natasha Fyles ( See Article 3 below )

Article 1

More than $33 million will be invested in frontline services, infrastructure and strategies to support the prevention of domestic and family violence that will help keep Territorians safe.

Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield said Budget 2017 acknowledges the cost and serious impact that domestic and family violence has on our society, and today’s announcement will improve services and facilities for Territorians.

“Budget 2017 is delivering on the Territory Labor Government’s election commitments, investing in our communities and tackling the causes of domestic, family and sexual violence to ensure that Territorians feel safe,” Ms Wakefield said.

“The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic and family violence in Australia, and that comes at an enormous social and economic cost.

“This budget will address both infrastructure and policy issues to ensure we have the necessary foundations to firstly reduce the rates of domestic and family violence, but also to provide victims essential support.”

This includes:

  • $6.2 million to continue current domestic violence services in the Territory, left unfunded by the CLP government
  • $3 million to refurbish Alice Springs Domestic Violence Court to improve the safety, experience and outcomes for people affected by domestic and family violence
  • $6 million for the replacement of the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter, so that women can establish independence and recover from trauma
  • $1 million to establish a remote women’s safe house in Galiwinku.

The Territory Labor Government is restoring trust in Government, creating jobs, investing in children and building safer, fairer and stronger communities – right across the Territory.

The Minister also reaffirmed additional investments being made right now into domestic and family violence programs that allow for community led solutions, including:

  • $700,000 over two years to expand the “NO MORE” violence prevention campaign
  • $350,000 to Charles Darwin University and Menzies School of Research to review key domestic and family violence reduction programs in the NT, particularly their impact and effectiveness in remote communities
  • $150,000 to NTCOSS to build the capacity of the domestic and family violence sector
  • $80,000 to improving services provided by the Gove Crisis Accommodation service
  • $30,000 to NPY Women’s Council towards a sexual violence research project.

Minister Wakefield said Budget 2017 is investing in the Territory’s future through jobs, children and community.

“We are going through a challenging economic period – everyone knows this and we have been very upfront about it,” Ms Wakefield said.

“This budget will create and support jobs, deliver on our election commitments and be a fair plan for our future

Article 2 : A BETTER BDR TACKLING SECONDARY SUPPLY AND CUTTING RED TAPE

Chief Minister Michael Gunner today said returning the Banned Drinker Register (BDR) on September 1 is the number one thing the Territory Labor Government can do to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime – including the devastating rates of domestic violence.

Mr Gunner today announced that the new BDR would address weaknesses in the old version by better addressing the problem of secondary supply and cutting red tape.

“We have listened to Police, the community and local businesses and taken action – we will introduce tougher punishment for secondary suppliers to banned drinkers,” Mr Gunner said.

“It will now be a criminal offence to intentionally supply alcohol to a person known to be on the BDR. Once charged with this offence police have the power to place the secondary supplier on the BDR. The offence can also carry significant fines.

“Another improvement cutting red tape is that once given a Banned Drinker Order, a person will go straight onto the BDR and will not require a tribunal hearing or appearance.

“Importantly, Banned Drinker Orders issued by Police will be automatically processed through the Integrated Justice Information System to immediately place problem drinkers on the BDR. This will happen within 48 hours which will help both Police and victims in urgent domestic and family violence situations.”

Mr Gunner said the Territory Labor Government introduced the BDR in July 2011 and the chaotic CLP Government scrapped it in 2012 for political reasons.

“Territorians hated that the chaotic CLP Government scrapped the BDR and they want it returned because it worked – we have listened and taken action,” he said.

“The BDR supported police in stopping alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour and its return will make a difference. Police previously described it as one of the best tools for combating antisocial behaviour.

“We know that 60% of domestic violence incidents are alcohol related – this is simply unacceptable and cutting grog to problem drinkers will help address this blight.”

Mr Gunner said alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour in our city centres is an issue facing many businesses and is hindering efforts to revitalise these areas.

“We want to make our city centres a vibrant place and the BDR will combat antisocial behaviour, in turn encouraging tourists and locals back into these areas,” he said.

“Undoing the CLP’s failed replacement scheme and bringing back the BDR is a significant piece of work and new legislation will be introduced into Parliament in May we are working as fast as we can because we know this will make a difference.”

Mr Gunner said Government is taking action on the causes of crime because every Territorian has the right for them and their homes and business to be safe.

He said measures including the recent $18.2 million overhaul of the broken youth justice system (which includes 52 Youth Diversion Workers, more funding for boot camps, supporting the enforcement of bail conditions and victims conferencing), greater powers for police (including electronic monitoring bracelets), more police officers and better training for staff in youth justice facilities showed his Government was taking crime very seriously.

Article 3 FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS TO BENEFIT FROM BDR (NT)

The Territory Labor Government says the new Banned Drinkers Register will help ease pressures on frontline health workers by reducing the supply of alcohol to those who cause so much harm.

The Minister for Health Natasha Fyles said Territorians have the right to access the high quality services our hospitals offer.

“We’ve listened to concerns from medical professionals and community that critical resources are being diverted to deal with alcohol related harm and violence,” Ms Fyles said.

“We’re empowering Territorians by creating more pathways to the BDR.

“The new BDR unveiled this week will have new provisions allowing medical officers, families and carers to refer problem drinkers to the BDR and to the rehabilitation they need.

“While every Territorian is entitled to have a drink and enjoy that responsibly, we know too many people are drinking at dangerous levels, harming themselves, their families and their communities.

“Our paramedics and hospital staff are dealing with the highest rates of alcohol related harm and injury at rates not seen in any other jurisdiction across the country

“The Territory continues to have the highest rates of alcohol related injury and disease in the nation – the number of deaths related to alcohol in the NT is three times the national average.

“Alcohol related harm costs the Territory more than $642 million a year and that is continuing to grow.

“The BDR was scrapped by the chaotic former CLP government in 2012 – delivering a sharp spike in alcohol related harm over the two most violent years on record.

“Department records show alcohol related Emergency Department presentations peaked at over 3000 across the Territory in 2013.

“We made an election promise to Territorians that we would bring back the BDR and we are delivering on that promise

“Seventy per cent of alcohol sold in the Territory is takeaway, so we know cutting supply to problem drinkers is a key way to curb alcohol fuelled violence and crime.

From September 1 the BDR will be reinstated, with Territorians and tourists having to show ID to purchase takeaway alcohol.

Those identified as being on the BDR won’t be able to buy takeaway alcohol.

More than a thousand people will be automatically included on the BDR from day one.

That figure is expected to grow to around 2500 by Christmas.

The legislation will be introduced to parliament next month.

 

 

Aboriginal Health and #Justjustice : @UNHumanrights finds Australia’s Aboriginal peoples face “tsunami” of imprisonment.

“It is alarming that, while the country has adopted numerous policies to address the socio-economic disadvantage of Aboriginal peoples and those from the Torres Strait Islands, it has failed to respect their rights to self-determination and to full and effective participation in society.

Government policies have failed to deliver on targets in the areas of health, education and employment and have led to a growing number of people being jailed, and have resulted in an increasing number of children being removed from their homes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  

High rates of incarceration were described to me as a tsunami affecting indigenous peoples. It is a major human rights concern.

The figures are simply astounding. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up only 3% of the total population, they constitute 27% of the prison population, and much more in some prisons,”

United Nations human rights expert the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz pictured above meeting the Opposition Aboriginal parliamentarians and below meeting the NT APO lead by John Paterson CEO of NACCHO Affiliate AMSANT

Australia must reduce the “astounding” rates of imprisonment for indigenous peoples and step up the fight against racism, a United Nations human rights expert has concluded, at the end of an official visit.

“The rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth is alarming,” Ms. Tauli-Corpuz said. “I visited Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville, Queensland, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children constitute 95% of the children detained.

Many have been going from out-of-home care into detention. “Aboriginal children are seven times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in contact with the child protection system or to be subject to abuse or neglect, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz noted.

“As already recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, I urge Australia to increase the age of criminal responsibility. Children should be detained only as a last resort.

“These children are essentially being punished for being poor and in most cases, prison will only aggravate the cycle of violence, poverty and crime. I found meeting young children, some only 12 years old, in detention the most disturbing element of my visit.

The UN expert expressed criticism of the Government programme known as the Indigenous Advancement Strategy which was initiated by the Government in 2014 and involved a large budget cut in funding for support programmes.

She said: “The implementation of the strategy has been bureaucratic, rigid and has wasted considerable resources on administration. Travelling across the country, I have repeatedly been told about its dire consequences.”

However, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz said: “I want to emphasise that during my visit I have been particularly impressed and inspired by the strength of spirit and commitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to develop innovative measures to support their own communities.”

She pointed to the number of peak organisations across a range of areas led by indigenous people. “The Government could achieve significant progress in realising the rights of indigenous peoples if it consulted and worked much more closely with these organisations,” she said.

“I have also observed effective community-led initiatives in a range of areas including public health, housing, education, child-protection, conservation and administration of justice, which all have the potential of making immediate significant positive changes in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”

She called on the government to forge a new relationship with the national representative body for indigenous peoples, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, and restore their funding.

She expressed concern that the Government would not meet targets to close the gap in areas such as life expectancy, infant mortality, education and employment. She called for a comprehensive approach including specific targets for the reduction of detention rates, child removal and violence against women.

“I call on the Government to adopt a participatory approach based on consultation with indigenous peoples and take into account the ‘Redfern statement’, launched by peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait organisations in 2016, as it sets out priority areas for action and recommendations on issues ranging from health, justice, violence prevention, disability, children and families,” the expert concluded.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz ended her two-week visit to Australia with a press conference in Barton in the Australian Capital Territory where she presented her initial findings and recommendations. She will present a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Philippines), is a human rights activist working on indigenous peoples’ rights

. Her work for more than three decades has been focused on movement building among indigenous peoples and also among women, and she has worked as an educator-trainer on human rights, development and indigenous peoples in various contexts. She is a member of the Kankana-ey, Igorot indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

See the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UN Human Rights, country page: Australia