NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Cancer Policies , Strategies and Future directions : Latest @HealthInfoNet review shows many cancers are preventable among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

‘The review shows that cultural safety in service provision, increased participation in breast, bowel and cervical screening and reduction in risk factors will improve outcomes for cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The good news is that many cancers are considered to be preventable. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, followed by breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer.

Tobacco smoking is still seen as the greatest risk factor for cancer’.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew

Read over 75 Aboriginal Health and Cancer articles published by NACCHO last 6 years

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services are located in all jurisdictions and are funded by the federal,state and territory governments and other sources [91].

They are planned and governed by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Torres
Strait Islander communities and aim to deliver holistic and culturally appropriate health and health-related services.

Services vary in the primary health care activities they offer. Possible activities include: diagnosis and treatment of illness or disease; management of chronic illness; transportation to medical appointments; outreach clinic services; immunisations; dental services; and dialysis services.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer support groups have been identified as important for improving cancer awareness and increasing participation in cancer screening services [92].

Aboriginal women attending these support groups have reported an increased
understanding of screening and reported less fear and concern over cultural appropriateness, with increases in screening rates [19].

Support groups have also been found to help in follow up and ongoing care for cancer survivors [19, 93], particularly where they are shaped to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [73, 94].”

See Page 12 of Review

Download Review+of+cancer+among+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+people

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (HealthInfoNet) at Edith Cowan University has published a new Review of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review, written by University of Western Australia staff (Margaret Haigh, Sandra Thompson and Emma Taylor), in conjunction with HealthInfoNet staff (Jane Burns, Christine Potter, Michelle Elwell, Mikayla Hollows, Juliette Mundy), provides general information on factors that contribute to cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It provides detailed information on the extent of cancer including incidence, prevalence and survival, mortality, burden of disease and health service utilisation.

This review discusses the issues of prevention and management of cancer, and provides information on relevant programs, services, policies and strategies that address cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review provides:

  • general information on factors (historical/protective/risk) that contribute to cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • detailed information on the extent of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including: incidence, prevalence and survival data; mortality and burden of disease and health service utilisation
  • a discussion of the issues of prevention and management of cancer
  • information on relevant programs, services, policies and strategies that address cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • a conclusion on the possible future directions for combating cancer in Australia

Selected Extracts

Policies and strategies

There are very few national policies and strategies that focus specifically on cancer in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework is therefore significant as the first national approach to addressing the gap in cancer outcomes that currently exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the non-Indigenous population [132]. However, over the past 30 years, there have been a number of relevant strategies and frameworks developed addressing cancer in the general population, and broader aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. A selection of national policy developments relevant to addressing cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are described briefly below.

Selected national policy developments relevant to addressing cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

2018 Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia is released
2016 National Framework for Gynaecological Cancer Control is released
2015 First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework is released
2015 Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is released
2014 Second Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2014–2019 is published
2013 First National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 is published
2011 First Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2011–2014 is published
2008 National Cancer Data Strategy for Australia is released
2003 Report Optimising Cancer Care in Australia is published
1998 First National health priority areas cancer control report is published
1996 Cancer becomes one of four National health priority areas (NHPA)
1988 Health for all Australians report is released
1987 First National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia is published

 

It was not until the late 1980s that national cancer control strategies and policies began to be developed [133]. In 1987, the first National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia, was published by the Australian Cancer Society (ACS) (now the Cancer Council Australia) based on a series of expert workshops [134].

It outlined what prevention activities were currently being undertaken, what should be undertaken and suggested a number of goals, targets and strategies in the areas of cancer prevention and early detection and screening. This policy has been updated many times over the years [133] and is still in publication as the National cancer control policy [135].

The following year, in 1988, the Health for all Australians report, commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory council (AHMAC), recognised that cancers could be influenced by primary or secondary prevention strategies [136]. The report recommended nine goals and 15 targets related to cancers, based on those put forward by the National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia. Cancer prevention and strategies relating to breast, cervical and skin cancer and tobacco smoking were recommended as initial priorities under the National Program for Better Health. These were then endorsed at the Australian Health Ministers Conference and funding was provided.

In 1996, cancer control was identified as one of four National health priority areas (NHPA). This led, the following year, to the publication of the First report on national health priority areas 1996, which outlined 26 indicators spanning the continuum of cancer care, and included outcome indicators, indicators relating to patient satisfaction and the creation of hospital based cancer registries [137].

In 1998, the first NHPA cancer control report was produced [138]. It identified a number of opportunities for improvements in cancer control, including within ‘special populations such as Indigenous people’ [138].

In 2003, the report Optimising cancer care in Australia was jointly developed by The Cancer Council Australia, the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) and the National Cancer Control Initiative (NCCI), with strong consumer input [139]. This report made 12 key recommendations, including that the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be the focus of efforts to bridge gaps in access to and utilisation of culturally sensitive cancer services.

In 2008, the National Cancer Data Strategy for Australia aimed to provide direction for collaborative efforts to increase data availability, consistency and quality [140]. It reported that although Indigenous status is recorded by cancer registries, data quality is poor, and recommended that the quality of Indigenous markers in hospital and death statistics collections needs to improve if cancer registries are to have better data.

In 2011, Cancer Australia published the first Cancer Australia strategic plan 2011–2014, which aimed to identify future trends in national cancer control and to outline strategies for the organisation to improve outcomes for all Australians diagnosed with cancer [141]. It was followed in 2014, by the Cancer Australia Strategic Plan 2014–2019, which had an increased focus on improving quality of cancer care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [142].

In 2013, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (the Health plan) was developed to provide a long-term, evidence-based policy framework approach to closing the gap in disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [143].

The Health plan emphasises the importance of culture in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rights of individuals to a safe, healthy and empowered life. Its vision is for the Australian health system to be free of racism and inequity and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have access to health services that are effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable. This led to the publication of the Implementation plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 in 2015 [90], which outlines the strategies, actions and deliverables required for the Australian Government and other key stakeholders to implement the Health plan.

The first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework (the Framework­) was released in 2015, to address disparities and improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [56]. It provides strategic direction by setting out seven priority areas for action and suggests enablers that may help in planning or reviewing strategies to address each of the priority areas. The Framework aims to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by ensuring timely access to good quality and appropriate cancer related services across the cancer continuum.

In 2016, Cancer Australia released the National Framework for Gynaecological Cancer Control to guide future directions in national gynaecological cancer control to improve outcomes for women affected, as well as their families and carers [144]. It aims to ensure the provision of best practice and culturally appropriate care to women across Australia by offering strategies across six priority areas, of which one pertains specifically to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

In 2018, Cancer Australia released the Lung Cancer Framework: Principles for Best Practice Lung Cancer Care in Australia [145]. It aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of people affected by lung cancer by supporting the uptake of five principles: patient-centred care; multidisciplinary care; timely access to evidence-based care; coordination, communication and continuity of care and data-driven improvements.

Future directions

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework (the Framework­) provides guidance for individuals, communities, organisations and governments [56]. The Framework was developed in partnership with Menzies School of Health Research, and was informed by a systematic review of the evidence and extensive national consultations. The parties involved in these consultations included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer, health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and experts in Indigenous cancer control. The Framework outlined seven evidence-based priority areas for action as follows:

  • improving knowledge and attitudes about cancer
  • focusing prevention activities
  • increasing participation in screening and immunisation
  • ensuring early diagnosis
  • delivering optimal and culturally appropriate treatment and care
  • involving, informing and supporting families and carers
  • strengthening the capacity of cancer-related services to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Each of these priorities was accompanied by a number of enablers to assist in planning or reviewing strategies to address that priority. The enablers provide flexible approaches to meeting the priorities that allow for local context and needs.

The development of the Framework has been responsible for gathering national support and agreement on the priorities and for creating a high level of expectation around the ability to address the growing cancer disparity [146]. Cancer Australia has since commenced a number of projects and initiatives that focus on one or more of the priorities identified by the Framework. One project aims to identify critical success factors and effective approaches to increasing mammographic screening participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women [147]. A leadership group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer control tasked with driving a shared agenda to improve cancer outcomes has also been established [148]. In addition, the development of a monitoring and reporting plan for the Framework is underway.

Quality data are critical to understanding the variations in cancer care and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to inform policy, service provision and clinical practice initiatives to improve those outcomes. However, it has been repeatedly reported in the literature and by the Framework, that current data are inadequate or incomplete, and there is a significant need for improved local, jurisdictional and national data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [56149-151]. In particular, the need for primary healthcare services to address the under identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in data registries. A project currently underway in SA, which is likely to have relevance to other regions, aims to develop an integrated comprehensive, cancer monitoring and surveillance system for Aboriginal people, while also incorporating their experiences with cancer services [149].

Both the Framework and the literature have identified a need for a more supportive and culturally appropriate approach across the cancer care continuum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [5677151152]. The Wellbeing Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Living with Chronic Disease, (Wellbeing framework), aims to assist healthcare services to improve the quality of life and quality of care, as well as health outcomes, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic disease [153]. This addresses the identified need for more supportive and culturally appropriate care as it attempts to incorporate the social, emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing, as well as the physical aspects.

The Wellbeing framework is underpinned by two core values, which are considered fundamental to the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [153154]. These core values highlight that wellbeing is supported by:

  • upholding people’s identities in connection to culture, spirituality, families, communities and country and
  • having culturally safe primary healthcare services in place.

The Wellbeing framework consists of four essential elements for supporting the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic disease [153154]. These show the importance of having:

  • locally defined, culturally safe primary health care services
  • appropriately skilled and culturally competent health care teams
  • holistic care throughout the lifespan
  • best practice care that addresses the particular needs of a community.

The Wellbeing framework suggests a number of practical and measurable applications for applying or achieving the underlying principles of each element. It has the capacity to be adapted by primary healthcare services, in consultation with the communities they serve, to more effectively meet the chronic and cancer care needs of their communities [153154].

 

The Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control was established in 2016-17 to:

  • provide strategic advice and specialist expertise in Indigenous cancer control
  • encourage cross-sector collaboration in addressing the priorities in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework
  • share knowledge across the sector to leverage opportunities.

Concluding comments

Despite considerable improvements in cancer detection and treatment over recent decades, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with cancer generally experience poorer outcomes than non-Indigenous people for an equivalent stage of disease [2797]. This is highlighted by statistics which showed that, despite lower rates of prevalence and hospitalisation for all cancers combined for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with non-Indigenous people, between 1998 and 2015, the age-standardised mortality rate ranged from 195 to 246 per 100,000 while the rate for non-Indigenous people decreased from 194 to 164 per 100,000 [2].

Furthermore for 2007–2014, while 65% of non-Indigenous people had a chance of surviving five years after receiving a cancer diagnosis, only 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did [2].

The disparities are particularly pronounced for some specific cancers – for lung cancer the age-standardised incidence rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was twice that for non-Indigenous people, while for cervical cancer the rate was 2.5 times the rate for non-Indigenous people for 2009–2013 [2].

The factors contributing to these poorer outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are complex. They reflect a broad range of historical, social and cultural determinants and the contribution of lifestyle and other health risk factors [6], combined with lower participation in screening programs, later diagnosis, lower uptake and completion of cancer treatment, and the presence of other chronic diseases [2798155]. Addressing the various factors that contribute to the development of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important, but improvements in some of these areas, particularly in reducing lifestyle and behavioural risk factors, are likely to take some time to be reflected in better outcomes.

Current deficiencies in the prevention and management of cancer suggest there is considerable scope for better services that should lead to improvements in the short to medium term. Effective cancer prevention and management programs that are tailored to community needs and are culturally appropriate are vital for the current and future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [5657]. Providing effective cancer prevention and management also requires improved access to both high quality primary health care services and tertiary specialist services. Effective and innovative programs for the prevention and management of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do exist on an individual basis and, in some cases, the efforts made to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in screening programs, in particular, are impressive. However, a more coordinated, cohesive national approach is also required.

Reducing the impact of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a crucial aspect in ‘closing the gap’ in health outcomes. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer framework [56] may be an important first step in addressing the current disparity in cancer outcomes and raises the probability of real progress being made. Cancer Australia has recently released the Optimal Care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which recommends new approaches to cancer care and with the aim of reducing disparities and improving outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer [156]. As encouraging as these developments are, substantial improvements will also depend upon the effective implementation of comprehensive strategies and policies that address the complexity of the factors underlying the disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Action beyond the health service sector that addresses the broader historical, social and cultural determinants of health are also required if real progress is to be made [6].

NACCHO Aboriginal #Mentalhealth #SuicidePrevention and #RUOKday : If you ask #RUOK ? What do you do if someone says ‘no’? Plus Sponsorships for 10 #Indigenous young people to take participate #chatsafe campaign

R U OK Day today encouraging all of us to check in with others to see if they’re OK.

But what if someone says “no”? What should you say or do? Should you tell someone else?

What resources can you point to, and what help is available?

Read NACCHO Aboriginal Health articles over the past 6 Years

Mental Health 189 posts 

Suicide Prevention 124 Posts

Here is a guide 

Stop and listen, with curiosity and compassion

We underestimate the power of simply listening to someone else when they’re going through a rough time. You don’t need to be an expert with ten years of study in psychology to be a good listener. Here are some tips:

Listen actively. Pay attention, be present and allow the person time to speak.

Be curious. Ask about the person’s experience using open questions such as

what’s been going on lately?

you don’t seem your usual self, how are you doing/feeling?

Validate their concerns. See the situation from the person’s perspective and try not to dismiss their problems or feelings as unimportant or stupid. You can say things like

I can see you’re going through a tough time

it’s understandable to feel that way given everything you’ve been going through.

There are more examples of good phrases to use here.

Don’t try to fix the problem right now

Often our first instinct is wanting to fix the person’s problems. It hurts to see others in pain, and we can feel awkward or helpless not knowing how to help. But you don’t have to have all of the answers.

Instead of jumping into “fix it” mode right away, accept the conversation may be uncomfortable and allow the person to speak about their difficulties and experiences.

Sometimes it’s not the actual suggestion or practical help that’s most useful but giving the person a chance to talk openly about their struggles. Also, the more we understand the person’s experience, the more likely we are to be able to offer the right type of help.

Encourage them to seek help.

Ask:

how can I help?

is there something I can do for you right now?

Sometimes it’s about keeping them company (making plans to do a pleasant activity together), providing practical support (help minding their kids to give them time out), or linking them in with other health professionals.

Check whether they need urgent help

It’s possible this person is suffering more than you realise: they may be contemplating suicide or self-harm. Asking about suicidal thoughts does not worsen those thoughts, but instead can help ease distress.

It’s OK to ask them if they’re thinking about suicide, but try not to be judgemental (“you’re not thinking of doing anything stupid, are you?”). Listen to their responses without judgement, and let them know you care and you’d like to help.

Read more: How to ask someone you’re worried about if they’re thinking of suicide

There are resources and programs to help you learn how to support suicidal loved ones, and crisis support lines to call:

  • Contact the Social and Emotional team at your nearest ACCHO
  • Lifeline (24-hour crisis telephone counselling) 13 11 14
  • Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467
  • Mental health crisis lines

If it is an emergency, or the person is at immediate risk of harm to themselves or others, call 000.

Encourage them to seek professional help

We’re fortunate to be living in Australia, with access to high quality mental health care, resources and support services. But it can be overwhelming to know what and where to seek help. You can help by pointing the person in the right direction.

The first place to seek help is the general practitioner (GP). The GP can discuss treatment options (psychological support and/or medication), provide referrals to a mental health professional or arrange access to local support groups. You can help by encouraging your friend to make an appointment with their GP.

There are great evidence-based online courses and self-help programseducational resources and free self-help workbooks that can be accessed at any time.

There are also online tools to check emotional health. These tools help indicate if a person’s stress, anxiety and depression levels are healthy or elevated.

What if they don’t want help?

People with mental health difficulties sometimes take years between first noticing the problem and seeking professional help. Research shows approximately one in three people experiencing mental health problems accesses treatment.

So even if they don’t want help now, your conversation may have started them thinking about getting help. You can try understanding what’s stopping them from seeking help and see if there’s anything you can do to help connect them to a professional. You don’t need to push this, but simply inviting the person to keep the options in mind and offering your ongoing support can be useful in the long run.

Follow up. If appropriate, organise a time to check in with the person again to see how they’re doing after your conversation. You can also let the person know you’re around and they are always welcome to have a chat with you. Knowing someone is there for you can itself be a great source of emotional support.

Read more: Five types of food to increase your psychological well-being

The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences bursary

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who would like to share their expertise, advice, and ideas and contribute to the development of a suicide prevention social media campaign!

About the #chatsafe campaign

We would like to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to co-design a suicide prevention social media campaign specifically for the Aboriginal community. The campaign will focus on educating and empowering young people to support themselves and other young people within their online social networks. Rather than speaking on behalf of Aboriginal communities, we wish to draw on the expertise, cultural identities, and strengths of the community to inform campaign materials.

The co-design workshop will involve a yarning circle, where young people will be given the opportunity to share their experiences and express their needs. The yarning circle will be facilitated by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. The workshop will also involve working together, in groups, to generate ideas for a social media campaign (e.g., digital storytelling, drawing, etc.).

The workshop will be hosted in Perth, as a part of the The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences. The workshop will be conducted in the morning and breakfast will be provided. Young people will be reimbursed $30.00 per hour for their time.

Opportunity for financial support

Oyrgen would like to sponsor 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to take part in our co-design workshop and The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences, hosted from 20 to 23 November, in Perth, by providing a bursary.

SEE CONFERENCE WEBSITE

Eligibility

To be eligible for Orygen’s bursary funding, the applicant must be an Aboriginal and Torres Islander young person, aged between 18 and 25 years. We encourage young people from all geographic regions, across Australia, to apply.

Submitting your application

If you would like to be a part of the co-design workshop, please email your application to Jo at

The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences bursary

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who would like to share their expertise, advice, and ideas and contribute to the development of a suicide prevention social media campaign!

About the #chatsafe campaign

We would like to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to co-design a suicide prevention social media campaign specifically for the Aboriginal community. The campaign will focus on educating and empowering young people to support themselves and other young people within their online social networks. Rather than speaking on behalf of Aboriginal communities, we wish to draw on the expertise, cultural identities, and strengths of the community to inform campaign materials.

The co-design workshop will involve a yarning circle, where young people will be given the opportunity to share their experiences and express their needs. The yarning circle will be facilitated by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. The workshop will also involve working together, in groups, to generate ideas for a social media campaign (e.g., digital storytelling, drawing, etc.). The workshop will be hosted in Perth, as a part of the The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences. The workshop will be conducted in the morning and breakfast will be provided. Young people will be reimbursed $30.00 per hour for their time.

Opportunity for financial support

Oyrgen would like to sponsor 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to take part in our co-design workshop and The 2nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences, hosted from 20 to 23 November, in Perth, by providing a bursary.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Orygen’s bursary funding, the applicant must be an Aboriginal and Torres Islander young person, aged between 18 and 25 years. We encourage young people from all geographic regions, across Australia, to apply.

Submitting your application

If you would like to be a part of the co-design workshop, please email your application to Jo at jo.robinson@orygen.org.au. Submissions can be made on, or before Sunday, 30 September, 2018.

Selection process

In the first week of October, a panel consisting of Oyrgen staff, a Culture is Life representative, Professor Pat Dudgeon from the conference organising committee, Summer May Finlay (a Yorta Yorta woman), and young people will review all written applications and select 10 successful applicants. The selection panel will endeavour to select a diverse range of young people. The 10 successful applicants will be notified by email by mid-October. The success applicants will have until 31 October, 2018 to accept the bursary offered.

Requirements

The successful recipients of the bursaries are required to attend a half-day co-design workshop. Recipients will also be asked to complete and submit a ‘Wellness Plan’, ‘Bank Details Form’, and ‘Consent Form’ prior to participation in the w

. Submissions can be made on, or before Sunday, 30 September, 2018.

Selection process

In the first week of October, a panel consisting of Oyrgen staff, a Culture is Life representative, Professor Pat Dudgeon from the conference organising committee, Summer May Finlay (a Yorta Yorta woman), and young people will review all written applications and select 10 successful applicants. The selection panel will endeavour to select a diverse range of young people. The 10 successful applicants will be notified by email by mid-October. The success applicants will have until 31 October, 2018 to accept the bursary offered.

Requirements

The successful recipients of the bursaries are required to attend a half-day co-design workshop. Recipients will also be asked to complete and submit a ‘Wellness Plan’, ‘Bank Details Form’, and ‘Consent Form’ prior to participation in the w

Anyone seeking support and information about mental health can contact beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36. For information about suicide and crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth News Alert : @sahmriAU #NT #QLD #WA #SA Syphilis outbreak : New #YoungDeadlySyphilisFree TV and Radio campaign launched today 9 September @atsihaw : Plus @researchjames article

 ” SAHMRI launches Phase 2 of its Young Deadly Syphilis Free campaign today, with two new TV commercials screening in syphilis outbreak areas across Queensland the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. Radio snippets will also be broadcast, in English and local languages.”

Watch here 

No 2 Watch here 

Medical experts describe the top end’s syphilis epidemic as a “failure of public health at every level of government .

As an infectious syphilis epidemic continues to ravage northern Australia – now threatening the lives of newborn babies – Indigenous sexual health specialist James Ward is leading a campaign to help remote communities. By Michele Tydd.

From The Saturday Paper see in full Part 2 Below

Aboriginal #Sexualhealth News : 

NACCHO is co-leading a coordinated Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) $8.8 million response to address the #syphilis outbreak in Northern Australia. @Wuchopperen @DanilaDilba @TAIHS__

Read over 40 Aboriginal Sexual Health articles published over past 6 years

Part 1 : The TV and radio syphilis campaign will build on messaging developed for Phase 1 of the campaign, which ran until March this year.

Once again the campaign will be strongly supported by social media, with regular Facebook posts, Divas Chat advertising  and promotion on our website www.youngdeadlyfree.org.au featuring all new video clips and infographics.

The campaign promotes whole communities’ involvement in tackling syphilis as a public health issue along with other STIs, and has involved young people, clinicians and people of influence such as parents and extended family members/carers.

New clinician resources for those practising in remote communities will also be developed over the next year, promoting appropriate testing to those most at risk, including testing of antenatal women during pregnancy.

Have a look at the TV commercials and a couple of the new short videos by clicking the images below OR access them on the syphilis outbreak webpages at http://youngdeadlyfree.org.au/

Problems downloading the videos?

Contact SAHMRI at kathleen.brodie@sahmri.com for a USB containing Young Deadly Syphilis Free videos, as well as STI and BBV resources developed for the Remote STI and BBV Project – Young Deadly Free; and HIV resources developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week – ATSIHAW.

Phase 1 Rescreened

No 2 Watch Here 

The Young Deadly Syphilis Free campaign is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Part 2 As an infectious syphilis epidemic continues to ravage northern Australia – now threatening the lives of newborn babies – Indigenous sexual health specialist James Ward is leading a campaign to help remote communities.

By Michele Tydd

While the federal government committed $8.8 million this year to fight an ongoing syphilis epidemic sweeping Australia’s top end, many prominent sexual health physicians and academics claim the money is too little too late.

From The Saturday Paper 

“Every day there are more cases, so we are not seeing a downward trend yet,” says Dr Manoji Gunathilake, who heads up a government-run health service known as Clinic 34.

Gunathilake is the Northern Territory’s only specialist sexual health physician. She says local health workers are ramping up testing as part of a fight to contain the infection, which particularly affects young sexually active Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the territory. However, it seems those measures are struggling to contain the STI’s spread.

Nearly seven years ago, an increase in syphilis notifications showed up in north-west Queensland. The outbreak soon moved across to the NT, then to Western Australia and more recently into South Australia. So far, more than 2100 cases – evenly split between males and females – have been recorded across the affected zones.

However, the key concern for health-care professionals is the potential health consequences for babies born to women with the infection. Syphilis is primarily spread through sexual contact, but it can also be passed from mother to baby. Since 2011, six babies have died from congenital syphilis – the latest death came in January this year in northern Queensland. The STI also carries antenatal risks, increasing the chance of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Darren Russell, a Cairns-based associate professor of medicine at both James Cook University and the University of Melbourne, has been working in sexual health for 25 years. He describes the top end’s syphilis epidemic as a “failure of public health at every level of government”.

He says he’s not sure whether the outbreak could have been prevented entirely. However, he believes there was an opportunity for public health officials to stop it from escalating.

“The first case occurred in the Gulf country of north-west Queensland in January 2012 and the first Northern Territory cases weren’t found until July 2013,” says Russell. “There was a window of opportunity in 2012 to work with the affected local communities and to fly in extra nurses, doctors and Indigenous health workers to do some good culturally appropriate health promotion. But nothing at all happened, absolutely nothing as the epidemic spread.

“The first Queensland state funding to deal with the now widespread epidemic was rolled out in 2016, more than five years after the epidemic began, and the first Commonwealth money has only been allocated this year.”

Russell says he could not imagine the same happening if a deadly epidemic broke out in a major city.

“For years now a multijurisdictional syphilis outbreak committee has been coordinating the response largely without additional resourcing to reach people most at risk,” says Associate Professor James Ward, an Indigenous researcher and sexual health specialist who heads the Aboriginal infection and immunity program at SAHMRI (the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) in Adelaide. Ward has been working behind the scenes for years, trying to bring more attention and funding to this outbreak.

“Workforce is certainly an issue because syphilis is an infection that not many clinicians have been exposed to in clinical practice and this is further exacerbated by a high turnover of staff in remote communities,” he says. “Community awareness and understanding of the infection has been very low, so we have been recently trying to get the message out on the internet and social media”.

The multi-strategy STI awareness-raising campaign urging people to be tested is targeted at the 30,000 young people aged between 15 and 34 in affected outbreak areas through the website youngdeadlyfree.org.au/syphilis as well as a dedicated Facebook page.

“We’ve also been tapping into online chat programs young people are using in remote areas such as Diva Chat,” says Ward.

Since the 1940s, penicillin has been used to successfully treat the syphilis infection, although people can become reinfected. While deaths in adults are now rare, the consequences can be dire for babies born to mothers who have been infected at some stage either before or during the pregnancy.

“There is a wide range of quite sinister pathology in babies born with syphilis,” says Professor Basil Donovan of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, who has been treating syphilis cases for nearly four decades.

Some babies are merely snuffly and miserable, sometimes with heavily blood-stained nasal discharge. Others can suffer neurological damage and bone deformities that can cause great pain when they move their limbs.

Donovan says that, for the past 60 years, every pregnant woman in Australia should have been routinely tested for syphilis. “The big difference between adults and babies is that all the damage is done before they are born,” he says. “If there is more syphilis about, then catastrophe becomes inevitable.”

Syphilis, caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, is an infection primarily spread through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

The first sign in adults is most likely a painless sore on the skin, normally where the bacteria has entered the body during sexual intercourse – in the genital area or in the mouth.

Secondary syphilis occurs about six weeks later with symptoms that include a general feeling of being unwell, a rash on the hands, feet or other parts of the body. Soft lumps might also develop on the warm, moist areas of the body such as the genitals and around the anus. Symptoms can often be dismissed as being due to flu or cold.

Outward symptoms of secondary syphilis, such as the initial sores, will disappear without treatment, but the person affected will still have latent syphilis.

The third stage, known as early and late latent syphilis, which may develop any time between one and 30 years later, can seriously affect the brain, spinal cord or heart and – rarely now – can lead to death.

“Before penicillin, syphilis was a terrible way to die,” says Donovan. “In about a third of those who contracted it, it would go on to cause serious neurological or brain disease, spinal disease or heart problems particularly with the aorta.

“That said, even now one in about 30 per cent who get syphilis will get some neurological disease. All of us clinicians have got patients who might have lost sight in one eye or gone deaf in one ear as a result.”

Donovan stresses the current outbreak in the top end has nothing to do with sexual behaviour. “[Residents in these regions] have the same number of partners [as the broader population] so very high levels of STIs including syphilis are more the result of failure in health-care delivery,” he says.

Gunathilake says the NT has seen more than 800 cases of infectious syphilis since the outbreak began. She wants to help build an educated and stable workforce, especially to support the remote clinicians.

“In these remote areas health-care workers don’t tend to say for long periods so it’s important to train and update new staff members quickly,” she says.

Work is also being done in community engagement by producing promotional material in several Indigenous languages to help people better understand the importance of testing and treatment as well as tracing and informing sexual partners.

“Going home and passing on the diagnosis to sexual partners is very difficult for anybody and much more challenging in any close-knit community,” says Gunathilake.

“Many people regardless of background feel ashamed about having STIs and they don’t want to tell anyone, so it is a psychological burden, but our staff are trained to help people in this situation.”

She says contact tracing can be more difficult for people who have casual or anonymous partners. Gay men are represented in the NT outbreak, but only in relatively small numbers.

A spokeswoman for the federal government says the first round of the federal money has gone to three urban Aboriginal health-care centres in Cairns, Darwin and Townsville, which will roll out a new “test and treat” model at the point of care.

The next phase of funding is expected to be directed at remote communities.

There is no indication when this outbreak will start to retract, says Basil Donovan, who was working as a doctor during the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s. This is because once STIs outbreaks take off, they don’t just cycle through like a flu epidemic. “It takes at least five to 10 years to get a major outbreak under control, and part of that involves a permanent [health-care] workforce to develop trust,” he says. “People flying in and flying out won’t even touch the sides.”

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 8, 2018 as “Into the outbreak”. Subscribe here.

NACCHO #Saveadate #NACCHOagm2018 : Aboriginal #WomensHealthWeek and It’s a busy week, with also, #strokeweek2018 & Global Week for Action on NCDs #enoughNCDs. Yet they are all linked. Time to invest in #prevention

Womens Health Week Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September 2018

Global week for action #NCD’s

NACCHO AGM 2018 Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2 Registrations now open

My Health Records webinars from Consumer Health Forum 

National Stroke Week – Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September 2018.

Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project. 

NATSIHWA National Professional Development Symposium 2018

AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action

CATSINaM Professional Development Conference

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide

Womens Health Week Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September 2018

View Here previous Video

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 from 3-7 September. It’s fun and free. Please sign up!

Shelley Ware Womens Health Week Ambassador 

Read over 350 Aboriginal Womens Health articles published by NACCHO over the past 6 years

Four 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 from 3-7 September. It’s fun and free. Please sign up!

Follow @JeanHailes 

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA) brings together five leading non-government health organisations in the primary prevention of chronic disease in Australia.

Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia, Kidney Health Australia, and the Stroke Foundation work together, with emphasis on changes to the food and physical environments to:

  • improve nutrition

  • increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behaviour,

  • reduce unhealthy weight at a population level.

Chronic diseases are Australia’s greatest health challenge, and leading cause of illness, disability and death. However, much burden could be prevented through improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and decreasing overweight and obesity.

About us

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA) brings together Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia, Kidney Health Australia, and the Stroke Foundation to provide an independent voice addressing shared modifiable risk factors for chronic disease.

What is chronic disease?

Chronic diseases are generally long lasting conditions with persistent effects. These include cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability, and death in Australia, and accounted for around 90% of all deaths in 2011 (1).

One in two Australians have a chronic disease and almost one quarter have at least two conditions (2).

However, much chronic disease is actually preventable. Poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and overweight and obesity are common modifiable risk factors.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that around one third of total disease burden could be prevented by reducing modifiable risk factors. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that at least 80% of premature heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, and over 40% of cancer could be prevented.

Find out How ACDPA works

Global week for action #NCD’s

With the digital world switched on to talk about NCDs, the first Global Week for Action on NCDs – from Monday 3 September to Sunday 9 September – will provide everyone, everywhere the opportunity to mobilise on the ground in the lead-up to the HLM on NCDs, under the theme ENOUGH. Our Health. Our Right. Right Now.

This will be a global opportunity to talk to each other, to leaders, to media, to crowds, to the world about what works well and what needs to change to ensure a transition from commitment to tangible actions that not only yield reportable improvements in NCD targets and outcomes, but result in the improvement of health and lives of all people in all places.

The opportunities are endless. Possible activities include organising a meeting, community conversation, picnic, fun run, dance party, or art competition. The week is your chance to do something achievable, appropriate, relevant and impactful where you live, but linked to a global movement.

  • It’s time to say ENOUGH.
  • It’s time to celebrate progress and leadership.
  • It’s time to move from commitment to action.
  • It’s Time to Deliver action on NCDs.

More information is cavailable on the NCD Alliance led initiative here.

Follow @IndigenousNCDs

Promoting inclusion of peoples & Indigenous-led solutions in global  discourse    

NACCHO AGM 2018 Brisbane Oct 30—Nov 2 Registrations now open

Follow our conference using HASH TAG #NACCHOagm2018

Register HERE

Conference Website Link:

Accommodation Link:                   

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

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

Conference Website Link

My Health Records webinars from Consumer Health Forum 

The recording of our second webinar that gives an overview of digital health in Australia and where My Health Record fits in the scheme of things is now up on our YouTube channel:

You can register here: http://www.webcasts.com.au/chf300818/. Next week, we have an in depth look at the risks.

 

If you have questions or thoughts about either, please use the links below to send them to us.

Upcoming Webinars

Risks of My Health Record
Thursday, 6 September
12:30pm-1:30pm AEST

Ask a question | Register to attend | Find out more

Digital inclusion, health literacy and My Health Record
Thursday, 13 September
3pm-4pm AEST

Ask a question | Register to attend | Find out more

Consumer Estimates: My Health Record
Thursday, 4 October
12:30pm-1:30pm AEST

Register to attend | Find out more

 

National Stroke Week – Monday 3 to Sunday 9 September 2018.

Risky reality of stroke in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Read over 90 Aboriginal Health and Stroke articles published in past 6 years 

Stroke Foundation has backed a call for urgent action to prevent stroke in Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

This follows today’s release of a world-first study by the Australian National University (ANU), highlighting the harrowing reality of stroke and heart attack risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 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.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the research results were frightening.

“We knew the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community had a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, but the rate was well above the non-indigenous population,” Ms McGowan said.

“Alarmingly, the study also found high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

“Steps must be taken immediately to increase stroke awareness and access to health checks through targeted action. Federal and state government must come together to address this issue.”

National guidelines currently recommend heart health and stroke risk screening be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 35 and over. This study highlights the need for screening in much younger people.

Ms McGowan said there was one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were overrepresented in stroke statistics.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were twice as likely to be hospitalised with stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians.

“Stroke can be prevented, it can be treated and it can be beaten. We must act now to stem the tide of this devastating disease,’’ she said.

“Federal and State Government must do more to empower our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to take control of their health and prevent stroke and heart disease – we must deliver targeted education on what stroke is, how to prevent it and the importance of accessing treatment at the first sign of stroke.”

Ms McGowan said stroke could be prevented by managing your blood pressure and cholesterol, eating healthily, exercising, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption

 Stroke Week 

Every step counts towards a healthy life.

This year, Stroke Foundation is encouraging Australians to discover how easy it is to fit healthy habits into their day and do their part to prevent stroke.

It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented simply by managing risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle. There are some risk factors for stroke which can’t be prevented like age, family history and prior stroke. If you’re male, your risk is also higher.

There are two ways to approach this: first by talking to your doctor and secondly by taking ownership of your own health.

Take charge of your own health:

  • Eat well.
  • Stay active.
  • Be smoke free.
  • Moderate alcohol intake.
  • Visit your doctor for a health check to help manage blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat).

Read more about stroke prevention

 

Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project.

June Oscar AO and her team are excited to hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls across the country as a part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Women’s Voices project.

Whilst we will not be able to get to every community, we hope to hear from as many women and girls as possible through this process. If we are not coming to your community we encourage you to please visit the Have your Say! page of the website to find out more about the other ways to have your voice included through our survey and submission process.

We will be hosting public sessions as advertised below but also a number of private sessions to enable women and girls from particularly vulnerable settings like justice and care to participate.

Details about current, upcoming and past gatherings appears below, however it is subject to change. We will update this page regularly with further details about upcoming gatherings closer to the date of the events.

Please get in touch with us via email wiyiyaniuthangani@humanrights.gov.au or phone on (02) 9284 9600 if you would like more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Pathways borders

Current gatherings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls are invited to register for one of the following gatherings

Pathways borders

Upcoming gatherings

If your community is listed below and you would like to be involved in planning for our visit or would like more information, please write to us at wiyiyaniuthangani@humanrights.gov.au or phone (02) 9284 9600.

Location Dates
Alice Springs September 2018
Tennant Creek September 2018
Yarrabah September 2018
Weipa September 2018
Torres Strait Islands October 2018
Port Headland October 2018
Newman October 2018
Dubbo TBC
Brewarrina TBC
Rockhampton TBC
Longreach TBC
Kempsey TBC

Pathways borders

 

Dr Tracy Westerman’s 2018 Training Workshops
For more details and July dates

 

Download HERE

 

 NATSIHWA National Professional Development Symposium 2018

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

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

We look forward to announcing more details soon!

AIDA Conference 2018 Vision into Action


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

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

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

Registrations Close August 31

CATSINaM Professional Development Conference

Venue: Hilton Adelaide 

Location: 233 Victoria Square, Adelaide, SA 

Timing: 8:30am – 5:30pm

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

More info

The CATSINaM Gala Dinner and Awards evening,  held on the 18th of September, purpose is to honour the contributions of distinguished Members to the field.
Healing Our Spirit Worldwide

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

NACCHO Aboriginal Health NEWS : @AIHW report : The consumption of #alcohol, #tobacco and other #drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in our communities

The consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in our comminities

There are a wide range of data sources available that contribute to our understanding of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.

This web report from AIHW is intended to be a general reference for contemporary data on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia.

SEE Full Report 

This report consolidates the most recently available information regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, meth/amphetamines and other stimulants, the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs, illicit opioids (heroin) and new (and emerging) psychoactive substances (NPS).

Key trends in the availability, consumption, harms and treatment are identified and detailed data are presented for vulnerable populations.

These population groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, homeless people, older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ), people in contact with the criminal justice system, people with mental health conditions, young people and people who inject drugs

Key findings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

  • There has been significant declines in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people smoking and consume alcohol that exceeds lifetime risk guidelines (consuming more than two standard drinks per day on average).
  • The prevalence of smoking by Indigenous people has declined from 55% in 1994 to 45% in 2014–15.
  • The proportion of Indigenous people that consume alcohol as levels that exceed lifetime risk guidelines has reduced from 19% in 2008 to 15% in 2014–15.
  • In 2011, tobacco use accounted for 12% of the burden of disease for Indigenous Australians. This accounts for 23.3% of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • In 2016, more than 1 in 4 (27%) Indigenous Australians used an illicit drug in the last 12 months. This was 1.8 times higher than for non-Indigenous Australians (15.3%).
  • The most commonly used illicit drug by Indigenous Australians is cannabis (16.7%), followed by the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs (11.0%).
  • Of clients of alcohol and other drug, treatment services, 15% were Indigenous Australians aged 10 and over, which is an overrepresentation relative to their population size.

Currently there are almost 800,000 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people (see Box ATSI1) living in Australia, accounting for 2.8% of the Australian population [1]. There are substantial differences in measures of health and welfare between Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Box ATSI1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The terms ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’ is preferred in Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publications when referring to the separate Indigenous peoples of Australia. However, the term ‘Indigenous’ Australians is used interchangeably with ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ in order to assist readability.

The Australian Burden of Disease Study identified that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease that is 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians [2]. The gap in the disease burden is due to a range of factors including disconnection to culture, traditions and country, social exclusion, discrimination and isolation, trauma, poverty, and lack of adequate access to services [3]. Tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs are key risk factors contributing to the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians [2].

Box ATSI2. Data sources examining tobacco, alcohol and other drug use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

There are a number of data sources that provide information about tobacco, alcohol and other drug use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) [4] and the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) [5] collected by the ABS are designed to obtain a representative sample of Indigenous Australians. In relation specifically to tobacco smoking, the ABS has consolidated data from six large, national, multistage random household surveys to identify trends between 1994 and 2014–15 [6].

The AIHW’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) uses a self-completion questionnaire to capture information about drug and alcohol use among the general Australian population; however it is not specifically designed to obtain reliable national estimates for Indigenous people. In 2016, 2.4% of the NDSHS (unweighted) sample aged 12 and over (or 568 respondents) identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. The estimates produced by the NDSHS should be interpreted with caution due to the low sample size [7].

There are also other data sources that provide information relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Australia’s Burden of Disease study analyses the impact of nearly 200 diseases and injuries in terms of living with illness (non-fatal burden) and premature death (fatal burden). In 2015, a report was released that provides estimates of burden of disease between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians [8].
  • The National Perinatal Data Collection covers each birth in Australia and includes information on Indigenous mothers and their babies [6].
  • The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Dataset (AODTS-NMDS) contains information on treatment provided to clients by publicly funded alcohol and other drug services including Indigenous clients [9].
  • The Online Services Report (OSR) contains information on the majority of Australian Government-funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance use services [6].

Tobacco smoking

While tobacco smoking is declining in Australia, it remains disproportionately high among Indigenous Australians. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown:

  • In 1994, the Indigenous Australian survey data showed that 55% of Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over were smokers; 20 years later, in 2014–15, this had declined to 45% (Table S3.4).
  • Over a similar 20-year period, the National Health Survey (NHS) the proportion of non-Indigenous smokers aged 18 and over declined, from 24% in 1995 to 16% in 2014–15 (Table S3.5).
  • There appears to have been no change to the gap in smoking prevalence between the Indigenous Australian adult population and the non-Indigenous Australian adult population from 1994 to 2014–15. Even though the Indigenous Australian smoking rates are declining, the non-Indigenous rate is declining at a similar rate, therefore the gap remained constant [6] (Figure ATSI1).

Most of the decline in smoking occurred in non-remote areas. Over the 20-year period, the proportion of Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over in non-remote areas who were smokers declined from 55% to 42%, while the proportion in remote areas remained relatively stable at between 54% and 56% (Table S3.4).

In 2014–15, Indigenous males were more likely than Indigenous females to be smokers (47% compared with 42%) [1].

Geographic trends

The 2014–15 NATSISS provides estimates of tobacco smoking for Indigenous Australians by jurisdiction. According to the 2014–15 NATSISS, 39% of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over smoked daily. Those from the Northern Territory (45%) and Western Australia (42%) surpassed this national average, while Indigenous Australians from South Australia (35%) were the least likely to be a current daily smoker [4] (Table S3.3).

Tobacco smoking in pregnancy

Indigenous Australians are at an elevated risk of smoking during pregnancy compared with non-Indigenous Australians. The National Perinatal Data Collection showed that:

  • Indigenous mothers accounted for 19% of mothers who smoked tobacco at any time during pregnancy in 2015, despite accounting for only around 4% of mothers.
  • The age-standardised rate of Indigenous mothers smoking during pregnancy has decreased from 50% in 2009 to 45% in 2015.
  • Almost 1 in 2 (45%) Indigenous mothers reported smoking during pregnancy—compared with 12% of non-Indigenous mothers (age-standardised).
  • The age-standardised rate of Indigenous mothers quitting smoking during pregnancy (14%) is about half that of non-Indigenous mothers (25%) (based on mothers who reported smoking in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and not smoking after 20 weeks of pregnancy) [10].

Alcohol consumption

Abstinence (non-drinkers)

  • The 2016 NDSHS found that Indigenous Australians aged 14 and over were more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Indigenous Australians (31% compared with 23%, respectively) and abstinence among Indigenous Australians has been increasing since 2010 when it was 25% [7] (Table S3.1).
  • This pattern is consistent with data from the 2012–13 AATSIHS, where 28% of Indigenous Australians reported abstaining from drinking compared with 18% of non-Indigenous Australians [5].

Lifetime risk

  • The 2014–15 NATSISS found that the proportion of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over who exceeded the NHMRC lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption (consuming more than 2 standard drinks per day on average) decreased between 2008 and 2014–15 (19% compared with 15%; non age-standardised proportions). The overall change is largely due to a decline in non-remote areas (19% in 2008 to 14% in 2014–15) [4] (Table S3.6).
  • Comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are only available using age-standardised data from the 2012–13 AATSIHS and is not comparable to the 2014–15 NATSISS. The findings showed that lifetime risky drinking of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over was similar to that of non-Indigenous Australians (9.8% compared with 9.7%; age-standardised) [5] (Table S3.7).

Single occasion risk

  • According to the 2014–15 NATSISS, 30% of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over exceeded the single occasion risk guidelines for alcohol consumption (non age-standardised proportions), which is a decline since 2002 (35%).
  • Comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are only available using age-standardised data from the 2012–13 AATSIHS and is not comparable to the 2014–15 NATSISS. The 2012–13 AATSIHS reported that 1 in 2 (50%) Indigenous Australians exceed the single occasion risky drinking guidelines (more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion in past year). This was 1.1 times the rate that non-Indigenous Australians (44%) that exceeded these guidelines [5] (Table S3.7).

Risky alcohol consumption

  • According to the 2016 NDSHS, almost 1 in 5 Indigenous Australians (18.8%) consumed 11 or more standard drinks at least once a month. This was 2.8 times the rate that non-Indigenous Australians (6.8%) consumed this amount of alcohol [7] (Table S3.1).

Geographic trends

Between 2002 and 2014–15 there was a decline in the proportion of Indigenous Australians that resided in New South Wales Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory that exceeded the lifetime and single occasion risk guidelines (Figure ATSI2). Indigenous Australians residing in Tasmania (36%), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) (35%), Queensland (33%) and Western Australia (33%) had higher rates of exceeding the single occasion drinking guidelines than the national average [4] (Table S3.8).

Indigenous Australians residing in Western Australia (16%), New South Wales (16%) and Queensland (15%) surpassed the national average for exceeding lifetime risk guidelines [4] (Table S3.9).

Illicit drug use

In the 2014–15 NATSISS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over were asked whether they had used illicit substances in the last 12 months, and the types of illicit substances they had used during that period [4]. The data showed that:

  • Almost one-third (30%) of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over reported having used illicit substances in the last 12 months, up from 22% in 2008.
  • Males were significantly more likely than females to have used illicit substances (34% compared with 27%), as were people in non-remote areas compared with those in remote areas (33% compared with 21%).
  • Cannabis was the most commonly reported illicit drug used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the last 12 months at 19% (25% of males compared with 14% of females).
  • The non-medical use of analgesics and sedatives (such as painkillers, sleeping pills and tranquilisers) was also relatively common (13%), with females (15%) being more likely than males (11%) to have used analgesics and sedatives.
  • One in twenty (5%) Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over reported having used amphetamines or speed in the last 12 months (6% of males compared with 3% of females) [4] (Figure ATSI3).

The 2016 NDSHS data showed that (other than ecstasy and cocaine), Indigenous Australians aged 14 and over recent used of illicit drugs was at a higher rate than non-Indigenous Australians (Table S3.1). Rates of illicit drug use in 2016 for Indigenous Australians aged 14 and older were:

  • Over one in four (27%) used any illicit drug in the last 12 months—1.8 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians (15.3%)
  • One in five (19.4%) used cannabis in the last 12 months—1.9 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians (10.2%)
  • Around one in 10 (10.6%) used a pharmaceutical for non-medical use—2.3 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians (4.6%) [7] (Table S3.1)
  • 3.1% used meth/amphetamines in the last 12 months—2.2 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians (1.4%).

The differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians were still apparent even after adjusting for differences in age structure (Figure ATSI4). There were no significant changes in illicit use of drugs among Indigenous Australians between 2013 and 2016, however due to the small sample sizes for Indigenous Australians, the estimates of the NDSHS should be interpreted with caution.

Geographic trends

Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over residing in the Northern Territory (22%) were the least likely to report substance use, while those from the Australian Capital Territory (41%) and Victoria (40%) were the most likely to report using substances.

Indigenous Australians from the Northern Territory (22%) and Queensland (29%) were the only jurisdictions below the national average (30%) [4] (Table S3.3).

Health and harms

The health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are considerably lower than for non-Indigenous Australians. For instance:

  • 35.1% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people compared with 58.3% of non-Indigenous Australia self-assessed their health as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ (age-standardised per cent).
  • 32.5% of Indigenous Australians compared with 12.3% of non-Indigenous Australians reported high/very high psychological distress (age-standardised per cent).
  • 71.0% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people reported having a long-term health condition compared with 55.3% of non-Indigenous Australians (age-standardised per cent) [4] (Table S3.6).

Almost 1 in 2 Indigenous Australians with a mental health condition were a daily smoker (46%) and about 2 in 5 (39%) to have used substances in the last 12 months. This was higher than for Indigenous  Australians with other long-term health conditions (33% and 24%, respectively) or those with no long term health condition (39% and 29% respectively) [4] (Table S3.11).

The Australian Burden of Disease Study provides an indication of the risk factors that contribute to the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In 2011, tobacco use accounted for 23.3% of the gap, and alcohol and drug use contributed to 8.1% and 4.1% of the gap, respectively [8] (Table S3.12).

Treatment

Indigenous Australians are also overrepresented in drug and alcohol treatment services. In 2016–17, the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Dataset (AODTS-NMDS) showed that 15% of clients were Indigenous Australians aged 10 and over (Table S3.13). Indigenous Australians (3,313 per 100,000 population) were 7 times more likely to receive AOD treatment services than non-Indigenous Australians (430 per 100,000 population) were. Specifically where:

  • Amphetamines was the principal drug of concern, Indigenous Australians (1,204 per 100,000 population) were 8 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians (155 per 100,000 population).
  • Heroin was the principal drug of concern Indigenous Australians (911 per 100,000 population) were 7 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians (123 per 100,000 population) were.
  • Cannabis was the principal drug of concern Indigenous Australians (867 per 100,000 population) were 7 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians (126 per 100,000 population) were.
  • Alcohol was the principal drug of concern Indigenous Australians (136 per 100,000 population) were 7 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians (26 per 100,000 population) [9] (Table S3.14).

Dependence on opioid drugs (including codeine, heroin and oxycodone) can be treated with pharmacotherapy therapy using substitute drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine. The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection (NOPSAD) provides information on clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment on a snapshot day each year. For jurisdictions where data was provided, in 2017:

  • Around 1 in 10 clients (9%) were Indigenous, an overrepresentation relative to their population size.
  • Indigenous Australians were almost 3 times as likely (70 clients per 10,000 population) to receive pharmacotherapy treatment as non-Indigenous Australians (26 clients per 10,000 population) [11] (Table S3.15).

Data from the OSR shows that 2015–16, there were 80 organisations around Australia that provided alcohol and other drug treatment services to around 32,700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients [6]. The OSR data also shows that:

  • All 80 organisations reported that alcohol was one of the top five common substance-use issue, followed by cannabis (94%) and amphetamines (70%)
  • Treatment episodes were more likely to be to occur in non-residential settings (87%)
  • One third of all treatment episodes were in Very remote areas (32%) and the highest proportion of clients were located in Major cities (35%).

Policy context

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017 includes a suite of products that give the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are faring according to a range of 68 performance measures across 3 tiers: Tier 1—health status and outcomes, Tier 2—determinants of health, and Tier 3—health system performance. The measures are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework and cover data that has been collected on the entire health system, including Indigenous-specific services and programs, and mainstream services [12].

National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy 2014–2019

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Drug Strategy 2014–2019 was a sub-strategy of the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015 and remains a sub-strategy under the National Drug Strategy 2017–2025. The overarching goal of this sub-strategy is to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by preventing and reducing the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) on individuals, families and their communities [13].

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health #BreastCancerAwareness #getChecked : 1.Download #Indigenous Resources from @CancerAustralia and 2.NACCHO supports this Sundays #StandWithMeAtTheG #FieldOfWomen @bcnapinklady

If I hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer I wouldn’t be here today. People forget that Aboriginal women get breastcancer. We need Aboriginal women to get themselves checked because there is treatment available and it can save your life “

Aunty Pam Pedersen speaking at the Peter Maccallam Cancer Centre signing of a MOU with VACCHO August 9

Twenty years ago, breast cancer was not often talked about publicly. It was discussed in whispers, and many women spoke of a feeling of shame at diagnosis.

Women felt like a number, not an individual, and were subjected to radical surgery. They were given little information and even less support. They held little hope for a future.

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) began during this time, born out of one woman’s determination to make the breast cancer journey better.

Others soon joined her cause, and for 20 years, BCNA has worked tirelessly to ensure every Australian diagnosed with breast cancer receives the very best support, information, treatment and care.

Today, BCNA is the peak national organisation for Australians affected by breast cancer.”

#StandWithMeAtTheG this Sunday. This year, 18,235 Aussies will hear the words,‘You have breast cancer’. #FieldOfWomen brings these stats to life as women, men and children stand together on the @MCG in the shape of the @bcnapinklady.

View Video Here

Australia’s Lots to live for video on social media will start a conversation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about breast cancer and how early detection can save lives.

If you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, it is vitally important you know the normal look and feel of your breasts, the symptoms to look out for and the importance of seeing their doctor if you find a change.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Australia, including among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, yet Indigenous women are 16 per cent less likely to survive than non-Indigenous women.”

Professor Jacinta Elston ( breast cancer survivor )  Chair of the Cancer Australia Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control : She is a descendent of both the Kalkadoon people of North-West Queensland and the South Sea Islander people.

See full report below

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:

 

See Key Facts Breast cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women or Part 2 Below

A new breast awareness video designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to share with family and friends on social media aims to increase early detection of breast cancer and improve survival.

Cancer Australia CEO, Dr Helen Zorbas, said the video, titled Lots to live for, had been produced to put vital knowledge about the importance of breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities.

“Finding breast cancer early, while it is still confined to the breast, significantly increases the chances of survival,” Dr Zorbas said. “Early detection of breast cancer through breast awareness and increasing participation in mammographic screening are important ways to improve survival outcomes and address the disparity in breast cancer survival between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women.”

Professor Jacinta Elston, Chair of the Cancer Australia Leadership Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Control, and an Aboriginal woman from Townsville, supported the video’s message and encouraged women to share it on social media.

“Studies have shown that social media has been used effectively in getting health messages out into our community,” Professor Elston said.

See opening message

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged between 50 and 74 years are also encouraged to have a free breast screen every two years. Mammographic screening is the best early detection test for reducing deaths from breast cancer.”

Professor Elston, who is herself a breast cancer survivor, acknowledged that some Indigenous women may be reluctant to discuss a breast change, due to shame, embarrassment, fear or stigma, but that this could seriously impact on their breast cancer outcomes.

“Changes in your breast may not be due to cancer, but if you find a change that is new or unusual, it’s important to see a doctor without delay,” Professor Elston said. “We need to look after our health – for ourselves and our families.”

The Lots to live for video, which features NITV’s Marngrook Footy Show presenter Leila Gurruwiwi, is designed to be easily accessible and shareable on social media platforms widely used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Cancer Australia is committed to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Dr Zorbas said.

Visit www.canceraustralia.gov.au/atsi for more information.

Part 2 Key Facts Breast cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Key statistics

Incidence

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  • The number of breast cancer diagnoses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women increased by over 60% between the years 2004-08 and 2008-12.

Survival

  • The breast cancer survival rate was 16% lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than for non-Indigenous women between 2006-2010.

Mortality

  • Breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women after lung cancer (between 2007 and 2011).
  • In 2010-2014, there were 154 deaths from breast cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia.

Factors affecting breast cancer outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women:

  • are less likely than non-Indigenous women to have a screening mammogram
  • may choose not to visit a doctor when they notice changes in their breasts.
  • are less likely to undergo cancer treatment
  • are less likely to complete cancer treatment
  • are more likely to have 1 or more other health problems such as heart disease and/or diabetes.

As a result of these factors, breast cancer may be more advanced when diagnosed.

Key messages

Finding breast cancer early

  1. Breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
  • Finding breast cancer early means there are more treatment options and the chances of survival are greatest.
  • More than half of breast cancers are diagnosed after a woman or her doctor notices a change in the breast.
  • This shows how important it is that women are aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and are confident in reporting unusual breast changes.

How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women get to know the normal look and feel of their breasts?

  • Women of all ages, daughters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers, are encouraged to get to know the normal look and feel of their breast.
  • They don’t need to be an expert or know a special way to check their breasts. They can do this as part of everyday activities such as dressing, looking in the mirror, or showering.

Changes to look out for

There are a number of changes to look out for:

  • A new lump or lumpiness
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • A change in the nipple
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Any unusual pain
  • A change in the skin of your breast

What to do if women find a change?

While most breast changes are not due to cancer, if a woman finds a change in her breast that is new or unusual for her, it’s important to see a doctor without delay.

Screening mammograms

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged between 50 and 74 years are encouraged to attend mammographic breast screening every two years. Mammographic screening is the best early detection test for reducing deaths from breast cancer.

Where to go to have a breast screen?

BreastScreen Australia provides free breast screening for women 50-74 years and has services in all states and territories. To find out more call 13 20 50.

Lots to Live For!

Cancer Australia’s new video Lots to Live For was developed to put vital knowledge about the importance of breast awareness and early detection of breast cancer in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities.

The Lots to Live For video, which features Marngrook Footy Show presenter Leila Gurruwiwi, is designed to be accessible and shareable on social media platforms widely used by Indigenous communities.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/canceraustralia/ or

https://twitter.com/CancerAustralia #LotsToLiveFor @CancerAustralia

For more information

Visihttp://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/atsi

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ChildrensDay : Download @AIHW Report : Includes #Indigenous mothers and babies

 

” Most Indigenous mothers and their babies are doing well, with improvements in outcomes for mothers and babies observed in recent years.

There has been a notable increase in the proportion of Indigenous mothers attending an antenatal visit in the first trimester and a slight increase in the proportion attending 5 or more antenatal visits.

The rate of Indigenous mothers smoking during pregnancy has decreased, as has the proportion of low birthweight babies of Indigenous mothers. Despite these improvements, significant gaps remain between outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers and babies.

Although a range of data by Indigenous status has been presented in earlier chapters, this chapter provides more in-depth information on Indigenous mothers and their babies.”

From Chapter 4 AIHW Australian Australia’s mothers and babies 2016—in brief see in full Part 2 Below

Download the full AIHW report Here 

aihw-Australias Mothers and babies per-97

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is the largest national day to celebrate our children

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Children’s Day) is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children.

The day was an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

Children’s Day is held on 4 August each year and is coordinated by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. Children’s Day was first observed in 1988, with 2017 being the 29th celebration. Each year SNAICC produces and distributes resources to help organisations, services, schools, and communities celebrate.

The theme for Children’s Day 2018 is SNAICC – Celebrating Our Children for 30 Years.

Our children are the youngest people from the longest living culture in the world, with rich traditions, lore and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Our children are growing up strong with connection to family, community and country. Our children are the centre of our families and the heart of our communities. They are our future and the carriers of our story.

This year, we invite communities to take a walk down memory lane, as we revisit some of the highlights of the last 30 years.

We look back on the empowering protest movements instigated by community that had led to the establishment of the first Children’s Day on 4 August 1988. We look back at all of the amazing moments we’ve shared with our children over the years, and how we’re watching them grow into leaders.

We look back to see what we’ve achieved, and decide where we want to go from here to create a better future for our children. If you have celebrated Children’s Day at any time during the past 30 years, we would love to hear from you.

 

AIHW Australian Australia’s mothers and babies 2016

About the report

Australia’s mothers and babies 2016—in brief presents an overview of the key statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Perinatal Data Collection.

The AIHW’s online perinatal data visualisation complements this report.

Detailed data tables, including state and territory data, are also available.

This report and the perinatal data visualisations are part of a comprehensive program of AIHW work in relation to maternal and perinatal care and outcomes. Other major projects include:

  • National Core Maternity Indicators (NCMIs) data visualisations. The NCMIs monitor the safety and quality of maternity care to ensure there is continual improvement following the introduction of the National Maternity Services Plan (AHMC 2011)
  • National Maternity Data Development Project (NMDDP). The NMDDP aims to build a more comprehensive and consistent national data collection for maternal and perinatal health, including development of clinical data items and maternity models of care and the establishment of ongoing national maternal and perinatal mortality data collection and reporting
  • geographic reporting of maternal and perinatal indicators from the Performance Accountability Framework, latest report available at MyHealthyCommunities: Child and maternal health in 2013–2015. This publication presents detailed geographic data for indicators on antenatal care in the first trimester, smoking during pregnancy and low birthweight.

In 2016, 4.4% of all women who gave birth identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

These 13,608 women gave birth to 13,794 babies. Around 1 in 19 (5.2% or 16,479) of all babies born were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (based on the Indigenous status of the baby)

Indigenous mothers

Indigenous mothers are more likely to be teenagers, and to live in remote or disadvantaged areas than non-Indigenous mothers

Younger maternal age, remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage of areas of usual residence are associated with increased risk of a number of poorer maternal and perinatal outcomes.

In 2016, Indigenous mothers, compared with non-Indigenous mothers, were:

  • 7 times as likely to be teenage mothers (14% compared with 2%). Only 9% of Indigenous mothers were aged 35 and over compared with 23% of non-Indigenous mothers
  • around 14 times as likely to live in Remote and Very Remote areas as non-Indigenous mothers (21% compared with 1.5%, respectively)—similar to the pattern for all women of reproductive age in the population
  • 4 times as likely to live in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) areas as non-Indigenous mothers. Almost 1 in 2 Indigenous mothers lived in the lowest SES areas compared with 1 in 5 non-Indigenous mothers.

More Indigenous mothers are accessing antenatal care in the first trimester

On average, in 2016, Indigenous mothers had 1 less antenatal vi sit than non-Indigenous mothers (9 and 10 visits, respectively—data exclude very pre -term births). Indigenous mothers were also more likely to attend antenatal care slightly later in pregnancy than non-Indigenous mothers—the average duration of pregnancy at the firs t antenatal visit was 13 and 12 weeks, respectively.

Fewer Indigenous mothers (62%) had their first antenatal visit in the first trimester of pregnancy (less than 14 completed weeks) than non-Indigenous mothers (67%) (age-standardised).

The age-standardised proportion of Indigenous mothers receiving antenatal care in the first trimester was highest in Inner regional areas (66%), compared with 58% in Major cities and Very remote areas. For non-Indigenous mothers, the proportion was highest in Outer regional areas (77%) and lowest in Major cities (64%).

The proportion of Indigenous mothers who attended antenatal care in the first trimesterincreased between 2010 and 2016, from 41% to 60%. For non -Indigenous mothers, there was a smaller increase over that time, from 61% to 67% (age -standardised; excludes data from New South Wales, see Appendix Table D2). This has resulted in a narrowing of the gap in antenatal care between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers

Indigenous mothers who gave birth at 32 weeks or more were also less likely to attend 5 or more antenatal visits than non-Indigenous mothers—86% of Indigenous mothers had 5 or more visits compared with 94% of non-Indigenous mothers (age-standardised).

Between 2011 and 2016, the proportion of mothers attending 5 or more visits increased slightly for Indigenous mothers (from 84.8% to 88.5%) while remaining similar for non-Indigenous mothers (from 95.1% to 95.6%) (age-standardised, excludes data from Victoria and Western Australia, see Appendix Table D2).

Fewer Indigenous mothers are smoking during pregnancy

Indigenous mothers accounted for 20% of mothers who smoked tobacco at any time during pregnancy in 2016, despite accounting for only around 4% of mothers.

About 2 in 5 Indigenous mothers reported smoking during pregnancy—43% compared with 12% of non-Indigenous mothers (age-standardised).

The age-standardised proportion of Indigenous mothers who smoked at any time during pregnancy decreased from 50% in 2009 to 43% in 2016. The proportion of non-Indignon-Indigenous mothers who smoked also decreased from 16% in 2009 to 12% in 2016.

The age-standardised rate of smoking cessation during pregnancy among Indigenous mothers was 13%, half the rate for non -Indigenous mothers (26%). This is based on mothers who reported smoking in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and not smoking after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Indigenous mothers were more likely to be obese or to have pre-existing diabetes or hypertension

Compared with non-Indigenous mothers, Indigenous mothers were:

  • 7 times as likely to be obese (34% compared with 20%; age-standardised)
  • 3 times and 4.7 times as likely to have gestational diabetes (15%) and pre-existing diabetes (3.3%), respectively (compared with 12% and 0.7%, respectively; age-standardised; excludes data from Victoria, see Appendix Table D2)
  • 3 times as likely to have pre-existing (chronic) hypertension (1.0% compared with 0.8%).

 

Rates of gestational hypertension were similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers (3.8% and 3.7%, respectively) (age standardised; excludes data from Victoria, see Appendix

Indigenous mothers were slightly more likely to have spontaneous labour onset

Indigenous mothers were slightly more likely to have spontaneous onset of labour (50%) and slightly less likely to have no labour (19%), compared with non-Indigenous mothers (47% and 22%, respectively), while rates of induced labour were the same for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers (31%) (age standardised).

Indigenous mothers who had labour were slightly less likely to receive pain relief during labour compared with non-Indigenous mothers (72% compared with 78%, respectively; age standardised).

Non-instrumental vaginal births were more common for Indigenous mothers

Method of birth is influenced by maternal age, but even when controlling for differences in age structure between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers, some differences remain. Indigenous mothers were: more likely to have a non-instrumental vaginal birth (62%) than non-Indigenous mothers (54%)

  • less likely to have an instrumental vaginal delivery (6% compared with 12% of non-Indigenous mothers)
  • slightly less likely to have a caesarean section (32% compared with 34% of non-Indigenous mothers; age-standardised).

 

Babies of Indigenous mothers

Babies of Indigenous mothers are more likely to be pre-term

In 2016, the average gestational age of babies of Indigenous mothers was 38.2 weeks, which was slightly lower than for babies of non-Indigenous mothers (38.6 weeks).

Around 1 in 7 babies of Indigenous mothers (14%) were born pre-term, compared with 8% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers.

Babies of Indigenous mothers who smoked were 1.3 times as likely to be born pre-term as babies born to non-Indigenous mothers who smoked.

Low birthweight rates are decreasing among babies of Indigenous mothers

In 2016, the average liveborn baby of an Indigenous mother weighed 125 grams less than a baby of a non-Indigenous mother (3,216 grams and 3,342 grams, respectively).

For liveborn babies of Indigenous mothers, 11.6% (1,583) were of low birthweight, compared with 6.3% (18,785) of babies with non-Indigenous mothers. These proportions were made up of:

  • 5% of babies of Indigenous mothers and 5.4% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers in the low birthweight range of 1,500–2,499 grams
  • 1% of babies of Indigenous mothers and 0.9% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers of very low birthweight (less than 1,500 grams)
  • 1% of babies of Indigenous mothers and 0.8% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers of extremely low birthweight (less than 1,000 grams).
  • There was a slight decrease in the proportion of low birthweight babies born to Indigenous mothers between 2006 and 2016, from 12.4% to 11.6%.
  • The proportion of low birthweight babies with non-Indigenous mothers remained between 6.2% and 6.3% over this time. See Chapter 5 for more data on trends.
  • Low birthweight babies of non-Indigenous mothers varied by remoteness, ranging from 6.3% in Major cities to 4.6% in Very remote areas. However, for babies of Indigenous mothers, the proportion was lowest in Major cities (10.7%) and highest in Very remote areas (15.0%).
  • Babies of Indigenous mothers were also about 1.5 times as likely to be small for gestational age (13.7%) as babies of non-Indigenous mothers (9.4%).

Babies of Indigenous mothers are more likely to be admitted for specialised care

Apgar scores, use of resuscitation and admission to special care nurseries (SCNs) or neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can give an indication of the health of newborn babies.

Liveborn babies of Indigenous mothers were more likely to be admitted to an SCN or NICU (24%) than babies of non-Indigenous mothers (17%) in 2016 (excludes data from New South Wales and Western Australia, see Appendix Table D2).

In 2016, similar proportions of liveborn babies to Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers:

  • had an Apgar score of 7 or more at 5 minutes (97% and 98%, respectively)
  • required some form of resuscitation (20% and 19%, respectively; excludes data from Western Australia, see Appendix Table D2).

Babies of Indigenous mothers, born in hospital and discharged home, had a shorter median length of stay in hospital (2 days) than those of non -Indigenous mothers (3 days). Almost 1 in 3 babies of Indigenous mothers (31%) stayed for 1 d ay or less, compared with 1 in 5 babies (20%) of non -Indigenous mothers.

However, babies of Indigenous mothers were 1.6 times as likely as those of non-Indigenous mothers to stay in hospital for 6 or more days (excludes data from Western Australia, see Appendix Table D2)

Higher rates of perinatal death among babies of Indigenous mothers

In 2016, there were 15 perinatal deaths for every 1,000 births among babies of Indigenous mothers—1.7 times the rate for babies of non-Indigenous mothers (9 per 1,000 births). This included:

  • 11 fetal deaths (stillbirths) per 1,000 births for babies of Indigenous mothers and 4 fetal deaths per 1,000 births for babies of non-Indigenous mothers
  • 6 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births for babies of Indigenous mothers and 2 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births for babies of non-Indigenous mothers.

Data on cause of death are available for Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The most notable differences in cause of death between babies of Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers in the perinatal period are for spontaneous pre-term births and congenital anomalies:

  • About one-quarter (22%) of perinatal deaths of babies of Indigenous mothers were due to spontaneous pre-term birth, compared with 14% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers.
  • Congenital anomalies accounted for a smaller proportion of perinatal deaths among babies of Indigenous mothers (21%) compared with non-Indigenous mothers (31%)

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health : #NAIDOC2018 #BecauseofHerWecan @VAHS1972 #ThisGirlCan and #HerTribe inspires women to #Bepositive #bebrave #Befocused #bestrong and #bedeadly in a 16 week exercise program for local Indigenous females of all ages and abilities

I wanted to create an environment where women could come together, feel safe and confident and be able to get fit together,

121 women enrolled in the free course, which challenged participants over the course of two hours, once a week, through a range of fitness activities from gym to indoor cardio, running, walking, weights, boxing and stretching.”

Inspired by helping women in her local community gain confidence around their body image and exercise, Laura Thompson, in conjunction with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in Preston, Victoria, created #HerTribe, a sixteen-week exercise program for local Indigenous females of all ages and abilities.

Read over 350 Aboriginal Women’s Health articles published by NACCHO in the last 6 years

Watch Video HERE

Many of the women had never participated in physical activity on a regular basis, or for a number of years, and had to overcome a range of fears to simply turn up to their first session.

“My voice said I didn’t think I’ll be able to do this because we were told it’s going to be full on,” said Aboriginal elder, Ruth Pinkard. “I feared being judged by my height, weight and age. But I have done levels that I didn’t think I could do and other people thought I couldn’t do.”

Marayne Muller saw the program advertised on Facebook and overcame enormous anxiety to sign up. “Pretty much one quarter of the way through, I was addicted. It gave me a sense of purpose and helped break down the barriers in my head. I went from someone who was pretty adamant that I didn’t want to be here anymore, to someone that was able to dream.”

For others, the supportive but challenging environment has given back a sense of identity and helped them regain good health.

“This mob has helped me to keep out of hospital. I was thinking I was too old. I suffer from asthma and I thought the younger people would laugh at me trying to keep up with them. But they were very supportive,” said Maureen Moore.

Added Lisa Thorpe, “it’s given me the ability to participate and to find out who the real person is, without being a mother or a daughter. I come here as Lisa.”

Women acting as a role model for each other, has not only provided inspiration, it has also given each participant a sense of kinship in a supportive environment where they can strive to be their best.

VicHealth research reveals that worrying about being judged stops many women from being physically active. In fact, 41% of Victorian women feel too embarrassed to exercise in public.

Which is why campaigns like This Girl Can Victoria and programs like #HerTribe, are so important. Empowering women to be active whenever, wherever and however they choose – in a supportive environment – is critical.

“From the moment I came into the environment they had created here, I found it especially amazing the variety ofpeople. They had aunties and elders and kids, and I’m a young person, so I just loved the environment they created where everyone was welcome,” said J-Mara McDonald.

Marayne Muller sums it up perfectly, “I thought I can’t get involved because everyone was better than me. But I guess, when you have amazing people around you – and women – that’s when we can start breaking that down.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s #WeCan18 Health : #NAIDOCWEEK #BecauseOfHerWeCan @ABSStats Report Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are becoming empowered through education while embracing their cultural heritage.

 “As mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women continue to play a pivotal role in leading and supporting communities, providing support for those around them and guiding the next generation and this is celebrated with the 2018 NAIDOC week theme: Because of her, we can!

Increasing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are becoming empowered through education while embracing their cultural heritage. They strengthen and support their communities, and provide a stimulating environment for the next generation of children.

In 2014–15, there were 231,100 women in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population aged 15 years and over “

Extracts from ABS NAIDOC WEEK

Read over 350 Aboriginal Women’s Health articles published by NACCHO over the past 6 years

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In line with this year’s NAIDOC theme, ‘Because of her, we can’, singer songwriter Shellie Morris helps champion the importance of participating in this Survey

Being empowered

 ” In our culture, our mothers, sisters aunties and grandmothers are highly respected and are the key to keeping families and culture strong. Education is giving us women and our communities hope and opportunities to be even stronger.

We dare to dream now “

Fiona Northern Territory

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are increasingly engaging in formal education and are achieving higher academic levels that ever before. In 2014-15, almost half (47%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15 years and over had achieved a Certificate, Diploma or Degree.

This represents a 45% increase from 2008 (up from 33% Figure 1.1)

The proportion of women whose highest (non school) educational attainment was a Certificate doubled between 2002 and 2014 (up from 17%to 34%). Similarly, the proportion of women holding a Diploma level or higher qualification increased from 7% in 2002 to 12% in 2014-15. Engaging in learning can lead to better employment, health and social outcomes, with the transition from education to work often smoother for higher education graduates than those entering the workforce directly from school.

Strengthening community

Providing care and support both within and outside of the household, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women play an enormous role in strengthening social and family networks in the community.

Support to those in need

In 2014-15, three out of ten women (30%) cared for someone in need (with a disability, a long-term health condition or old age). Women in the age group 45-54 years were among the most likely (35%) to have provided care to a person in need. Women living in Remote areas were more likely to provide care than those in other areas (36% compared with 28%, reflecting a combination of factors such as reduced access to services, closer family networks and strong communities relationships.

Additionally, three out of five women (61%) provided support to someone living outside of their household. Almost two thirds (61) of these women lived in a household with dependent children.

Raising the next generation

 ” Because of her, we can’ is a very powerful message, which makes all the stars girls and any Indigenous female feel very proud. It makes you think about who created us, how fare back it goes. They created us, we make the change. We continue to grow and make those who created us proud.”

Kylie Duggan,

Stars Foundation

Raising the next generation

Women are most commonly the main carers for their community’s children and therefore play a key role in a child’s learning pathway. In 2014–15, almost two-thirds (65%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years had a main carer who was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander female. As children grow, the positive experiences they have with their main carer (and other prominent people in their lives) influence development and often lead to better outcomes as they mature into young adults[3].

The vast majority (95%) of children aged 0–14 years, whose main carer was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander female, spent time engaged in informal learning with that carer. Between 2008 and 2014 there were increases in the proportion of women engaging with a child in playgroups, and also those assisting with homework or educational activities (increases of 52% and 17%, respectively).

Time spent with a child taking part in cultural or informal learning activities is an investment in their future, and can boost a child’s confidence academically and socially.

It takes a community to raise a child

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities work together to educate, nurture and support children. In 2014–15, most children (69%) aged 3–14 years, whose main carer was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander female, participated in selected cultural activities in their community. Popular activities included hunting, fishing or gathering local foods (59%), and creating Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander arts or crafts (25%).

Connection to culture

Yesteryear, our grandmother regularly invited women into her house on Coranderrk Aboriginal Station Healesville.
One of the mission management rules was to say prayers in the evening.
Jemima closed the door and pulled the hessian curtains across the window.
The women all spoke in their traditional Aboriginal languages.Today my granddaughter sings in public places our ‘Call to Country’ in our Woiwurrung language.Resistance, resilience and pride prevail – because of her we can.Aunty Joy,
Victoria

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have an important role in passing on knowledge and leading successive generations through their cultural journey. In 2014–15, 85% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women participated in, watched, or attended a cultural event or activity. Three-quarters (75%) of women aged 15 years and over recognised an area as homelands or traditional country and three-fifths of women (63%) identified with clan, tribal or language group.

In 2014–15, most (73%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women either lived on or had access to homelands. Of those with access to homelands, almost half (48%) did so at least once per year. Between 2002 and 2014–15, the proportion of women reporting a connection to homelands has steadily increased (Figure 1.3), suggesting that over time women are increasingly embracing and connecting with their spiritual and cultural heritage.