NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Drugs : #AMA and #Menzies say Cannabis replacing petrol sniffing as community drug of choice

screen-shot-2014-10-22-at-21934-pm ‘Petrol sniffing rates have dropped by almost 90 per cent in remote Aboriginal communities since the introduction of Opal fuel a decade ago.

But cannabis is becoming an increasing concern, with almost two in three communities citing it as a cause of major problems, including assaults on elderly people.”

Menzies School of Health Research in AMA report

Image Above Gunja and Pregnancy Aboriginal Health

“This year, it is 10 years since low aromatic fuel was rolled out in Central Australia. In those days, there were around 500 people sniffing in the region; it was an epidemic,

“Community leaders from Papunya, the Mt Theo programme and NPY Women’s Council lobbied hard for the fuel to be introduced and they were listened to.

These days there wouldn’t even be 20 people sniffing in the same region. Low aromatic fuel is a community-driven solution supported by governments, retailers and the fuel industry that has worked well and stood the test of time.”

Tristan Ray, from the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service, a regional petrol sniffing prevention programme based in Alice Springs, welcomed the report See NACCHO Previous report

See 10 year anniversary  year event October 27 in Alice Springs

Field workers from the Menzies School of Health Research visited 41 communities in 2011-12 and again in 2013-14 to interview community members about substance abuse and their attitudes to the introduction of low aromatic fuel (LAF).

Download the Report here monitoring-trends-petrol-sniffing-2011-14

They found that the number of people sniffing petrol had fallen by almost 30 per cent – from 289 to 204 – over that period.

Comparable data from 2005-06 for 17 of the survey communities showed an 88 per cent fall in sniffing rates.

bopa

“The key conclusion of the study is that the introduction and use of LAP on a regional basis is associated with a continuing decline in numbers of young people in remote communities sniffing petrol,” the researchers said.

“In addition to an overall decrease in the prevalence of sniffing, people who do sniff tend to do so less frequently, which suggest that less harm is being caused by petrol sniffing in Australia’s remote and rural Indigenous communities than previously.”

LAF, originally known by the brand name Opal, was introduced in 2005 to combat sniffing.

In the majority of communities surveyed, its introduction was widely supported.

petrolsniffingmajorareas

One elderly woman told the field workers: “Opal fuel? Everyone stopped because of that. It’s really good.”

In some communities, however, interviewees expressed frustrations about the continuing availability of regular unleaded fuel at nearby, accessible outlets, and concerns about the perceived adverse impact of LAP on engines, particularly small engines such as outboard motors, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and whipper snippers.

The researchers found that in many communities, sniffing had been overtaken by alcohol and cannabis as troubling issues.

In just over half of the communities visited, alcohol abuse was seen as a major concern, and was associated with grog-running, binge drinking, violence, and deaths.

But 27 of the 41 communities – 65.9 per cent – cited cannabis as a cause of major problems, including drug-induced psychoses, fighting over scarce supplies, and assaults on old people to get money to buy cannabis.

In a similar study in 2007-08, concerns about cannabis were raised in just three out of the 31 communities studied.

But the researchers said that did not mean that people were switching from sniffing to cannabis and alcohol.

“The evidence regarding drug substitution was equivocal,” they said.

“In around one in three communities, field workers were told that the decline in petrol sniffing appeared to have led to an increase in use of cannabis, alcohol, and/or other drugs.

“A similar proportion reported hearing no evidence of such substitution.

“In some cases, growth in cannabis use preceded the decline in petrol sniffing.

“In general, use of alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs appeared to be a product of a mix of social, cultural, and economic factors, rather than any single cause.”

The Monitoring trends in the prevalence of petrol sniffing in selected Australian Aboriginal communities 2011-14  can be found at http://www.dpmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/monitoring-trends-petrol-sniffing-2011-14.pdf.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #suicideprevention : #ABS Causes of death report released

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” In any other country, in any other part of the world these statistics would be a cause of national shame and soul searching,

“And quite frankly, if these numbers applied to any group of non-indigenous kids in Sydney or Melbourne, there would be pages of newspaper print and no amount of money, resources or political effort spared to address the issue.

It’s time there was a full Royal Commission into failings in the system that are driving so many people in our communities to such levels of despair that suicide is the only answer; and into what systemic changes we need to put in place to reverse such appalling statistics.”

Matthew Cooke NACCHO Chair Previous Press Release

” Youth suicide is a damning portrayal of the increasing sense of hopelessness – nearly 1 in 3 of the nation’s child suicides are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children despite where overall Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise 1 in 17 of the Australian suicide toll.

The sense of hopelessness for a significant proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a national disgrace, an abomination.”

Gerry Georgatos, Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights

Download the Data here

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“We know support for people at risk of suicide is improved when evidence based, carefully planned and personalised approaches are delivered in local communities, timely follow up of people who have self harmed or attempted suicide is also vital.

“Importantly too, services need to be able to readily adapt to reduce suicide amongst the highest risk groups, including people living in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

Suicide, according to 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistics data, has continued on an upward trend and is at the highest rate in ten years.”

Co chair Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention
Sharon Jones from Relationships Australia Tasmania
” The release of statistics showing suicide is again the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44 is a stark reminder of the need for a coordinated effort to reduced suicide in our communities. According to the ABS, 3,027 Australians died by suicide in 2015 – a 5.4 per cent increase from the previous year.
 
This is 3,027 too many.
 
Sadly, suicide continues to disproportionately impact indigenous communities, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people twice more likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the 15-17 age-group had a suicide rate more than five times higher than their non-Indigenous peers. This is heartbreaking.”
Catherine King MP Opposition Health spokesperson
LEADING CAUSES OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER DEATH

         AUSTRALIA’S LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH, 2015

Measures of mortality relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are key inputs into the Closing the Gap strategy, led by the Council Of Australian Governments (COAG). This is a government partnership where work is undertaken with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Mortality data enables measurement of progress towards key Closing the Gap targets.

Analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths included in this section refers only to those that occurred in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Data for Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory are excluded in line with national reporting guidelines (for information on issues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification, see Explanatory Notes 56-66).

In 2015, the standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons was almost double that of non-Indigenous Australians (999.9 compared with 578.8 deaths per 100,000 people respectively). There were also significant differences in the leading causes of death. Causes including Intentional self-harm (X60-X84), Cirrhosis and other liver diseases (K70-K76) and Land transport accidents (V01-V89) feature prominently among leading causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths. Diabetes is the second leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but is ranked sixth for all Australians. In 2015 diabetes deaths occurred among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a rate 4.7 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.

Key preliminary suicide data include:

  • In 2015, preliminary data showed 3,027 total suicide deaths (age-specific rate of 12.7 per 100,000); 2,292 males (19.4 per 100,000) and 735 females (6.2 per 100,000). There were 2,864 deaths in 2014 (12.2 per 100,000)
  • The highest age-specific suicide rate for males was observed in the 85+ age-group (39.3 per 100,000) with 68 deaths
  • However, there were 1,160 suicide deaths in males aged 30-54, with ages 40-54 all recording an age-specific rate of 30.9 per 100,000 – compared to the overall male rate of 19.4 per 100,000
  • The lowest age-specific suicide rate for males was in the 0-14 age-group 6 deaths (0.3 per 100,000) and the 15-19 age-group 89 deaths (11.8 per 100,000)
  • The highest age-specific suicide rate for females was observed in the 45-49 age-group (82 deaths; 10.4 per 100,000). The lowest age-specific suicide rate for females was observed in the 0-14 age-group with 8 deaths (0.4 per 100,000), followed by the 65-69, 60-64 and 75-79 age-groups (4.5, 5.4 and 5.4 per 100,000 respectively). The 15-19 female age-group rate rose from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2014 (38 deaths) to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2015 (56 deaths)
  • Consistently over the past 10 years, the number of suicide deaths has been approximately three times higher in the male population, than in the female. In 2015, 75.6% of suicide deaths were male
  • Of all deaths in 2015, 1.9% was attributed to suicide. The proportion of total deaths attributed to suicide, was higher in males (2.8%) than females (0.9%).

New suicide prevention advisory group

28 September 2016

This October sees the second meeting of the new Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention.

Established in response to a request in December 2015 by federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, the group provides advice, expertise and strategic support for suicide prevention policy across Australia by identifying priorities and promoting action.

In keeping with the National Mental Health Commission’s commitment to the ideal of nothing about us without us, membership includes people with a lived experience of mental ill health.

The nationally representative group is co chaired by Sharon Jones from Relationships Australia Tasmania and Lucy Brogden, commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission.

“We know support for people at risk of suicide is improved when evidence based, carefully planned and personalised approaches are delivered in local communities,” Sharon Jones said.

“Timely follow up of people who have self harmed or attempted suicide is also vital.

“Importantly too, services need to be able to readily adapt to reduce suicide amongst the highest risk groups, including people living in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

Suicide, according to 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistics data, has continued on an upward trend and is at the highest rate in ten years. It was the leading cause of death in people aged 1534 years and the suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is double that of the nonindigenous population.

Mrs Brogden said: “The Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention is committed to arresting this trend. Our mission is to provide evidence based advice on suicide and self harm issues to the government and community.

“The group has a strategic role to monitor and evaluate the outcome of the Commonwealth’s significant investment in the 12 suicide prevention trial sites across Australia.

“As appropriate, the advisory group will assist primary health networks, PHNs, as they develop their own systematic approaches to community based suicide prevention.

“We believe a coordinated approach across sectors including health, community services, housing, employment and education is needed to create a national infrastructure and leadership on suicide prevention to government and the community.

“We understand that communities have an important role to play in suicide prevention. Working with the ABS and other interested groups who collect and analyse data is a critical to strong and effective suicide prevention strategies,” she said.

The Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention held its inaugural meeting in May 2016.

The Australian suicide toll will increase each year for many years to come

Gerry Georgatos, Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights
During the last five years I have accurately estimated the annual suicide toll and last year predicted that the 2015 toll would exceed 3,000 suicides. It will be higher for 2016.
 
I accurately estimated the Aboriginal and Torres Islander suicide toll for each of the last five years and again it will be higher for 2016.
 
There is no authentic response to the suicides crises – it is long overdue that a Royal Commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides is established. Similarly, a central body should be established to authenticate the ways forward, an Australian Commission into Suicide Prevention and Wellbeing.
It is important to establish such bodies if what we know works is to be further invested in, if what does not work is ceased, if what makes things worse is put to an end, if the inauthentic and carpetbaggers are weeded out, if disaggregation into high risk groups is identified and the tailor made sponsored.  
 
The conversations that Australia should be having are not being sponsored.
 
Australia’s official suicide toll reached 3,027 – a harrowing toll, more than double the combined total of Australian military deaths, homicides and the road toll. But the grim reality is that thousands more Australians suicided but because of under-reporting issues have not been classified as suicides. The accumulation of stressors is increasing and an increasing sense of hopelessness is debilitating more Australians to despair.
Similarly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders suicides will continue to increase at rates that should have been unimaginable.
 
However migrants are lost in translation, they account for more than one in four of the Australian suicide toll and we have to disaggregate to the high risk population groups so we leave no-one behind.
 
Generalised counselling is not the way forward and indeed tailor made counselling, education and psychosocial support are needed. The medicating of people is at record levels but more people than ever are victim to disordered thinking, high end depressions, a constancy of traumas, victim to aggressive complex traumas and more Australians than ever before attempting suicide.
 
Youth suicide is a damning portrayal of the increasing sense of hopelessness – nearly 1 in 3 of the nation’s child suicides are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children despite where overall Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise 1 in 17 of the Australian suicide toll. The sense of hopelessness for a significant proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a national disgrace, an abomination.
 
The answers do not rest with more medications or with a focus on ‘resilience’. ‘Resilience’ needs to be coupled with hope. Resilience in effect asks people to adjust their behaviour but how far and for how long without any hope on the horizon? The answers are found in improving the lot of others, with improving wellbeing, with the psychosocial uplift into hope, in an education that provides the dawn of new meanings and understandings, with understanding that traumas as various, unique, and with disaggregating to the high risk population groups but also to the high risk categorical groups, which include in order of highest risk; individuals who as children were removed from their biological families, the houseless/homeless, unaddressed childhood trauma, former inmates, victims of sexual abuse.

Peak body calls for Australia to match suicide prevention efforts and investment to magnitude of public health problem

 Suicide is again the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44, demonstrating the need for greater national effort on suicide prevention. The report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that 3,027 Australians died by suicide in 2015. This is an 5.4% increase from the previously reported 2014 figure of 2,864.

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) Chief Executive Sue Murray says:

“First and foremost I acknowledge the human lives lost by suicide and the pain suicide brings to our lives. Recent research tells us that hundreds of Australians are impacted by each suicide death. Today’s data release is a heartbreaking reminder of why Australia must match its prevention efforts and investment to the magnitude of the public health problem we face.”

“We are acutely aware that there is a continuing trend of increasing suicide rates among women, particularly young women, and a concerning shift to more violent means. Significant reforms are underway to improve regional responses to suicide.

We will maintain vigilance and work closely with key partners including Federal and State/Territory governments, the National Mental Health Commission and the Primary Health Networks to ensure resources are allocated where and when they are needed.”

National Coalition for Suicide Prevention Chairman Mathew Tukaki agrees and calls for focus in these unsettling times, “This year we have seen unprecedented bipartisan support for major mental health and suicide prevention reforms. The information released today tells us that our exposure to and the impact of suicide is on the rise.

We must focus on implementing the promised reforms, building workforce capacity and prioritising community driven suicide prevention supported by national leadership. We must hold our focus in order to make the deep systemic and social changes needed.”

The release of 2015 data has occurred much earlier than the usual March release.

The ABS has improved internal processes to bring the release forward and feel confident that they are able to maintain the high quality of the data while providing earlier access to this important public health information.

Key national 24/7 crisis support services include:

Key national youth support services include:

 

For further information or advice, please visit the Mindframe website or contact:

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Welfare debate : Health sector urged to step up and engage with welfare reform debate

doctor

 ” Welfare reform will also have implications for Close the Gap and the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.

Like other disadvantaged Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a higher reliance upon welfare services.

As a result any welfare reforms will have a greater proportional impact, requiring a holistic approach to safeguard against compounding further disadvantage.

Health leaders must understand the impact that these reforms may have in exacerbating an already complex issue.

Prevention and early intervention is another area where health and welfare policy converge. Both sectors can benefit from better ‘joined up’ policy in this area “

Authors

Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Association of Australia & President, World Federation of Public Health Associations

Frank Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Australia Leanne Wells, Chief Executive Officer, Consumers Health Forum

Changes to welfare will have implications for the public health system and health leaders have a responsibility to consider and advocate for an equitable, sustainable and forward-thinking approach to these reforms.

We call on health leaders to contribute to the debate by:

  • identifying and highlighting the implications for the health system and individuals;
  • engaging with government and the welfare system as they develop policy;
  • contributing evidence-based responses to policy debate;
  • arguing for focus on equitability, sustainability and social justice;
  • making recommendations to improve positive health outcomes and mitigate negative outcomes.

Originally published in Croakey

Minister for Social Services Christian Porter recently announced a series of radical reforms to the current welfare payments system.

Based on research commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Coalition Government is seeking to reduce long-term welfare dependency in specific target groups and to introduce pilot schemes that change the way welfare recipients access their benefits.

It’s pleasing to see policy being informed by data and evidence, but will there be consequences for the health system? Should health sector leaders engage in this debate?

We argue they should – as reforms to the welfare payments system have dramatic implications for health.

Health sector leaders need to be a part of the national conversation from the start to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to optimise health outcomes and avoid unintended consequences that reduce equity.

Welfare support for disadvantaged Australians is necessary to ensure social and economic welfare and to minimise poverty.

Welfare reform, by its definition, targets those of lower-socioeconomic status predominantly and disproportionately. This in turn can have a negative impact upon the social determinants of health for these groups, resulting in poorer health outcomes.

Any efforts to address long-term disadvantage and to support long-term planning are worthy of consideration, but reforms should not be based on punitive measures.

Changes to the way we allocate welfare must acknowledge that equitable access to affordable services and adequate income for safe housing and healthy food are crucial drivers of health outcomes and those that are most vulnerable are also at the highest risk of being disadvantaged.

Health leaders must not lose sight of the flow-on effects that stem from changes to the welfare system. It is vital that we consider the impact of reform on a wider range of outcomes such as mental health.

Minister Porter flagged the possibility of imposing strict conditions on welfare recipients, for example in relation to drug and alcohol abuse. As the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s recently released Healthy Communities mental health report notes, drug and alcohol use was the leading cause of mental health-related hospitalisations in 2013-14.

Changes to welfare entitlements based on health-related issues such as drug and alcohol use will undoubtedly have implications for the health and well-being of individuals, as well as the health system. Health leaders need to take an active role in the discussion.

It is well known that the pathways children start on can have a lifelong impact. If we can tackle developmental problems in childhood, we can arrest health and social problems such as educational failure, poor mental health, substance abuse, alienation and unemployment.

A comprehensive, nationally-spearheaded early years strategy should be in the mix and central to a ‘whole of system’ contemporary welfare policy.

As the welfare system undergoes a transformation in an effort to reduce costs and improve rates of employment, it is vital that the health sector ensure it engages proactively in the debate.

Changes to welfare will have implications for the public health system and health leaders have a responsibility to consider and advocate for an equitable, sustainable and forward-thinking approach to these reforms.

 

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NACCHO #SNAICC News : It is the responsibility of the Government to not widen the extreme gap in disadvantage Aboriginal children

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” I urge the Senate Committee – and all Senators – to think through the realities of how this package would work in very diverse communities across Australia, and particularly how it would meet the developmental needs of the children that require our support most.

What looks workable in the Parliament Halls of Canberra is very far from the day-day realities for our people.

“It is the responsibility of the Government to not widen the extreme gap in disadvantage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children currently experience.

How Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children fare will be a litmus test for the Jobs for Families Child Care Package. Now is the time to ensure we have the details right.”

SNAICC Deputy Chairperson Geraldine Atkinson

Picture SNAICC Social Justice and Human Rights

Over 166 NACCHO Health Articles about Aboriginal children

Also read : Health sector urged to step up and engage with welfare reform debate and processes Editor: Melissa Sweet Author: Alison Verhoeven, Michael Moore, Frank Quinlan, Pat Turner and Leanne Wells

kids

SNAICC – National Voice for our Children has lodged a second submission to the Senate Committee considering the Jobs for Families Child Care Package, following the first enquiry in February this year.

This submission again outlines several concerns with the bill in its current state, recommending several changes to ensure the safety and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is not compromised.

As per SNAICC’s previous submission, which was tendered alongside significant research by Deloitte Access Economics that examined the potential impacts the Bill would have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, this submission again highlights the ways in which the Jobs for Families Child Care Package will lead to a systemic failure of early childhood outcomes for a generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

All modelling presented to the government has shown the new system will cause a decrease in participation for our children, particularly those experiencing vulnerability, and that the services set up to serve their unique needs may face closure.

Of significant concern to SNAICC are two key elements of the Jobs for Families Child Care Package:

  • The Budget Based Funding (BBF) Program – the specific program designed for areas where a user-pays model is not viable – will be abolished. 80% of services in this program that support over 19,000 children are for Indigenous children.
  • Access to subsidised early childhood education and care (ECEC) services will be halved for children whose families earn less than around $65,000 per annum (which applies to an estimated 78% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children participating in the BBF Program) and who don’t meet the activity test.

Additionally there is also a call for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific program within the Child Care Safety Net and an attuned funding model for other rural and remote services, as well as calls for provision of at least two full days (or 20 hours) of subsidised quality early learning to all children to support their development, regardless of their parents’ activities.

This submission also details key recommendations designed to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are not pushed deeper into an entrenched cycle of inter-generational disadvantage through lack of access to quality early years support services.

Strong and enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed, managed and delivered early childhood services not only provide high quality early childhood services to Indigenous children, but also support vulnerable families to access an array of integrated services.

By threatening the viability of these services, the Jobs for Families Child Care Package shows a fundamental disconnect from the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.

 

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

help  ” Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take their own lives at a rate five times that of other Australians,”

“This is devastating Aboriginal communities and we must do everything in our power to try to save these young lives.

If we can train up young people and others in our communities to recognise and react to the warning signs in their peers, there is a good chance we can support those who are suffering before they reach the point of no return.

This is a good initiative which empowers communities to be part of the solution.’

Matthew Cooke NACCHO Chair Press Release May 2016

Understanding how many people in each community need hospital treatment for mental health conditions, helps to identify local areas that may require more ACCHO services and support.”

NACCHO Mental Health Articles 117 in total

NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles 87 in total

“Are people living in rural and remote Australia more likely to be hospitalised for mental health conditions than their city counterparts?

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013-2014, recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gives some insight into this issue.

The report looks at hospitalisations for five mental health conditions: schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders and dementia as well as drug and alcohol use and intentional self-harm.”

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013–14, looks at local-level variation in populations across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and 330 smaller local areas.

Download the report aihw_hc_report_mental_health_september_2016

‘Overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions varied across PHN areas, from 627 per 100,000 people in the ACT to 1,267 per 100,000 in North Coast NSW. Overall, regional PHN areas had higher rates of hospitalisations than city-based PHNs,’ said AIHW spokesperson Michael Frost.

The disparity between regional and metropolitan PHN areas was more pronounced for hospitalisations related to intentional self-harm.

‘Across all PHN areas, rates ranged from 83 per 100,000 people in Eastern Melbourne PHN area to 240 per 100,000 in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast – a three-fold variation,’ Mr Frost said.

The report also looks at hospitalisations for six sub-categories of mental health: drug and alcohol use, schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders, and dementia. Hospitalisations for these sub-categories varied across PHN areas.

For the 330 smaller local areas, the report examined variation in overnight mental health hospitalisations within and across socioeconomic and remoteness areas. It found significant disparities – up to four-fold variation – when comparing similar local areas.

The report will be also available on the MyHealthyCommunities website (http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au).

The website is now managed by the AIHW, following the transfer of functions from the former National Health Performance Authority in June.

Updated information is also available on the website for a range of Medicare Benefits Schedule statistics in 2014–15, and life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths’

This report focuses on the mental health of populations in small areas across Australia. It aims to assist Primary Health Networks and others in making informed decisions about resources required in providing effective primary mental health care.

The report finds:

  • In 2013–14 across the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas that cover Australia, the age-standardised rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations was twice as high in some PHN areas compared to others. Across more than 300 smaller local areas called SA3s, the rates were almost six times higher in some local areas compared to others. Rates of hospitalisation include admissions to both public and private hospitals
  • The most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was from drug and alcohol use (38,636 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 299,829 bed days nationally. In 2013–14 the age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than three-fold, from 87 admissions per 100,000 people (in North Western Melbourne PHN area) to 275 per 100,000 people (in Western Queensland PHN area)
  • The second most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was schizophrenia and delusional disorders (36,562 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 813,514 bed days nationally – the most bed days for any of the groups of conditions in the report. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than two-fold, from 102 admissions per 100,000 people (in Australian Capital Territory PHN area) to 234 per 100,000 people (in North Coast NSW PHN area)
  • In 2013–14, there were 33,956 hospital admissions (including overnight and same-day) for intentional self-harm, which accounted for 184,332 bed days nationally. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm varied from 83 per 100,000 people (in Eastern Melbourne PHN area) to 240 per 100,000 people (in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area).

Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

Overall, overnight hospitalisation rates were 13 per cent higher in rural and remote areas (971 hospitalisations per 100 000 population) as compared to metropolitan areas (857 per 100 000 population).

While data indicates significant difference in the rates of hospitalisation in rural and remote Australia compared with major centres, it also reveals significant variation within regions – the rates of hospitalisation in some towns can be almost 8 times higher than for other towns of the same remoteness.

The NSW north coast had the lowest overall rate of overnight hospitalisations for health conditions. For drug and alcohol hospitalisations, western Queensland had the highest rates. Country South Australia had the highest hospitalisation rate for depressive episodes. Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast had the highest hospitalisation rate for intentional self-harm.

The very large variations in mental illness hospitalisation within cities, within rural Australia and within remote communities underlies the importance of targeting programs to specific towns and communities, rather than our current approach of treating all rural areas and all remote areas as if they have the same needs.

The variation in rates could be due to a number of factors including differences in the prevalence in mental illness, variable access to mental health services and programs or even differences in hospital admissions processes in rural and remote hospitals.

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia.

The data will be invaluable to funders and health services in identifying and targeting areas of poor health to ensure that efforts and resources are targeted to the areas of greatest need.

The National Rural Health Alliance looks forward to working with the Rural Health Commissioner, when they are appointed, to address such poor health outcomes within rural and remote Australian communities.

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NACCHO #fightstroke Aboriginal Health News : New smartphone APP to treat atrial fibrillation and prevent strokes.”

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“A lot of the time, you’ll get a machine that has a lot of connections and you’re there for about 10 to 15 minutes setting up, whereas the iECG is in a comfortable position in your hands and it’s just two fingers on the back of a probe on the back on a phone,” he said.

“People are quite happy to do it, they’re quite surprised that a screening tool can be so small and so mobile.”

At the heart of the research is community consultation.

The programs and rollout have been designed with local people on the ground because they are more in touch with what the community needed.”

Daniel Kelly is an Aboriginal Health Education Officer at the hospital in Brewarrina in north-west NSW and said it was less daunting for patients who were sometimes scared of hospitals

NACCHO Articles about strokes and recovery

A new smartphone app could revolutionise the way health care is delivered in the outback Brooke Boney from ABCNews Reports

The iECG replaces a traditional ECG machine to detect atrial fibrillation, which is responsible for one third of all strokes in Australia.

A pilot at the University of Sydney is trialling the technology in far western New South Wales to create the first snapshot of atrial fibrillation rates in Aboriginal people.

One of the benefits is that it can be carried out by local healthcare workers with minimal training and effort.

‘Oh go away, it’s only a phone’

One of the Aboriginal health officers, Helen Ferguson, said it was so easy, some of the patients thought they were joking.

The smartphone app iECG

“It was so funny because when we first got the little machine we would say to the people, ‘now we’ve just come to have a little yarn to you, this is a machine that we’ve got and it’s like a little ECG machine and instead of having all the cords on and it’ll give you a reading of either normal or AF [atrial fibrillation]’,”she said.

“And then they’d say ‘oh go away, it’s only a phone’, and they thought we were pretending.”

The patient places their fingers on connectors and holds on for 30 seconds.

The file is processed by an app on the phone which gives results almost immediately.

Once an abnormality is picked up, the patient is referred to a specialist in Sydney or they can book an appointment with visiting specialists who come to the area about once a month.

One of those specialists, Dr John Watson, is a leading neurologist and said that stroke, as a result of atrial fibrillation, could be among the most severe — but it can also be easily treated with anti-coagulant medications.

“A lot of the time, the stroke can be the presenting feature of the atrial fibrillation,” he said.

“One of the worst things is to see someone who’s just had a stroke to find out that they are in atrial fibrillation and that was the cause of the stroke, and then to hear that the chance to detect it earlier was missed or ignored or it was detected and not enough was done to try to treat the atrial fibrillation and prevent the stroke.”

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More info about F.A.S.T. and Stroke Foundation HELP

Telehealth to transform outback care

It is the beginning of a new way of treating people in remote and inaccessible areas.

As a concept, telehealth has been around for a while but new technology is helping to push that along.

Dr Watson said new equipment, which included satellite technology and medical instruments, could send information back to specialists in real time — meaning consultations could take place more frequently and for less cost.

“We may have a cardiologist in Sydney who says, ‘every Thursday morning, for three hours, I’m free, I’m available to help run a clinic anywhere else in the country’,” he said.

Treating Indigenous people in communities rather than sending people to cities for treatment, where possible, could be more successful and more cost effective.

Dr Susannah Tobin  said culturally appropriate health care was not just important, but vital if patients were to see the benefits.

“If we can deliver them where they feel comfortable … then they’re more likely to be able to take advantage of it and to see the benefit,” she said.

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NACCHO #Health Press Release : #AIHW reveals the extent of the health crisis facing Aboriginal communities

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“In a wealthy country such as Australia, I am appalled by the unacceptable gap in the health of Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people.  More than one-third (37%) of the diseases or illness experienced by Aboriginal people are preventable.

“We need to act before another generation of young Aboriginal people have to live with avoidable diseases and die far too young.

If we are serious about turning this crisis around we need sustained investment in evidence-based programs for Aboriginal people, by Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal community controlled health services –  a model we know works.

Matthew Cooke Chair of NACCHO pictured above with Vice Chair Sandy Davies 

New figures show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience ill health at more than double that of non-Indigenous Australians.

The peak Aboriginal health organisation, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) said the report highlights the urgent need for a rethink on actions to address the already known and growing crisis in Aboriginal health.

The report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released today shows Aboriginal Australians experience a burden of disease at 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.

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Download the report aihw-australian-burden-of-disease-study

NACCHO Chair, Matthew Cooke, said it is the first ever in-depth study of the scale of disease in Indigenous communities.

See AIHW Press Release

“It’s given us a clearer picture of the real impact for Aboriginal communities of poor health in terms of years of health lives lost, quality of life and wellbeing and what the risks factors really are,” Mr Cooke said.

“It’s shown that we still have a massive challenge to address the overwhelming level of non-fatal burden in mental health in particular – which makes up 43 per cent of non-fatal illness in men and 35 per cent of these conditions in women.

The AIHW report found that injuries, including suicide, heart disease and cancer are the biggest causes of death in Aboriginal people. Levels of diabetes and kidney disease are five and seven times higher in Aboriginal people than non-Aboriginal people.

Mr Cooke said the report must trigger a rethink on how health programs are funded and delivered to Aboriginal people.

“The risk factors causing health problems include tobacco use, alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and dietary factors – all of which can be addressed with the right programs on the ground and delivered by the right people.

“All levels of government should urgently act on this evidence; we need to see these findings translated into programs, policies and funding priorities that are proven to work. Too many programs aimed at addressing Aboriginal health are still fragmented, out of touch with local communities, unaffordable or inaccessible.

“If we are serious about turning this crisis around we need sustained investment in evidence-based programs for Aboriginal people, by Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal community controlled health services –  a model we know works.”

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NACCHO #AIHW Aboriginal Health Report released : Significantly higher disease burden for Indigenous Australians—but improvements made

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” While the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains significant, the report shows some improvements among the Indigenous population in recent years.

Between 2003 and 2011, total burden of disease in the Indigenous population fell by 5%, with an 11% reduction in the fatal burden, ”

Dr Al-Yaman from AIHW

A large proportion of the burden is preventable

” Around 37% of the burden of disease in Indigenous Australians was preventable by reducing exposure to the modifiable risk factors included in this study (which does not include the social determinants of health).

The risk factors causing the most burden were tobacco use (12% of the total burden), alcohol use (8%), high body mass (8%), physical inactivity (6%), high blood pressure (5%) and high blood plasma glucose (5%). Dietary factors were also important, together accounting for almost 10% of the total burden.”

From summary see below Part 2

Download the AIHW report here

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Advising the AIHW on the Indigenous component of the Australian Burden of Disease Study was a group of experts and representatives from a range of organisations, including the Australian Government Department of Health, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, jurisdictional health departments, and the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation (NACCHO).

Please Note : NACCHO will be responding to this report shortly

While Indigenous Australians face a substantially higher disease burden than non-Indigenous Australians, improvements have been seen, with more possible, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011, analyses the impact of diseases and injuries in terms of the number of years of healthy life lost through living with an illness or injury (the non-fatal burden) and the number of years of life lost through dying prematurely from an illness or injury (the fatal burden).

‘Indigenous Australians experienced a burden of disease that was more than twice that of non-Indigenous Australians,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.

THE HEAVY TOLL OF CHRONIC DISEASE:

* 64 per cent of the total diseases affecting indigenous Australians are chronic diseases

* Those chronic diseases are:

– 19% mental and substance use disorders

– 15% injuries (including suicide)

– 12% cardiovascular diseases

– 9% cancer

– 8% respiratory diseases

* Males are most likely to have cardiovascular disease

* Females have more blood and metabolic disorders

* Infant and congenital conditions are the main cause of disease in infants.

Just over half (53%) of the overall burden was fatal burden, and males accounted for a greater share of the total than females (54% compared with 46%).

While the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains significant, the report shows some improvements among the Indigenous population in recent years.

‘Between 2003 and 2011, total burden of disease in the Indigenous population fell by 5%, with an 11% reduction in the fatal burden,’ Dr Al-Yaman said.

‘However, over the same period, there was a 4% increase in non-fatal burden. This suggests a shift from dying prematurely to living longer with disease.’

The non-Indigenous population experienced a 16% decrease in fatal burden and a 4% decrease in non-fatal burden over this period.

The largest reduction in the Indigenous rate of total disease burden was for cardiovascular diseases. There were also falls in the burden caused by high blood pressure, physical inactivity and high cholesterol.

The Northern Territory and Western Australia had higher rates of Indigenous burden of disease than New South Wales and Queensland (the 4 jurisdictions for which estimates are reported). Large inequalities were also seen across remoteness areas, with Remote and Very remote areas having higher rates of disease burden than non-remote areas.

The report shows that a significant portion of the overall disease burden was preventable.

‘By reducing risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity and poor diet, over one-third of the overall burden for Indigenous Australians could be avoided,’ Dr Al-Yaman said.

These risk factors—and the associated health conditions—are profiled in the AIHW’s most recent biennial health report, Australia’s health 2016.

Summary

This report presents the results of the Indigenous component of the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011. It provides estimates of the total, non-fatal and fatal burden of disease and injuries for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population for 2011 and 2003 using the DALY (disability-adjusted life years) measure. It also provides estimates of the burden attributable to 29 risk factors, and estimates of the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The results presented here are for the year 2011 unless otherwise stated. For any comparisons between populations or years, adjustments have been made where necessary to account for differences in population size and age structure.

Indigenous Australians experience a burden of disease that is 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians

There were 284 years lost due to premature death or living with illness for every 1,000 Indigenous people in Australia in 2011, equivalent to 190,227 DALY. Indigenous Australians experienced a burden of disease that was 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. Rates of fatal and non-fatal burden for Indigenous Australians were 2.7 and 2.0 times those for non-Indigenous Australians, respectively.

Most of the burden is from chronic diseases and injuries

Chronic diseases as a group accounted for almost two-thirds (64%) of the total disease burden. The disease group causing the most burden among Indigenous Australians was mental & substance use disorders (19% of the total). This group includes conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, alcohol use disorders, drug use disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Other major contributors to the total burden were injuries (which includes suicide) (15%), cardiovascular diseases (12%), cancer (9%), respiratory diseases (8%) and musculoskeletal conditions (7%). Disease groups varied in their contribution to the fatal and non-fatal burden.

Coronary heart disease (CHD), suicide & self-inflicted injuries, anxiety disorders, alcohol use disorders and diabetes were the leading specific diseases, together contributing 24% of the total burden.

These are also the main causes of the gap in disease burden

Chronic diseases were responsible for more than two-thirds (70%) of the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This group includes conditions such as cardiovascular diseases (19% of the gap), mental & substance use disorders (14%), cancer (10%), chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes, vision loss, hearing loss and certain respiratory, musculoskeletal, neurological and congenital disorders.

Injuries were responsible for 14% of the overall gap (15% of the gap in fatal burden and 11% of the gap in non-fatal burden). Indigenous Australians experienced rates of disease burden due to injuries 3 times those for non-Indigenous Australians.

Disease burden differs across state/territory, remoteness and socioeconomic groups

The Northern Territory and Western Australia had higher rates of Indigenous burden of disease than New South Wales and Queensland (the 4 jurisdictions for which estimates are reported). In Western Australia, Indigenous Australians experienced rates of disease burden 2.8 times those for non-Indigenous Australians.

Large inequalities were also evident across remoteness areas, with Remote and Very remote areas having higher rates of disease burden than non-remote areas. Burden of disease rates were highest in areas where the Indigenous population was most socioeconomically disadvantaged and fell with decreasing level of disadvantage.

There has been a decrease in the fatal burden since 2003

There was a 5% reduction in the rate of total burden in the Indigenous population between 2003 and 2011 (equivalent to 25 DALY per 1,000 people). Most of this improvement came from decreases in the rate of fatal burden (11%), by preventing or delaying deaths from particular diseases or injuries. Large reductions were evident in rates of fatal burden due to cardiovascular diseases.

There was, however, a 4% increase in the rate of non-fatal burden for Indigenous Australians between 2003 and 2011 (equivalent to 7 YLD per 1,000 people). This was mainly due to increases in people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, anxiety and depressive disorders, and asthma; and from the non-fatal effects of injuries such as falls.

A large proportion of the burden is preventable

Around 37% of the burden of disease in Indigenous Australians was preventable by reducing exposure to the modifiable risk factors included in this study (which does not include the social determinants of health). The risk factors causing the most burden were tobacco use (12% of the total burden), alcohol use (8%), high body mass (8%), physical inactivity (6%), high blood pressure (5%) and high blood plasma glucose (5%). Dietary factors were also important, together accounting for almost 10% of the total burden.

Together, the 29 risk factors included in the study accounted for half (51%) of the gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Tobacco use was the biggest contributor to this, accounting for almost one-quarter (23%) of the overall gap.

NACCHO Aboriginal health News : Murri Carnival promotes Deadly Choices #ACCHO health messages

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But importantly, there’s plenty of healthy food around the place and I think the big thing is we can all get together and meet and see people we haven’t seen for a long time.

“To have something like this and promote important health messages at the Murri Carnival is great, as we promote the benefits of living healthy”.

League legend Steve Renouf told NITV’s League Nation Live

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Some boys from Murri United under 15’s team finished doing a Tobacco Survey! Thanks boys

The 2016 Murri Carnival will showcase Queensland Indigenous Rugby League at its best, but also provide an important health message to all involved.

The Murri Carnival is not just about Rugby League, with plenty of events happening away from the footy field.

League legend Steve Renouf is an ambassador for the carnival and will have two of his sons participating in the junior tournament.

Whilst the Queensland and Australian star is happy to play a part in the Rugby League showcase, he’s also thrilled to be making an impact on the health of many Indigenous Australians.

 Murri Rugby

Organisers have ensured that the event is a drug, smoke, alcohol and sugar free carnival as well as providing free health checks, with plenty of fun stuff as well for the younger at heart.

“There’s a lot of fun stuff happening around the ground with rides and that for the kids,” Renouf told NITV’s League Nation Live.

The Murri Carnival is already underway, but the Senior Men’s and Women’s competitions begin on Wednesday at Redcliffe Oval in Queensland.

Unlike the New South Wales equivalent, the Murri Carnival isn’t a knockout tournament, with each team guaranteed three matches.

Renouf says the fact that teams play a pool format gives the Murri Carnival a significant boost over its Koori Knockout rival.

 Murri Rugby

“That’s very important I think when you’ve got guys from all over the state, they don’t want to just play a game and be knocked out, that’s it,” said Renouf.

“There are some very good players amongst those playing and we do have scouts here. Even if you’re not going to be in the team that wins the competition, you still get the opportunity to show your wares.”

NITV will show coverage of the Semi Finals and Final of the Murri Carnival. Check your local guides for more information.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Day at #PHAACDN2016 Intergenerational disadvantage cycle needs to be broken says Donna Ah Chee

 

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 ” There is an urgent need to do more to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage that is affecting many of our children

Congress has developed an integrated model for child and family services that provides a holistic service and program response to this issue within a comprehensive primary health care service.

In addition to making Australia a more equal and fairer society through redistributive policies, including taxation reforms, there is an urgent need to provide key evidence based early childhood programs for disadvantaged children.

This is the “bottom up” pathway to greater individual and collective control, equality and social inclusion,

The Conference is an opportunity to bring attention to proposed strategies key to addressing prevalent health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.”.

 Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation’s (Congress) CEO Ms Donna Ah Chee.

WATCH Interview with Donna Here on NACCHO TV

On the second day of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) 44th Annual and 20th Chronic Diseases Network Conference in Alice Springs, the primary focus is on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and strategies to address the cycle of ill health, chronic conditions and low life expectancy.

“A major priority in the prevention of premature death and chronic disease among Aboriginal people in Australia is the prevention of harm caused by alcohol through adopting effective strategies proven to reduce the levels of dangerous consumption at a population level,” continued Ms Ah Chee.

The latest Australia’s health 2016 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released last week shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are 3.5 times more likely to have diabetes and twice as likely to have coronary heart disease.

Download Report here australias-health-2016

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples living in remote and low socioeconomic areas have an even greater chance of developing a chronic disease and dying from it.

This Conference addresses the link between public health and chronic conditions while considering the social determinants of health. Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are being affected by these determinants and the cycle needs to stop,” said PHAA CEO Michael Moore.

“Prevention initiatives to deter tobacco and alcohol use and improve nutrition and physical activity need to be implemented to reduce the preventable diseases like type II diabetes in these communities. The cycle needs to be broken for the adults currently managing their symptoms and for their children who have not yet been affected,” said Mr Moore.

Ms Ah Chee says the Conference is an opportunity to bring attention to proposed strategies key to addressing prevalent health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

“So much of the adverse impacts of poverty and other social determinants of health are mediated to children through the care and stimulation they receive in their early years. Many parents struggle to overcome their own health issues and the impact of their own poverty and they need additional support for their children,” said Ms Ah Chee.

“Congress has developed an integrated model for child and family services that provides a holistic service and program response to this issue within a comprehensive primary health care service.

In addition to making Australia a more equal and fairer society through redistributive policies, including taxation reforms, there is an urgent need to provide key evidence based early childhood programs for disadvantaged children. This is the “bottom up” pathway to greater individual and collective control, equality and social inclusion,” said Ms Ah Chee.

The joint PHAA 44th Annual Conference and 20th Chronic Diseases Network Conference will be held from 18 – 21 September 2016 in Alice Springs, NT. The theme is Protection, Prevention, Promotion, Healthy Futures: Chronic Conditions and Public Health. #PHAACDN2016

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