NACCHO Aboriginal #SexyHealth #ATSIHAW : Minister @KenWyattMP launches Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIV Awareness Week

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We have to acknowledge that those with HIV in Indigenous communities may experience additional barriers to health care which relate to stigma, shame and racism. To make real progress and combat the spread of HIV we need to work together,

“We need to eliminate discriminatory and stigmatising behaviour wherever, and whenever, we see it so people can seek the treatment they need without the fear of negative consequences.”

Assistant Minister Ken Wyatt announcing funding of $485,000  at ATSIHAW launch with Pat Turner, James Ward , Mark Saunders pictured below

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Picture above NACCHO CEO Pat Turner launching the new website  http://www.atsihiv.org.au at Parliament House this Morning

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NACCHO Aboriginal #SexyHealth #ATSIHAW : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIV Awareness Week

Article from Page 12 and 13  NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

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Funding to conduct a survey to better understand why young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of blood borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections (STI) was announced today.

The Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley, MP and the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM, MP announced the funding at the launch of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week.

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“While Australia has maintained one of the lowest HIV rates in the world it is still present and we need to do more,” Ms Ley said.

According to the Kirby Institute’s Annual Surveillance Report, the rate of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2015 is more than two times higher than the Australian-born, non-Indigenous population, with rates nearly three times higher for those aged over 35 years.

“While huge inroads have been made to prevent the spread of HIV, we need to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have timely access to scientific advances in treatment and diagnosis, as well as access to best practice management of HIV that is culturally safe,” Ms Ley said.

“This is why the Australian Government will provide funding of $485,000 to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute to conduct a second GOANNA Survey to gain a better understanding of why our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of STI.”

The Australian Government remains committed to providing better public health programs that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through targeted initiatives including Closing the Gap, the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 and the BBV and STIs Strategy.

aids-video Watch video here

Or check out the new website http://www.atsihiv.org.au

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism Media Alert : #FirstNations challenges #OneNation to #defineAboriginal and #FirstContact

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 and on the same day First Contact started its 3 big nights see story 2 below
 
 The views of the former One Nation politician were always going to be controversial but we didn’t know how extreme until now.
“Frankly it (Aboriginal Australia) should have died out like the stone age,”  “Aboriginality is just unnecessary. It’s not really in the best interests of Aboriginal people. It’s not good for Aborigines to remain Aborigines. You just naturally let it die out.”

 David Oldfield says Aboriginal Australia Should Die Out
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David Oldfield Co Founder One Nation clashes with an Aboriginal elder over his views on Aboriginal people and the constitution. Courtesy: SBS/First Contact

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#DefineAboriginal: Pauline Hanson’s ‘no definition to Aboriginal’ comment sparks sharing of racism stories

Indigenous people have shared their personal stories of racism on social media, after One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson said there was no definition of Aboriginal in an interview on the Bolt Report.

From ABC

“What defines an Aboriginal?” Senator Hanson told host Andrew Bolt.

“You know, there’s no definition to an Aboriginal.

“If you marry an Aboriginal, you can be classified as an Aboriginal.

“Or if the community or the elders accept you into that community, you can be defined as an Aboriginal.

“And that’s not good enough, because then if you make a comment about it, well what are you — are you an Aboriginal, or not an Aboriginal?”

FACT

The Federal Government defines an Aboriginal person as someone of Aboriginal descent, who identifies as Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the community in which they live.

Senator Hanson called for a debate into the definition.

“I think the whole lot needs to be opened up, a big debate on this,” she said.

“And to say that you’re humiliated or intimidated, I think that people need to toughen up a bit. I think we’ve all become so precious, we’ve stopped freedom of speech to have a say, to have an opinion.

“I remember when I was a kid, ‘sticks and stones may break your bones’.”

In response to Senator Hanson’s comments, the creator of ABC TV’s Cleverman, an Indigenous Australian superhero series, Ryan Griffen, took to Twitter.

“Another white person telling us what it means to be Aboriginal. It don’t work like that,” he posted.

He then encouraged other Twitter users to share their experiences, using the hashtag #DefineAboriginal.

Check  Twitter some of the responses.

SBS said that the second season of First Contact would be confronting and they weren’t kidding.

Report from NEWS

Six celebrities — talent judge Ian ‘Dicko Dickson’, ex One Nation politician David Oldfield, singer Natalie Imbruglia, comedian Tom Ballard, actor Nicki Wendt and former Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayris — spent 28 days visiting remote Aboriginal communities.

In the first episode, the celebrities went to Kununurra, in the Kimberley, West Australia and then to the tiny community of Bawaka in the Northern Territory.

Here are some of the most shocking moments.

First Contact — Series Two — David Oldfield, Renae Ayris, Ian “Dicko” Dickson, host Ray Martin, Natalie Imbrugla, Nicki Wendt, Tom Ballard.

First Contact — Series Two — David Oldfield, Renae Ayris, Ian “Dicko” Dickson, host Ray Martin, Natalie Imbrugla, Nicki Wendt, Tom Ballard.Source:Supplied

1. Ray Martin Doles Out the Facts

Martin told the celebrities that an Aboriginal woman is 35 times more likely to experience domestic violence than a non-Aboriginal woman. An indigenous person is three times more likely to commit suicide than you (celebrities). The core of the problem is poverty, booze and depression.

2. Natalie Imbruglia Admits To Never Speaking to an Aboriginal person

The London and Los Angeles-based singer songwriter said “I haven’t had a conversation with an Aboriginal person. I could count on one hand the number I’ve seen in the distance on the street.”

Ray Martin and David Oldfield discuss the day's events. Picture: David Dare Parker

Ray Martin and David Oldfield discuss the day’s events. Picture: David Dare ParkerSource:SBS

3. David Oldfield says Aboriginal Australia Should Die Out

The views of the former One Nation politician were always going to be controversial but we didn’t know how extreme until now. “Frankly it (Aboriginal Australia) should have died out like the stone age,” Oldfield says early on. “Aboriginality is just unnecessary. It’s not really in the best interests of Aboriginal people. It’s not good for Aborigines to remain Aborigines. You just naturally let it die out.”

4. Ian “Dicko” Dickson Talks Tough on Booze

Ian “Dicko” Dickson is one of the celebrities in First Contact on SBS. Picture:

In the past, Dickson has admitted to battling the booze but that only seems to have hardened his stance to alcohol problems in some Aboriginal communities.

“If I can do it (stop drinking) anyone can do it,” Dickson says. “Get off your arse and do something if you want to escape your plight.”

5. Nicki Wendt Admits She Has Had Racist Thoughts About Aboriginal People

“I don’t hate them, I don’t love them, but maybe I don’t care or think enough about them,” Wendt admits.

“I don’t connect to that ‘it’s their land and we’ve taken it from them’,” Wendt also says. “That was a long time ago. We need to move on.”

Even more provocative is this statement: “All I know is that if I’m in a mall and there are 30 black guys and me, I’m frightened.”

Later Wendt says: “I floss and brush twice a day without fail. Our hair’s going to be different. We’re going to smell different.

6. Tom Ballard Goes on Sobering-Up Shelter Patrol

In Kununurra, Ballard joins the local patrol service to pick up the drunk and vulnerable and take them to the town’s sobering up shelter. During patrol, Ballard sees a local man, Wayne, passed out in a park. When the patrol team tries to shake Wayne awake and he doesn’t react, Ballard gets emotional, suspecting the worst. “I thought maybe he was dead,” Ballard says.

7. Nicki Wendt is Shell-shocked

Shelter Carer Elaine Johnson tells a dumbstruck Wendt that she lost her mum and dad to alcohol and that her 24-year-old daughter committed suicide earlier this year. Five days later her nephew hung himself and then her brother passed away in his sleep. “You can work here with all of that loss in your life in such a short time and yet you dedicate your time to looking after other people,” Wendt says admiringly. “That is one of the most resilient people I’ve ever met in my life.”

8. Celebrities Hear Harrowing Tales of Suicide

Jennifer Wilson is part of a support group for people affected by suicide. Wilson tells the celebrities about the plague of suicide affecting communities. The vast majority are men under the age of 30. The youngest family member of Wilson’s family to take his life was 11 years old. A young man tells of trying to hang himself.

Comedian Tom Ballard, actor Nicki Wendt, TV personality Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson, singer Natalie Imbruglia, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris and ex-One Nation politician David Oldfield on location in East Arnhem land. Picture: David Dare Parker

Comedian Tom Ballard, actor Nicki Wendt, TV personality Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson, singer Natalie Imbruglia, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris and ex-One Nation politician David Oldfield on location in East Arnhem land. Picture: David Dare ParkerSource:SBS

9. Renae Ayris Admits She is Scared of Aboriginal People

Ayris, who grew up in Perth, says “one time I was spat on and another time someone came up and just completely abused me. It is unforgettable.” Ayris also admitted she didn’t know what the Dreamtime is.

10. David Oldfield Sheds a Tear

When the six celebrities go to Bawaka, they visit the ancestral land of Timmy ‘Djawa’ Burarrwanga. Oldfield gets Burarrwanga off side when he refuses to get painted with red ochre, refuses to go fishing, and argues about Constitutional Recognition. But there is some sign of hope when Burarrwanga took Oldfield to his father’s grave. The pair spoke about their fathers and, according to Burarrwanga, Oldfield began crying.

NACCHO Aboriginal #YourHealth : Have #YourSay on the future of #Digitalhealth

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 ” There’s nothing more important than our health and the health of those we care about.

Putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them can help Australians live healthier, happier and more productive lives. “

From the Your Health Your Say Discussion paper – download here

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How should Australia take advantage of the opportunities that new technologies offer to improve health and care? What do Australians want and expect from a modern healthcare system?

The Australian Digital Health Agency wants to hear from you.

Whether you’re a patient, a member of the public, a healthcare provider, scientist or researcher, entrepreneur or technology innovator.

Tell us what is important to you so that what we do is shaped around what you need.

Now’s the time to have your say about the future of digital health in Australia. Simply follow the prompts to participate in the survey. It will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.


Click here to start the survey now

TAKE THE SURVEY

Latest Digital Health Videos

Monday 21 November 2016: Listen to the national webcast on digital health – then have your say!
More than 650 online viewers tuned it to a national webcast hosted by the Australian Digital Health Agency as part of a national consultation on digital health. More information.

Friday 18 November 2016: Dr Monica Trujillo and starting the conversation on digital health.
Dr Monica Trujillo, Chief Clinical Information Officer for the Australian Digital Health Agency, talks about how putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them can help Australians live healthier, happier and more productive lives. More information.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Report Alert : Distribution of the supply of the clinical health workforce 2014

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 ” This index is used to look at the geographic supply of the clinical health workforce in seven key professions with particular relevance to Indigenous Australians, and to identify areas in Australia that face particular supply challenges.

The professions considered were general practitioners, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists and optometrists. “

Download the Report here

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The poorer health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with that of non-Indigenous Australians, is evident throughout the life course.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies are more likely to be exposed to smoking while in utero, are more likely to be born pre-term and with low birthweight, and are more likely to die before their first birthday than are non-Indigenous babies.

These inequalities continue throughout childhood and adulthood and are evident in indicators such as poor health, lower life expectancy and higher levels of chronic disease (AIHW 2015b).

The factors underpinning these differences are complex and interrelated, and include:

• higher levels of social disadvantage

• greater exposure to environmental risk factors (such as inadequate and overcrowded housing)

• sociocultural and historical factors

• poorer nutrition, higher rates of smoking and risky alcohol consumption

• poorer access to health services.

Access to health services is compounded by the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to live outside cities.

This population distribution is important because distance often poses substantial challenges for workforce recruitment and health service delivery, particularly in areas where populations are widely dispersed or isolated.

Access to health services and health professionals will not on its own eliminate the differences in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

However, having access to appropriate, high-quality and timely health care can help to improve health and wellbeing.

For a start, it improves health literacy and self-management of chronic disease; it also provides links to services within and outside the health system, and improves screening and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.

Thus, the extent to which there are gaps in the geographic distribution of the health workforce in professions with particular relevance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a critical policy issue.

This report looks at the geographic supply of the clinical health workforce in seven key professions with particular relevance to Indigenous Australians—general practitioners (GPs), nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists and optometrists—to identify areas in Australia that face particular supply challenges.

Traditional measures of workforce supply (such as provider-to-population ratios) have shortcomings in that they do not take into account differences between areas in terms of their geographic size, location of service providers, and the location of populations across areas. These factors directly affect the capacity of providers to supply services, and the ability of the population to access those services.

To overcome these issues, a new Geographically-adjusted Index of Relative Supply (GIRS) was developed to indicate the supply of professionals in one area compared with another. The GIRS takes data on hours worked in clinical roles and on main practice location from the 2014 National Health Workforce Data Set (NHWDS)—combined with data on population size, geographic size and drive time to services—to create a score ranging from 0 to 8 for each of the seven professions in each Statistical Area level 2 (SA2) in Australia.

The area-level GIRS scores are combined with information on the spatial distribution of the Indigenous population. This is done for two reasons: firstly, to calculate the number of Indigenous Australians who live in areas with each of the GIRS scores and, secondly, to identify those areas with relative supply challenges for each profession individually and with challenges across multiple professions.

This work builds on previous Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports focusing on access to GPs relative to need (AIHW 2014a), spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to primary health care (AIHW 2015a) and to maternal and child health services (AIHW 2016a).

Notes

This report uses a new measure developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare—the Geographically-adjusted Index of Relative Supply (GIRS).

The GIRS scores were compared with the distribution of the Indigenous population to assess the extent to which Indigenous people live in areas with lower relative levels of supply.

The GIRS was developed to overcome limitations in using relatively simple provider-to-population ratios to compare areas with vastly different geographic characteristics. The GIRS takes data on hours worked in clinical roles and on main practice location from the 2014 National Health Workforce Data Set; it then adjusts it for three other factors—land size, population dispersion, and drive time to services—to create a score ranging from 0 to 8 for each of the seven professions in each Statistical Area level 2 (SA2) in Australia. Areas with lower GIRS scores are more likely to face workforce supply challenges than those with higher GIRS scores.

The report’s findings are as follows:

  • GIRS scores of 0 or 1 (most likely to face supply challenges) occur most often for midwives, optometrists and psychologists, and least often for nurses.
    • Over 19,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of child-bearing age (15–44 years) live in 120 SA2s with a low relative supply of midwives.
    • Over 85,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in 56 SA2s with a low relative supply of optometrists.
    • Over 76,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in 49 SA2s with a low relative supply of psychologists.
  • For each profession, a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people live in areas with lower GIRS scores.
  • While relative supply challenges are more common in remoter parts of Australia, the findings show that there is considerable variation in regional and remote areas.
  • There were 155 SA2s out of 2,091 (8%) with a GIRS score of 0–1 in at least one profession. Nearly 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in these areas, compared with 3% of the non-Indigenous population.
  • Over 72,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in the 39 SA2s where at least four of the seven professions (that is, over half the professions) have GIRS scores of 0 or 1. Over 30,000 of these people live in the 13 SA2s where at least six of the seven professions have GIRS scores of 0 or 1.

The GIRS is an important resource for policy discussions on improving the supply of health services. It has limitations, however. In particular, it does not take into account outreach services and the distribution of the workforce supply within SA2s is unknown.

As well, it cannot take into account the adequacy of services, whether the services are financially or culturally accessible, or the extent to which they meet the needs of the populations within each area.

Future work could build on the GIRS by including these other factors.

Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material
    • Contents
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • Summary
  • Body content
    • 1 Introduction
      • Structure of this report
    • 2 Methods
      • Calculation of the GIRS
      • Data sources
      • Putting it all together
    • 3 General practitioners
      • GP GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 4 Nurses
      • Nurse GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 5 Midwives
      • Midwife GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 6 Pharmacists
      • Pharmacist GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 7 Dentists
      • Dentist GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 8 Psychologists
      • Psychologist GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 9 Optometrists
      • Optometrist GIRS scores
      • Population distribution
      • Discussion
    • 10 Conclusion
      • Discussion
  • End matter
    • Appendix A: Selection of geographic scale
    • Appendix B: Detailed data sources and methods
      • Workforce data
      • Other data sources
      • Geocoding of service locations
      • Population centroids
      • Manual adjustment of area centroids
      • Calculating drive times from population centroid to service locations
      • Proportion of SA2 population within a 1 hour drive of nearest service location
    • Appendix C: Constructing the GIRS for GPs
    • Appendix D: Additional tables
    • References
    • List of tables
    • List of figures

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert #GetonTrack Report : The ten things we need to do to improve our health

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” Australia’s Health Tracker reports that 25.6% of children and 29.5% of young people are overweight or obese, with even higher prevalence reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Over-consumption of discretionary or junk foods contributes to Australia’s inability to halt the rise of diabetes and obesity. Australia’s Health Tracker also reports that junk foods contribute, on average, to approximately 40% of children and young people’s daily energy needs.

These foods and drinks tend to have low levels of essential nutrients and can take the place of other, more nutritious foods. They are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

Obesity during adolescence is a risk factor for chronic disease later in life and can seriously hinder children’s and young people’s physical and mental development. ”

From the Getting Australia’s Health on Track

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Download the report here getting-australias-health-on-track-ahpc-nov2016

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Newspaper What Works Part 3 : Healthy Futures for our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services the 2016 Report Card will say

Report from the Conversation

In Australia, one in every two people has a chronic disease. These diseases, such as cancer, mental illness and heart disease, reduce quality of life and can lead to premature death. Younger generations are increasingly at risk.

Crucially, one-third of the disease burden could be prevented and chronic diseases often share the same risk factors.

A collaboration of Australia’s leading scientists, clinicians and health organisations has produced health targets for Australia’s population to reach by the year 2025.

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These are in line with the World Health Organisation’s agenda for a 25% global reduction in premature deaths from chronic diseases, endorsed by all member states including Australia.

Today the collaboration is announcing its top ten priority policy actions in response to a recent health report card that identifies challenges to meeting the targets.

The actions will drive down risk factors and help create a healthier Australia.

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1. Drink fewer sugary drinks

One in two adults and three out of four children and young people consume too much sugar. Sugary drinks are the main source of sugar in the Australian diet and while many other factors influence health, these drinks are directly linked to weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes.

Putting a 20% tax on sugary drinks could save lives and prevent heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The tax would also generate A$400 million each year that could be spent on much needed health programs.

2. Stop unhealthy food marketing aimed at kids

Almost 40% of children and young people’s energy comes from junk food. Children are very responsive to marketing and it is no coincidence almost two-thirds of food marketing during popular viewing times are unhealthy products.

Restricting food marketing aimed at children is an effective way to significantly reduce junk food consumption and Australians want action in this area. Government-led regulation is needed to drive this change.

3. Keep up the smoking-reduction campaigns

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, although the trends are positive.

Campaigns that highlight the dangers of smoking reduce the number of young people who start smoking, increase the number of people who attempt to quit and support former smokers to remain tobacco free.

4. Help everyone quit

About 40% of Aboriginal people and 24% of people with a mental illness smoke.

To support attempts to quit, compliance with smoke-free legislation across all work and public places is vital. Media campaigns need to continue to reach broad audiences. GPs and other local health services that serve disadvantaged communities should include smoking cessation in routine care.

5. Get active in the streets

More than 90% of Australian young people are not meeting guidelines for sufficient physical activity – the 2025 target is to reduce this by at least 10%.

Active travel to and from school programs will reach 3.7 million of Australia’s children and young people. This can only occur in conjunction with safe paths and urban environments that are designed in line with the latest evidence to get everyone moving.

6. Tax alcohol responsibly

The Henry Review concluded that health and social harms have not been adequately considered in current alcohol taxation. A 10% increase on the current excise, and the consistent application of volume-based taxation, are the 2017 priority actions.

Fortunately, the trends suggest most people are drinking more responsibly. However approximately 5,500 deaths and 157,000 hospital admissions occur as a consequence of alcohol each year.

7. Use work as medicine

People with a mental illness are over-represented in national unemployment statistics. The 2025 target is to halve the employment gap.

Unemployment and the associated financial duress exerts a significant toll on the health of people with a mental illness, and costs an estimated A$2.5 billion in lost productivity each year.

Supported vocational programs have 20 years of evidence showing their effectiveness. Scaling up and better integrating these programs is an urgent priority, along with suicide prevention and broader efforts.

8. Cut down on salt

Most Australian adults consume in excess of the recommended maximum salt intake of 5 grams daily. This contributes to a high prevalence of elevated blood pressure among adults (23%), which is a major risk factor for heart diseases.

Around 75% of Australian’s salt intake comes from processed foods. Reducing salt intake by 30% by 2025, via food reformulation, could save 3,500 lives a year through reductions in heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

9. Promote heart health

Heart disease is Australia’s single largest cause of death, and yet an estimated 970,000 adults at high risk of a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke) are not receiving appropriate treatment to reduce risk factors such as combined blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. Under-treatment can be exacerbated by people’s lack of awareness about their own risk factors.

National heart risk assessment programs, along with care planning for high-risk individuals, offer a cost-effective solution.

10. Measure what matters

A comprehensive Australian Health Survey must be a permanent and routine survey every five years, so Australia knows how we are tracking on chronic disease.

All of these policies are effective, affordable and feasible opportunities to prevent, rather than treat, Australia’s biggest killer diseases

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RHD : AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health highlights need for Aboriginal community controlled services

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With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians still 20 times more likely to die from RHD, the AMA’s call for firm targets and a comprehensive and consultative strategy is welcome. We encourage governments to adopt these recommendations immediately.

“As noted by the AMA, it is absolutely critical that governments work in close partnership with Aboriginal health bodies. Without strong community controlled health services, achieving these targets for reducing RHD will be impossible.

While this is a long term challenge, the human impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are being felt deeply right now. Action is required urgently.

NACCHO is standing ready to work with the AMA and governments to develop and implement these measures. We have to work together and we have to do it now.”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke pictured above at Danila Dilba Health Service NT with AMA President Dr Michael Gannon (right ) and the Hon Warren Snowdon MP Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health (left )

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” RHD, which starts out with seemingly innocuous symptoms such as a sore throat or a skin infection, but leads to heart damage, stroke, disability, and premature death, could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted the recommendations of the latest AMA Indigenous Health Report Card.

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AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon see full AMA Press Release below

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 ” We have many of the answers, we just need commitment from Govt to help implement necessary changes

Ms Olga Havnen is the CEO of Danila Dilba Biluru Binnilutlum Health Service in Darwin

NACCHO Press Release

The peak Aboriginal health organisation today welcomed the release of the Australian Medical Association’s Report Card on Indigenous Health as a timely reminder of the importance of community controlled services.

The 2016 Report Card on Indigenous Health focuses on the enormous impact that Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is having on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia with a ‘Call to Action to Prevent New Cases of RHD in in Indigenous Australia by 2031’.

DOWNLOAD the Report Card here :

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AMA RELEASES PLAN TO ERADICATE RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE (RHD) BY 2031

AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2016: A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031

The AMA today called on all Australian governments and other stakeholders to work together to eradicate Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) – an entirely preventable but devastating disease that kills and disables hundreds of Indigenous Australians every year – by 2031.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that RHD, which starts out with seemingly innocuous symptoms such as a sore throat or a skin infection, but leads to heart damage, stroke, disability, and premature death, could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted the recommendations of the latest AMA Indigenous Health Report Card.

The 2016 Report Card – A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031 – was launched at Danila Dilba Darwin  Friday 25 November

Dr Gannon said the lack of effective action on RHD to date was a national failure, and an urgent coordinated approach was needed.

“RHD once thrived in inner-city slums, but had been consigned to history for most Australians,” Dr Gannon said.

“RHD is a disease of poverty, and it is preventable, yet it is still devastating lives and killing many people here in Australia – one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

“In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of RHD in the world, almost exclusively localised to Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous Australians are 20 times more likely to die from RHD than their non-Indigenous peers – and, in some areas, such as in the Northern Territory, this rate rises to 55 times higher.

“These high rates speak volumes about the fundamental underlying causes of RHD, particularly in remote areas – poverty, housing, education, and inadequate primary health care.

“The necessary knowledge to address RHD has been around for many decades, but action to date has been totally inadequate.

“The lack of action on an appropriate scale is symptomatic of a national failure. With this Report Card, the AMA calls on all Australian governments to stop new cases of RHD from occurring.”

RHD begins with infection by Group A Streptococcal (Strep A) bacteria, which is often associated with overcrowded and unhygienic housing.

It often shows up as a sore throat or impetigo (school sores). But as the immune system responds to the Strep A infection, people develop Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF), which can result in damage to the heart valves – RHD – particularly when a person is reinfected multiple times.

RHD causes strokes in teenagers, and leads to children needing open heart surgery, and lifelong medication.

In 2015, almost 6,000 Australians – the vast majority Indigenous – were known to have experienced ARF or have RHD.

From 2010-2013, there were 743 new or recurrent cases of RHD nationwide, of which 94 per cent were in Indigenous Australians. More than half (52 per cent) were in Indigenous children aged 5-14 years, and 27 per cent were among those aged 15-24 years.

“We know the conditions that give rise to RHD, and we know how to address it,” Dr Gannon said.

“What we need now is the political will to prevent it – to improve the overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in which Strep A thrives and spreads; to educate Indigenous communities about these bacterial infections; to train doctors to rapidly and accurately detect Strep A, ARF, and RHD; and to provide culturally safe primary health care to communities.”

The AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health 2016 calls on Australian governments to:

Commit to a target to prevent new cases of RHD among Indigenous Australians by 2031, with a sub-target that, by 2025, no child in Australia dies of ARF or its complications; and

Work in partnership with Indigenous health bodies, experts, and key stakeholders to develop, fully fund, and implement a strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia by 2031.

“The End Rheumatic Heart Disease Centre of Research Excellence (END RHD CRC) is due to report in 2020 with the basis for a comprehensive strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia,” Dr Gannon said.

“We need an interim strategy in place from now until 2021, followed by a comprehensive 10-year strategy to implement the END RHD CRC’s plan from 2021 to 2031.

“We urge our political leaders at all levels of government to take note of this Report Card, and to be motivated to act to solve this problem.”

The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2016 is available at https://ama.com.au/article/2016-ama-report-card-indigenous-health-call-action-prevent-new-cases-rheumatic-heart-disease

TIME TO TAKE HEART

Labor calls on the Turnbull government to take heart and address Rheumatic Heart Disease, an entirely preventable public health problem which is almost exclusively affecting First Nation Peoples.

Labor welcomes the release of the Australian Medical Association’s 2016 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report Card, A Call To Action To Prevent New Cases Of Rheumatic Heart Disease In Indigenous Australian By 2031.

Poor environmental health conditions, like overcrowded housing remain rampant in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, devastating families and the lives of young people.

As the AMA’s report card suggests, we must build on the success of the 2009 Commonwealth Government Rheumatic Fever strategy, established to improve the detection and monitoring of Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

Funding under the Rheumatic Fever strategy is uncertain after this financial year,” Ms King said.

The Productivity Commission’s report Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage [OID] released last week found 49.4% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote communities live in overcrowded housing. Additionally, the report details no significant improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples access to clean water, functional sewerage and electricity.

“We know Rheumatic Heart Disease is a disease of poverty and social disadvantage, which is absolutely preventable. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially in the Top End of the Northern Territory, suffer the highest rates of definite Rheumatic Heart Disease,” Mr Snowdon said.

Labor applauds the work of the Take Heart Australia awareness campaign, and their work to educate and advocate putting Rheumatic Heart Diseases on the public health agenda.

“Like always, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to be front and centre in taking action. The most positive outcomes will come through communities working with Aboriginal and Community Control Health Organisations to design and deliver programs tailored to their needs,” Senator Dodson said.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 noted more than three years ago the association of RHD with ‘extremes of poverty and marginalisation’, these conditions remain and are almost exclusively diseases of Indigenous Australia.

If we are serious about closing the gap, we must take heart, and address this burden of Rheumatic Heart Disease facing First Nation Peoples.

ACTION TO END RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE (RHD) IN 15YRS

The Heart Foundation has today supported the Australian Medical Association (AMA) call for governments to work together to eliminate Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) in 15 years, by 2031.

Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly (AM) said RHD was an avoidable but widespread disease that kills and harms hundreds of Indigenous Australians every year.

“Considering how preventable RHD is, it is a national shame that our Indigenous population are left languishing.

“The Heart Foundation has strongly advocated from the RHD strategy. We continue to call on the government to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Rheumatic fever strategy and Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia (RHD Australia) with a $10 million over 3 years’ commitment, “Adj Prof Kelly said.

With the AMA predicting that RHD could be eradicated in Australia within 15 years if all governments adopted its recommendations, the time to act is now.

“We need to boost funding for the national rheumatic fever strategy. New Zealand is allocating $65 million over 10 years. A robust approach can put an end to RHD as a public health issue within 15 years,” Adj Prof Kelly said.

This call to action was part of the release of the AMA’s 2016 Indigenous Report Card – A call to action to prevent new cases of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Indigenous Australia by 2031.

“We want a strong and robust strategy to tackle this challenge. We will be working with the AMA to support and advocate for these recommendations which include:

  • A commitment to a target to prevent new cases of RHD among Indigenous Australians by 2031, with a sub-target that, by 2025, no child in Australia dies of ARF or its complications; and
  • Working in partnership with Indigenous health bodies, experts, and key stakeholders
  • to develop, fully fund, and implement a strategy to end RHD as a public health problem in Australia by 2031.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #Kidney Health #IGA2016 : Western Desert Dialysis mob take out major Indigenous Governance Award

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On Thursday night Western Desert Dialysis took out the top award at the 2016 Indigenous Governance Awards, announced at a ceremony in Sydney.

Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, also known as Western Desert Dialysis.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with renal failure, reunite families and reduce the incidence of kidney disease in our communities.

 Run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people and work to provide culturally appropriate dialysis services in remote communities, helping people to get home to country and family.

NACCHO chair Matthew Cooke on behalf of all 150 members congratulates Western Desert Dialysis  and all the finalists ( see list below )

Watch these videos here

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Western Desert Dialysis helping Indigenous people in ‘kidney disease capital of the world’ By Tom Maddocks    Photo above Kirstie Parker

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Photo: Western Desert Dialysis has treated some patients like Josephine Woods (R) for years. (ABC News: Tom Maddocks)

Morgan Hitchcock from Western Desert Dialysis does not mince words on why his organisation is so badly needed in Central Australia.

“This is the kidney disease capital of the world and Aboriginal people bear the burden the most,” he said.

Mr Hitchcock is the business manager at the charity, which sends out a mobile dialysis treatment centre, known as the Purple Truck, to those who need it in remote communities.

He knows better than most why it makes such a difference.

“We respect traditional treatment for sickness but we also adopt the best of Western medicine,” he said.

About the awards

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The Finalists

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Fears people could die without treatment

There is no cure for kidney disease, and the only reliable treatment is dialysis or a transplant. Patients with renal disease need treatment three times a week.

People develop kidney disease because of chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, which is rife among Aboriginal people.

Before the Western Desert Dialysis service was available, patients had to travel from remote communities to Alice Springs to get the vital treatment they needed.

For some it was a difficult trip and many feared they would die.

Now people know they can get help in their own communities from the mobile treatment centre.

The service began with the simple desire to get a dialysis machine to the remote Western Desert community of Kintore, on the border with Western Australia, but the idea grew into something much bigger.

Mr Hitchcock said the Federal Government did not initially believe the service would work and it would be a waste of money, but it defied the odds.

“It’s talking about something sad, talking about kidney disease, but then it’s also an inspiring story about the way Aboriginal people, people from the desert, got together, raised some money and started their own organisation,” Mr Hitchcock said.

“Government is on board now but the organisation started from nothing when government said they weren’t going to help.”

Group uses traditional and Western treatments

Morgan Hitchcock from Western Desert Dialysis

At the group’s main office in Alice Springs, known as Purple House, patients can access a doctor and social support services.

They can also see traditional healers, known as Ngangkaris, and use bush medicine.

Josephine Woods, who has been receiving dialysis treatment at Purple House for many years, said it was “good for people from different kinds of tribes”.

“Patients will be sent home if they get homesick to visit family, get treatment and come back to Alice Springs,” she said.

Ms Woods is also part of a consumer group of patients who regularly meet with service providers.

“It’s good to know about renal patients and how they treat them,” she said

Press Release

Reconciliation Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, tonight revealed the winners of the Indigenous Governance Awards 2016 and celebrated the strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations and projects across Australia.

Following a rigorous judging process, Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation (Western Desert Dialysis) was selected as the winner of the Category A Award for incorporated organisations, while Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (Murdi Paaki) was honoured as winner of the Category B Award for non-incorporated projects.

Commenting on Category A winner, Western Desert Dialysis, Chair of the Indigenous Governance Awards, Professor Mick Dodson, said: “It’s their humanity that stands out in their governance. They strike me as a family that really cares for every member of that family in the way they deliver services. Aboriginal culture has been wrapped around access to modern medicine and allows it to be administered in a holistic and culturally appropriate way.”

Category B winner Murdi Paaki’s success “Comes from the fact they’re made up of community members, which gives them power to advocate”, said Professor Dodson. “They show leadership, vision, and fearlessness, and they are practicing self-determination.”

A highly commended honour was awarded to Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa in Category A, for its work strengthening Martu people’s connection with Country and leadership capacity; and Ara Irititja in Category B, for its dedication to digitally archiving culturally significant materials from the APY Lands.

BHP Billiton Chief External Affairs Officer Geoff Healy said good governance is critical to BHP Billiton and it’s engagement with Indigenous peoples around the world.

“Good governance delivers better, more transparent and accountable decision making and builds confidence in organisations and their leadership.” Page | 2

“BHP Billiton has been proud to support the Indigenous Governance Awards since they began in 2005. These finalists are great examples of the benefits that flow when good governance standards are in place.” Mr Healy said.

The calibre of the finalist organisations from which the winners were selected was the most outstanding in the twelve-year history of the Awards.

“This was certainly the highest standard of finalists we’ve ever had. They’ve all got the administrative nuts and bolts of good governance in order and are taking innovative approaches to community leadership. Across the board, we have seen the governance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led organisations improve exponentially and these finalists could teach non-Indigenous organisations many things about innovation and success”, reflected Professor Dodson.

Remarking on significance of the Awards, Professor Dodson said “It’s time that mainstream Australia takes notice of these outstanding organisations and projects, and adopts a new discourse focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success.”

In total, $60,000 prize money will be distributed through the Awards. The winner in each category will receive $20,000, and the highly commended organisations will each be awarded $10,000. Additionally, all nine finalists will be partnered with a high profile corporate organisation for 12 months, which will provide mentoring and assistance in an area identified by the finalist.

– ENDS –

Winner biographies

Category A

Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation

Based in Alice Springs, Western Desert Dialysis is an Aboriginal community-controlled, not-for-profit organisation providing dialysis treatment and support services to Indigenous renal patients from remote communities in Northern and Western Australia. Their name means “making all families well”, and it recognises that people must be able to stay on Country, to look after and be looked after by their families. Their mission is to improve the lives of people with renal failure, reunite families, and reduce the incidence of kidney disease in their communities. Run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people, Western Desert dialysis works to provide culturally appropriate health care for people in remote communities, helping people to get home to Country and family.

Category B

Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly

The MPRA is the peak governance body for Indigenous people in the west, north-west and far west of NSW, made up of representatives of the 16 Indigenous communities, Murdi Paaki Aboriginal Young and Emerging Leaders and NSW Aboriginal Land Council Councillors from across the region. The Aboriginal population of the MP region at the time of the 2011 Census was 8,331 (considered to be an under-estimate), or 18% of a total population of 48,797. It is the peak body for engaging with Government at all levels, and for the myriad agencies of Government to engage with Aboriginal people of the region. The MPRA’s major role is enabling and requiring a more strategic emphasis on engagement, responsiveness, co-ordination and accountability of Government and non-government agencies and the programs they deliver to and with Indigenous people.

Highly commended biographies

Category A

Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa

Based in Newman, Western Australia, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) was established to help Martu look after their culture and heritage and to ensure that Martu’s ongoing connection with country would remain strong. KJ’s programs include an extensive ranger program in five communities, a leadership program, a return-to-country program and a program of diverse cultural knowledge management. Together, they have generated transformative change across the Martu communities. The outcomes span a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits to both Martu and other stakeholders, such as the state and federal governments. Since its formation, KJ has grown to the point where it is the single biggest employer of Martu. One of the less tangible but equally important successes has been the reinstatement of cultural authority of the Martu Elders. They have an increased confidence in their ability to shape their future and have responded positively to the interest and commitment of younger Martu to learn and fulfil their cultural obligations.

Category B

Ara Irititja

Based in Adelaide, Ara Irititja’s goal is to create a sustainable, growing collection of historic and cultural multimedia material related to Aboriginal people from or on the APY Lands in SA, NT and WA and to repatriate it to communities across these lands. Ara Irititja also record cultural material for the archive and play an active role in ensuring that the archive can be accessed effectively in remote communities. Ara Irititja project is about the conservation of memory in a culture based on oral tradition. This is memory that goes beyond most cultural imaginations, back before the invention of writing, and many centuries before the Christian era. Every Anangu Elder carries a story — one that has been handed down through many generations and our project provides a platform for these stories to be told. Keeping Culture KMS not only conserves this knowledge — by photo, by video, by sound, by documentation — but also, by its nature it allows these stories to live. Most importantly, it allows them to live with the people to whom they belong.

Indigenous Governance Awards 2016 finalists Category A – Incorporated organisations Category B – Non-incorporated projects
 Kalyuku Ninti – Puntuku Ngurra Limited

 Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS)

 Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre

 Muru Mittigar Limited

 Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation

 Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC)

 Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation

 

 Ara Irititja

 Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly

 

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This year’s theme:

Strengthening Our Future through Self Determination

 NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

                       The dates are fast approaching – so register today
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#NACCHOagm2016 Aboriginal Health : How community-based innovation can help Australia close the Indigenous gap

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“Aboriginal self-determination must be front and centre in any decision making processes if we are to truly see major gains to Close the Gap in Indigenous health and social and economic wellbeing.

The importance of the ACCHO sector is widely and formally acknowledged across the Australian health and social sectors – from GPs to hospital emergency facilities. ACCHOs are Australia’s largest, single national and preferred primary health care system for Aboriginal people.

In 2015 all major political parties supported the 10 year Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (2013 – 2023). 

NACCHO will persevere in its efforts to turn positive talk into positive action “

Matthew Cook Chair NACCHO Editorial July 2016

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This year’s theme:

Strengthening Our Future through Self Determination

 NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

                       The dates are fast approachingso register today

 

 ” The third factor is the effectiveness of Indigenous organisations, including local government. These are the local institutions that endure between successive policy rounds.

These organisations are the only structures of Indigenous self-governance in Australia to which powers, functions and resources can be devolved.

By providing political counterpoints to government, they contribute to a better-balanced system. New interventions should build, not corrode, their capability.”

Mark Moran is the author of Serious Whitefella Stuff: When solutions became the problem in Indigenous affairs, which is out now. Mark Moran, Chair of Development Effectiveness, The University of Queensland writing in the Conversation

 

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There is a strong bipartisan consensus that Australia needs to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. It is a credit to the federal government that it has remained consistent in monitoring progress. But while maintaining these targets is important, Australia clearly has an implementation problem.

Consistent with his widespread call for innovation, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull remarked in this year’s Closing the Gap address to parliament that:

The Closing the Gap challenge is often described as a problem to be solved – but more than anything it is an opportunity. If our greatest assets are our people, if our richest capital is our human capital, then the opportunity to empower the imagination, the enterprise, the wisdom and the full potential of our First Australians is an exciting one.

Across remote Australia, such innovation is occurring locally in practice, under the radar of government policies and support. Central to this innovation are relationships between community leaders and trusted outsiders, and the shared understanding and new knowledge they derive.

If these relationships stay stable for long enough, innovation does emerge. Given enough time, trusted outsiders can learn about the context of a community and the richness of culture, history, family and place. And community leaders can learn about the system of Indigenous affairs and its many layers of conditionality and gatekeepers.

There is an untold story of reconciliation here, born from hard days of working through problems. We can look to this innovation and stop fixating on finding the elusive policy solution.

Too many programs, not enough impact

Remote Indigenous communities of fewer than 1000 people are supported by more than 80 programs and services. Each has public finance rules to ensure none of the money is misappropriated and that it performs against KPIs. Most are success stories with a support base in community and government.

Yet, with so many programs operating, how does the relative disadvantage of Indigenous people remain so acute?

We need only look to the sheer ratio of programs and services to so few people to see part of the problem. As these programs typically don’t take into account the effects of each other, their measurements are highly questionable.

Operating in unison, these programs combine into complex policy hybrids, the effects of which are unknown. If there is a parallel here it is pharmacology, when chronically ill patients take a cocktail of drugs for multiple health problems – a situation that also sadly besets many Indigenous people. While each drug may have been rigorously tested using randomised control trials, the effect when five or ten of these combine is largely unknown.

We need to look at other things than policy solution.

I have spent the past 12 months looking for a standard of evidence that might sort through this complexity, to find the best performers and team players. I have looked closely at randomised control trials, reverse cross-over (quasi-experimental) design, comparative case study analysis, process tracing, Bayesian analysis and fiscal ethnography. I have spoken to some of the leading experts in these methods.

The problem is that there are just too many programs for too few people. It is too causally dense, with too many conjunctions and too few who are not “treated” who might form a control.

If we can’t measure the effects of individual programs, we must remain sceptical about which programs are working. We need to look at other things than policy solutions.

Let local innovation lead

We know some things about the conditions under which this innovation occurs, through case studies such as those in my book, Serious Whitefella Stuff. There are few universal policy solutions, but there are processes, capabilities and support factors involved that do indeed travel. Here are four such factors to emerge from our research.

The first is just simply stability. When government stabilises the policy environment, those on the ground have the opportunity to adapt.

New policies tend to dismiss everything before them, sweeping away organisations, jobs, people and long-term relationships. In the Northern Territory, the aftermath of The Intervention and the creation of the super shires led to the departure of long-term employees and community organisations.

New policies should build on – not undermine – the achievements of their predecessors. For as long as progress remains elusive we can’t afford to ignore earlier gains.

The second factor is the capability of frontline workers. Much effort is targeted at building the capability of local Indigenous people and organisations, but what about the capability of visiting outsiders?

Half of the universities in Australia offer tertiary education to prepare students to work in international development, but there is no equivalent for remote Indigenous communities. Why is this so, when the contexts are only more complex and confronting? So you arrive in a community from scratch, work it out through the school of hard knocks. Few go the distance, and few Indigenous leaders have the endurance to cope with the revolving door of recruits.

Outcomes are determined on the rocks of implementation and on the actions of community leaders and outside workers. This is the real engine room of Indigenous affairs, not the boardrooms or broadsheets of capital cities.

The third factor is the effectiveness of Indigenous organisations, including local government. These are the local institutions that endure between successive policy rounds.

These organisations are the only structures of Indigenous self-governance in Australia to which powers, functions and resources can be devolved. By providing political counterpoints to government, they contribute to a better-balanced system. New interventions should build, not corrode, their capability.

Finally, frontline workers need to find new ways to collaborate with each other. In such a crowded institutional space, collective efforts between programs will enhance effectiveness, beyond the ingenuity of any one program.

Regardless of the policy solution and measurement system, outcomes are determined on the rocks of implementation and on the actions of community leaders and outside workers. This is the real engine room of Indigenous affairs, not the boardrooms or broadsheets of capital cities.

An innovation-driven system in Indigenous affairs is a future that already exists, if politicians would only shift their gaze.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Debate : # A sugary drinks tax could recoup some of the costs of #obesity while preventing it

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Personal responsibility, not the Australian Tax Office, should determine how much sugar Australians consume, says Barnaby Joyce. Often as not, Barnaby’s recovery program involves half a packet of Marlboros, which he calls bungers.

Barnaby was much agitated on Wednesday about the suggestion by the Grattan Institute that a tax on high-sugar fizzy drinks might go some way towards alleviating Australia’s obesity problem.

“This is one of the suggestions where right at the start we always thought was just bonkers mad,” he declared, adding his party would not be supporting a sugar tax.

This shouldn’t knock you cold with surprise. Barnaby is the leader of the Nationals. Name a sugar-growing area and you’ll find a Nationals or a Liberal National Party member at the local school fete knocking back a mug of raw sugar-cane juice and proclaiming it God’s food.

But Barnaby wasn’t simply stopping at political solidarity with his northern MPs.

He had some Barnaby-advice on how you might lose weight without taxing sugar.

“People are sitting on their backside too much, and eating too much food and not just soft drinks, eating too many chips and other food,” he lectured.

“Well, so the issue is take the responsibility upon yourself. The Australian Taxation Office is not going to save your health, right. Do not go to the ATO as opposed to go to your doctor or put on a pair of sandshoes and walk around the block and…go for a run.

The ATO is not a better solution than jumping in the pool and going for a swim.

The ATO is not a better solution than reducing your portion size.

“So get yourself a robust chair and a heavy table and halfway through the meal, put both hands on the table and just push back. That will help you lose weight.”

Barnaby Joyce, living miracle, offers a health plan : Pictured above David Gillespie Assistant Minister for Rural Health and Member for Lyne

Note 1: The Federal electorates of Lyne which takes in Taree and Port Macquarie has been identified at the Number One stroke ‘hotspot’ in Australia.Refer

Note 2 : The Minister is not to be confused with David Gillespie Author of How Much Sugar and Sweet Poison : Why Sugar makes us fat .

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In the wake of the progress report on Closing the Gap, the Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has declared sugary soft drinks are “killing the population” in remote Indigenous communities.

Key points:

  • Closing the Gap report found worst health outcomes found in remote communities
  • One remote community store drawing half of total profits from soft drink sales, Senator Scullion says
  • Senator Scullion says he thinks attitudes to soft drink are changing

According to evidence provided to Senate estimates today, at least 1.1 million litres of so-called “full sugar” soft drink was sold in remote community stores last financial year.

NACCHO Health News Alert : Scullion says sugary soft drinks ‘killing the population’ in remote Aboriginal communities

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Grattan Institute report

 ” Obesity is a major public health problem  In Australia more than one in four adults are now classified as obese, up from one in ten in the early 1980s.

And about 7% of children are obese, up from less than 2% in the 1980s.

The sugary drinks tax  revenue could be spent on obesity programs that benefit the disadvantaged, reducing the regressivity of the tax.

While the beverage and sugar industries are strongly opposed to any tax on sugar, their concerns are overblown.

A sugar-sweetened beverages tax will reduce domestic demand for Australian sugar by around 50,000 tonnes, which is only about 1% of all the sugar produced in Australia. And while there may be some transition costs, this sugar could instead be sold overseas (as 80% of Australia’s sugar production already is).

A tax on sugary drinks is a public health reform whose time has come.

The Conversation

A sugary drinks tax could recoup some of the costs of obesity while preventing it

In our new Grattan Institute report, A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs of obesity, we estimate community or “third party” costs of obesity were about A$5.3 billion in 2014/15.


Obesity not only affects an individual’s health and wellbeing, it imposes enormous costs on the community, through higher taxes to fund extra government spending on health and welfare and from forgone tax revenue because obese people are more likely to be unemployed.

In our new , A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs of obesity, we estimate community or “third party” costs of obesity were about A$5.3 billion in 2014/15.

We propose the government put a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to recoup some of the third-party costs of obesity and reduce obesity rates. Such a tax would ensure the producers and consumers of those drinks start paying closer to the full costs of this consumption – including costs that to date have been passed on to other taxpayers. There is the added benefit of raising revenue that could be spent on obesity-prevention programs.

The scope of our proposed tax is on non-alcoholic, water-based beverages with added sugar. This includes soft drinks, flavoured mineral waters, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavoured waters and iced teas.

While a sugary drinks tax is not a “silver bullet” solution to the obesity epidemic (that requires numerous policies and behaviour changes at an individual and population-wide level), it would help.

Why focus on sugary drinks?

Sugar-sweetened beverages are high in sugar and most contain no valuable nutrients, unlike some other processed foods such as chocolate. Most Australians, especially younger people, consume too much sugar already.

People often drink excessive amounts of sugary drinks because the body does not send appropriate “full” signals from calories consumed in liquid form. Sugar-sweetened beverages can induce hunger, and soft drink consumption at a young age can create a life-long preference for sweet foods and drinks.

We estimate, based on US evidence, about 10% of Australia’s obesity problem is due to these sugar-filled drinks.

Many countries have implemented or announced the introduction of a sugar-sweetened beverages tax including the United Kingdom, France, South Africa and parts of the United States. The overseas experience is tax reduces consumption of sugary drinks, with people mainly switching to water or diet/low-sugar alternatives.

There is strong public support in Australia for a sugar-sweetened beverages tax if the funds raised are put towards obesity prevention programs, such as making healthier food cheaper. Public health authorities, including the World Health Organisation and the Australian Medical Association, as well as advocates such as the Obesity Policy Coalition, support the introduction of a sugar-sweetened beverages tax.

What the tax would look like

We advocate taxing the sugar contained within sugar-sweetened beverages, rather than levying a tax based on the price of these drinks, because: a sugar content tax encourages manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of their drinks, it encourages consumers to buy drinks with less sugar, each gram of sugar is taxed consistently, and it deters bulk buying.

The tax should be levied on manufacturers or importers of sugar-sweetened beverages, and overseas evidence suggests it will be passed on in full to consumers.

We estimate a tax of A$0.40 per 100 grams of sugar in sugary drinks, about A$0.80 for a two-litre bottle of soft drink, will raise about A$400-$500 million per year. This will reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by about 15%, or about 10 litres per person on average. Recent Australian modelling suggests a tax could reduce obesity prevalence by about 2%.



Author provided/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Low-income earners consume more sugar-sweetened beverages than the rest of the population, so they will on average pay slightly more tax. But the tax burden per person is small – and consumers can also easily avoid the tax by switching to drinks such as water or artificially sweetened beverages.

People on low incomes are generally more responsive to price rises and are therefore more likely to switch to non-taxed (and healthier) beverages, so the tax may be less regressive than predicted. Although a sugar-sweetened beverages tax may be regressive in monetary terms, the greatest health benefits will flow through to low-income people due to their greater reduction in consumption and higher current rates of obesity.

The revenue could also be spent on obesity programs that benefit the disadvantaged, reducing the regressivity of the tax.

While the beverage and sugar industries are strongly opposed to any tax on sugar, their concerns are overblown. Most of the artificially sweetened drinks and waters, which will not be subject to the tax, are owned by the major beverage companies.

A sugar-sweetened beverages tax will reduce domestic demand for Australian sugar by around 50,000 tonnes, which is only about 1% of all the sugar produced in Australia. And while there may be some transition costs, this sugar could instead be sold overseas (as 80% of Australia’s sugar production already is).

A tax on sugary drinks is a public health reform whose time has come.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health And Racism : News Ltd declares war on #18C and the ABC

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” Various newspapers, but particularly the Australian, have been publishing articles for years blaming violence in Aboriginal communities on traditional culture, or questioning Indigenous funding, or aspects of Indigenous identity, and even though I find many of these articles to be painfully ignorant, racist, offensive and insulting.

I am aware that they are within their legal rights to talk about these issues and share these opinions, even if I think they often border on advocating for cultural genocide.

This is an important distinction. Much of the anti-18C rhetoric has been built around the idea that ‘just because someone is thin-skinned and easily offended, it shouldn’t be against the law’.”

Luke Pearson founder of @IndigenousX writing for  NITV  : There has been an amazing amount of misinformation about 18C from various journalists and commentators in the 5 years since Andrew Bolt was rightly found to have been in breach of 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

*Differences of opinion are important in media, like the how the Australian’s editors don’t think the word Indigenous deserves a capital I, and I don’t think the people I mentioned in my article, or the australian itself, deserve capital letters either. See Below no 2

See NACCHO 57 published articles about Aboriginal Health and racism  

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 ” The Australian has produced more than 134,000 words on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in the three months since the publication of that Bill Leak cartoon. To put that in perspective, that is more words than are in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, George Orwell’s 1984, or Lao Tzu’s The Art of War.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says “elite” media organisations like the ABC keep bringing up 18C as an issue for public discussion, but The Australian has produced enough words on the controversial section of the Racial Discrimination Act to fill a novel.

A Crikey analysis of stories written by journalists, editors and columnists at The Australian about 18C between August 4, when the original Leak cartoon was published, and today reveal the publication has produced 178 pieces on the matter, including 94 news stories, 84 opinion pieces, and 30 articles that made the front page.

In total, there have been 134,569 words on 18C since August — and the publication was obsessed with the RDA even before the cartoon was published.”

The Oz has literally written more about the ‘thought police’ than George Orwell did
Josh Taylor and Tamsin Rose
Crikey Journalist and Crikey Intern

 ” What the research tells us, then, is that racism is not rare and it is not harmless: it is a deeply embedded pattern of events and behaviours that significantly contribute to the ill-health suffered by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Tackling these issues is not easy. The first step is for governments to understand racism does have an impact on our health and to take action accordingly. Tackling racism provides governments with an opportunity to make better progress on their commitments to Close the Gap, as the campaign is known, in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The new plan has begun this process, but it needs to be backed up with evidence-based action.

Second, as a nation we need to open up the debate about racism and its effects “

Pat Anderson former Chair of NACCHO

NACCHO Aboriginal health and racism : What are the impacts of racism on Aboriginal health ?

 NOEL PEARSON PINPOINTS ABC’s ‘SOFT RACISM’

 “Noel Pearson could hold an audience just by reading a supermarket receipt, and for good reason. The prominent indigenous leader is a thoroughly compelling speaker, able to express complex notions of history and destiny in ways that are clear and inspiring.

He also carries significant moral authority, which is why Pearson’s criticism yesterday of the ABC is worth prolonged consideration.

Speaking at the Sydney launch of author Troy Bramston’s Paul Keating biography, Pearson began with a quote from Cicero and worked his way to a concluding line from Machiavelli. In between Pearson dwelt for a time on themes of political ambition and public trust.

All of it was fascinating but his comments on the ABC were the most pointed and powerful of Pearson’s entire address.

Pearson slammed the ABC as a “miserable, racist national broadcaster” that through its coverage of indigenous affairs was engaging if the “soft bigotry of low expectations”. The billion-dollar broadcaster featured he said a “spittoon’s worth of miserable people” who are “wishing the wretched to fail”.

They need blacks to remain alien from mother’s bosoms, carceral in legions, living shorts lives of grief and tribulation,”Pearson continued, drawing a straight line from the ABC’s annual tax-funded wealth to the deprivations of Aboriginal communities in Australia’s north.

“Because, if it was not so, against whom could they direct their soft bigotry of low expectations, about whom could they report misery and bleeding tragedy ?. Between Quadrant’s hard bigotry of prejudice from the right and the ABC’s soft bigotry of low expectations on the left, lies this common ground of mutual racism”.

The ABC yesterday offered a statement defending itself but Pearson’s accusations will ring true to ABC indigenous coverage.- which is anathema to Pearson – is the ABC’s view of Aboriginal Australians as being essentially shaped by welfare and dependence.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who also spoke at yesterday’s book launch echoed the thoughts of many when he suggested Pearson go into politics.

“I always thought Noel would be Australia’s Obama”, Keating said, “but Noel has to learn one thing you have to make commitments.

I hope Noel plays a greater role in leadership than he has to date. “

Daily Telegraph Editorial 22 November : Image above Front Page

18C doesn’t stop anyone from talking about any aspect of Aboriginal culture or identity : Luke Pearson

Among the more egregious of these has been the idea that 18C prevents people from talking about issues of Aboriginal culture and identity – whether it be about ‘fair-skinned’ Aboriginal people, Indigenous funding, or domestic violence.

There is nothing about 18C which prevents anyone sharing any opinion about any of these topics, and the exemptions offered by 18D further ensures that these topics are open for discussion.

The most recent article making these false assertions was from chris mitchell* in, no surprises here, the australian.

In this article mitchell laments how white people like andrew bolt aren’t allowed to have opinions about the topics mentioned above, for legal reasons, and then goes on to share his opinion about those topics.

He writes: “bolt is understandably sensitive to the legal position he faces after the bromberg judgment. But he is dead right when he implies privately that the issue of light-skinned, self-identifying Aborigines needs to be discussed.”

“The losers when people who are largely of European heritage and live a mainstream middle-class life win prizes and preferment because of claimed indigeneity are the really disadvantaged, whom most Australians would rightly think deserve the hand-up being awarded so often today to those who hardly need it.”

There you go, chris mitchell, you just talked about the thing that you said needs to be discussed but can’t be. Maybe you are quietly hoping that you too will have an 18C claim made against you, because you know that 18D allows you to talk about it, or maybe you are sincerely ignorant to the fact that you are talking about the thing you think you can’t talk about.

18C doesn’t prevent you from talking about any of what you are saying, and the Bolt case highlighted this point: “Nothing in the order for relief should be taken to suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification.

Mr bolt and HWT [Herald and Weekly Times] were not found to have contravened section 18C of the RDA simply because of subject matter of the articles, but rather because of the manner in which that subject matter was dealt with.”

Simply put, he said things about people that simply weren’t true, and that any decent journalist would have very easily found weren’t true, so much so that the only conclusion was that he racially vilified people for the key purpose of racially vilifying them.

So even if the changes to 18C from ‘insult’ and ‘offend’ to ‘vilify’ were made it probably wouldn’t have helped bolt in his case because he racially vilified people, unreasonably and in bad faith.

Various newspapers, but particularly the australian, have been publishing articles for years blaming violence in Aboriginal communities on traditional culture, or questioning Indigenous funding, or aspects of Indigenous identity, and even though I find many of these articles to be painfully ignorant, racist, offensive and insulting, I am aware that they are within their legal rights to talk about these issues and share these opinions, even if I think they often border on advocating for cultural genocide.

This is an important distinction. Much of the anti-18C rhetoric has been built around the idea that ‘just because someone is thin-skinned and easily offended, it shouldn’t be against the law’.

The Human Rights Law Centre, a not-for-profit organisation, released a myth-busting document about the case after the misinformation about the legislation started doing the rounds.

In it they write: “There is no general right not to be offended in Australia. The price of free speech is that we accept that people should generally be able to say offensive things. But there are limits to the kinds of offensive things we can say. Our laws make it a criminal offence to use profane or indecent language or behave in an offensive or insulting way in public. Our sexual harassment laws make it unlawful to engage in unwanted or unwarranted sexual behaviour that is offensive.

The racial vilification laws make it unlawful to do things that are reasonably likely to “insult, offend, humiliate or intimidate” on the grounds of race. The Courts have interpreted the laws sensibly and have said the laws only apply to behaviour that has “profound and serious effects, not to be likened to mere slights”.”

They also state “Mr bolt’s articles didn’t fall within the exemption because the court found that his articles contained multiple errors of material fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language. This meant that he could not rely on any of the free speech exemptions.”

18C doesn’t stop anyone from talking about any issue whatsoever; it does however prevent people from using ‘multiple errors of material fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language’ in clear efforts to racially vilify people.

If people think 18C should be changed from ‘offend’ and insult’ to ‘vilify’ because that would be a stronger threshold then okay, that’s fine. The main problem I have with this seemingly never ending ‘debate’ is when people pretend that 18C prevents from talking about any issue to do with any aspect of Indigenous identity or policy, because it simply doesn’t.

That’s not to say that I don’t get annoyed when people write racist opinions and try to present them as fact, of course I do. I don’t look forward to every other hearing what the latest racist article that has been published is.

I don’t just think is a sad indictment of just how popular racism in our country still is, I think it is why racism is still so popular.

As for actual conversations around matters of public interest, I am all for them. The application of the three point criteria for Aboriginal identity isn’t perfect, and people can and should talk about ways it could be improved. Indigenous funding is a dog’s breakfast, even more so after the introduction of the so-called Indigenous Advancement Strategy, and this too should be looked at critically and again, it already can be.

It would also be great if there were more sincere attempts to understand the complexities of contemporary Aboriginal identities and how they have been impacted on by the countless government policies that have attempted to define and quantify Aboriginality in Australia’s history.

For example, there is a document on the Australian Parliament House website called ‘Defining Aboriginality in Australia’, which mentions that “’Blood-quotum’ classifications entered the legislation of New South Wales in 1839, South Australia in 1844, Victoria in 1864, Queensland in 1865, Western Australia in 1874 and Tasmania in 1912.

Thereafter till the late 1950s States regularly legislated all forms of inclusion and exclusion (to and from benefits, rights, places etc.) by reference to degrees of Aboriginal blood. Such legislation produced capricious and inconsistent results based, in practice, on nothing more than an observation of skin colour.”

That is interesting information, and can help provide context to the current conversation that people like to pretend isn’t the continuation of a 200 year old conversation about how Aboriginal people should be defined and controlled.

Even the comments made by andrew bolt were not remotely new. bruce ruxton expressed similar sentiments years ago when he asked the Federal Government to amend the definition of Aboriginality “to eliminate the part-whites who are making a racket out of being so-called Aborigines at enormous cost to the taxpayers.” It is also interesting to note that the footnote for that quote on the aph.gov.au website article is, you guessed it, the Australian, in 1988.

ruxton’s quote always reminds of another famous quote made in the 1980s, lang hancock’s ‘solution to the Aboriginal problem’:

“Those that have been assimilated, earning good living wages among the civilised areas, that have been accepted into society and have accepted society and can handle society I’d leave them well alone. The ones that are no good to themselves and can’t accept things, the half-castes, and this is where most of the trouble comes, I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in future, and that would solve the problem.”

I wonder if that quote would get flagged under 18C as it currently stands, or if people think this is an example of the sort of Free Speech debate that we should be having and that 18C is stopping?

It certainly didn’t stop gary johns from writing an article in the australian arguing that women on the dole should be forced onto contraception, or calling Aboriginal women ‘cash cows’ on the bolt report,

“Look, a lot of poor women in this country, a large proportion of whom are Aboriginal, are used as cash cows, right? … They are kept pregnant and producing children for the cash.

Now, that has to stop.” – Not quite a call for sterilisation, but not quite as far away from lang hancock’s comments as I would like either, given that the latter were made over 30 years later.

So, again, what exactly does 18C stop anyone from talking about? It certainly doesn’t seem to have slowed the australian down all that much?

*Differences of opinion are important in media, like the how the australian’s editors don’t think the word Indigenous deserves a capital I, and I don’t think the people I mentioned in my article, or the australian itself, deserve capital letters either.

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