Aboriginal Health #NAIDOC2017 : New Aboriginal-led collaboration has world-class focus on boosting remote Aboriginal health

“One of the clear innovations that our Centre already offers is acknowledging that the principle of Aboriginal community control is fundamental to research, university and health care partnerships with regional and remote Aboriginal communities,”

Ms Donna Ah Chee Congress CEO said it was satisfying to achieve recognition for the strong health leadership and collaboration that already exists in Central Australia ( see editorial Part 3 below)

  ” The centre’s accreditation this week with the National Health and Medical Research Council proved the “landmark research” by consortium members had “huge potential” to address serious indigenous health issues.

The objective is to evaluate problems and find practical solutions fast, to prevent health problems and give speedy but lasting benefits to patients within community,”

Announcing $222,000 in seed funding, Federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt see full story PART 2 from the Australian below

Photo above : Traditional Arrernte owners welcome Ken Wyatt MP to Alice Springs to launch the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre

An academic health science centre in Central Australia is the first Aboriginal-led collaboration to achieve Federal Government recognition for leadership in health research and delivery of evidence-based health care.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, today announced that the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre (CAAHSC) was one of only two consortia nationally to be recognised as a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) by Australia’s peak funding body for medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

To be successful in their bid, the 11-member consortium was required to demonstrate competitiveness at the highest international levels across all relevant areas of health research and translation of research findings into health care practice.

With NHMRC recognition, the CAAHSC joins an elite group of Australian academic health science centres that have so far all been based in metropolitan areas including Melbourne,

Sydney and Adelaide. The CAAHSC is also in good company internationally, with long established collaborations including Imperial College Healthcare in the UK and Johns Hopkins Medicine in the USA.

The CAAHSC, whose membership includes Aboriginal community controlled and government-run health services, universities and medical research institutes, was formally established in 2014 to improve collaboration across the sectors in support of health.

Such synergy is vital in order to make an impact in remote central Australia, considering the vast geographical area (over 1 million square kilometres) and the health challenges experienced particularly by Aboriginal residents.

The CAAHSC consortium reflects the importance of Aboriginal leadership in successful research and health improvement in Central Australia.

The Chairperson of CAAHSC is Mr John Paterson, CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, the peak body for the Aboriginal community controlled health services sector in the NT.

With the leadership of CEO Ms Donna Ah Chee, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress was the lead partner on the group’s bid to become a CIRH.

The CAAHSC is a community driven partnership, where Aboriginal people themselves have taken the lead in identifying and defining viable solutions for the health inequities experienced in the Central Australia region.

The CAAHSC partners have a long and successful track record of working together on innovative, evidence-based projects to improve health care policy and practice in the region.

Such projects include a study that examined high rates of self-discharge by Aboriginal patients at the Alice Springs Hospital, which in many cases can lead to poor health outcomes.

This research was used to develop a tool to assess self-discharge risk which is now routinely used in care, and to expand the role of Aboriginal Liaison Officers within the hospital.

Another collaborative project designed to address the rising rates of diabetes in pregnant women involves the establishment of a patient register and birth cohort in the

Northern Territory to improve antenatal care in the Aboriginal population.

CAAHSC Chair, Mr John Paterson agrees, saying the CIRH would serve as a model for other regional and remote areas both nationally and internationally, particularly in its governance, capacity building, and culturally appropriate approaches to translational research.

Mr Paterson said he hoped NHMRC recognition would attract greater numbers of highly skilled researchers and health professionals to work in Central Australia, and that local Aboriginal people would become more engaged in medical education, research and health care delivery.

He also hopes that achieving status as a CIRH will be instrumental in attracting further resources to the region, including government, corporate and philanthropic support.

Mr Paterson said the consortium is now focussed on building a plan across its five priority areas: workforce and capacity building; policy research and evaluation; health services research; health determinants and risk factors; and chronic and communicable disease.

This will include development of research support ‘apprenticeships’ for Aboriginal people and pursuit of long-term financial sustainability.

The partners of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre include: Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT); Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute; Charles Darwin University; Centre for Remote Health (A joint centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University); Central Australian Aboriginal Congress; Menzies School of Health Research; Central Australia Health Service (Northern Territory Health); CRANAplus; Flinders University; Ngaanyatjarra Health Service and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing.

1.Chronic Conditions

Chronic diseases are the most important contributor to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Given their impact on premature mortality, disability and health care utilisation in Central Australia it is unsurprising that chronic disease has become the primary focus for addressing Indigenous Australian health disadvantage.

The Central Australia AHSC has considerable research and translation expertise with those chronic conditions that most impact the Aboriginal Australian population, including diabetes, heart disease, renal disease and depression.

Some of our focus areas are: understanding the developmental origins of adult chronic disease through targeted multi-disciplinary research focused on in-utero, maternal and early life determinants; understanding and preventing the early onset and rapid progression of heart, lung and kidney disease and diabetes within Aboriginal people, and developing and supporting capacity development of the chronic disease workforce within Aboriginal communities and health services.

2.Health Determinants and Risk Factors

In order to support the health of Central Australians, we recognise the importance of transcending boundaries between the biological, social and clinical sciences. The Central Australia AHSC takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding social gradients, their determinants, and pathways by which these determinants contribute to illness, and consequently to forwarding policy responses to reduce health inequalities.

The Central Australia AHSC is interested in exploring the role of stress, intergenerational trauma and other psychosocial factors, as well as uncovering the biological pathways by which social factors impact on cardiometabolic risk, mental illness and other conditions of relevance to Indigenous communities.

3.Health Services Research

As a regional hub servicing a high proportion of Aboriginal people spread across an extensive area, Central Australia serves as an exemplar environment through which to address critical issues of national importance – for instance, targeted and practical research focused on the National Health and Hospital Reform agenda, the ‘Close the Gap’ reforms and the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Through health services research, the Central Australia AHSC is chiefly interested in developing and equipping primary care and hospital services with the skills, methods and tools by which to improve health care quality, appropriateness and accessibility.

Towards this goal, we are involved in developing, trialling, evaluating and establishing the cost-effectiveness of novel health system approaches to the identification, management and prevention of acute care, chronic disease and mental illness

4.Policy Research and Evaluation

The Central Australia AHSC brings together the expertise of leading clinician researchers, public health specialists and health service decision makers.

The Central Australia AHSC provides the capacity to evaluate the systems that underpin change management in health care through policy, protocol and evaluation research, and to support quality improvement processes through health provider training.

While being locally relevant, our works also informs jurisdictional and national health policy and practice in Aboriginal and remote health and implementation of national health reforms.

5.Workforce and Capacity Building

Central Australia’s health care workforce encompasses health care providers in hospitals, remote Aboriginal communities, and outreach services, including Aboriginal health practitioners, nurses, allied health providers, general practitioners and specialists.

Remoteness and the challenging work environment often translate to high levels of health provider staff turnover.

The Central Australia AHSC’s ongoing focus on professional development and capacity building facilitates health work force sustainability by providing relevant training and support and by attracting new health care providers who are also involved in research.

Workforce and capacity building undertaken by the AHSC partners includes the delivery of education programs (including tailored remote and Indigenous health postgraduate awards for doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners), growing research capacity (supervised formal academic qualifications and informal mentoring), and conducting research to inform workforce recruitment and retention.

Part 2 World-class focus on boosting remote health

Alice Springs mother Nellie Impu is part of a grim health statistic profoundly out of place in a first-world nation: one in five pregnant Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory has diabetes.

Photo : Nellie Impu, left, with Wayne, Wayne Jr and nurse Paula Van Dokkum in Alice Springs. Picture: Chloe Erlich

From the Australian July 5

For pre-existing type 2 diabetes, that’s at a rate 10 times higher than for non-indigenous women; more common gestational diabetes is 1.5 times the rate.

Mrs Impu became part of that statistic almost five years ago when she was pregnant with son Wayne. So the announcement of a new central Australian academic health science centre, led by the Aboriginal community-controlled health service sector and bringing together a consortium of 11 clinical and research groups, is a big deal for her and many women like her.

The diabetes treatment she underwent while carrying Wayne will continue for more than a decade as part of a longitudinal study.

“We know there is a link ­between mums with diabetes in pregnancy and outcomes for their babies as they grow, including ­future possibilities of type 2 diabetes, which work like this can help us track,” said research nurse Paula Van Dokkum, who works with consortium member Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

Wayne is meeting all his childhood development targets, and his mother said the ongoing association with the centre would help her in “trying to make sure he grows up healthy and strong”.

Announcing $222,000 in seed funding, federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said the centre’s accreditation this week with the National Health and Medical Research Council proved the “landmark research” by consortium members had “huge potential” to address serious indigenous health issues.

“The objective is to evaluate problems and find practical solutions fast, to prevent health problems and give speedy but lasting benefits to patients within community,” Mr Wyatt said.

The academic health science centre model, well ­established internationally, brings together health services, universities and medical research institutes to better produce evidence-based care.

The Alice Springs-based enterprise will aim to tackle a ­cancer-causing virus endemic in indigenous central Australia, its only significant instance outside South America and central Africa.

The human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 causes a slow death over 20 years with leukaemia, chronic cough, respiratory problems and respiratory failure. It can be acquired through breast milk in early childhood as well as through blood or sexual contact.

A recent study found HTLV-1 infection rates in a central Australian indigenous community of more than 40 per cent. One result, the inflammatory disease bronch­iectasis, is a leading cause of death for young adults at the Alice Springs hospital.

The program will also address the soaring demand for dialysis in remote communities, with indigenous Australians five times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease than other Australians.

Alice Springs hospital is home to the largest single-standing ­dialysis service in the southern hemisphere, with 360 patients.

Part 3 Alice Springs: the Red Centre of medical innovation

London, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne … and Alice Springs.

Although there may be little in common between these major cities and the heart of Australia’s outback, an announcement this week brings the Red Centre into the company of international players in translational health research, including prestigious institutions such as Imperial College Healthcare in Britain and Johns Hopkins Medicine in the US.

This week, the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre was given the official seal of approval by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Central Australia consortium was one of only two centres recognised as a centre of innovation in regional health for its leadership in health research and delivery of evidence-based healthcare.

And now there’s opportunity in the Red Centre to do even more.

It may well be the most remote academic health science centre in the world, and perhaps the only academic health science centre in the world led by Aboriginal people. With such esteemed recognition for this remote, Aboriginal-led, evidence-based healthcare collaboration, it is hoped that public and private support will also follow.

As a model well established abroad and gaining momentum in Australia, academic health science centres are partnerships between health services, universities and medical research institutes whose collaborative work ensures that translational health research leads to evidence-based care and better health outcomes for patients.

For the 11 partners behind the Central Australia partnership, recognition as a centre for innovation in regional health acknowledges the outstanding collaboration that has existed in this region for several years, and particularly the leadership offered by the Aboriginal sector.

Working with the other partners in the consortium, Aboriginal community-controlled health services are taking the lead in identifying and defining viable solutions for the health inequities experienced in the region.

The work of the Central Australia partners is practical and responsive.

Interested in resolving what had become a troubling issue at Alice Springs Hospital, a resident physician researcher initiated a study that found nearly half of all admitted Aboriginal patients had self-discharged from the hospital in the past, with physician, hospital and patient factors contributing to this practice.

The research findings were used to develop a self-discharge risk assessment tool that is now routinely used in hospital care, and to expand the role of Aboriginal liaison officers within the hospital.

Considering the vast and remote geographical area — more than one million square kilometres — and the health challenges experienced particularly by Aboriginal residents who make up about 45 per cent of the region’s population of about 55,000 people, the Central Australia consortium faces unique and significant challenges. In this respect, Alice Springs may be more like Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic than London or Baltimore.

But in other ways this relatively small academic health science centre may be at an advantage.

With its closely knit network of healthcare providers, medical researchers, medical education providers and public health experts working together, community-driven approaches to identifying issues and developing evidence-based solutions have become a standard approach in Central Australia.

In this setting of high need and limited resources, working collectively is sensible, practical and necessary.

Importantly, there is the possibility to do a lot more.

The consortium hopes such recognition will help to attract top healthcare providers and researchers, to increase educational offerings and to develop local talent, especially Aboriginal people.

The evidence is resounding. A research oasis in the desert, this centre for innovation is fertile ground for investment by government, corporations and philanthropists alike.

Donna Ah Chee is chief executive of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. John Paterson is chief executive of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Draft terms of reference for a another comprehensive review of alcohol policy in the #NT

 ” The Northern Territory has the second highest alcohol consumption in the world. Misuse of alcohol has devastating health and social consequences for NT Aboriginal communities.

APO NT believes that addressing alcohol and drug misuse, along with the many health and social consequences of this misuse, can only be achieved through a multi-tiered approach.

APO NT supports evidence based alcohol policy reform, including:

  • Supply reduction measures
  • Harm reduction measures, and
  • Demand reduction measures.

To address alcohol and drug misuse within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the social and structural determinants of mental health must be addressed,

Parliamentary Inquiry into the Harmful use of Alcohol in Aboriginal Communities

On 17 April 2014, APO NT submitted their written evidence to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs on the Inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.

The APO NT submission made 16 recommendations to the committee: SEE INFO Here

Read  NACCHO Alcohol and other drugs 164 Articles over 5 years HERE

RESPONSIBLE ALCOHOL POLICY =

A SAFER COMMUNITY :  NT Government Press Release 10 March 2017

The Health Minister Natasha Fyles today released draft terms of reference for a comprehensive review of alcohol policy in the Northern Territory.

Minister Fyles said the Government was determined to tackle the cost of alcohol abuse on our community and the review will give all Territorians an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“We recognise that, while everyone has the right to enjoy a drink responsibly, alcohol abuse is a significant cause of violence and crime in our community,” Ms Fyles said.

“All Territorians have the right to feel safe, to have their property, homes and businesses secure from damage and theft.

“They also have the right to access health, police and justice services, without having critical resources diverted by the crippling effects of alcohol abuse.

“That’s why Territory Labor has consistently advocated, and implemented, a range of policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse.

“When last in Government we implemented the Banned Drinker Register (BDR), described by Police as the best tool they had to fight violent crime.

“In Opposition we were clear we would reinstate the BDR and impose a moratorium on new takeaway licences.

“Since coming to Government we have:

  • worked efficiently across agencies to bring back the BDR by September 1
  • imposed a moratorium on new takeaway liquor licences (except in exceptional circumstances) – October 2016
  • strengthened legislation to ensure Sunday trade remains limited – November 2016
  • limited the floor space for take away alcohol stores – December 2016
  • introduced new Guidelines for liquor licensing to allow for public hearings – 2 February 2017

“While some of these policies aren’t popular, their effectiveness is backed by evidence.

“This review is an important chance for the community to have their say and to ensure that all facets of alcohol policy complement our determination to make the Territory safer.

“An expert panel will be commissioned to look at alcohol policies and alcohol legislation, reporting to government on:

  • evidence based policy initiatives required to reduce alcohol fuelled crime
  • ensuring safe and vibrant entertainment precincts
  • the provision of alcohol service and management in remote communities
  • decision-making under the Liquor Act
  • the density of liquor licences (concentration, type, number and location of liquor licences ) and the size of liquor outlets

“Broad public consultation will be undertaken as part of the review, with multiple avenues for interested people, groups and communities to put forward their views.

“I look forward to hearing from not only the loudest and most powerful voices in our community, but also the many women, children, families and communities who all too often bear the cost of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory.”

The review will start in April with a report and recommendations delivered to government in late September 2017.

The government will then develop a response to the recommendations for the development of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy and legislative reform agenda.

These will be released publicly along with the Expert Advisory Panel’s final report.

To view the draft terms of references go to: https://health.nt.gov.au/professionals/alcohol-and-other-drugs-health-professionals/alcohol-policies-and-legislation-review

Submissions are now being accepted at:  AODD.DOH@nt.gov.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: @AMSANTaus and Redfern #ACCHO welcomes @KenWyattMP appointment

ar

Aboriginal medical services have proved the longevity of Aboriginal people, so we need the bigger spread and more Aboriginal medical services probably in the next 5-10 years.

We probably need another 100 to 150 Aboriginal medical services throughout the whole country, in cities and remote communities as well, so we’ll be pressuring Ken to make available more funds for the establishment of Aboriginal Medical Services.”

Sol Bellear AM, Chair  of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern

It’s absolutely critical, we need people who understand our health and wellbeing and some of the important illnesses Aboriginal people get that say their non-Aboriginal counterparts don’t,

We have every confidence in Minister Wyatt, he has the experiences, the necessary qualifications, and the contacts and understanding, particularly with his expertise and knowledge having worked in Indigenous health in his past career.

He also knows a lot of leaders around the country and he knows where to get the correct information if he requires it, and we’re certainly willing, ready and able to help him if he requires it and calls upon us.”

AMSANT’S Executive Officer, John Paterson, explained it’s extremely important the minister for Indigenous Health is Indigenous.

The Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory are pleased to have Ken Wyatt as the new Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, but have called for improvement.

Ken Wyatt was appointed yesterday as the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health after a cabinet reshuffle brought about by the resignation of Susan Ley.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Mr Wyatt’s previous experience as a bureaucrat within the Indigenous Health area makes him an ideal appointment to role.

Sol Bellear AM, Chair  of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, acknowledged Minister Wyatt’s long commitment to Indigenous health, but also recognised there is always room for improvement.

7-sol-bellear-nsw

VIEW recent NITV NACCHOTV interview with Sol Bellear

These comments from the Indigenous medical community have not been lost on the first ever Indigenous Federal Minister, who has already called for a new approach to addressing the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mr Wyatt says it will take a whole of government approach to create lasting change.

Mr Wyatt  told the ABC:

“There’s this construct around Aboriginal health that is based on Aboriginal Community-controlled health services and organisations and specific programs that have been funded by the Commonwealth.

But if we’re truly serious, then what we should be doing is saying, ‘alright, how does the health sector, including all the ACCHOs then tackle this issue collectively to make sure that 800 thousand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country have their health conditions improved?… the levels of, and prevalence rates of certain illnesses, tackled in a way that sees a reduction?”

AMSANT Lending a helping hand

AMSANT has been working on creating programs that tackle mental health issues, with a particular focus on intergenerational trauma.

Mr Paterson said he wants to meet with the minister as soon as possible, to present AMSANT’s research and get government support to start implementing the programs.

“We’ve done enough research, now it’s about implementation and action and that’s where we want to encourage governments,” he said.

“We have two experienced psychologists, one Indigenous psychologist, that have been working and looking at all different models overseas and internationally and we believe there are a couple of models that could be implemented in our Aboriginal communities here in our nation,” he said.

“There’s plenty of data and plenty of information, all we require is a willingness of governments and ministers to put the appropriate resources in that area.”

He added that tackling intergenerational trauma in communities could start to change the face of First Nations health entirely.

“You’ll see an increase in children’s attendance at school, their confidence, their general health and wellbeing, and you’ll see people having the confidence to approach issues that they may have been reserved or hesitant about in the past,” The Executive Officer said.

“This underlying trauma and stress that families have experienced because of whatever reasons you know – government policy back in the day, the stolen generation, the removal of kids, you know some families have never ever had some of those experiences treated,” he continued.

“And you can see it being played out now so we really need to focus and invest in some wrap around programs and the right counsellors and psychologists for those families and individuals that are experiencing this intergenerational trauma and stress.

“There is a way forward here and there is a process that can help tackle the underlying issues that many of us still face.”

Paterson said he also wants to talk to Minister Wyatt about ensuring specialist services are available in the NT, that Aboriginal Australians stop dying years earlier than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, and that preventative programs are implemented to tackle chronic diseases.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #NTRC : Appalling treatment of youth highlighted at Royal Commission Inquiry

 dylan

 ” I was regularly stripsearched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes. They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night … I was actually crying asking for a blanket.

I was left handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van during a 1400 kilometre prison transfer from Alice Springs to Darwin. On the trip, I was denied bathroom stops “

Dylan Voller now aged 19 giving evidence at the NT Royal Commission into Youth Detention about his 8 years in out of detention centres . See full evidence article 2 below

Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory ( APO NT ) congratulates the Commonwealth and NT Government on calling the Royal Commission Inquiry into Youth Detention and Child Protection.

APO NT has for many years raised with the government the shocking treatment of youth in detention and the long term effects it has on youth

Today Dylan Voller gave evidence at the Royal Commission hearing and broke his silence about his treatment by authorities in Northern Territory youth detention centres.

Finally youth feel confident to tell their stories to Australia knowing they have strong support behind them.

Today’s evidence is moving, this is Dylan’s personal story which shows how troubled his life was and how fragile he is. We congratulate Dylan for having the courage to tell his story as it is good for the public to understand how difficult life is for many youth who have been in and are currently in youth detention

What we witnessed today is a story of how the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory denied young people in its care the opportunity to enjoy even the most basic aspects of a normal life.

APO NT supports the Royal Commission inquiry to uncover where the systems have failed and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices in the Northern Territory to provide a safer future for our children. ”

John Paterson CEO AMSANT (NACCHO Affiliate ) and Spokesperson for APO NT

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory—APO NT—is an alliance comprising the Central Land Council (CLC), Northern Land Council (NLC), North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT).

The alliance was created to provide a more effective response to key issues of joint interest and concern affecting Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, including providing practical policy solutions to government.

 Support Services thru NACCHO Members and Relationship Australia

Discussing experiences of the child protection system or time spent in youth detention can be difficult. This is especially so for people who experienced abuse and are telling their story for the first time.

If you need support you can call 1800 500 853 – a free helpline answered locally

  • This is a free service and is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
  • Support is available to children, young people, their families and others impacted by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory
  • Experienced and qualified staff can refer you to a range of services including counsellors, therapeutic support, and health professionals.

Please note that calls made from a mobile phone may incur additional costs.

You can also contact the following services directly:

Danila Dilba Health Service

Services include:

  • face to face and telephone counselling,
  • support,
  • mental health support (including suicide prevention),
  • therapeutic group services, outreach, and referrals.
Phone
(08) 8942 5400 (Darwin, Palmerston and Malak)Website
Danila Dilba Health Service
Relationships Australia NT

Services include:

  • culturally appropriate support and information on how to engage with the Royal Commission and what to expect from the enquiry process,
  • face to face and telephone counselling by qualified counsellors,
  • support through legal processes,
  • referrals to legal and advocacy services,
  • pre and post counselling support to those directly affected who are giving evidence as well as their families,
  • mentoring by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural advisors, and healing camps on Country.
Phone
(08) 8923 4999 (Darwin and Katherine office with outreach to other areas) (08) 8950 4100 (Alice Springs office with outreach to other areas)Website
Relationships Australia Northern Territory
The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Services include:

  • peer support including social, emotional, cultural, social and therapeutic support with intensive case management to young people at risk
  • support
  • outreach
  • trauma-informed counselling
  • medical support care coordination, and referrals.
Phone
(08) 8959 4750 (Alice Springs and surrounding areas)Website
Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Alice Springs, NT

There are a number of other services available which can provide support wherever you are in the Northern Territory.

If you need support you can call the following services:

Dylan Voller gives evidence at Royal Commission

DYLAN Voller has broken his silence about his treatment by authorities in Northern Territory youth detention centres in shocking admissions at the Royal Commission.

As reported by Megan Pain News Ltd

Mr Voller’s treatment at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre sparked the Northern Territory child detention royal commission after footage of him shackled to a chair in a spit hood and a group of detainees being tear-gassed appeared on ABC’s Four Corners.

Mr Voller, 19, this afternoon told the commission that conditions in detention, which he first entered aged 11, were often miserable. He said detainees were regularly denied access to food, water and toilets as punishment for bad behaviour.

“There was one instance where I was in an isolation placement at Alice Springs detention centre and I was busting to go to the toilet … I had been asking for at least four or five hours,” Mr Voller said.

“They’d just been saying ‘no’.

“I ended up having to defecate into a pillow case because they wouldn’t let me out to go to the toilet.

“Eventually when I got let out the next morning, I was able to chuck that pillow case out.”

The key witness said on other occasions he was forced “to urinate out the door, out the back window, even in just normal rooms because they haven’t been able to come down”.

He said other detainees urinated out “the back window or into water bottles and chucking them out, like drink bottles and chucking them out the next day”.

Mr Voller said when guards allowed him to visit the bathroom they would only give him “five tiny little squares of toilet paper”.

“I’d go to the toilet, they’d only rip off, like, five tiny little squares of toilet paper and say: ‘That’s all you’re getting … make it last’,” Mr Voller said.

“They wouldn’t give us enough toilet paper.

“They done (sic) that quite a bit.”

According to the teen, detainees in Don Dale had to share underwear if they didn’t have enough money to buy their own. He described a prison economy where detainees could earn money through good behaviour and use it to buy items including underwear, deodorant, and CDs.

“The max you could earn was $4.50 a day and they’d take $1.50 off us every day for rent,” Mr Voller said.

“If you don’t buy your own underwear, the only other underwear you have the choice of wearing is the underwear everyone else wears.

“It gets washed, you pick out another pair, it gets washed and it goes through all of the males in Don Dale.”

The court heard Mr Voller was regularly stripsearched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes. “They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night … I was actually crying asking for a blanket,” he said.

Mr Voller said he was left handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van during a 1400 kilometre prison transfer from Alice Springs to Darwin. On the trip, he was denied bathroom stops and forced to defecate in his shirt.

“I threatened self-harm … choking myself with seat belts,” Mr Voller said.

He said the guards smoked heavily the whole way which made him vomit.

“I was vomiting, vomiting, I couldn’t get up, I was laying down in the chair and I was trying to break the chair so I could lay down flat,” he said.

Although poised throughout his testimony, Mr Voller’s eyes welled up on the stand, when senior counsel assisting Peter Callaghan SC moved his line of questioning to the topic of family.

“I had one case worker I remember that was saying my family didn’t really care about me and stuff like that,” Mr Voller said through tears.

“For a long time I started believing it, I guess.”

Mr Voller was this morning taken from the Darwin Correctional Centre to the Darwin Supreme Court to speak at the inquiry, which will also hear from Antoinette Carroll, a youth justice advocate who worked with Mr Voller for seven years.

This image from Four Corners screened on ABC shows Dylan Voller in the spit hood.

This image from Four Corners screened on ABC shows Dylan Voller in the spit hood.Source:ABC

The Royal Commission comes after footage screened in July showed Mr Voller and five other youths being tear-gassed and spit hooded at the Don Dale centre. Vision of Mr Voller strapped to a chair wearing a hood while in the notorious detention centre shocked many when they were screened by ABC’s Four Corners.

The court was closed but Mr Voller’s evidence was streamed online after the NT government lost a bid to delay further witnesses. He will not be cross-examined despite making allegations against 31 guards.

Other youths from Don Dale are expected to also give evidence.

According to his lawyer Peter O’Brien, Mr Voller has been eager to voice his version of events since the inquiry was announced on July 28.

Mr Voller was jailed at Holtze prison, Darwin in 2014 for a violent drug-fuelled binge.

“I’m definitely not proud of it, and it’s just humiliating and a lot of mistakes,” he said.

Both Mr O’Brien and Mr Voller’s mother, Joanne, said Mr Voller was concerned about giving evidence while still in custody and feared repercussions from prison guards.

“I have never seen my son so scared in all of his life,” Ms Voller said after visiting her son on Tuesday.

Mr Voller’s family has repeatedly called for his release from prison so he can speak freely before the commission.

He has also previously requested a transfer to Alice Springs prison.

But his mother said prison guards in Darwin have told him that going to Alice Springs would “increase his chances of getting bashed” because of its lack of CCTV cameras.

Mr Voller today told the court he finished school at age 10 and spent the following seven years in and out of care and youth detention.

He said it was during his first year in care he was first introduced to smoking marijuana and encouraged to commit crimes by older boys.

He described small, institutional rooms with painted-over windows.

“It was disgusting: cockroaches, dust, you felt trapped, you couldn’t really talk to anyone else,” Mr Voller said.

“The only bit of the outside world you got was when you were driving to court or yelling out at the top of your lungs to young people next door at the school.”

— With AAP

megan.palin@news.com.au

NACCHO coverage #NTElections #Aboriginal Health #DonDaleKids Policy document RACP

NT

#Aboriginal Health

” In the Northern Territory, as elsewhere in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people disproportionately experience poor health – much of which stems from SDoH factors. Concerted action must be taken by the incoming government to address these.

For instance, overcrowded housing for Indigenous people is a major problem in the Northern Territory and contributes to increased rates of infectious diseases. It is associated with the spread of ear and eye diseases, skin infections, respiratory infection, and streptococcal infections causing rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Education and literacy are strongly associated with lifestyle choices and health literacy. The incoming government must prioritise strategies which improve access to education and increase educational participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Northern Territory, including early childhood education. “

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee

external

#DondaleKids

“As in other Australian states and territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adolescents are hugely overrepresented in the Northern Territory justice system.

The special needs of these young people need to be considered. This should include the involvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in the provision of culturally specific and safe care. Culturally appropriate services and support programs are also needed post juvenile justice incarceration.

We welcome the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory; however we are calling for the Terms of Reference to be broadened to cover health. It is also crucial that all those who have been victims of any abuse receive immediate support and treatment for physical and mental health issues.

The disproportionate number of Indigenous young people in detention makes it essential that formal processes and mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait individuals and communities in the work of the Royal Commission and the overhaul of the Northern Territory’s incarceration culture.

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee

Download this policy document

NT time-for-action-on-health-policy-nt-federal-election-statement-2016

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

The CLP abolished the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, but reinstated it in 2015, has set public service Aboriginal employment targets and had pledged to invest more in remote housing, with a $1.65 billion program to build 240 houses a year for eight years in remote communities. Labor has pledged to give communities greater control over local government, education and training, health, childcare and justice, as well as promising a $1.1 billion 10-year remote housing program.

FROM AAP Summary see below part 2

 First Aboriginal eye doctor Kris Rallah-Baker working at Sunrise health clinic at Mataranka in the Northern TerritoryPhoto: Michael Amendolia

Overview

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is committed to working with all political parties to inform the development of health policies that are evidence-based and grounded in clinical expertise, that focus on ensuring the provision of high quality accessible healthcare. The Northern Territory Committee of the RACP utilises the knowledge and expertise of Northern Territory based members to develop policy positions and proposals which prioritise the health of all Territorians.

The RACP’s Northern Territory Committee has identified a number of policy priorities for the incoming government, accompanied by recommendations for action. These include:

  • Measures to address health inequity and the social determinants of health, as means to improve health outcomes and reduce rates of preventable diseases;
  • Improving access to specialist medical care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and supporting the vital services of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector;
  • Banning the use of lead shot for hunting;
  • Improving the provision of health, psychological and social services to adolescents in the juvenile justice system to facilitate rehabilitation and help detainees develop lifelong healthy behaviours;
  • Immediately ending the dangerous policy of open speed zones;
  • Implementing effective, community-led measures to reduce the harms of alcohol, including better utilisation of Alcohol Action Initiatives; and
  • Facilitating the provision of specialist medical services in community-based settings.

 

The RACP urges the incoming government to adopt strong policies which put the health of Territorians first, in line with the recommendations contained in this document.

Social Determinants of Health

Health is a matter that calls for a whole-of-government approach. The evidence is clear, an individual’s health is not only shaped by lifestyle choices but also by a range of socioeconomic factors which individuals often do not have direct control over. These are commonly referred to as the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and include housing, early childhood experience, economic status, transport, built and social environments and access to resources.

The evidence to date shows that:

  • Diseases and illness are exacerbated and disparately distributed in direct relationship to inequities in society.
  • Addressing the SDoH will reduce the burden of avoidable disease, resulting in savings to the health system as well as economic growth and development.

If action was taken to address the determinants of health at all levels of government, it is estimated that 500,000 Australians could avoid incurring a chronic disease.2

Governments can influence the SDoH by adopting an approach to policy-making that places health as a key decision-making factor in all areas of policy. This approach, referred to as Health in All Policies (HiAP), consists of systematically taking into account the health and health-system implications of all policy decisions, by seeking synergies between policy portfolios and avoiding harmful health impacts, in order to improve population health and health equity.3

In the Northern Territory, as elsewhere in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people disproportionately experience poor health – much of which stems from SDoH factors. Concerted action must be taken by the incoming government to address these.

For instance, overcrowded housing for Indigenous people is a major problem in the Northern Territory and contributes to increased rates of infectious diseases. It is associated with the spread of ear and eye diseases, skin infections, respiratory infection, and streptococcal infections causing rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Education and literacy are strongly associated with lifestyle choices and health literacy. The incoming government must prioritise strategies which improve access to education and increase educational participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Northern Territory, including early childhood education.

In addition to adopting a Health in All Policies approach, a strong focus on health prevention is required. The absence of a clearly defined preventive health strategy in Australia is deeply concerning, especially with chronic conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and type II diabetes, accounting for accounting for 83 per cent of premature deaths (deaths among people aged less than 75 years) and 66 per cent of the burden of disease in Australia. Investment in preventive health improves the population’s health and is critical to the long-term sustainability of the Northern Territory healthcare system.

Preventive health measures must address key contributing factors to chronic diseases in Australia, including alcohol consumption, obesity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. In order to effectively manage the preventive health risks posed by lifestyle factors and associated diseases, a coordinated approach is required.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Adopt a ‘Health in All Policies’ approach to policy-making to place health as a key decision-making factor in all areas of policy which impact on individuals and communities’ health (i.e. housing, education, transport, built and social environments, etc.).
  • Develop a Northern Territory preventive health strategy which addresses and lowers the risk factors for preventable illnesses and diseases.
  • Support and contribute to the development and implementation of a national Australian Preventive Health Strategy.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Data and experience shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access specialist services at a lower rate than needed, and they face many barriers in accessing specialist care – this is true whether they live in the city or in rural or remote areas.

For young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, access to sexual health information and services is critical. Concerted action is required to address the high levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Indigenous communities and to prevent increases in infection with blood borne viruses (BBVs). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth need to be empowered to promote and discuss good sexual health; supported to access timely, affordable and culturally appropriate sexual health services; with a target to reduce the incidence of STIs amongst Indigenous young people included in the Close the Gap objectives.

The RACP welcomed the launch of the Implementation Plan for The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, with its recognition of the need for a national framework to improve access to specialist care that is needs-based, and initiated by and integrated with primary health care services. The RACP is committed to working with its partners to progress this work, including working with the NT government. It is vital that sufficient and sustained funding and resources are made available to drive this Implementation Plan, so that its aims become a reality.

Indigenous health leadership and authentic engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are crucial to achieving improved health outcomes. Service development and provision should be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations. The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector is of vital importance in delivering effective, timely and culturally appropriate care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and must have long-term and secure funding to not only retain, but grow their capacity to do so.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Allocate sufficient and secure long-term funding to progress the strategies and actions identified in the Implementation Plan that are the responsibility of the NT government.
  • Engage and consult with the RACP in order to utilise specialist expertise and clinical knowledge in overcoming barriers to accessing specialist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT Time for Action on Health Policy: RACP Northern Territory Election Statement 2016 5
  • Implement specific strategies and initiatives to address the disproportionately high incidence of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Support the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to support the sector’s continued provision of Indigenous-led, culturally sensitive healthcare.
  • Build and support the Indigenous health workforce to grow their numbers and integration within multidisciplinary teams.

Banning use of lead shot for hunting

It is of significant concern that elevated lead levels have been found in over half of children tested in three Top End remote communities and in 20 per cent of adults. Updated guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia recommend elevated levels be investigated and reduced. Inhalation or ingestion of lead can produce neurodevelopmental dysfunction in children, resulting in learning difficulties, and behavioural problems. Elevated lead levels can also contribute to dysfunction in cardiovascular, renal, neurological, and haematological systems in adults.

Lead shot used in guns remains a key source of lead exposure among populations where it is still commonly used; through directly ingesting game that has been hunted and therefore contaminated with lead shot, as well as handling lead ammunition (or playing with lead ammunition in the case of children), and consuming lead dust and particles.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, hunting and fishing yields continue to make up a considerable proportion of their diet. High consumption of game meat is also typical for many individual recreational and vocational hunters and their families.

Lead shot is banned for hunting waterfowl in the Northern Territory however Indigenous Australians hunting on Aboriginal-owned land are exempt from this legislation and therefore exempt from the protection it affords.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Immediately ban lead shot for hunting in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the National Health and Medical Research Council, and support appropriate access to alternatives.

Incarceration of adolescents

Significant improvements are needed within the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory. The health and healthcare needs of young people in juvenile detention are rarely seen as a priority, despite the fact that these adolescents are among the most vulnerable in our community.

As in other Australian states and territories, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adolescents are hugely overrepresented in the Northern Territory justice system. The special needs of these young people need to be considered. This should include the involvement of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in the provision of culturally specific and safe care. Culturally appropriate services and support programs are also needed post juvenile justice incarceration.

We welcome the Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory; however we are calling for the Terms of Reference to be broadened to cover health. It is also crucial that all those who have been victims of any abuse receive immediate support and treatment for physical and mental health issues.

The disproportionate number of Indigenous young people in detention makes it essential that formal processes and mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait individuals and communities in the work of the Royal Commission and the overhaul of the Northern Territory’s incarceration culture.

It is recognised that incarcerated adolescents are more likely to experience poorer health and life outcomes and disproportionately high levels of disadvantage over that of the general population, and it is increasingly recognised that their health needs are greater than adolescents in non-custodial settings.

Adolescence is a critical time in a person’s development, and it is imperative that juvenile detention provides opportunities for young offenders to rehabilitate and develop healthy behaviours for life. We acknowledge that the interactions between disadvantage, incarceration, poor health and well-being and life outcomes are complex, however this should not deter us from ensuring these young people are able to access the healthcare, support services and rehabilitation opportunities to support them to lead a healthy and productive future.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Improve provision of health, psychological and social services to adolescents in the juvenile justice system, including a health screening within 24 hours of entry into detention.
  • Reduce reoffending and recidivism in the juvenile justice system and increase vocational productivity by addressing the social determinants of health through a “whole of Government” approach.
  • Improve the training of health professionals and others who work with adolescents in the juvenile justice system.

End Open Speed Zones

The open speed zone on the Stuart Highway puts hundreds of thousands of road users, tourists and local residents at risk each year. Northern Territory road users suffer a road safety record that is far worse than any other Australian state or territory. Its fatality rate is among the worst in the developed world – between February 2013 and March 2014, the fatality rate (17.79) was more than three times the national average of 5.11 deaths per 100,000 people.

These figures underscore a real and pressing need for the incoming government to commit to ending the policy of open speed zones in the interests of the health and safety of all Northern Territory road users and pedestrians. Road safety requires a comprehensive approach, and a vital element is missing when speed limits are not in place.

Since the reinstatement of open speed zones on the Stuart Highway in February 2014, the Northern Territory Committee of the RACP has consistently warned of the risks associated with open speed zones and advocated for an end to this dangerous policy. Speed is a relevant consideration in all road accidents. Higher speeds lead to a greater risk of a crash and a greater probability of serious injury if a crash occurs.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Immediately abolish open speed zones on the Stuart Highway
  • Permanently end the policy of open speed zones across the Northern Territory
  • Show leadership and commit to road safety policies that focus on safeguarding the lives and health of all Northern Territory road users and pedestrians, in line with the principles of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.

Alcohol

The harms of alcohol are difficult to overstate. It is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and eighth largest risk factor for deaths. It is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions, and can lead to lifelong problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The social and economic costs of alcohol to the Northern Territory are particularly high. National statistics have recorded the Northern Territory as having the highest per capita consumption of alcohol and the highest percentage of deaths attributable to alcohol. And while the epidemiology of FASD remains unclear due to a lack of standardised data, estimates suggest higher rates of FASD in the Northern Territory than the rest of Australia, particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The RACP is particularly concerned about the harms of alcohol to children and young people, with the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders being only 18 years. The tendency of young people to combine drinking with high risk activities (such as drink driving) increases their risk of alcohol-related injury or illness, and in some cases can prove fatal. Risky drinking behaviours, combined with open speed limits (see above), creates conditions for further increases in the incidence of devastating road trauma and fatalities on Northern Territory roads.

The RACP calls on the incoming government to make better use of Alcohol Action Initiatives, as a potent tool for addressing the availability of alcohol while empowering local communities to restrict access to alcohol as they see fit. The previous Alcohol Management Plan (AMP) framework was shown to achieve stronger and more sustainable outcomes in reducing alcohol-related harms in communities where AMPs were locally driven and owned, and where supply measures were integrated with complementary demand and harm-reduction measures.

The RACP encourages the incoming government to prioritise the implementation of proposed new Alcohol Action Initiatives, as a means for the Northern Territory to partner with the Commonwealth to empower local communities to tailor a suite of initiatives covering alcohol restriction as well as better treatment facilities and community education to reduce local alcohol-related harms.

The RACP notes that development of a Northern Territory Alcohol Action Plan is currently underway, with a whole of government response to FASD to be included in the plan. The RACP encourages the incoming government to utilise the RACP’s evidence-based Alcohol Policy in developing the plan and to consult with RACP Fellows to ensure physician expertise underpins strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm in the Northern Territory

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Take full advantage of the new Alcohol Action Initiatives to partner with the Commonwealth to facilitate locally owned and managed initiatives to reduce alcohol related harm through a combination of alcohol restriction measures, education and better addiction treatment facilities.
  • Increase funding for alcohol treatment services in order to reduce the incidence of alcohol use disorders
  • Increase funding to facilitate workforce development to address unmet demand for alcohol treatment services.

Integrated Care

For the growing number of Australians living with multiple, chronic health conditions, navigating the health system has become increasingly complex. This problem also impacts people with disability and mental health issues. The care of individuals with multiple health problems is often disjointed, with the patient’s different health conditions managed by different health professionals.

Fragmented health services delivery not only impacts the quality of patient care, but leads to inefficiencies, duplication and wastage across the health system. An approach to healthcare which places the patient at the centre is required to not only improve the management of patients with complex care needs, but ensure the Northern Territory healthcare system operates efficiently and effectively.

Of particular priority for the RACP is the need to support increased provision of specialist services in community-based settings, such as primary healthcare centres, community clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, residential aged care facilities and people’s homes. Community-based settings allow patients with multiple, chronic or complex conditions to be seen in convenient location, and facilitate greater collaboration and coordination between the different health professionals involved in patient care.

The RACP calls on the incoming NT government to:

  • Engage and consult with the RACP in order to utilise specialist expertise and knowledge when developing integrated models of care for the NT, including any involvement in the Health Care Homes trial, to ensure a multidisciplinary approach is taken.
  • Implement policies that promote and support health professionals and service providers to work collaboratively.

WHAT THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES ARE FOCUSING ON FOR THE NT ELECTION: AAP Summary

COST OF LIVING

The CLP says it has reduced the cost of housing and petrol over its term, and increased family subsidies. It says it will continue to do so with more land release, will offer $500 study vouchers, and will work to reduce the cost of food in remote areas. Labor has accused the CLP of planning to sell off public utility PowerWater Corporation. Labor is offering up to $26,000 in stamp duty relief for home buyers, and will issue seniors with a $700 debit card every two years.

LAW AND ORDER

The CLP made its legislation to presume against bail for young property offenders an election issue. It’s also promising more CCTV camera funding. Meanwhile, Labor is focusing on early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation of young people, as well as promising more police on the streets. Both parties have pledged to close down the Don Dale centre and both have promised a new police station for Palmerston.

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

Chief Minister Adam Giles has promised to create 24,000 jobs next term, a third of which would be in the onshore gas industry, and the rest across marine infrastructure development, tourism, horticulture, indigenous housing, aquaculture, construction and defence. Labor says it will repurpose $100 million from the current budget for infrastructure stimulus to create jobs.

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

The CLP abolished the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, but reinstated it in 2015, has set public service Aboriginal employment targets and had pledged to invest more in remote housing, with a $1.65 billion program to build 240 houses a year for eight years in remote communities. Labor has pledged to give communities greater control over local government, education and training, health, childcare and justice, as well as promising a $1.1 billion 10-year remote housing program.

MINING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The CLP says developing the onshore gas industry is key to a stable future and job security in the NT, while Labor says if elected it will institute an indefinite moratorium on fracking until the process is proven to be safe. The CLP will institute world’s best practice regulations in relation to mining and energy projects. Labor will follow a science-based and transparent water license process, will support indigenous rangers and environment groups, and will move to a 50/50 renewable energy target by 2030.

© AAP 2016

NACCHO #closethegap kidney and heart disease : How can we cut salt, sugar in basic foods in remote Aboriginal communities

 

N2

“Food manufacturers should find ways to reduce salt and sugar in basic foods to help prevent the high rates of kidney disease in remote Australian communities, .

Lowering the cost of healthy food in remote areas — where the burden of end-stage kidney disease is up to 30 times higher than the rest of Australia — was not enough.

The health sector should partner up with food manufacturers to lower the salt content in foods like bread and processed meat, which are the major contributors to kidney and heart disease.”

“The new initiatives, we hope, might involve trying to improve the quality of food that’s in the food supply that people naturally get, so that people eat and enjoy food with a lower salt content without even noticing,” Professor Cass said.

He said it was important for partnerships to be formed between stores and communities with the goal of making healthy food accessible and affordable.

“[It’s essential] to try to work with schools so that kids themselves are involved in programs to make healthy food attractive,” Professor Cass said.

Rate of kidney disease in the NT worst in the world

These are mothers and fathers with children … people at the peak of their community and family activity who are affected by this illness

Professor Alan Cass, Menzies School of Health Research

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of kidney disease in Australia and the world, and is a major community and health service problem.

The rate is also far higher among the Indigenous population, particularly young people.

“These are mothers and fathers with children, people who might otherwise be in employment if they weren’t very unwell,” Professor Cass said.

“So it’s people at the peak of their community and family activity who are affected by this illness.”

Money making its way to people who need it most

The federal and Territory governments have increased efforts to bolster treatment services for people with end-stage kidney disease, and injected $25 million to the cause in July last year.

Sarah Brown from the Alice Springs-based dialysis treatment centre Purple House said the money had helped keep her centre’s door open for the next three years.

She said it had also kickstarted the building of new dialysis infrastructure in remote communities so sick people did not have to go to cities for treatment.

A woman receives dialysis

“When we talk to patients and families, the number one issue is having access to country and family and not being away from all those things that are important,” Ms Brown said.

“So we’ve made considerable strides in that front, but there are still lots of people who are stuck away from their families to access treatment.”

Ms Brown said there also needed to be more money made available for kidney transplant services.

But both Ms Brown and Professor Cass said the long-term policy focus had to be on prevention.

“In terms of improving access to effective prevention treatment, screenings for kidney damage and best possible control of diabetes, blood pressure, smoking cessation and diet for people with early kidney disease,” Professor Cass said.

Ms Brown agreed screenings and diet were part of the solution.

“Kidney disease is a disease of poverty, powerlessness and dispossession,” Ms Brown said.

“Communities need to have some agency over their lives and future: housing, education, environmental health. What’s really important is people having a vision for their future and some understanding that life on communities and their culture is valued by the general Australian community.”

Declaration of Interest : The editor of NACCHO Communique Colin Cowell was the originator of the Cuz Congress food branding concept

DO YOU HAVE AN Aboriginal Health message to share with out 100,000 readers in 150 communities and 302 Medical Clinics ??

Our Newspaper closes March 18 for Advertising

BOOK Here or for More INFO

ir culture is valued by the general Australian community.”

 

NACCHO NEWS: AMSANT-CDU Healthy kids – Smart kids Conference Flyer – 28 & 29 Sept 2015

2015 Indigenous Leadership Conference- healthy kids-smart kids
“This conference will focus on the Indigenous health-education nexus through the presentation of quality research, examples of best practice response models and associated outcomes occurring in the Northern Territory, nationally and internationally.”
John Paterson CEO AMSANT

Please find attached flyer regarding ‘Healthy Kids-Smart Kids’ conference jointly hosted by AMSANT and International Graduate Centre of Education and the Centre for School Leadership, Charles Darwin University, being held at Darwin Convention Centre on 28-29 September 2015.

  
We are also seeking nominations from ACCH’s who wish to present at the conference on Early Childhood initiatives. If your service would like to present, we need to know asap as we are in process of negotiating the program content.
 
Online registration is available at the conference website

The international Graduate Centre of Education and the Centre for School Leadership, in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) are hosting the 2015 Indigenous Leadership Conference: navigating the health-education nexus at the Darwin Convention Centre for 2 days on Monday 28-Tuesday 29 September.

This conference will focus on the Indigenous health-education nexus through the presentation of quality research, examples of best practice response models and associated outcomes occurring in the Northern Territory, nationally and internationally.

Presentations will include keynote deliveries and plenary sessions from a wide number of health and education experts and bring together a large membership of practitioners from these sectors, as well as tertiary, NGO and allied industry groups.

AIMS AND OUTCOMES

  • Enhance participant understandings of the health-education nexus and the various ways these dimensions are collectively expressed and impact Indigenous children and families
  • Through exposure to best practice exemplars, enhance participant understandings of the ways in which progressive models may be developed and applied across Indigenous cultural contexts
  • Build cross agency and community partnerships involving Indigenous health and education professionals committed toward the improvement of Indigenous health and schooling outcomes

EMAIL CONTACT HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal health news: Action plan to increase the number of Aboriginal Health Practitioners

healthy-futures-low-res

Pictured above AMSANT CEO John Paterson along with Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT chair Marion Scrymgour  and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee who will sit on the Back on Track taskforce

Minister for Health Robyn Lambley has today announced the Back On Track taskforce that will lead an action plan to increase the number of Aboriginal Health Practitioners in the Northern Territory.

“It was wonderful to see that the Country Liberals Government’s Aboriginal Health Practitioners Back on Track plan received support from all sides of politics in Parliament today,” Mrs Lambley said.

“In July I announced that we would boost the number of Aboriginal Health Practitioners across the Territory by 10 per cent a year.

“We are also committed to working with five key communities including Wadeye and Papunya to reach specific targets of Aboriginal Health Practitioners working in health clinics

“Today I am pleased to announce that I have so far asked Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT chair Marion Scrymgour, AMSANT CEO John Paterson and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee to sit on the Back on Track taskforce.

“I will chair the Taskforce and together we will concentrate on reaching these targets.

“We will work closely with community leaders, health managers and current Aboriginal Health Practitioners.

“I am committed to ensuring that representatives from the Department of Health visit communities that have been left without an Aboriginal Health Practitioner for years, to work with the community to encourage people to train as Aboriginal Health Practitioners.

“We need to know the barriers to successful outcomes. We need to find ways through those barriers, because as far as I am concerned, the result is too important to too many Territorians and their communities.

“We cannot afford to let this fall by the wayside and fail our remote areas as the previous Labor Government did, if we are to see real progress in Indigenous health outcomes and economic opportunity in our remote communities.

“Encouraging more Aboriginal Health Practitioners into health clinics across all areas of remote Australia is an important national health issue for Indigenous people.

“I’m looking forward to standing up in Parliament next year and reporting to the Assembly that we are well and truly back on track in the Territory.”