NACCHO Press Release Aboriginal Male Health Outcomes : #OchreDay2018 The largest ever gathering for a NACCHO male health conference : View 15 #NACCHOTV interviews with speakers

 ” We, the Aboriginal males  gathered at the Ochre Day Men’ Health Summit, nipaluna (Hobart) Tasmania in August 2018; to continue to develop strategies to ensure our  roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, brothers, grandsons, and sons  caring for our families.

We commit to taking responsibility for pursuing  a healthy, happier,  life for  our families and ourselves, that reflects the opportunities experienced by the wider community.

We acknowledge the NAIDOC theme “Because of her we can”We celebrate the relationships we have with our wives, mothers, grandmothers,  granddaughters,  aunties, nieces  sisters and daughters.

We also acknowledge that our male roles embedded in Aboriginal culture as well as our contemporary lives  must value the importance of the love,  companionship, and support of our Aboriginal women, and other partners.

We will pursue the roles and practices of Aboriginal men grounded in their  cultural as  protectors, providers and mentors. “

Our nipaluna (Hobart) Ochre Day Statement:  That our timeless culture still endures 

All NACCHO reports from #Ochre Day

For so many of the men at Ochre Day, healing had come about through being better connected to their culture and understanding, and knowing who they are as Aboriginal men. Culture is what brought them back from the brink.

We’ve long known culture is a protective factor for our people, but hearing so many men in one place discuss how culture literally saved their lives really brought that fact home.

It made me even more conscious of how important it is that we focus on the wellbeing side of Aboriginal health. If we’re really serious about Closing the Gap, we need to fund male wellbeing workers in our Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

In Victoria, the life expectancy of an Aboriginal male is 10 years less than a non-Aboriginal male. Closing the Gap requires a holistic, strength- based response. As one of the fellas said, “you don’t need a university degree to Close the Gap, you just need to listen to our mob”.

I look forward to next year’s Ochre Day being hosted on Victorian country, and for VACCHO being even more involved.

Trevor Pearce is Acting CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Health Organisation (VACCHO) Originally published CROAKEY see in full part 2 below  : Aboriginal men’s health conference: “reclaim our rightful place and cultural footprint “

Download our Press Release NACCHO Press release Ochre Day

The National Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson John Singer, closed recent the Hobart Ochre Day Conference-Men’s Health, Our Way. Let’s Own It!

View interview with NACCHO Chair John Singer

Ochre Day is an important Aboriginal male health initiative to help draw attention to Aboriginal male health in a holistic way. The delegates fully embraced the conference theme, many spoke about their own journeys in the male health sector and all enjoyed participation in conference sessions, activities and workshops.

More than 200 delegates attended and heard from an impressive line-up of speakers and this year was no exception.

Delegates responded positively to The Hon. Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health funding of an Aboriginal Television network.

View Minister Ken Wyatt speech

Mr John Paterson CEO of AMSANT spoke about the importance of women as partners in men’s health

View interview with John Paterson

and Mr Rod Little from National Congress delivered a brief history on the progress of a Treaty in Australia as a keynote address for the Jaydon Adams Oration Memorial Dinner. The winner of the Jaydon Adams award 2018 was Mr Aaron Everett.

View interview with Rod Little

A comprehensive quality program involving presentations from clinicians, researches, academics, medical experts and Aboriginal Health Practitioners were delivered.

Delegates listened to passionate speakers like Dr Mick Adams, Dr Mark Wenitong, Patrick Johnson.

View all interview here on NACCHO TV 

Joe Williams, Deon Bird, Kim Mulholland and Karl Briscoe. Topics included those on suicide, Deadly Choices, cardiovascular and other chronic diseases as well as family violence impacting Aboriginal Communities. Initiatives to address these problems were explored in workshops that were held to discuss how to make men’s health a priority and how to support the reaffirmation of cultural identity.

Speeches by Ross Williams, Stan Stokes and Charlie Adams addressed the establishment of Men’s Clinics within the Anyinginiyi Aboriginal Health Service and Wuchopperen Aboriginal Health Service, which demonstrated the positive impact that these facilities have had on men’s health and their emotional wellbeing.

These reports as well as the experiences related by delegates highlighted the urgent need for more Aboriginal Men’s Health Clinics to be established especially in regional, rural and remote areas.

As a result of interaction with a broad cross section of delegates the NACCHO Chairman
Mr John Singer was able to put forward a range of priorities that he believed would go some way to addressing some of the concerns raised.

These priorities were the acquisition of funds to enable the;

  • Establishment of 80 Men’s Health Clinics in urban, rural and remote locations and
  • The employment of both a Male Youth Health Policy Officer and Male (Adult) Health Policy Officer by NACCHO in Canberra.

Delegates also welcomed the funding of $3.4 million for the Aboriginal Health Television network provided that the programs were culturally appropriate and supported a
strength-based approach to Men’s Health.

Our Thanks to the Sponsors 

 

 

Part 2 Trevor Pearce is Acting CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Health Organisation (VACCHO) Originally published CROAKEY 

 Aboriginal men’s health conference: “reclaim our rightful place and cultural footprint “

I’ve just returned from my first NACCHO Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference in Hobart, and it was so deadly, it most definitely won’t be my last.

About 260 Aboriginal men from the Kimberleys to urban environments and everywhere in between attended. White Ochre Day started as an Aboriginal response to White Ribbon Day. For Aboriginal people, White Ochre has significant cultural and ceremonial values for Aboriginal people.

It’s not just about the aesthetics of painting white ochre on to our skin, there are strong cultural elements to the ceremony and identity. Ochre Day is a gathering of Aboriginal men for sharing ideas of best practice and increasing access to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men for us to deal with family violence, and with spiritual healing, as Aboriginal men.

I was privileged to attend this conference with all the male Aboriginal staff members from VACCHO, who represented a diversity of ages and backgrounds. They work at VACCHO in areas including cultural safety, mental health, policy, sexual health and bloodborne viruses, telehealth, and alcohol and other drugs. It was a great bonding experience for us, and fantastic to be part of this national conversation.

Aboriginal men die much younger than Aboriginal women, and we die an awful lot younger than the non-Aboriginal population. We have the highest suicide rates in the world, and suffer chronic disease at high rates too.

We walk and live with poor health every day, and much of this is down to the symptoms that colonisation has brought us. We didn’t have these high rates of illness and suicide pre-colonisation, when we had strength in our culture, walked on our traditional homeland estates and we all spoke our languages. And we certainly didn’t have incarceration before contact.

A rightful place

The Ochre Day Conference covered all aspects of health and wellbeing for Aboriginal men; physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing. It was about our need to reclaim our rightful place and cultural footprint on the Australian landscape.

It is a basic human right to be healthy and have good wellbeing, as is our right to embrace our culture. Improving our health is not just about the absence of disease, it’s about developing our connection to Country, our connection to family, and feeling positive about ourselves.

This position of reclamation of our right place within Australia society is critical given the current political landscape, and the challenges that Aboriginal people face. Victoria has an election in November, and a national election to come soon too. As Aboriginal people we know that race relations will be a tool used against us, and our lives will often be portrayed from the deficit point of view that will focus on what’s wrong with us.

In light of the above, it was good to hear about all the positive things Aboriginal men are doing across the country to help their families and communities, from the grassroots to the national level.

Rightfully, we talked a lot about mental health issues. There was a lot of personal sharing; men talking about their own issues; men who had attempted suicide speaking openly about it. There were survivors of abuse, of family violence. For any man, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, these are big things to get up and talk about.

I was so impressed and moved by what these Aboriginal men had to share. There was such generosity of spirit from these men in sharing their stories, and I’m not ashamed to say some of these brought me to tears.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Sugartax News : @Apunipima Dr Mark Wenitong launches #SugaryDrinksProperNoGood

 

 ” This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health.It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

Read over 30 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/nutrition-healthy-foods/

Read over 15 NACCHO articles Sugar Tax HERE  

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/sugar-tax/

Apunipima Cape York Health Council  launched its Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla social marketing campaign on Thursday 2 November.

The campaign was developed with, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Cape York, and is supported by the national Rethink Sugary Drink Alliance – a group of organisations, including Apunipima, Diabetes Australia and the Cancer Council, concerned about the health impacts of sugary drinks.

The launch will see the campaign webpage (part of the Rethink Sugary Drink website) go live, and the release of three videos featuring NRL legend Scotty Prince inviting people to Drink More Water Youfla.

Channel 7 News Coverage

#SugaryDrinksProperNoGood and #DrinkMoreWaterYoufla.

VIEW HERE

Media was invited to Apunipima’s Cairns office where the three clips were distributed, a sugary drinks display set up, and Apunipima Public Health Medical Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong was for interview and photos opportunities.

‘This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health. It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks like soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks,’ Dr Wenitong said.

Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria and spokesperson for Rethink Sugary Drink Alliance Craig Sinclair said Apunipima’s campaign was prevention – focused and could save lives.

‘This is a vitally important campaign that has the capacity to not only improve lives but save them.’

‘It may sound simple, but cutting out sugary drinks can have a big impact on your health. Sugary drinks are key contributor to being overweight or obese which puts you at risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and kidney disease. Apunipima Cape York Health Council is to be congratulated for taking this innovative prevention-led approach.’

The campaign was funded by the Australian government via the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN).

‘We’re pleased to be supporting Apunipima in this comprehensive health promotion initiative to address consumption of sugary drinks, which are one of the key contributors to overweight and obesity,’ said NQPHN CEO Mr Robin Moore.

‘Apunipima have a strong track record of developing and undertaking effective health promotion initiatives for our local communities, and are a key agency improving the skills and knowledge of the health promotion workforce across the region.’

‘NQPHN is committed to helping to close the gap and we are confident this initiative will make a significant contribution to that goal.’

Prominent Far Northern doctor calls for Australian sugar tax

A PROMINENT doctor has reignited calls for a sugar tax, in order to prevent the Far North’s chronic disease rate from climbing even higher.

Apunipima Cape York Health Council has launched a federally-funded social media campaign, to discourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from consuming sugary drinks.

The “Sugary Drinks Proper No Good — Drink More Water Youfla” campaign, featuring videos by NRL legend Scotty Prince.

It calls on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks, like soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks.

The campaign has been launched to tackle the high rate of chronic diseases in the Far North such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Apunipima public health medical advisor Dr Mark Wenitong said a sugar tax placed on junk food and beverages would go a long way to helping reduce this rate.

“We’ve seen this happen in a few South American countries, in Mexico,” he said.

“If those countries can introduce (a sugar tax) as a health benefit to their population, then I don’t see why we can’t.

“I know the beverage industry will often say ‘this will affect the most disadvantaged people, because they’ll have to pay’, our answer to that is, it’s killing most disadvantaged people already, because they’ve got higher risk factors.

“It affects their chronic disease status more than other people in Australia.”

Cairns Hospital, earlier this year, became one of the first hospitals in Queensland to implement strategies to restrict patient and staff access to soft drinks.

Vending machines and the two cafes at the hospital only sell sugar-free soft drinks.

Dr Wenitong said the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service should go an extra step by restricting other junk food being sold at its facilities, like chocolate bars and chips.

“At some stage, I think they’ll have to think about the accessibility of those things, particularly for younger people,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea, by at least making them less visible and less accessible, so kids just don’t see them and want them.”

CHHHS executive director Tina Chinery said they had received no complaints from patients, staff or visitors when their healthier drink strategy was rolled out earlier this year.

“Healthcare facilities play an important role in promoting the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors,” she said.

“Cairns Hospital is leading by example and creating environments that support patients, staff and visitors to make healthy choices easy.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health News : Dr Mark Wenitong appointed to Federal Government mental health advisory panel

The Turnbull Government has established a new mental health advisory panel to support their commitment to improve services.On that panel (see all members below) is Dr Mark Wenitong advising on Indigenous and remote health

The Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health will work closely with the Government on its plan to deliver more frontline mental health services.

BIO Dr Mark Wenitong – Indigenous and Remote Health

The choices for me to come back and work with communities and with my own mob up this way was kind of an easy one really,”

“I wasn’t particularly interested in a career in medicine or specialising.

“It was more getting the paper (qualifications) behind me and being able to have a voice in Aboriginal health and to be able to do something practical to help our mob.”

Dr Mark Wenitong Former Aboriginal Public Health Medical Officer, at NACCHO. Now Senior Medical Officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council where he remains focused on his community’s health needs and inspiring the next generation of young Aboriginal students to be doctors.

See NACCHO TV interview with DR Mark for ” Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands Series “

And Australian Story

Read here : Dr Mark Wenitong, reggae musician and Indigenous health leader

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have substantial responsibilities in mental health:

  • They plan and commission primary mental health care services at the regional level;
  • They plan and coordinate the clinical service needs of people with severe and complex mental illness who are managed in primary care;
  • They implement evidence-based stepped care; and
  • They integrate services in partnership with state and territory governments, general practitioners, non-government organisations, National Disability Insurance Scheme providers and other related services, organisations and providers.

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, has now established a PHN advisory panel with specific Terms of Reference:

  1. To consider and provide advice regarding the guidelines for mental health commissioning issued to the 31 PHNs and oversee the development of a Framework for PHM mental health commissioning, noting that commissioning is a cyclical process of local consultation, design and solutions.
  2. To oversee an analysis of the 2016/17 Department of Health-approved needs assessment and mental health plans developed by the 31 PHNs.
  3. Following the analysis, provide advice to the Minister for Health on strategies to support the 31 PHNs to efficiently and effectively carry out their commissioning responsibilities in mental health.
  4. Provide recommendations to the Minister for Health about the optimal system architecture and arrangements for supporting the role of PHNs in ongoing mental health reform.
  5. Provide guidance for peak bodies and Colleges on how their members can engage with the PHN commissioning process.

Panel Membership:

  • Dr Peggy Brown – National Mental Health Commission
  • Vahid Saberi – NSW North Coast PHN
  • Learne Durrington – WA Primary Health Alliance
  • Abbe Anderson – Brisbane North PHN
  • Amanda Bresnan – Community Mental Health Australia
  • Professor Lyn Littlefield – Australian Psychological Society
  • Associate Prof Kim Ryan – College of Mental Health Nurses
  • Dr Kym Jenkins – RANZCP
  • Professor Pat McGorry – National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
  • Jackie Crowe – National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board
  • Frank Quinlan – Mental Health Australia
  • Lucy Brogden – National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board
  • Dr Morten Rawlin (RACGP)
  • Dr Mark Wenitong – Indigenous and Remote Health
  • Samuel Hockey – Youth lived experience
  • a nominee from Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

NACCHO News Alert : Australian Story ABC TV : Dr Mark Wenitong, reggae musician and #Indigenous health leader

AHAH

Dr Mark Wenitong describes himself, first and foremost, as a musician.

He certainly plays a mean guitar in his reggae band. But he is also the father of multi-award winning musicians who have played to packed stadiums — Shakaya, Local Knowledge and The Last Kinection.

At the same time, Mark is a leader in Indigenous health who says his greatest role model was his mother Lealon, who in the 1950s and ’60s fought against the odds to become a pioneering Indigenous health worker.

Eight years ago the family was plunged into crisis when a car crash nearly claimed the life of Mark’s daughter Naomi — one half of chart-topping duo Shakaya. Now Mark’s son, Joel, who was at the wheel on that night, is following his father’s footsteps from music into medicine — and “doing something practical to help our mob”.

Realising an ‘impossible dream’

Lealon, one of Australia's first indigenous health workers

Mark grew up in Gladstone, one of six children being raised by his mother Lealon, who was on her own after throwing out a violent husband.

“She had an ethic that said you either study or you work, ‘but you’re not doing nothing’,” he recalls. “Studying was easier than working, so I went to uni.”

Mark met Deb Sisson, a classically trained musician, at university. The couple fell in love and formed a reggae band which paid the rent and fed the mouths of their rapidly expanding family.

Mark studied laboratory science and became a pathology technician in Cairns.

He began to notice the Third World health problems facing Cape York communities and realised he had to try to do something about the problem.

His mother spotted a small announcement in the paper, offering medical training for Indigenous students at Newcastle University.

Mark went off to Newcastle as a mature-aged student, entering a world he had previously thought had been unattainable.

“Newcastle Medical School, to the best of my knowledge, is responsible for graduating about half of all Indigenous doctors in the country,” says Dr Louis Peachey, one of Australia’s first Indigenous doctors.

“When Mark went through, it was the impossible dream, couldn’t be done, so you needed a very resilient group of people who got to do it.”

Mark and his wife had to work two or three nights a week performing music gigs to put food on the table while studying.

Mixing music, medicine, and raising a young family

In 1995 Mark graduated, one of the first Aboriginal men to become a doctor.

Mark’s eldest son Joel remembers “when Dad was doing medicine, you don’t have enough money to do anything, especially with a bunch of us kids who were just eating everything”.

“So they were performers. I was in bands with Mum and Dad, I was kind of performing with them as well.”

In 1995, Mark became the third Aboriginal male to graduate from Newcastle University Medical School.

After graduating, Mark began a medical odyssey which continues to this day, joining World Vision and working in Central Australia where he came face to face with some of the harshest health challenges

Mark Wenitong graduating from medicine

From there, he worked in the health policy area in Canberra before finally returning to Cairns where he took up clinical roles in the Queensland Indigenous Health Service.

“Dad did become a bit of a working machine. I don’t think there was a community or a job that he didn’t do, that he couldn’t do for medicine,” Joel says.

“You have to be really well organised to fit family time, and mum and dad definitely struggled with finding that balance.”

The medical life and travel took its toll on Mark and Deb’s relationship and they divorced.

Stop Calling Me and the rise of Shakaya

However, music continued to be a huge part of the family’s lives.

Mark’s daughter Naomi met Simone Stacey, another descendent of South Sea Islanders. Together they formed the duo Shakaya and instantly had a chart-topping hit with Stop Calling Me in 2002.

They achieved four platinum records for their singles and toured with Destiny’s Child and Human Nature, but success was not enough for Naomi.

“Just being successful and being black for me for a while, it was really fulfilling,” she said.

“But things were happening in this country that were shocking, you know, like, deaths in custody and stuff, all over the news, and we were on stage singing Cinderella?”

Meanwhile, Joel, who had remained in Newcastle, had been successful with rap group Local Knowledge, which performed edgy political songs.

Naomi and Joel decided to join forces and formed The Last Kinection, named after Lealon, the last of the traditional elders in the family.

Singing his daughter back to life

It was after a successful national tour that Joel and Naomi found themselves driving home along the Sydney-Newcastle freeway.

Suddenly they were run off the road and their car became impaled on a steel guardrail.

Naomi, thrown out of the car by the 100 kilometres per hour impact, was declared dead at the scene.

It was only with the subsequent arrival of two doctors at the accident scene that Naomi’s body moved and she was then resuscitated. But she was in a very bad way.

Mark remembers her injuries: “She had a fractured jaw, a frontal lobe contusion, fractured ribs, fractured wrist, compound fracture of femur, broken hip, broken pelvis.”

Deb kept vigil with her other children and resorted to the healing powers of music.

“I just turned to Mark and I said ‘you’d better start singing that song’ — because he used to sing her this little song,” she said.

“And when I came back he was singing and oh, I just … I just thought that was just beautiful.”

Naomi was in a coma for weeks and when she regained consciousness, she had lost her memory, which included that fact that her beloved Nan had passed away.

“I was like, Nanny’s funeral, is Nanny gone?” she recalls.

“It was just like I had heard it for the first time. I hadn’t mourned … and so I was heartbroken.”

Tragedy gave new perspective on life

Joel, although not suffering physical trauma like Naomi, was in a very dark place.

As the driver, he felt responsibility.

“I’d just be crying for no reason, you know, and, just smells, even smells, like there’s a car accident smell that happens as well, you just start crying, and I just remember having these nightmares with Naomi looking at me going ‘this is your fault, you did this to me’,” he said.

Naomi recovered — learning to walk again and regaining much of her memory.

As she healed, Joel healed too, but it had a dramatic effect on his outlook.

He decided to take up medicine and follow his father’s career.

“Seeing Joel graduate was an immensely proud moment for me. He’ll have a great career in medicine,” Mark said.

“It did start with my mother as a health worker, and she started late in life. I started late in life and then Joel was 33 or 34 before he started medicine.”

Today, Mark is heavily involved in preventative health and is concerned about the growing ice problem in far north Queensland.

He is working with the Gindaja Indigenous residential rehabilitation centre that is treating both indigenous and white ice addicts.

He remains focused on his community’s health needs and inspiring the next generation of young Aboriginal students to be doctors.

“The choices for me to come back and work with communities and with my own mob up this way was kind of an easy one really,” Mark observed.

“I wasn’t particularly interested in a career in medicine or specialising.

“It was more getting the paper (qualifications) behind me and being able to have a voice in Aboriginal health and to be able to do something practical to help our mob.”

See the full Australian Story on ABC TV at 8pm.

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NACCHO Health News: Remote Aboriginal leaders in bid to avert ice crisis

FNQ ICE

 

An indigenous-led coalition of leaders and frontline health workers has launched a pre-­emptive strike to avert a socially catastrophic explosion of ice use in remote communities.

Mounting evidence of the increasing use of ice and related “psychotic episodes” in the past six months has sparked fears of a reversal of a decade of social improvements under alcohol bans.

PHOTO :Concerned about the ice threat are Jaidyn Yeatman, left, Jayden Kynuna and Thaddeaus Johnson at Yarrabah near Cairns. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: News Corp Australia (see their interview below)

PLEASE NOTE : NACCHO is in the process of organising a National Ice Forum here in Canberra during August : Details to be announced shortly

Forget jobs and land, ice is our big issue: MP Billy Gordon (see article Below)

Queensland’s Aboriginal mayors and indigenous-led health and social services are pushing for a zero-tolerance response to suppliers and are alread­y funding grassroots anti-ice campaigns.

Lockhardt River Mayor Wayne Butcher, the chairman of the Indigenous Leaders Forum, put the drugs threat on the top of the agenda at a meeting of mayors last month to ramp up the fight in collaboration with police, government and social services.

“We know the threat: it would destroy us, to be honest,” Mr Butcher said after a meeting. “There were 17 mayors of indigenous communities sitting around the table and I asked for a show of hands if they knew that ice was in their community, and nearly everyone put up their hand. It’s happened so quick. It seemed like a city problem but it has been sneaking into the communities.”

Several mayors are flagging a proposal to evict convicted suppliers of ice from public housing, with reports of at least one suspected dealer recently “chased out’’ of a community.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said vulnerable indigenous communities were at a social “tipping point” in a war on ice that he believes can only be won through “true collaboration” between communities, politicians and law enforcement.

“I am not saying it is epidemic yet but it has the potential,” Mr Stewart said. “If we don’t cover off before it starts we are all going to be in strife.”

Mr Stewart said he had been encouraged by the indigenous leadership in moving to face the threat. “We have actually got, in my humble opinion, some of the best thinkers and some of the most passionate mayors that we have had in our history,’’ he said.

Mr Stewart warned that the push against drug use also had to involve all members of the communities abandoning a traditional reticence to inform police of criminal activity in the tight-knit communities.

“Their responsibility is not just to talk about this … if they know stuff within their communities it will only work if they let us know, so we can go out and snuff these things out.’’

After a decade of leading the fight against indigenous social dysfunction, including the use of alcohol bans and tough welfare measures pushed by Noel Pearson, Cape York could set the model in the nationwide battle against ice.

Grassroots health groups such as the Apunipima Cape York Health Council are funding front-foot social-media and public-awareness campaigns.

Apunipima chief medical officer Mark Wenitong said: “We don’t actually get any substance-abuse funding or anything. We thought: ‘Well, we could sit around and wait for some funding to come through, wait for somebody else to do it, but let’s just start doing it.’ ”

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council has reported a “surge in demand’’ for ice-rehabilitation services, which have been cut in recent years.

The number of dedicated Aboriginal drug and alcohol services had been cut from 11 in 2011 to just five, with reduced state and federal funding.

QAIHC general manager of policy innovation and service development Sandy Gillies said governments needed to boost funding and support for her staff, who were “largely doing it alone’’. “There’s been a history of governments waiting for health crises to develop before responding and we are determined to be proactive this time,” she said.

“We have little experience and knowledge of this drug and are only just beginning to see the impact it is having on already high rates of family violence and incarceration.’’ Ms Gillies said QAIHC and its affiliate, the Queensland Indigenous Substance Misuse Council, would submit a policy paper to the state government that included a call for more training of its workers and increased rehabilitation funding.

Increased drug use, particularly with cannabis, appears to have been an unintended consequence of the introduction of alcohol management plans, from 2002.

Under AMPs, alcohol-related violence and injury fell to historically low levels within a few years. School attendance also jumped — helped along with more punitive measures against parents and guardians who failed to get their kids to class — and the chaotic scenes of public drunkenness subsided.

New research shows that in three AMP communities, two-thirds of males aged 14-47 and 30 per cent of females smoke marijuana on at least a weekly basis, with a large proportion dependent. Epidemiologist Alan Clough, who has been evaluating the impact of AMPs, said researchers found that cannabis use in the Northern Territory and far north Queensland communities became endemic within four years.

“A similar four-year window of opportunity may therefore be all that is available to reduce the impacts of ice if a demand for it increases,’’ Associate Professor Clough said. “The narrow window could be further reduced given the unknown impacts of this highly addictive drug.’’

In February, Yarrabah Mayor Errol Neal brought in ice experts for a special meeting he convened in the 2000-strong community, about 60km from Cairns, to “educate and warn’’ people about the drug. “We have to expose people early,” he said.

“Most people don’t know what it is or what it looks like but we have been told by our health workers and young people that it is here.

“We think it has had an effect, it seems to have died down a bit and there is a feeling of zero tolerance about (ice).’’

Mr Neal said various mayors had been discussing tough measures, including a proposal to evict anyone caught supplying the drug from public housing.

Forget jobs and land, ice is our big issue: MP Billy Gordon

Balance-of-power MP Billy Gordon is demanding the Palaszczuk minority government ramp up effor­ts to stem the spread of ice across Queensland’s Aboriginal communities.

The independent MP, who has supported the Labor government on most legislation, said increased rehabilitation and mental health funding and the need for an anti-ice campaign targeted specifically at indigenous youths was at the top of his policy agenda.

Mr Gordon, an indigenous MP with a sprawling electorate that covers Cape York Peninsula, said he met Health Minister Cameron Dick over his concerns after suspected ice-fuelled suicides in an Aboriginal community last month.

Queensland police, mayors and social workers have reported a spike in the use of ice throughout most of the state’s Aboriginal communities in the past year.

In a report in The Weekend Australian on the emerging threat of ice in the communities, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and the Queensland Aboriginal and ­Islander Health Council called on state and federal governments to increase education and rehabilit­ation services.

The number of dedicated Aboriginal drug and alcohol services has been cut from 11 in 2011 to just five, with reduced state and federal funding.

Mr Gordon feared government would ignore the potential dangers of ice in isolated indigenous communities, which are already struggling with unemployment, welfare dependency and substance abuse.

“Drugs like ice that have such profound psychological effects on the user could destroy Aboriginal communities,’’ he said.

“It would chew them up and spit them out — it’s very scary and we have to do something now.

“Forget native title, forget employm­ent — the single biggest issue that I am worried about in communities is mental health and if ice really spreads then it will be devastating.’’

In a statement, Mr Dick said the state government was working on strategies to tackle ice across Queensland.

“The federal government has established a taskforce on ice and we want to make sure that there is no duplication of services between the state and federal government,” he said.

“This is also a matter which require­s a whole-of-govern­ment response, with other agencies such as the police and education and training authorities involved.’’

The 19 mayors of Queensland’s indigenous communities have also called for government to ramp up its efforts.

Errol Neal, Mayor of the 2000-strong community of Yarrabah, east of Cairns, said indigenous mayors had been discussing tough measures, including a proposal to evict from public housing anyone caught supplying the drug.

Yarrabah youths Jayden ­Kynuna, 22, Jaidyn Yeatman, 21, and Thaddeaus Johnson, 19 — who were educated outside their community but returned to work in local health and social services — said education about the dangers of the drug and “zero tolerance’’ could work. Mr Kynuna said many young people didn’t want a return to the “social dysfunction’’ that existed when the grog was flowing.

“It’s showing up at parties, ­people are bringing it from Cairns and (it’s) getting more popular, it’s scary,’’ he said.

“Some people who have been smoking the ganja say it’s no big deal, but they don’t know what they are talking about.

“We need to educate people, everyone, especially the schools, kids and people my age about what this drug can do.’’

 

NACCHO Close the Gap day :The Portrayal of Aboriginal Health in Selected Australian Media

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One of the factors impacting on the relationship of Indigenous Australians with mainstream society is the way in which the media portray Indigenous people and issues. There is growing research that suggests negative media portrayals in relation to Indigenous Australians perpetuates racist stereotypes among the wider population and that this type of racism has a major impact on the health of Indigenous Australians

Portrayal of Indigenous Health in Selected Australian Media Melissa J. Stoneham Curtin University

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (herein referred to as Indigenous Australian) comprise three percent of the Australian population (Australian Government, 2013). Distributed across the continent, Indigenous Australians are one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse populations in the world. It is commonly acknowledged that health outcomes for this group are lower than those of non-Indigenous Australians.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE  : The Portrayal of Indigenous Health in Selected Australian Media Melissa J. Stoneham Curtin University

NACCHO Aboriginal health and racism: Marcia Langton the nature of my Q and A apology to Andrew Bolt

Photograph above Australia Day Canberra 2012 Colin Cowell

Although progress has been made in closing the gap, Indigenous Australians continue to experience a lower life expectancy with the current gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous estimated at 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Traditionally, the responsibility for tackling ill health has fallen to the health sector. While delivering health to those in need is one of the social determinants of health, the high burden of illness in many cases is due to the poor environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.

These unequal conditions are, in turn, a product of bad politics, poor social policies and programs, and unfair economic arrangements (World Health Organisation, 2008).

According to Calma (2013), the poor health of Indigenous Australians is a result of a failure to realise the right to health for Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians have not had the same opportunities to be as healthy as other Australians or been able to take effective action to remedy long-standing and substantial health inequalities due to the relationship with mainstream society and services.

Making sense of the cultural health status of Australian Indigenous peoples requires an understanding of the relationship between the colonisation process, trauma, and its impact on health. The trauma, grief, pain, and anger that have resulted from the assimilation, segregation, and protectionist policies of the past are still present in the lives of Australian Indigenous people (Hearn & Wise, 2004).

A parallel consideration is the definition that Australian Indigenous peoples have of health. The Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework, developed by the Australian Government, acknowledges that wellbeing is part of a holistic understanding of life, integrating the life-death-life cycle. It recognises this whole-of-life view of health is essential to achieve positive life outcomes for Australian Indigenous peoples (Department of Health and Ageing, 2004).

Although not recognised as a specific wellbeing factor within the above document, land has a powerful and persuasive underlying influence on Australian Indigenous wellbeing (Garnett & Sithole, 2007). The dispossession of Australian Indigenous people from their land and the subsequent loss of social, cultural, and financial capital has had a devastating effect on the health of Indigenous people worldwide (Hearn & Wise, 2004).

One of the factors impacting on the relationship of Indigenous Australians with mainstream society is the way in which the media portray Indigenous people and issues. There is growing research that suggests negative media portrayals in relation to Indigenous Australians perpetuates racist stereotypes among the wider population and that this type of racism has a major impact on the health of Indigenous Australians (Coffin, 2007; Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007; Sweet, 2009).

Similarly, in New Zealand, a number of mass media studies identified that Mãori health is often framed in the deficit model (Robson & Reid, 2001); the media are routinely reporting that the Mãori peoples are over-represented in national disease statistics (Rankine et al., 2008) and are persistently constructed as sicker and poorer than members of the dominant cultural group (Moewaka Barnes et al., 2005). Nairn, Pega, McCreanor, Rankine, and Barnes (2006) also looked at media representation of Māori peoples in New Zealand and highlighted a number of examples where the media perpetuated racist discourse by using language that framed stories in a particular way (e.g. Stoneham: Portrayal of Indigenous Health Published by Scholarship@Western, 2014 needy, passive objects of settler help), using only selective facts while leaving out crucial information, and excluding or conforming Mãori stories to fit a certain ideology.

This study aimed to examine the media portrayal of Indigenous Australians’ public health issues in selected media over a 12-month period. The objective was to determine the extent to which the portrayal was negative, positive, or neutral.

You can hear more about Aboriginal health and Close the Gap at the NACCHO SUMMIT

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The importance of our NACCHO member Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS) is not fully recognised by governments.

The economic benefits of ACCHS has not been recognised at all.

We provide employment, income and a range of broader community benefits that mainstream health services and mainstream labour markets do not. ACCHS need more financial support from government, to provide not only quality health and wellbeing services to communities, but jobs, income and broader community economic benefits.

A good way of demonstrating how economically valuable ACCHS are is to showcase our success at a national summit.

REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

SUMMIT WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO

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NACCHO Aboriginal health research: Smarter research at Lowitja will lead the way to Aboriginal healthy futures

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“The Lowitja Institute is aware of our peoples’ reluctance and suspicion of research. This largely has been because research was often undertaken without proper involvement or consultation or did not lead to any benefit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“As health researchers we have a responsibility to stay ahead of the game and to involve our peoples in research if we are to generate improvements in health and wellbeing in the future,”

Lowitja Institute CEO, Ms Lyn Brodie

A new report from the Lowitja Institute says it is critical that future health research integrates with health services and policy makers.

The 2030: A Vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report anticipates what Aboriginal health needs might be in 2030 and how research could help make that future happen.

“The report tells us that doing research is not enough, that  health research and health practice need to come together at the regional and local levels,” said Lowitja Institute CEO, Ms Lyn Brodie.

“These kinds of theory/practice partnerships will not just be around health but also include all contributing factors e.g. education and justice, as a change in one of these areas could bring flow on change in another.

“A healthy and secure early childhood remains vital for our peoples’ future as we will continue to be a young population with a high birth rate.

“Participants in the workshops that informed the report also stressed the need for better accountability, community involvement and partnerships, and being responsive to changing technologies.

“The Lowitja Institute is aware of our peoples’ reluctance and suspicion of research. This largely has been because research was often undertaken without proper involvement or consultation or did not lead to any benefit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“As health researchers we have a responsibility to stay ahead of the game and to involve our peoples in research if we are to generate improvements in health and wellbeing in the future,” said Ms Brodie.

A better system of research as identified by workshop participants in the 2030: A Vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report would be:

  • One that is holistic and actively integrates health services, policy and research
  • One that is adaptable to emerging issues
  • One that is actively aware of the social determinants of health and collaborates with those sectors
  • One that focuses on the early years of childhood to bring long-term improvements
  • One that makes effective and efficient use of resources
  • One that creates and nurtures local partnerships and networks
  • One that creates structures to bring together the best minds and innovation leaders.

You can hear more about Aboriginal health research at the NACCHO SUMMIT

summit-2014-banner

The importance of our NACCHO member Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS) is not fully recognised by governments.

The economic benefits of ACCHS has not been recognised at all.

We provide employment, income and a range of broader community benefits that mainstream health services and mainstream labour markets do not. ACCHS need more financial support from government, to provide not only quality health and wellbeing services to communities, but jobs, income and broader community economic benefits.

A good way of demonstrating how economically valuable ACCHS are is to showcase our success at a national summit.

SUMMIT WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health NEWS : Dr Mark Wenitong urges health action to Close the Gap

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Dr Mark Wenitong, a Kabi Kabi man and a leading Indigenous doctor from Cape York and advisor to NACCHO, urged governments to support community controlled indigenous health.

“My mother’s work inspired me to see what health services can do for our communities and the need that exists, as well as the privilege to work with our people in health, which has been passed on to all of my children,”

“I can only do so much as a an individual doctor in a clinic, and this is why we need structures that can empower local communities.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, with his daughter Naomi  pictured outside NACCHO member service Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns: Picture Juliana Doupe

Activists urge indigenous health action 

Report by: PATRICIA KARVELAS  From: The Australian

THE Close the Gap Campaign will demand the Abbott government prioritise indigenous health, warning that the goal of ending the health equality gap by 2030 will not be met unless urgent action is taken.

On the day Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his first annual closing the gap statement to the federal parliament, Close the Gap co-chairs Mick Gooda and Kirstie Parker will release their report on progress and priorities, which says the issue of health must be given higher priority.

The report warns that a “false economy” of short-term savings would hurt the effort to improve indigenous health and cost more in the long run.

“A dollar saved today may result in the need to spend many more in years to come. In particular, the national effort to close the gap requires a shift from expenditure on hospitals to that on primary healthcare, with its preventive emphasis.”

The pair call for the Coalition government to forge an agreement through COAG on a new national partnership for indigenous health and early childhood development.

“We’re just starting to see reductions in smoking rates and improvements in maternal and childhood health. We need to build on these successes,” said Mr Gooda, who is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“This is a national effort that can achieve generational change. It is critical that Close the Gap continues as a national priority. We need to stay on track.”

Ms Parker, who is also co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, said health services provided economic benefits for indigenous people.

“We know that empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services has broader benefits. Health services are the single biggest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

Mark Wenitong, a Kabi Kabi man and a leading indigenous doctor from Cape York, urged governments to support community controlled indigenous health.

Dr Wenitong’s mother, Lealon Wenitong, was one of Queensland’s first Aboriginal health workers, and both his children will work in medicine.

His son Joel is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Newcastle and his daughter Naomi works in social and emotional wellbeing with young people promoting pride, self-respect and identity.

“My mother’s work inspired me to see what health services can do for our communities and the need that exists, as well as the privilege to work with our people in health, which has been passed on to all of my children,” Dr Wenitong said.

“I can only do so much as a an individual doctor in a clinic, and this is why we need structures that can empower local communities.”

NACCHO press release:NACCHO launches new Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands App

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The chair of National Aboriginal Community Controlled health organisation (NACCHO) this week joined with the AFL Indigenous All Stars at its International rules training session in Melbourne to launch Australia’s first Aboriginal Health APP.

Pictured above: MICK O’Loughlin coach of the Indigenous All Stars and Sydney Swan legend promoting the NACCHO APP

Mr Mohamed said it was quite appropriate to publicly launch the NACCHO Aboriginal Health App in front of 25 of the fittest Aboriginal males in Australia, because the new APP compliments NACCHO’s  Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change plan 20130-2030 and  sports activity is a key element to Close the Gap.

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“Our APP promotes the sports healthy futures program that will give Aboriginal youth the opportunity to improve their overall health and wellbeing through active participation in sports.

Research shows that if a young person is happy and healthy they will be able to get the most out of their education, build their confidence and their self-belief and hopefully one day become a well-educated “Indigenous All-star” in the sport or employment of their choosing.” Mr. Mohamed said.

Mr. Mohamed said he is encouraging all  150 NACCHO members and stakeholders to promote the APP to their 5,000 staff and over 100,000 clients so that our community members can really have Aboriginal health in Aboriginal Hands. All ready in first few days over 1,000 Apps have been downloaded from the APP Store and Google Android store.

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Here are the URL links to the App – alternatively you can type NACCHO into both stores and they come up!

iPhone/iPad

ios.giveeasy.org/naccho

Android

android.giveeasy.org/naccho

“The NACCHO App contains a geo locator, which will help you find the nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in your area and  provides heath information online and telephone on a wide range of topics and where you can go to get more information or assistance should you need urgent help “ Mr Mohamed said.

Location

Health help includes:

Ambulance, Alcohol, Babies Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children,  Depression, Diabetes, Domestic Violence, Drugs, eHealth, Eye Health, Gambling, Healthy Eating, Hearing, Male health, Medicare, Mental Health, Prostate cancer, Smoking , Suicide, Teenagers, Women’s Health.

The NACCHO App allows users  to share, connect or contact NACCHO through our social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, daily news alerts and the NACCHO website.

The App also allows people to donate to the NACCHO Sport Health Futures program. Through the NACCO App you can make secure credit card donations, have receipts delivered straight to your device and find out how your donation is making a difference to the lives of young and old Aboriginal Australians.

The Sport Health Futures program aims to distribute up to 1,000 AFL/NRL footballs, netballs, soccer balls, basketballs and other sports equipment to Aboriginal community organisations, sporting clubs and schools throughout Australia.

Mr Mohamed said he would encourage any NACCHO member, Aboriginal community, sports or school to complete this  online  application.

For the donated sports equipment the applicant must partner with a NACCHO member and organise for  team members to have a health checks at an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or other medical service if applicable –

APPLY HERE

For media contact and further information contact Colin Cowell Mobile 0401 331 251 or Email

APP DETAILS

This App provides a quick and easy way

1. Find an Aboriginal Health Service

Aboriginal patients can now locate their nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health service throughout Australia.

2. Health Help online and Telephone

Need health help or information online or a telephone hotline number for;

Ambulance, Alcohol, Babies Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children,  Depression, Diabetes, Domestic Violence, Drugs, Ehealth, Eye Health, Gambling, Healthy Eating, Hearing, Male health, Medicare, Mental Health, Prostate cancer, Smoking , Suicide, Teenagers, Women’s Health.

3. NACCHO AFL Indigenous players

Our NACCHO Investing in Healthy Futures For Generational Change Plan 2013-2030 has just been released and by partnering in 2013 with the AFL we can promote and achieve our Close the Gap targets for our future generations.

NACCHO is a proud partner of the Indigenous All-Stars Team and all the current listed AFL indigenous players are listed on this APP.

4. Learn/Inform

How our NACCHO members are making a difference

5. Share, Connect or contact

With NACCHO through our social media platforms such as Twitter, FACEBOOK and Daily News Alerts and website

6. Invest/donate to healthy futures.

We are inviting all sport followers to help NACCHO “invest in healthy futures for generational change” by donating to our sports star future fund that aims to supply over 1000 footballs, netballs, soccer balls and basketballs to Aboriginal community clubs over the next 12 months.

NACCHO member good news : Apunipima Cape York Mossman Gorge PHCC named (AGPAL’s) Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre (1)

“AGPAL accreditation demonstrates our ability to provide the highest quality care. This award means we are providing the highest quality of care possible in a rural and remote setting.

This award is significant as we were competing against mainstream organisations from across Australia.

To be recognised as the Rural and Remote General Practice of the Year sends a clear message that Aboriginal Health Organisations are providing the best care in the country.’’

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre – Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) has been  named Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited’s (AGPAL’s) Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year at a gala event in Sydney on Friday September 27.

AGPAL Rural and Remote Practice of the Year Award

Mossman Gorge PHCC, the only community controlled primary health care centre on Cape York, is run by Apunipima Cape York Health Council which provides culturally appropriate, family centred comprehensive primary health care to 11 Cape York communities.

AGPAL is the leading provider of accreditation and related quality improvement services to general practices. Accreditation is based on standards developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Apunipima Program Manager: Family Health Leeona West says the award was a significant milestone for Apunipima, Mossman Gorge PHCC and most importantly, the people and communities of Cape York.

‘AGPAL accreditation demonstrates our ability to provide the highest quality care. This award means we are providing the highest quality of care possible in a rural and remote setting. This award is significant as we were competing against mainstream organisations from across Australia. To be recognised as the Rural and Remote General Practice of the Year sends a clear message that Aboriginal Health Organisations are providing the best care in the country.’

‘The people of Cape York deserve the very best care. This award recognises that our service is providing it.’

The health picture in Mossman Gorge has changed significantly since Apunipima took over the community’s small Queensland Health clinic in 2009.

‘Back then, the clinic had paper records and doctors who visited the community for four hours a week. Anecdotally, health outcomes were poor with high rates of smoking, drinking and chronic disease,’ Ms West explains.

‘Apunipima took over the clinic in December 2009, rebuilt it to AGPAL standards by June 2010, introduced electronic records and billing and was accredited by AGPAL in January 2011.’

‘We even implemented an Aboriginal patient friendly recall system which was so successful that the Brisbane Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service copied our system for their clients.’

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NACCHO JOB Opportunities:

Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job oppportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE