MJA Article: Markers of hepatitis B infection and immunity in patients attending Aboriginal community controlled health services


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have high rates of infection compared with non-Indigenous Australians. An article published in the Medical Journal of Australia this month looks at a study aimed at increasing the evidence base around HBV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through an analysis of routine clinical encounter data.

Concluding that a substantial proportion of patients tested were susceptible to HBV, with a high percentage potentially infectious compared with the general population. High levels of active infection and susceptibility to infection suggest many opportunities for transmission and indicate the potential benefit of routine HBV testing and vaccination in this population.

Download article here …

NACCHO Aboriginal health news: HIPPY help for Aboriginal parents and carers in 25 communities

HIPPY Coordinators and Tutors at a training forum

HIPPY Coordinators and Tutors at a training forum

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley today announced the providers chosen to deliver the 2014 Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in an extra 25 Indigenous communities.

Children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will benefit as parents and carers receive Australian Government support to be their child’s first – and best – teacher.

For further information about the HIPPY program, please visit

http://www.hippyaustralia.org.au/ and


Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley today announced the providers chosen to deliver the 2014 Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in an extra 25 Indigenous communities.

“This programme is critical in helping make a real difference in the lives of Aboriginal families and I’m excited to see it so close to starting in so many regions,” Ms Ley said.

“Rolling HIPPY out to these communities means almost 2000 four-year-old children will benefit from the programme throughout the next year.”

Already operating in 50 communities around Australia, HIPPY is a home-based initiative which develops foundations for school success in the home during the crucial early years.

It also offers some parents a supported pathway to employment and local level community leadership.

“I am particularly pleased we can provide the support of HIPPY to more families in rural and regional Australia,” Ms Ley said.

“The new providers I announce today have a track record of success in working with families in need. I look forward to them bringing that expertise to many more families and children as they prepare for school”, Ms Ley concluded.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence delivers HIPPY for the Australian Government. More than $100 million has been committed to the programme.

New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIPPY Communities and Programme Providers to commence early 2014


New South Wales

Albury/Wodonga – Gateway Community Health

Armidale – Armidale Family Support Service

Broken Hill – Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation

Moree – Miyay Birray

Orange – CareWest

Raymond Terrace/Port Stephens – Port Stephens Family Support Services

Wellington – Barnardos

Willmot/Shalvey/Emerton/Hebersham – Catholic Care Social Services


Bundaberg – Bundaberg Baptist Family Day Care Scheme

Burdekin – Centacare Townsville

Hervey Bay – Australian Red Cross

Palm Island – Cathy Freeman Foundation

Toowoomba – Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Corporation

Upper Ross – NQ Community Services

Warwick – Australian Red Cross

South Australia

Riverland – Anglican Community Care

Murray Bridge – Anglican Community Care

City of Onkaparinga (Aldinga Beach/Christie Downs/Morphett Vale/Hackham West/
Huntfield Heights/Noarlunga Downs) – Anglicare SA


East Gippsland – UnitingCare Gippsland

La Trobe Gippsland – Anglicare Victoria

Mildura – To be confirmed

Western Australia

City of Armadale – Parkerville Children and Youth Care

City of Gosnells – Parkerville Children and Youth Care

East Kimberley – Wunan Foundation

Northern Territory

Palmerston – Good Beginnings

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Trust, integrity and respect confirmed as cornerstones of effective Indigenous engagement


Relationships built on trust, integrity and respect are crucial for effective engagement with Indigenous communities, according to two papers released today on the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse website.

Engaging with Indigenous Australia—exploring the conditions for effective relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities reviews the evidence on engagement and outlines the conditions required for effective engagement.


The evidence shows that engaging successfully with Indigenous communities requires:

  • an appreciation of the historical, social, cultural and political complexity of specific Indigenous contexts
  • active Indigenous participation from the earliest stage of defining the problem to be solved and defining aspirations, through to implementing the program and evaluating the results
  • long term relationships of trust, respect and honesty, as well as accessible and ongoing communication and clarity about roles and responsibilities
  • genuine efforts to share power, including through negotiated agreements
  • clarity about the purpose of and scale for engagement and appropriate timeframes
  • attention to strengthening governance and capacity within both the Indigenous community and governments themselves, and good leadership
  • negotiation of clear and agreed outcomes  and indicators of success with monitoring and evaluation processes that meet each parties’ needs.

This paper says evidence shows that effective engagement requires strong and strategic Indigenous and government leadership and adequate governance, and that hurried one-off ‘consultations’ that are organised without Indigenous input do not work.

Fragmented arrangements, where each agency tries to engage with the same Indigenous people and organisations, place unnecessarily heavy burdens on Indigenous people.

These findings are consistent with the findings of the second paper, Engagement with Indigenous communities in key sectors. This paper reviews evidence from studies of Indigenous engagement in early childhood services, environmental and natural resource management activities, and health programs at local, regional, state and national levels.

It outlines the common lessons on different levels of engagement from local engagement through to regional, state-wide and national engagement.

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse is jointly funded by all Australian governments and provides an online source of information on what works to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. It is delivered by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

Canberra, 2 October 2013

Further information: Nigel Harding, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1025, mob. 0409 307 671

For media copies of the report: 02 6249 5048/02 6249 5033 or email

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Cancer risk greater for Indigenous Australians-AIHW report download


Indigenous Australians being approximately 50% more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians….with lung cancer at the top of the rankings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have higher rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths than non-Indigenous Australians, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Cancer Australia.

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia: an overview is the first comprehensive summary of cancer statistics for Indigenous Australians.


The report details the leading causes of cancer deaths for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey said Indigenous Australians also had lower survival rates after a cancer diagnosis than non-Indigenous Australians.

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples diagnosed with cancer between 1999 and 2007 had a 40% chance of surviving for at least 5 years, compared with 52% for non-Indigenous Australians,’ Mr Harvey said.

Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas said the report highlighted the significant impact that cancer had on the Indigenous population.

‘Whilst incidence rates for cancer overall were marginally higher for Indigenous Australians, mortality and survival differences between the two population groups are far more striking with Indigenous Australians being approximately 50% more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians,’ Professor Zorbas said.

Mr Harvey said that while lung cancer was at the top of the rankings for both groups, differences emerged after that.

‘After lung cancer, the two most common causes of cancer death among Indigenous Australians are cancer of the liver and breast cancer (in females). For non-Indigenous Australians, the most common causes are lung cancer, followed by bowel and prostate cancer (in males),’ Mr Harvey said.

Professor Zorbas said the report emphasised the important work that needs to be undertaken to address the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

‘The findings of this report underscore the continuing action needed in health promotion, research and health service delivery to best meet the cancer prevention and treatment needs of Indigenous Australians,’ Professor Zorbas said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

Cancer Australia provides national leadership in cancer control to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer their families and carers.

Canberra, 1 October 2013

Further information: AIHW—Mr Justin Harvey, tel. (02) 6249 5057, mob. 0450 677 562

Cancer Australia—Mr Simon Thomas, tel. (02) 9357 9401 or 0438 209 833

For media copies of the report: 02 6249 5048/02 6249 5033 or email Helpdesk-Media@aihw.gov.au


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