THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
1 July 2011
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, has launched a new $9.6 million national campaign to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ear and hearing health.
The Australian Government campaign starts this month and features resource kits for teachers and early childhood workers to inform children about ear health.
Mr Snowdon said there was a much higher prevalence of ear and hearing issues amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with the wider community.
“Research shows as many as 91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural communities present with otitis media. This is an inexcusable situation and one which the Australian Government is determined to address,” he said.
“We know that hearing problems can severely disadvantage people in many aspects of their lives – including how a child develops, how they relate to others, learning language, communications skills and gaining employment.
“The impact of these hearing problems can be minimised with some very simple steps and these are at the forefront of the new Australian Government campaign.”
Mr Snowdon described these as getting kids’ ears checked regularly, visiting a doctor, nurse or Aboriginal health worker and getting to know the signs and symptoms of ear disease, particularly non-visual clues.
The campaign will include:
- partnerships with Indigenous media organisations (media partnerships will provide localised media content).
- campaign website
- DVD targeting mothers/carers.
- targeted resources for mothers/carers.
- resource kits for teachers/teachers’ aides and early childhood workers.
- resource kits for health professionals.
- grassroots events.
The campaign will focus on communities, particularly in remote areas, to have customised partnerships to address the issue of English being a second language in some communities.
A resource kit has been developed for health professionals to provide ear health information to parents and carers in the clinical setting. Health education materials are available for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years.
For more information, contact Mr Snowdon’s office 02 6277 7820