Regional Teams Tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Smoking and Chronic Disease
Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon has launched two new tool kits for health workers to tackle the high rates of smoking and chronic disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
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Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon today launched two new tool kits for health workers to tackle the high rates of smoking and chronic disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The Health, Deadly and Strong toolkit for Healthy Lifestyle Workers and Medicines to Help You Stop Smoking – a guide about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) will be rolled out to a national network of Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle teams.
Addressing a four-day workshop of the teams today in Canberra, Mr Snowdon said their efforts were already having a strong and positive effect on the ground.
“We are taking real action in communities across Australia to reduce smoking, address and treat chronic disease and continue to Close the Gap amongst Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders,” Mr Snowdon said.
A key part of the work carried out by the health teams is directly tackling some of the main causes of chronic disease and early death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity.
The teams, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are already active in 21 regions across the country, including the Australian Capital Territory, with a further 36 teams to be rolled out next year.
Mr Snowdon said the new tool kits, developed directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities take a grass-roots approach, encouraging communities to develop their own healthy lifestyle activities and messages that target health priorities in individual communities.
Medicines to Help You Stop Smoking – a guide about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) covers best practice use of all forms of NRT but has an emphasis on the nicotine patch which is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and can be obtained free under the Closing the Gap scheme.
“Around 47 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people smoke and it remains responsible for one in five deaths among Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders - these figures are unacceptable,” Mr Snowdon said.
“If Indigenous smoking rates fell to the same levels as non-Indigenous Australians (around 19 per cent), 420 lives would be saved each year.”
The Regional Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle teams are funded through:
- National action to reduce Indigenous smoking rates – $100.6 million over four years (2009-10 to 2012-13); and
- Helping Indigenous Australians to reduce their risk of chronic disease – $36.5 million over four years (2009-10 to 2012-13).
For more information, contact Mr Snowdon’s office (02) 6277 7820
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