INDIGENOUS YOUTH IN FOCUS
Crucial new services available for indigenous youth
YOUNG Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the North Burnett can access free hearing tests and surgery as part of a new initiative by IWC focusing on the health and well-being of indigenous youth.
IWC’s clinical governance manager Jenni Toogood said ear health issues, if left untreated, could have serious impacts on learning capabilities.
“The delivery of this program, which has a focus on indigenous children and teens, is undoubtedly providing a vital early intervention service,” Ms Toogood said.
At the end of a recent session in the North Burnett six students were referred for further assessment, treatment and consultation with a GP or audiologist.
“While we know that around 9% of children overall suffer from ear conditions in the communities covered by IWC’s services, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and teens that figure is much, much higher,” Ms Toogood said.
“It sits well above the 20% mark generally, and when we go into some schools it is even higher.”
The relationship between schools and the IWC is a great asset that allows the organisation to identify and then treat hearing impediments, Ms Toogood said.
IWC general manager Wayne Mulvany said IWC saw a high ratio of indigenous children and teens with ear conditions that may require clinical or surgical intervention.
“These range from issues that can be remedied with a simple surgical intervention, to a need for surgery,” Mr Mulvany said.
“They all can, if left untreated, create significant barriers to our communities’ youth achieving their potential.”
The program will continue until June 30, 2017 and was arranged through CheckUP.
This is the first time this initiative is being trialled.
“Which aims to increase access to surgical interventions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living in rural and remote locations with diagnosed eye and ear conditions,” Mr Mulvany said.
Ear, nose and throat (ENT) expert Dr John Elphinstone, based at the Mater Hospital in Bundaberg, is working with IWC and CheckUp to help with the surgical interventions for Indigenous Australian youth suffering with ear conditions.
Mr Mulvany said parents concerned about their child’s hearing can request a hearing check from an audiologist, Australian Hearing, or their GP.
Access is available by contacting IWC.
You can call 1300 492 492 for further details.
TESTS: Indigenous Health Practitioners Kristy Drayton and Nicole Chapman use an otoscope to view this student’s ear canal and eardrum.