Program listens to kids’ ear health need
The State Government has heralded a new era of collaboration among ear health providers with the launch of the WA Child Ear Health Strategy.
Health Minister Roger Cook visited Karratha last week to launch the strategy, which encourages stronger community partnerships, alignment of funding and better co-ordination of the many ear health services operating in WA.
Rural Health West regional services general manager Vivian Duggan said the strategy was needed to decrease fragmentation in ear health service provision.
“This is probably been around for about three years, when the organisations first came together,” she said.
“We needed to bring all the services together, and also other people who were delivering their own programs out in each of the regions.”
Mr Cook said the strategy would tackle ear health problems before they developed in children.
“If a child doesn’t have the capacity to engage at school they can’t reach their own development milestones and they can’t achieve at school,” he said. “Giving a kid a head start in life is a fundamental responsibility for us in government and as a community.”
Mr Cook said ear health was of particular concern for Aboriginal communities, where rates can be up to 10 times higher than those of non-Aboriginal people.
WA Country Health Service chief operation officer Melissa Vernon said statistics from the top end proved the need for strong ear health programs.
“Statistics from the NT show over 90 per cent of those incarcerated had or have hearing loss,” she said.
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel, school nurse Belinda Dyson, Aboriginal health worker Adrianna Irvine, Lillia Alec, 6, and Health Minister Roger Cook.