Lis­ten­ing to au­ral health

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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 has 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 could be up to 10 times higher than those of nonA­bo­rig­i­nal 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. Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

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