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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Action to tackle Indigenous ear disease announced

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, March 01, 2016

    Action to tackle Indigenous ear disease announced

    A new initiative aimed at tackling ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was launched today.

    The Deadly Kids, Deadly Futures - Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Ear and Hearing Health Framework 2016-2026 - is the first of its kind in Australia and aims to prevent and manage the high rate of middle ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said middle ear disease (otitis media) affected a substantial number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

    “Australia has one of the highest recorded rates of middle ear disease in the world for its First Nations peoples,” he said.

    “If left untreated, the hearing loss associated with middle ear disease impacts on health, educational outcomes and contributes to long-term social disadvantage.

    “We want to make sure every child is afforded the best opportunity to listen, learn and reach their full potential.”

    “Through this initiative we aim to upskill doctors and nurses, provide training for teachers across Queensland and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders health services and communities.”

    Mr Dick said the new framework was built on the foundations of the highly successful Deadly Ears programwhich had seen considerable improvements in Indigenous child ear health over the past eight years.

    Minister for Education Kate Jones said while considerable improvements had been made in the area of Indigenous ear health, more work needed to be done to close the gap by 2030.

    “The implementation of this framework is a vital step towards achieving the health, early childhood development and education closing the gap targets,” she said.

    Deadly Ears program director Matthew Brown said since launching the statewide service the team had conducted more than 12,200 assessments of children at ENT clinics and provided ear health training to more than over 1000 local service providers across Queensland.

    “We are delighted to continue this important work under the new framework. We’ve made good progress but more needs to be done,” he said.

    “Our key priorities include prioritising health promotion and prevention and implementing effective early intervention approaches to break the cycle of the disease as early and as soon as possible.

    Deadly Kids, Deadly Futures 2016-2026 includes 36 actions in the health, early childhood and education sectors related to health promotion and prevention, service improvements, workforce development and data collection and research.

    ENDS

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