Otitis Media for Indigenous kids is preventable

 

Thursday 22 May 2014

Otitis Media for Indigenous kids is preventable

Today marks the inaugural meeting for the Otitis Media Primary Prevention Workshop in Brisbane.

Commencing at 9am at the Greek Club in South Brisbane, this workshop will bring together a host of community controlled health services experts, key clinicians and academics under one roof, to discuss the preventable infection, Otitis Media, the medical term for an ear infection, or glue ear. Otitis Media is a condition commonly found in Indigenous children, and left untreated can lead to hearing loss, therefore limiting a child’s capacity to develop socially and emotionally.

Selwyn Button, CEO, QAIHC said the workshop is necessary so ideas on prevention can be explored, and ultimately implemented.

"Over recent years, there’s been considerable focus on clinical management of ear disease, but less attention has been paid to primary prevention," Mr Button said.

"The evidence is there that community based health promotion activities can reduce the rates of infections.

"But more importantly, reduce the likelihood of children experiencing permanent hearing loss." Mr Button added.

Busy and overloaded health services has meant that Otitis Media Primary Prevention has fallen through the cracks, and this workshop aims to address the issue.

Workshop Convener Mark Mitchell says that the enthusiastic response to the Otitis Media Primary Prevention Workshop is encouraging.

"We have a good mix of clinicians and managers from the Government and Community Controlled health services attending the workshop," Mr Mitchell said.

"Most of the State’s hearing health programs will be represented, along with Australian Hearing, Menzies School of Ear Health Research Program, and a host of other academics from leading universities who have a keen interest in improving prevention programs."

Jane Burns, Research Team Leader for the Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet said that a national focus on the primary prevention of ear disease is important and long overdue.

"Indigenous children’s numeracy and literacy achievements are severely impaired, in part due to the high rates of hearing loss from Otitis Media," Ms Burns said.

"It’s a significant contributor to a cycle of disadvantage.

‘This workshop is a considerable step forward towards trying to find the best prevention policies and methods for our Indigenous kids."

The Otitis Media Primary Prevention Workshop will commence at 9am on Thursday, 22nd May 2014, at The Greek Club, 29 Edmondstone St, South Brisbane, (07) 3844 1166.

All media enquiries: Judi Jabour, Campaign Capital, 0412 402 946.

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