29 November 2017
RACS applauds the launch of the AMA Indigenous Report Card which
focuses attention on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ear
disease and its impact on Closing the Gap efforts.
RACS supports the need for a nationally consistent approach to
monitoring and addressing unacceptably high rates of ear disease in
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the formation
of a national taskforce to combat the ear health crisis.
"The continuing prevalence of ear disease and hearing loss in
Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander populations is a
clear barrier to closing the gap priorities. Reports such as the
AMA Indigenous Report Card on ear disease are important in
highlighting this issue. We ask governments to act quickly to embed
hearing health in their priorities and include nationally agreed
benchmarks around best practice and service delivery," said RACS
President John Batten.
RACS, the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck
Surgery (ASOHNS) and key medical, research and Aboriginal and
Torres Straits Islander peak bodies have been working together
under the banner #EarHealthForLife to advocate for a national
approach to improving ear health.
Associate Professor Kelvin Kong, the Chair of ASOHNS Aboriginal
Health Subcommittee and member of the RACS Indigenous Health
Committee said that hearing health is a critical part of primary
"It is alarming that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have
deplorable rates of middle ear infection and its complications.
Chronic otitis media (middle ear infections) should not be a normal
part of childhood yet we are seeing extraordinarily high rates of
hearing loss from this condition. If children can't hear, they
miss on their learning and development and this impacts
negatively on their participation in life," he added.
2017 AMA Report Card on Indigenous Health.
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