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Federal Government funds new health projects to tackle chronic disease in rural Australia.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing



December 18, 2002

The Federal Government today approved funding for a range of regional health projects, including the Wellington Health Service in New South Wales and the Yorke Peninsula Division of General Practice in South Australia, as part of its national strategy to tackle chronic diseases in rural and remote Australia.

The Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, said the Innovative Rural Projects Scheme provides funding of up to $900,000 to small rural communities to pilot innovative approaches to help communities prevent and better manage risk factors associated with chronic disease and injury.

"Projects will focus on the provision of support and education to people living in small rural communities, and demonstrate a preventive health care focus in promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing illness and better managing chronic health problems," she said.

The projects are part of the Government's Rural Chronic Disease Initiative (RCDI) which forms part of the Commonwealth's Regional Health Strategy, More Doctors, Better Services.

Projects being supported under the Initiative target conditions include: asthma; heart disease; stroke; hypertension; type 2 diabetes; osteoporosis; chronic airways disease; cancer; depression (experienced in conjunction with chronic disease) as well as depression and disabilities caused by preventable injuries such as farm accidents.

Senator Patterson said: "One of the successful projects to receive funding, the Wellington Health Service in New South Wales, is a 12-week community weight loss program that utilises goal planning, exercise, education and support.

"The goal is for the Wellington community to work together in achieving an accumulated weight loss of 1000 kilograms.

"Funding has also been granted to the Yorke Peninsula Division of General Practice in South Australia whose innovative chronic care program focuses on the role of physical exercise in promoting physical and mental health.

"Through a process of community consultation, support and education will be provided to the community in the operation of Tai Chi groups for individuals living with chronic disease.

"Chronic disease and injury prevention and management is shaping up as one of the great health challenges for

Australians, particularly for people located in rural and remote communities.

"I believe that the successful projects provide an opportunity to test new and innovative ideas and local approaches to prevention and/or management of chronic disease and injury in small rural community settings.

"The projects encourage effective community consultation, focus on building links and collaborative partnerships across disciplines and across sectors and support the improvement of quality and effective interventions around chronic disease and injury."

attached below are the listings of the successful applicants on a State-by-State basis

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Successful applications from Victoria

Swan Hill District Hospital - Youth Asthma Project - Grant awarded: $49, 995

Driven by a focus group of young asthma sufferers, and based on developing an understanding of their personal experiences in manageing their own health and the barriers they have encountered. The project aims to create supportive environments within hospital care, schools and sporting organisation.

Contact: Ms Gayle Taylor Telephone No: 03 5033 9391

Successful applicant to be informed by: Mr John Forrest MP MALLEE

South Gippsland Hospital - Chronic Illness Support Systems (CISS) Project - Grant awarded $33,505

The project will focus on developing support groups for people suffering from a variety of chronic diseasess allowing consumers to tailor the method and processes of each support system to their own needs providing the opportunity for the consumer to take a lead role with health professionals assuming an advisory resourcing role. The project aims to foster a greater degree of leadership and encourage consumers to take an active approach in managing their condition and planning their care.

Contact: Ms Margaret Kuhne Telephone No: 03 5683 9780

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Peter McGauran MP GIPPSLAND

Arthristis/Osteoporosis Victoria - Preventive Osteoporosis - Community Action in Port Fairy - Grant awarded $49,500

Aiming to encourage the local community adopt and maintain increased physical activity levels to help treat and prevent osteoporosis. Using the Active Script Program, a community awareness campaign will be run to encourage people to go to their GP for referral to a local Physical Activities Coordinator. Development of local affordable strength training will be encouraged in a network of local activity options.

Contact: Ms Helen McNeill Telephone No: 03 8531 8000

Successful applicant to be informed by: Mr David Hawker MP WANNON

Mallee Track Health & Community Service - Diabetes Management along the Mallee Track - Grant awarded $45,799

Establishing and maintaining Diabetes Research Workers to assist people in small rural communities prevent, detect and better managage their diabetes. Four centres will be resourced with a centrally located database, to enable improved planning and coordination of care for those with diabetes alongside individual and small group education and support provided through the creation of local networks to identify and improve local access to appropriate health promotion resources and lifestyle programs.

Contact: Mr Bernard Denner Telephone No: 03 5092 1111

Successful applicant to be informed by: Mr John Forrest MP MALLEE

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Successful applications from New South Wales

University of Newcastle - A Family Focussed School Based Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program - Grant awarded $50,013

A program targeting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school children to evaluate the effectiveness of a family centred intervention on primary school aged children who possess risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, particularly obesity. The program will offer strategies to incorporate behavioural interventions and will consist of a package of activities concerning healthy eating patterns and physical activity changes. These activities can be carried out with a parent of family member. Home packages will be supported by visits to schools.

Contact: Ms Josephine Gwynn Telephone No: 02 4924 6346

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Mark Vale MP LYNE

National Stroke Foundation and Hunter Health Service - Volunteers in Stroke in the Rural Setting (VISIToRS) - Grant awarded $53,860

An education campaign about stroke warning signs, risk factors and prevention as well as calling for volunteers to be trained in the assessment support and care of stroke survivors. After completing their training volunteers will provide a range of different supports such as conducting physical activity groups, counselling sessions and respite.

Contact: Dr Erin Lalor Telephone No: 03 9670 1000

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator John Tierney

Wellington Health Service - The WellingTONNE Challenge - Grant awarded 26,676

A 12 week community weight loss program that utilises goal planning, exercise, education and support. It is designed so the Wellington community work together in achieving an accumulated weight loss of 1000 kilograms, with an initial individual goal of loosing three kilograms and maintaining that loss.

Contact: Ms Karen Lloyd Telephone No: 02 6845 2033

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Anderson MP GWYDIR

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Successful applications from Queensland

Southern Downs Health Service District - Texas - A Healthy Town - Grant awarded $49,486

A project to develop a framework that values individual potential to contribute to the overall health of the town. Focussing on obesity, the Healthy Town model will provide a motivational tool providing an issue that people can identify with, generate solutions at a local level and see the benefits of their actions. It is intended to work with all community groups in generating a positive attitude towards healthy weight within the Healthy Town concept, for example linking Public Health Unit with takeaway food stores.

Contact: Mr Simon Goddard Telephone No: 07 4661 6897

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Bruce Scott MP MARANOA

Torres Strait & Northern Peninsula Health Service District - Diabetes Prevention and Management in a General Care Setting - Grant awarded $ 39,760

The project will establish a core group of skilled staff with the capacity to effectively address diabetes and high risk groups in the district. It will improve community awareness of diabetes and increase in the delivery of diabetic services and quality of care. Through the provision of training to clinical health workers and nurses that service outer island communities the project should improve the quality of life for persons with diabetes alongside reducing the cost associated with treatment of patients with diabetes and resultant complications.

Contact: Mr Phillip Mills Telephone No: 07 4069 0217

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Warren Entsch MP LEICHHARDT

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Successful applications from South Australia

Coorong District Council - Good Food on the Road in the Coorong - Grant awarded $56,871

Recognising the need for support and education in nutrition to prevent and better manage chronic diseases, this project aims to increase the supply and demand for healthy food choices in 25% of the food retail, especially takeaway, outlets in the Coorong District. Developing a voluntary accreditation scheme for local food outlets which are making the

healthy choice the easy choice for their customers. The project will support and widely promote these accredited outlets and concurrently promote positive nutrition messages through the community.

Contact: Mr Clarence Fisher Telephone No: 08 8572 3822

Successful applicant to be informed by: Mr Patrick Secker MP BARKER

Yorke Peninsula Division of General Practice - Tai Chi in CYP - Grant awarded $38,500

Through a process of community consultation, support and education will be provided to the community in the operation of Tai Chi groups for individuals living with chronic disease. The project aims to improve community awareness of the role of physical exercise in promoting physical and mental health, to utilise and build community support structures, to promote, facilitate and support equitable access of community members to a physical activity program and to develop a 'train the trainer' program for Tai Chi within the small communities.

Contact: Ms Jo Pilger Telephone No: 08 8821 4066

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Neil Andrew MP WAKEFIELD

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Successful applications from Tasmania

Tandara Lodge Community Care Inc - The implementation of a Self Management program into the General Health Services for Kentish - Grant awarded $67,213

A project leader will work with the community and health services to introduce a Self Management approach to health by clients with chronic diseases or injuries. This will involve setting up peer networks throughout the community and training community leaders, peer groups and health professionals.

Contact: Mr Mark Stemm Telephone No: 03 6491 1277

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator Guy Barnett

University of Tasmania - Intern-provided Rural Clinical Neuropsychological Service in Break O'Day, North East Tasmania - Grant awarded $49,865

Placing clinical 3 psychology interns in a rural setting to provide a new neuropsychological service to a group currently with no access to such services and test a new method of supplying that service while exposing young psychologists to rural practice. Clients will include those with psychological problems derived from multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal injury and head injury and other chronic diseases as suggested by community groups.

Contact: A/Prof Adrian Sleigh Telephone No: 03 6324 4045

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator Guy Barnett

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Successful applications from the Northern Territory

Central Aust Div of Primary Health Care - More than just a milkshake "Young Women's Access Project" - Grant awarded $41,725

Working with young Aboriginal females aged between 10 and 16 to increase their confidence to access health care. Through a combination of activities from informal question and answer sessions with GP's and linking into existing local health promotion activities, the project aims to produce a video, book and range of health resources for young women made by young women in the target group on health topics of their choice. The idea is that locally produced, culturally appropriate health information resources will have a greater impact and be more readily accessible than those made elsewhere. Young people will be involved in all stages of production to ensure maximum effect in the message and to bridge the gap in relationships between target group and health services.

Contact: Ms Vicki Taylor Telephone No: 08 8950 4806

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator Nigel Scullion

Tiwi Health Board - Tiwi Tobacco Education and Awareness Project - Grant awarded $16,700

A tobacco awareness program for use in Tiwi communities targeting school children, young mothers and adults with established chronic diseases. The program will consist of a locally produced awareness video, a booklet of stories of Tiwi people who have quit smoking or those trying to do so, and a curriculum of resources and information for use with the target groups. The program will be delivered by the Tiwi for Life health promotion team who have themselves given up smoking.

Contact: Mr Robert Curry Telephone No: 08 8980 1800

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator Nigel Scullion

Galiwin'ku Community Inc - Burwa Ngatha Djama Project (Working to make flowers bloosom and foods grow) - Grant awarded $58,968

Supporting individual Aboriginal households to develop family food gardens. The project will support a team of young people will undertake formal training in horticulture which will provide them with the skills to enter the Community Development and Employment Program. Families wishing to participate in the project will work with the team designing and developing a fruit and vegetable garden for their own backyard with on going support provided to families by the team of young people.

Contact: Ms Joanne Garnggulkpuy Telephone No: 08 8970 5019

Successful applicant to be informed by: Senator Nigel Scullion

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Successful applications received from Western Australia

Peel South West Division on General Practice - Collie Aboriginal Community Chronic Disease Prevention Program - Grant awarded $50,000

The program will focus on increasing exercise, improving diet and engendering wellbeing through a variety of personal development and community empowerment activities guided by ideas which have been successful elsewhere such as the "environmental gym" - maintaining health and fitness through taking care of the local environment (individuals identify a section of the environment they would like to improve such as painting a fence, clearing a piece of land and then work on it in groups until it is complete then then identify another and so on.

Contact: Ms Judy Fraser Telephone No: 08 9581 3352

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Geoffrey Prosser MP FORREST

Unity of First People of Australia - UFPA Diabetes management and care project - Grant awarded $50,000

Curbing the incidence of diabetes amongst Aboriginal People by Aboriginal People. The UFPA provides volunteers for placement around the State where they work alongside carers to diabetics and help raise awareness of the disease. Providing one-to-one support together with support for whole communities through education, awareness and assistance with sensible personal diet and exercise programs that are interesting and enjoyable. The project marshalls volunteers from all walks of life prepared to volunteer their time for short term secondments to remote communities.

Contact: Mr Ernie Bridge Telephone No: 08 9322 6533

Successful applicant to be informed by: Mr Barry Haase MP KALGOORLIE

South West Area Health Service - Prevention and control of chronic diseases by promoting physical activity - Grant Awarded $52,950

Addressing a range of local factors that contribute to chronic disease by adopting a healthy community framework. Focussing on increasing community physical activity levels and awareness of the benefits of physical activity the project plans to establish the structural environmental changes to the physical and social environments of the area and an increased awareness of and information on the benefits will facilititate increased physical activity in the town.

Contact: Ms Susan Kay Telephone No: 08 9792 2506

Successful applicant to be informed by: The Hon Geoffrey Prosser MP FORREST

Media Contact: Randal Markey, Minister Patterson's Office, 02 6277 7220; Kay McNiece on (02) 6289 5027

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